Best Basketball Shoes - Buyer’s Guide

Gareth Otwell By Gareth Otwell · Last Updated July 13, 2018

Best Basketball ShoesTo handle the extreme nature of the game, a basketball shoe must be durable, offer support, flexibility, stability, and shock absorption. The continual starting, abrupt stopping, quick side steps, and high jumps involved in a game of basketball make the previous features of a basketball shoe essential.

I’ve put together a basketball shoes buyer’s guide for anyone looking to improve their performance on the court by wearing a new pair of kicks. I have provided as much information as possible about all the features that you should look for and what characteristics make the best pair of basketball shoes. After the buyer’s guide, I have reviews of 10 of the hottest basketball shoes out today and how they stack up in the battle for the best basketball shoes.

What are the Best Basketball Shoes to Buy in 2018?


Top Ten Best Basketball Shoes Reviews

Here are ten reviews I put together of the best basketball shoes available today.

Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive – Best Basketball Shoes for Ankle Support

 Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive The Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive Basketball Shoes focus on performance in all of its design features. They have a full-length energy-returning boost that adds lift to your jump shots. The xeno upper and updated lacing system helps to reduce pressure and breakage. The synthetic materials help keep your feet cool as well. These shoes are offered in 19 different colors emphasizing the uniquely designed high top. This shoe is a better choice for a larger player who needs cushioning and support from their shoes.

Pros
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Updated lacing system
  • Tinted TPU wrap
Cons
  • May be too narrow for some

Nike Kyrie 2 – Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Nike Kyrie 2 The Nike Kyrie 2 Basketball Shoes were designed to be comfortable and durable featuring advanced traction, lightweight cushioning, and zoned support. Around a dozen different color options make this shoe a little customizable to your own tastes. There is a Herringbone sole pattern on the rubber sole of the shoe that provides great traction.
This is a good option for an all-around player looking to add to their speed and provide for a little more bounce.

Pros
  • Great traction
  • Around a dozen different colors
  • Nike zoom unit
Cons
  • A couple of the colors are awful

Under Armour Curry 2.5 – Best Basketball Shoe for Flat Feet

Under Armour Curry 2.5 The Under Armour Curry 2.5 shoes are sharp. A molded upper wrap made of a synthetic material fastens closely around your foot creating a lightweight and precise fit. They provide durable support, locked-in stability, and eliminate any sliding.
These are a great looking shoe that seems to offer a very precise fit that adds to the user’s abilities.

CURRY 2.5 | IT COMES FROM BELOW

Pros
  • Upper wraps around foot creating precise fit
  • 14 different beautiful color options
  • Durable support
Cons
  • Sizes run a little small

Nike Lebron Soldier 10 – Best Performance Basketball Shoes

Nike Lebron Soldier 10 The Nike Lebron Soldier 10 is a futuristic looking basketball shoe. 13 different color options are available. The Soldier franchise is now a decade old, and this shoe tries to pay homage to predecessors with throwbacks to past shoes. They also include updated technology only fit for a King James. This shoe is awesome with its three-strap lockdown system that secures your foot in a customizable fit. Many other straps help to provide a fit that is unlike any other. Everything offered on this shoe provides the wearer with better performance on the court.

Nike LeBron Soldier 10: Built for Battle

Pros
  • Customizable straps to secure your feet
  • Rubber sole with a multi-directional pattern is durable and provides traction
  • Responsive cushioning
Cons
  • Extreme style may not be for everyone

Nike Lebron XIII – Best Basketball Shoes for Wide Feet

Nike Lebron XIII The Lebron 13 has a design that maximizes explosiveness with a very responsive cushioning system. There are multi-density layers that provide a lightweight feel as well as comfort and support. Eight color options are available in a cool design.
These are another awesome shoe that would be great for a lot of players. The responsive cushioning and lightweight design provide great benefits to basketball players.v

Pros
  • Zoom L.E.A.P. system
  • Lightweight comfort and support
  • Flexible and responsive cushioning
Cons
  • Might be too narrow for many players feet
  • Sizing discrepancies

Nike Kobe XI Elite Low – Best Low Top Basketball Shoes

Nike Kobe XI Elite Low The Nike Kobe XI Elite is designed for athletes who strive for high performance. It is packed with technology that provides benefits to the basketball players who wear them. The responsive Lunarlon foam that has flex grooves enhances natural motion.
These are a great choice for advanced athletes who need the benefits that they provide. They probably won’t be as effective for the casual player.

Pros
  • Responsive Lunarlon foam with flex grooves
  • Zoom Air unit in the heal
  • Flyknit construction
Cons
  • A narrower shoe than some are use to
  • Fakes have been reported

Nike Zoom KD 9 – Best Basketball Shoe for Traction

The Nike Zoom KD 9 is a feature packed shoe. It has a full-length Zoom Air unit that helps to cushion.
Nike Zoom KD 9They deliver control and response for your versatile play. Flyknit construction stretches giving you support where you need it. The rubber sole provides traction and durability.
All of these great shoes have so many features and benefits. This is another great choice for basketball players looking to improve their performance.

Pros
  • Full-length visible Zoom Air unit
  • Flyknit construction
  • Durable sole with plenty of traction
Cons
  • A narrower shoe than some are use to
  • Fakes have been reported

Adidas Performance Crazylight Boost – Best Basketball Shoes Under 100

Adidas Performance Crazylight Boost The Adidas Performance Crazylight Boost is a different kind of Adidas that we are used to seeing. A full-length Boost midsole sits on top of a Continental rubber outsole providing great traction. A torsional support unit adds even more to the traction.
Adidas has put together a shoe that is not what they are usually putting out. It has great new looks and beneficial features that will help to improve your basketball skills.

Pros
  • Primeknit used in the upper
  • Boost midsole
  • Rubber outsole enhances traction
Cons
  • Sizing issues

Nike Lebron XII – Best Basketball Shoes for Guards

Nike Lebron XII The Nike Lebron XII shoes are offered in 19 different blazing hot colors. Every single one stands out with bright colors and lots of contrast. Five visible Nike Zoom units are in the forefoot delivering very responsive cushioning. Megafuse technology works by comfortably locking down on your foot.
The Nike Lebron XII are the best-looking shoe I have reviewed. The colors are so bright, and each one has its own unique character. They are some great looking shoes.

Pros
  • Five Nike Zoom units
  • Megafuse technology
  • Ultralight flywire cables
Cons
  • The tongue doesn’t move

Nike Air Jordan 1 – Michael Jordan’s Best High Top Shoes

The Nike Air Jordan 1 is a leather shoe that is a throwback to retro Jordan high tops that have long since disappeared. An Air Jordan Wings logo is on the side and on the back of the tongue is an exclusive numbering system. A solid rubber sole with deep flex grooves increases flexibility and traction.
Who isn’t a fan of Air Jordan’s? They combine a lot of style with plenty of performance to make a shoe that is full of nostalgia.

Pros
  • Beautiful leather shoes
  • Rubber sole that provides plenty of traction
  • 18 different color options available
Cons
  • Fakes have been reported

The Best Basketball Shoes Buyer’s Guide

I guess it’s time to get on with the buyer’s guide!

Basketball shoes have changed a lot since the original Converse Chuck Taylor models that were used starting in the 1920’s and were consistently worn through the 1960s. Shoe companies have begun developing new materials and improving designs that increase performance, personal comfort, and protection. Starting in the 70’s, the stars of basketball started endorsing brands and signing off on their signature shoes. Some of these shoes, most notably Air Jordan’s, have been more of a fashion statement to fans. Basketball shoes today are worn both on and off of the court and created in every color and style imaginable.

So how do you choose a pair of basketball shoes? With so many options available, it can be hard to know where to even begin. I’ve put together all of the characteristics that I believe to be important when considering a new pair of basketball shoes and explained them in detail. This should help you better understand what you are looking for.

Characteristics of the Best Basketball Shoes

A pair of basketball shoes should be chosen for what benefits they offer you while you are on the court. Of course, that’s only if you play basketball. Many that wear basketball shoes today wear them simply because they are a fashion statement. These individuals will look more at how comfortable the shoes are and how stylish they look.

Here are all the reasons I could come up with for someone to buy a new pair of basketball shoes.

Style

A shoe’s style should be the last thing that a player should be thinking about when they are purchasing a new pair of basketball shoes. Many of the people wearing basketball shoes today aren’t out there on the court. If you base your decision for your next pair of basketball shoes on style alone, you will end up regretting your decision. Just because a pair of shoes looks great doesn’t mean they will be able to help you at all when you’re out there fighting for the lead. Forget about the style unless you’re sitting on the bench.

Durability

You need a shoe that will not fall apart and will last you a couple of years at a minimum. With so many lightweight basketball shoes in the spotlight today, it might be hard to find a pair that is durable. Find a pair that uses high-quality materials and that have a solid construction. There should be no thin spots that will wear over time, and the sole should be stuck on there good. A durable basketball shoe is very important if you want to have continued success.

Materials

The types of materials that are used in the construction of a basketball shoe are important to its quality. Some materials work well allowing your feet to breathe while others can make your feet sweat horribly from being choked off from cool air. A shoe that helps keep your feet cool is a solid investment in your basketball future. Don’t fall into a shoe that uses a material that was only used to generate a marketing hype. Look for mesh materials that are thin enough to help cool your feet but thick enough to be durable.

Fit

Having a basketball shoe that fits you well is a great benefit that will improve your game. A perfect fit allows for some room between the tip of the shoe and the end of your toes. You should be able to fit your thumb in that area. A shoe that is too short will cause your toes to press against the tip of the shoe causing discomfort and eventually injury. A shoe must also be wide enough to fit your foot naturally. If the shoe that you’re trying on is too tight on the sides, or if they allow too much movement inside, continue looking for another shoe. A basketball shoe that fits perfectly will surely help you out on the court.

Cushion

Basketball shoes can be split into two different types when it comes to cushioning. There are the soft and bouncy shoes and the firm and responsive ones. The soft and bouncy provide a comfortable feel that is better suited for a bigger, heavier player. That bounce will help the player absorb shock. Shoes that have responsive cushioning help to improve your speed and support your quickness. They are better suited for lighter players who don’t need to absorb shock but who need a shoe that is more responsive to their quick movements.

Skill Level

Certain basketball shoes that are produced are made for the most elite athletes providing technology and features meant to work well with an athlete of a high caliber. If you only play a couple of times a week, this is probably not the shoe that you need. It was designed for the fittest of the fit and the best of the best focusing on their needs. This shoe will get you nowhere. Find something that is more your skill level meant to improve a casual player’s gaming ability.

Body Type and Size

If you’re a smaller player needing to focus on speed to be a more productive player, don’t buy a pair of Lebrons that are built with a lot of support. This will only end up decreasing your mobility and making you a less valuable player. Conversely, if you’re a large player, don’t pick out the lightest pair of shoes you can find. Look for something that offers you more support and can help you avoid injuries. Work with your abilities and not against them.

Price

There’s no real way around it; you have to find a shoe that fits your budget. If you can’t afford the newest $300 pair of premium basketball shoes, why try them on? Find something that provides you with the most advantages possible that is in your price range.

Traction and Traction Pattern

Having a shoe that grips the floor when you’re trying to make quick turns and instant stops is a great benefit. Take a look at the traction pattern of the shoe and see what you think. A great shoe will have patterns that align with the biggest pressure points your feet create during sudden changes in direction. The more traction you have, the more agile and unpredictable you can be as a player.

Shape

Basketball shoes utilize different shapes to increase different aspects of a player’s performance. Shoes that are built for players with narrow feet help these players to accelerate and stop quickly by providing a tighter fit than they are used to. A shoe that has a tighter build on the shoe’s upper part secures your foot in place, so it’s not sliding around. This provides a player with a better feel and more response.

Personal Playing Style

Your personal playing style is another important factor that can change what type of shoe you’ll need.

Power Player

If you are a power player, you will want a pair of shoes with the most cushioning and stability. A heavier shoe would be a benefit.

All-around Player

Look for a lightweight shoe with a little bit of ankle support and cushioning. You will get a little from both worlds; speed, and power.

Fast Player

If you are a player that has the main focus of speed, choose a lightweight shoe with a lower cut. It should offer minimum amounts of support and cushion but be able to provide good flexibility.

Well, I think that’s just about all the information I wanted to cover.

Gareth Otwell

About Gareth Otwell

Gareth Otwell is a 28-year-old tech geek. Currently working at a big IT company. He chooses to widen the topics he writes about so as to provide his readers with an all-in-one go-to platform that they can use to research for just about anything. Read more

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