Basketball only requires a few pieces of equipment to get started: a ball, a hoop and a pair of the best basketball shoes you can find. Playing basketball is a very popular game worldwide, but to get good, you need the right gear. Getting a good basketball shoe will help you with your speed and keep your fast breaks faster than your opponent.
Don’t underestimate what the right basketball shoes can do for you. Growing up you probably wore the same shoes to play basketball as you did to play baseball or street hockey; as you get older and more skilled you can benefit from a signature sneaker that is made to help you. There is a reason why the best point guards and shooting guards not only have the best shoes but also their own line of signature sneakers. Find the best basketball shoes for you right here.
1. Reebok Answer IV Men's Basketball Shoes — Best Overall
Editor’s Choice #1: We found these to be the best shoes for high-level play, with a great mix of comfort and control while still being light and maneuverable. This is a popular style in the NBA and for good reason. After wearing them a few times they will break in nicely and will feel like they were custom made just for you – this could well be your new signature sneaker.
The Answer IV Men’s Basketball Shoe is a great combination of simple design with high-performance functionality. Showcase all your skills on the court without the worry of slipping or losing support. Reebok has pulled out all the stops to make this the best basketball shoe available today.
Will Mold To Fit Your Foot Perfectly
This basketball shoe features all leather on the upper section and after your first few times of using this shoe, the leather will mold and conform to your specific foot shape giving you maximum comfort. Keep them looking great with their special chalk color, adding a touch of class which is very eye-catching. The laces are hidden with a zip-up shroud, keeping them tight so you won’t have to worry about them while you’re on the court.
The Sole Is A Huge Factor
For support, this shoe has a stabilizing midfoot TPU shank to keep your foot in place while wearing them – you can easily pivot and change direction without your foot sliding around. They are like a second skin and you’ll want to wear them all the time, but try to keep them only on the court though to maintain the integrity of the sole – and speaking of the sole, it’s made from rubber which is very durable and can withstand some outdoor venture. But for the serious hooper, you’ll want to keep them in your gym locker when not on the court. The chalk color makes the gum sole stand out and it really pops when you’re running up and down the court.
2. Under Armour Curry Flow 8 Basketball Shoes — Best-Fitting Basketball Shoe
Editor’s Choice #2: When Steph Curry releases a new shoe we all take notice. As one of the most prolific ballers of our generation, he knows basketball and he knows how to get the most out of a shoe. Developed with the same precision he uses in his games, this basketball shoe is super light, extremely comfortable and your game will improve with these high-end kicks.
This shoe provides you with great mobility while still keeping you stable and secure while in motion. The construction of these basketball shoes is a hybrid of high tops and low tops with a bootie-like design that completely supports your foot. Feeling more like a sock than a shoe you will notice the extra support and comfort right away – there is no “break-in” time required here.
The upper part of the shoe is made with a breathable mesh to keep your feet cool and sweat-free and the unique fit keeps from rubbing too much on pressure points. The bio-directional internal fit structure features independent layers to keep your feet from sliding around. Your lateral movement will improve immediately with this basketball shoe – crossovers and cuts will be so much easier when you can maintain a stable balance. The durable flow outsole contributes to your stability and court awareness. By adding a little extra volume to the edges it provides a wider base – you’ll always know exactly where your feet are on the court to avoid going out of bounds.
New Technology Has Eliminated Rubber Altogether
A huge benefit to this shoe is that it does not contain any rubber whatsoever. Rubber is notoriously heavy and by building a shoe without rubber you can be sure that your speed and hops will improve immensely. Overall, Under Armour has designed a great court shoe that will make you a better basketball player. If you have never owned a pair of Under Armours before then make these your first. It will most likely not be your last as the technology, care and materials that go into this are very noticeable.
3. Under Armour Unisex UA Embiid One Basketball Shoes — The Most Lightweight
For the player that likes to be everywhere on the court, the Under Armour Unisex UA Embiid One Basketball Shoes will be able to keep up with you. Designed with the universal goal of being able to perform at all aspects of the game, they also have a professional look that will definitely intimidate your pals in the park.
Provide Exceptional Stability
Even though these basketball shoes look very low-rise they still provide ample ankle support using a ⅝ construction and a higher backside to keep your ankle secure but still mobile. You can move in all directions with this shoe without worrying about your ankle being over-extended. This shoe works great on all court surfaces as well due to its rubber outsole allowing you excellent stop-and-go motions on the hardwood or asphalt. It also has a unique traction pattern to give you maximum grip no matter which way you move.
Practice More Without Getting Too Hot
This shoe is made for the serious baller who wants to get those long practice hours in without your feet being too hot or sweaty. The upper part of the shoe is made with a special open-hole mesh that allows for incredible breathability – it’s like air conditioning for your shoes and the special mesh is great for providing comfort. Its soft texture prevents unwanted rubbing and it securely wraps around every inch of your foot. It has a die-cut EVA sock liner to keep your foot in place and add a bit of cushioning under your foot. This cushioning is the perfect consistency to not only absorb landings but also get you off the ground again quickly. If you ever wondered how Joel Embiid gets all those rebounds then look no further. You just need these shoes – and perhaps to be 7 feet tall.
4. Adult UA Lockdown 5 Basketball Shoes — Most Breathable Shoe
For a more classic look get the Adult UA Lockdown 5 Basketball Shoes, a great traditional design for the old-school enthusiast who still wants modern performance. This mid-rise basketball shoe is available in 6 different color schemes and will definitely improve your game. The added durability coupled with the extreme traction will give you all the mobility you need to move up and down the court faster than anyone else.
The Tongue Helps A Lot
There are lots of features here that the older versions of this basketball shoe do not have, starting with the tongue which is made from air mesh. This wraps around your foot easily, lets your foot breathe more and lets more air in to dry sweat and keep your foot from sliding. With this special material, the tongue can provide support and further assists in keeping your foot in place when laced up. It also utilizes synthetic overlays to add durability and strength for use on or off the court
Added Protection...And They Don’t Smell
The toe is also something special as it adds extra protection compared to other good basketball shoes with what’s called a TPU film toe cap to keep your toes protected at all times. This comes in handy when you’re in the paint going for rebounds – your toes will be protected and safe from anyone landing on them. If you plan on using these a lot for games then you’re probably aware that over time basketball shoes can start to smell. Not with this one. They have solved that problem by lining the inner sock liner with an anti-odor material that prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes.
5. Adult UA Curry 7 Basketball Shoes — Fastest Shoe
As the second Steph Curry shoe on this list, it’s by no means a second-rate shoe. Differing slightly from the Curry Flow 8, this Adult UA Curry 7 Basketball Shoe is made for the serious player as well.
Signature Low-Rise Design...Land Softly Every Time
It all starts with the low-rise design, giving you a wide range of motion for cutbacks and general lateral movement. Without added material on the upper part, your ankle can freely move in any direction – perfect if you’re a point guard on the move. The upper part features a translucent layer of synthetic leather, mesh & TPU skins for reinforcement in zonal areas, adding comfort, stability & mobility so your ankle is free to move whilst provided with some protection. The bottom of your foot is taken care of by their Micro G technology, keeping your foot well cushioned to absorb harsh landings, and making it easier to get off the ground again as it provides some explosive response action and contributes to your speed on cutbacks.
Breakthrough Heel Design
A real breakthrough feature of this basketball shoe is the heel with a noticeable design feature that even the untrained basketball eye can see. The heel is split in what’s called a decoupled heel which allows the natural movement of your heel to give you more mobility and essentially simulates being barefoot. Even when running in a straight line the decoupled heel keeps your whole foot stable, a design feature that you won’t see on other shoes. The sole is made from rubber and stands up to various types of surfaces, using a herringbone traction pattern to maximize grip and control, especially when you’re on the hardwood. This will again help you to keep your balance and prevent your feet from sliding.
6. Nike Cosmic Unity Men's Shoes — Most Stylish
These Nike Cosmic Unity sneakers look great and cannot be confused with any other shoe. Nike has always been on the cutting edge of design and this new release stays true to that reputation. When you show up with these on, everyone will want to know where you got them.
Trademark Nike Air Zoom Features
The design isn’t the only thing we love about this Nike Cosmic Unity basketball shoe. Equipped with a full-length Air Zoom strobel throughout the bottom, they provide you with insane comfort so you can play for hours with an excellent response to your movements. The strobel might be the best part about this shoe not just because of the comfort but also for its performance. With this advanced layer, you can easily pivot in any direction making your crossovers unstoppable and giving you extra speed that other players simply don’t have. It is supported by a thin rubber outsole that is there to protect your foot and the shoe, making it durable and providing good traction.
Saving The Planet One Shoe At A Time
These are the right basketball shoes for planet lovers – made from recycled materials, you’re reducing your carbon footprint just by getting them. Due to these recycled materials, the designers were also able to shed some weight; this is one of the best basketball shoes if you are looking for something light. The lighter the shoe the less energy it will drain from you which you will notice when you get deep in games and your energy levels are still high. The lightweight aspect is a big part of this but by having a low rise in addition, your ankle has 100% mobility and you can really demonstrate some breakout speed.
7. Puma Rs-Dreamer J. Cole Black Men’s 193990 — Most Versatile
Puma has been making shoes for a long time and to much success. Although not often in the basketball market, this shoe aims to change that. By partnering with rap superstar J. Cole, they will definitely get the marketing support needed to compete with the big brand names. But does this basketball shoe hold up? Can it compete with mainstays such as Nike, Reebok and Under Armour? The short answer is a resounding yes!
Great For Both Outdoor And Indoor Use
This shoe works great on the court and is one of the better outdoor basketball shoes. Its versatility makes this a great option for players who want to play anywhere and everywhere. The rubber sole provides excellent traction and grip on all playing surfaces and holds up well over time even if you mostly play on asphalt – its durability is quite surprising. When playing on the court you can really feel how responsive the cushioning is. Although not the softest on this list, some players may prefer that. By having a less forgiving cushion you will be able to rebound a lot quicker from jumps giving you a great advantage when you’re in the paint trying to get those boards.
Stay Mobile With This Special Design Feature
Although a mid-rise basketball shoe, it provides a lot of support, keeping your feet contained nicely without feeling too tight. This allows for amazing lateral movement so you can work around picks and screens easily. The designers kept the shoe light by incorporating mesh in the upper portion, making it nice and cool whilst giving your foot a snug fit. These shoes are so comfortable, requiring little to no break-in time and will feel like they were custom-made for you.
8. Nike Why Not Zer0.3 Men’s Basketball Shoes — Best For Experienced Players
Nike has done it again with a great shoe that looks really cool and sets itself apart from other basketball shoes. The Nike Why Not Zer0.3 Men’s Basketball Shoes are made for the basketball players who want both performance and style – fitting, since this is the signature shoe of Russell Westbrook.
Added Security For Your Foot
The first thing that catches your eye is the adjustable strap that is placed at the midfoot, providing an unparalleled fit and keeping your foot and your shoe acting like one. This strap is easily fastened in one fluid motion and will conform perfectly to your foot. The lower half of the shoe is also made to adapt to your foot. With its large Air Zoom Turbo unit in the front part, it’s shaped to follow the natural curves of your foot, reducing any break-in time and keeping them looking better for longer. The heel also has added cushioning to support any hard landings. By separating these two sections of the shoe, different parts of your foot can get full and custom support.
Classic Westbrook Stylings
If you look at the bottom you’ll see that the front and back of the shoe are clearly defined with some of the same styles that Russell shows on the court. There’s even a visible factory tag on the bottom of these popular basketball shoes. This focused attention continues up the back of the shoe where you will find a huge Achilles pillow which is how you know these shoes are meant to be played hard in. This pillow keeps your ankle supported but also extremely mobile – you can go 110% in these shoes and they will be able to keep up.
9. Puma Men’s Clyde All-Pro White Athletic Basketball Shoes — Most Traction
At first glance, this may not look like one of the best basketball shoes but that is done on purpose. Puma is stirring the pot a little bit with their designs and even old school players are starting to notice. Might as well look great if you’re going to play great, but the Puma Men’s Clyde All-Pro White Athletic Basketball shoe is more than just a pretty face. This shoe can hold its own on the court and still look good while doing it.
Outstanding Traction All-Round
Keeping the traditions of a basketball shoe alive with the wide base, outrigger and solid internal heel counter, this shoe is the signature sneaker for a player who wants to make waves. The great traction offered by this shoe is top tier, and they have been compared to some of the other grippy shoes such as the Kobe 9. This kind of traction gives you the confidence to not only play well but play better. You can try different moves and play with better players knowing that your response time is going to be amazing. Because the traction is so good you can play outdoors with these on occasion. However, the more you keep them indoors, the longer they will last.
Special Cushioning For Fast Breaks
Continuing with the impressive lower half is the cushioning system, featuring an improved ProFoam+ which is softer and provides more compression. This keeps your foot active and light which is why you can get a great response out of it – a very supportive shoe without feeling too soft. The upper half of this great shoe is made from very lightweight material to counteract the sole and cushion system and is very minimalistic so you only have exactly what is needed to keep your foot in place. Stick to ordering your true size as this shoe will break in very nicely. The minimal material and ProFoam+ cushion completely engulf your foot and will be a very comfortable shoe.
10. Nike Men's Shoes Kyrie 7 — Most Underrated Shoe
The Nike Men’s Shoes Kyrie 7 just made it on to our list as a very dependable basketball shoe. They have had a lot of success in the past by sticking to what basketball players want and not trying to reinvent the wheel. This signature shoe designed with Kyrie Irving is the latest and most impressive from his line to date, made to be versatile since Kyrie is one of the great point guards and shooting guards.
Top-Tier Support For Your Foot
One of the best features of this supportive shoe is the Nike Zoom Air cushioning. Strategically curved so it can bend in any direction easily, this reduces break-in time and is a feature seen on some of the best basketball shoes on the market. Having this forefoot Zoom Air unit also improves your response time and provides excellent return time, meaning that even after you come down from getting a hard rebound, you will have the energy to sprint back up court before your competitors do. It also helps you get max air on your jumps.
Take Advantage Of This High Top Design
Because these are a high-top design shoe the upper part is made with mesh details to reduce the weight and keep these shoes nimble. The mesh wraps around your foot tightly making this a very comfortable shoe. The laces on this shoe are laced through molded fins that are pulled down when tightened, providing a unique way of working with the material to prevent any pressure points, keeping your foot centered and giving you great lateral stability. You can play basketball on outdoor courts with these since the rubber sole will hold up nicely. The 360 degrees, computer-generated circular traction pattern works wonders, helping you stay in control and easily come in and out of cuts.
There are lots of factors to consider when looking for the best shoes. Here are some specific details to help you make the right choice when deciding the best shoe for you.
What Do You Want From A Basketball Shoe?
The best basketball shoes will be a combination of a few aspects in order to get the most out of them. Experienced basketball players will value these traits differently but will still want them no matter what.
Great Traction – This is important for playing on both outdoor courts and indoor courts. To play outdoors effectively look for basketball shoes that have a rubber sole. They are built with more strength and will maintain their traction for longer. For indoor courts, you don’t need rubber but it helps to have good traction from a specific design. A circular traction configuration works well and is a solid performer.
Comfortable Shoes – If you are going to be playing for hours at a time then you want your basketball shoes to be comfortable. Look for something with cushion tech that uses modern materials. The best shoe should provide good support while still keeping you mobile.
The Best Basketball Shoe Provides Good Support – Point guards and shooting guards will tell you that having a shoe that protects your ankle and foot is a huge asset. Look for something with a great lacing system made from modern materials.
When choosing your new basketball sneakers, you want to consider the best shoe style that will work for you.
Low-cut shoes are great for mobility. They are very light and usually require less break-in time. A great low-top sneaker will help with speed and agility and are much more popular basketball shoes than they were a decade ago and that’s because they work. Examples are the Steph Curry signature shoe, the Adult UA Curry 7 Basketball Shoes and the Puma Men’s Clyde All-Pro White Athletic Basketball Shoes.
A mid-rise shoe is meant to combine all the best features from the low rise and high-top basketball shoes. Although not the most popular basketball shoes, they have some advantages that may suit your personal preference. If you’re new to basketball then these will be your best option so you can try out the features and see what you like. Start with the Under Armour Curry Flow 8 Basketball Shoes.
High tops used to be the best basketball shoes you could get. They were a solid performer and the perfect pair for everything from dusty courts to the hardwood. Now with all the technology and premium materials being used, they have become a much less popular basketball shoe. If you are still looking for the all-encompassing support that high tops provide then try the Adult UA Lockdown 5 Basketball Shoes.
How basketball shoes are put together will vary – with different factors suiting different players.
The different types of material used in all the best basketball shoes are varying types of premium materials. Players prefer a breathable material for the upper part so a high-grade mesh is usually used. For the bottom, players will always want comfort but not at the cost of performance. Companies must be constantly searching for new ways to provide stability with active response. The sole does not have to be made out of rubber. There are other synthetic materials that can reduce weight without giving up traction.
The cushion will play a huge factor and will differ greatly from player to player. This is the part of the shoe that determines your response time and how fast your energy can transfer. Basketball shoes with a softer cushion will act a bit slower and be a little more difficult to return to the air. The softer cushion will help absorb impact though so if you spend a lot of time in the air then a soft cushion could be the best basketball shoe for you.
A firm cushion is built for speed. Even on dusty courts, a firm cushion can be a solid performer as long as you have good traction as well.
Support from a good basketball shoe comes in many different forms. The best basketball shoes will be able to mold and adapt to your foot over time especially with a great lacing system. If you get a shoe that is made primarily of leather then it will take longer to break in but they will have the ultimate support.
Most shoes are made with a very light mesh these days which cuts the break-in time down considerably. They are also much less durable though, so be careful if you find yourself on dusty courts.
This is a huge factor and can only be determined by where you play basketball the most. If you play outdoors a lot then you will want a durable rubber sole to provide maximum traction. With unpredictable foreign debris all over the place, you want to make sure your ankles are taken care of. Indoor basketball players will be looking for something a little more light. Hardwood basketball shoes don’t need to be as heavy-duty but can still provide great traction.
Your playing level can have some impact on what will be the best basketball shoes for you. If you are just starting out then try a basketball shoe that is versatile on all surfaces. Unless you know that you will be exclusively playing on one surface, this will give you the best chance to test out different materials and styles.
You don’t have to get the best basketball shoes in the entire world to see an improvement in your game. Yes, a signature shoe of your favorite player is cool but will it help your game? Try to look for the things that will help you improve rather than getting the latest pair of high-end kicks. You may find that this saves you a few bucks and will actually help you more than the latest Air Jordan.
Final Top Tips For Choosing Your Basketball Shoes
How to ensure you are getting the very best shoes possible for you.
This can be tough as there is no clear-cut answer to know what the perfect size will be for you. Each company is slightly different and finding the right basketball shoes can be frustrating. If the basketball shoe you’re looking at has a lot of padding around the upper ankle and Achilles then you may want to order a half size up. Conversely, if you prefer a sleek profile with minimal materials then you can be pretty sure that your true size will be fine.
The majority of these shoes are very lightweight. With light shoes, you can run faster and make quick breaks. The grip and stability of your basketball shoe are not based on weight. Some players may prefer a heavier shoe for better feel and control and in that case, we recommend going with the Puma Rs-Dreamer J. Cole Black Men’s 193990.
When choosing a design it really comes down to your own personal style. Each shoe has its own characteristics that will appeal to different people. Once you find a basketball shoe that you like, make sure it has all the features you’re looking for, and then go for it. If a shoe has all the necessary requirements but you don’t think it looks amazing then it’s not the best basketball shoe for you.
Getting the right amount of comfort can be a tricky task. The best basketball shoes will be ones that you have worn for a while and have a chance to conform to your foot. With today’s newer and premium materials the break-in time is minimal and you have a better chance at gauging how comfortable they’ll be.
Take note of how they fit around the ankle and if you can notice any rubbing. If that occurs in the store then chances are it will happen on the court.
Basketball Shoes – Are They Practical Off The Court?
With good basketball shoes, you can definitely wear them off the court. But do you want to? The outer sole will become worn down a lot quicker the more you wear them on concrete and asphalt. Try to keep your court shoes separate from your street shoes. This will extend the life of your court shoes and give them time to get broken in before getting worn out. One thing is for sure, any of these shoes will look great with a lot of different outfits so it’s understandable that you would want to wear them as much as possible. If you can save them for special occasions or impress that certain someone then go for it.
Top Tips For Basketball Practice
Like any sport the more you practice the better you will become. It is best to work on the parts of your game that are the weakest first and then keep working on your skills in that order, so grab a ball and a portable basketball hoop and follow our tips. If you don’t already have a basketball, see which one is right for you in our roundup here.
For jump shots make sure you’re practicing from all angles on the court. You never know what situation you will be in where you need to make an important shot. Pick a spot on the court that is your weakest and don’t leave until you make 5 shots in a row. If you make 4 and miss the fifth then start all over again.
Playing basketball is all about stamina. Whoever has the most energy in the 4th quarter will usually come out on top. To play your best basketball it’s crucial to work on your cardio. Start each practice with some laps around the court. Once you are warmed up you can do some stop and start drills to make sure you’re getting to your top speed as quickly as possible. If you are really dedicated, hit the treadmill for 30-60 mins after practice when you are at your most tired. This will ensure you have the energy to play for a full 48 minutes.
Although not the most glamorous part of the game, layups are necessary and are a skill set all to their own. Try to make layups from different angles around the hoop similar to your shooting practice routine. Be sure to use your left and right hand so you’re comfortable with both. This is a huge advantage especially if you’re playing with inexperienced players.
Don’t underestimate the layup. It might not look as cool as dunks but it is more useful and you will score more points if you are proficient at laying up.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best basketball shoes are the Answer IV Men’s Basketball Shoes. They are meant to be played tough and can withstand anything you throw at them. They use leather so after you break them in they will feel like they were made just for you. They are also one of the most stylish shoes out there.
The best lightweight shoes are probably the Under Armour Unisex UA Embiid One Basketball Shoes. They are a low-rise shoe that utilizes very little material. Most of the material used is a special lightweight mesh that keeps the shoe light and also provides a lot of breathability. You can practice for hours in these shoes not only because they are light but also because they are nice and cool.
Basketball shoes are high to give the player maximum stability. A high-top design also protects the player’s ankles from turning over too much. Ankle injuries are common in basketball and can sideline you for weeks or even months. If you are new to the game, a comfortable high top will be the right basketball shoes.
NBA players wear the same shoes you see in our list. They may take a slightly different size than the rest of us but these shoes were designed by some of the game’s greatest players. They have the knowledge and experience to help develop an excellent shoe. Michael Jordan still to this day will wear his Air Jordan brand shoes.
The shoes that are banned from the NBA are made by APL. Athletic Propulsion Labs created and released a shoe that everyone wanted. They designed the shoe with a spring built into the cushioning which the NBA saw as an unfair advantage. It didn’t seem to hurt sales that much though as being the first shoe ever banned from the NBA has its advantages.
To get the best basketball shoes you don’t have to look any further than the Answer IV Men’s Basketball Shoes. Thankfully though, if those aren’t your cup of Gatorade then there are 9 other shoe options that will be sure to please. Whichever shoe you pick, make sure you have fun with the game and help others enjoy it too. Basketball has been around for a long time and because of its easy access and gradual learning curve anyone can start playing at any age. Get out there and have some fun.