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Looking to up your game on the court? The key to unlocking your potential starts with the right pair of kicks. In this article, we'll dive into the world of basketball shoes, exploring the best hooping shoes of all time, the top brands to trust, and how to find the perfect fit for your playing style. From the latest Curry Flow 10s to the iconic Jordan 6 Rings, we've got your feet covered. So lace up, get ready to shoot some hoops, and let's dive into the world of basketball shoes.

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How to Choose the Best Basketball Shoes

We use a comprehensive methodology to test all types of shoes and equipment featured on this site. When it comes to basketball shoes, we put them to the test on the court for at least two weeks each. This allows us to properly break in the shoe and thoroughly evaluate its performance. We also test the shoes both outdoors and indoors to assess their performance on different surfaces.

We focus on five key characteristics of the various models we test: traction (how well the shoe grips the court), cushion (the level of impact protection provided), materials (quality of materials used), support (level of support experienced in the shoe), and fit (how well the shoe fits). These five features are analyzed individually as well as in combination to give you a comprehensive understanding of the shoe's quality.

Our goal is to provide unbiased and reliable information to help our audience find the best basketball shoes for their specific needs and playing style. Please note that these top basketball shoes are suitable for any position or player, as long as they meet your specifications. Detailed information on each shoe can be found in its respective performance review, which includes an in-depth analysis of its pros and cons, price, technology, and other relevant performance details.

If a particular model isn't featured, it's either because it hasn't been tested/reviewed yet or because we don't consider it to be among the current top basketball shoes. If you have any follow-up questions, please reach out to us on Twitter.

What Is the Best Basketball Shoe of All Time?

Determining the best basketball shoe of all time is a challenging question. The truth is, there isn't just one "best basketball shoe" for everyone, especially when it comes to performance basketball shoes. When considering the most iconic shoes, one could argue that the Jordan 1 or maybe the Converse All-Star hold that distinction. However, the conversation becomes more nuanced when evaluating on-court performance.

To provide a concise answer, we'll highlight some of the top performers in basketball shoe history, while acknowledging that personal preference and playing style play significant roles:

air jordan 12 performance reviewWatch the full review Let's start with a retro Jordan. The Air Jordan 12 is considered one of the greatest performance models of all time, and it was ahead of its time when it was first released in 1997. The shoe features herringbone traction, full-length Zoom Air cushioning, and a supportive leather upper. Overall, it's an exceptional performer. Read the full review. Current Retail Price: $200

Buy the Air Jordan 12

Watch the full review Moving on to a more modern Jordan model, the Jordan 29 was released in 2014. It followed the success of the Jordan 28, which was highly regarded as a performance model. The Jordan 29 features excellent traction, a top-tier Air Zoom setup in the forefoot for cushioning, a premium upper, and lightweight support. It's another outstanding product from Jordan Brand. Read the full review. Original Price: $225

Buy the Air Jordan 29

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Performance Review 7Watch the full review The Nike Kobe 9 is renowned for its exceptional traction, with a rubber compound that adapts perfectly to the foot's anatomy. It also features Lunarlon cushioning, an engineered mesh upper, and a lightweight and supportive design. It's considered one of the best performance models from Kobe's signature line. Read the full review. Original Price: $160

Buy the Nike Kobe 9

Curry 4 FlowtroWatch the full review The Curry signature line from Under Armour consistently delivers high-quality basketball shoes. The Curry 4 offers excellent traction, responsive low-profile cushioning, and top-tier support and fit. The shoe is designed to conform to your foot like a sock, providing agility and responsiveness. It's a top performer from the line. Read the full review. Original Price: $130

Buy the Under Armour Curry 4

Harden Vol 3Watch the full review Finally, adidas' Harden Vol 3 features Boost cushioning, known for its exceptional performance. The shoe offers excellent traction, a highly supportive woven upper, and a comfortable fit. The fit and support are primarily derived from the upper itself, keeping the shoe lightweight. It's one of the greatest hits from James Harden's line. Read the full review. Original Price: $160

Buy the adidas Harden Vol 3

Which Sole Materials Are Best for Basketball?

Apart from the different rubber compounds used by shoe brands, which can be a technical differentiation, there are two main types of rubber used on basketball shoes: translucent and solid rubber.

As a general rule, solid rubber provides better traction, although there are some excellent translucent rubber options available (such as the Jordan Luka 1). Solid rubber tends to grip the court better and offer superior performance.

The hardness and durability of the rubber are also important considerations, especially when looking for a good outdoor basketball shoe. In those cases, a harder rubber compound with a deep and aggressive traction pattern is ideal. Nike's XDR rubber is a reliable choice for outdoor play.

What's a Good Weight for a Basketball Shoe?

To put it simply, any weight is suitable for a basketball shoe. The weight of the shoe doesn't significantly impact performance. Heavier shoes are only slightly heavier and do not affect performance. Lighter shoes don't make you faster or more explosive on the court. The weight difference between basketball shoes is minimal and doesn't provide a significant advantage either way. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.

How Many Types of Basketball Shoes Are There?

Basketball shoes can be categorized in various ways, including by brand, surface, and position. However, one common differentiation among all basketball shoes is the cut. Basketball shoes can be high cut, mid cut, or low cut.

The differences in cut don't significantly affect performance and are more of an aesthetic choice. You can find a detailed breakdown of high tops, mid tops, and low tops here.

What Are the Best Basketball Shoe Brands?

Selecting the best basketball shoe brand is incredibly challenging, if not impossible. It depends entirely on your individual needs and preferences on the court. If you're a small, shifty point guard, you'll need a shoe that caters to your specific requirements, regardless of the brand.

Another factor to consider is the time period we're discussing. Puma has emerged as a consistent producer of high-quality performance basketball shoes in recent years, although they reentered the market in 2018. Nike boasts a long list of all-time great performers, but they've also had their share of on-court disappointments.

With these factors in mind, here's a list of some of the current top basketball shoe brands (in no particular order):

How Do I Find a Basketball Shoe That Fits My Playing Style?

No two basketball players are the same. Your height, weight, build, skill level, and other factors determine your playing style. Even players with similar styles may have different footwear preferences. For example, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving have somewhat comparable styles on the court but prefer different signature shoes.

Smaller, agile players usually prefer shoes that accommodate their shifty style of play. These players prioritize excellent traction, support features, and responsive cushioning. The Curry line and Kyrie line are good examples of shoes that cater to this style.

On the other hand, bigger, more powerful players often prioritize plush cushioning for impact absorption and a highly supportive build. LeBron James' signature line exemplifies this type of shoe.

Of course, these are general guidelines, and each player has their own individual preferences. However, they provide a good starting point for finding the best basketball shoes for your playing style.

Indoor Basketball vs. Outdoor Basketball

One important consideration is where you'll be using your basketball shoes. If you primarily play indoors, durability is not a significant concern. However, if you play outdoors, durability becomes much more important.

The best basketball shoes for outdoor play require more durable materials in the upper, harder rubber on the outsole, extra cushioning to protect against the hard blacktop, and an appropriate traction pattern. We have a comprehensive guide on how to choose outdoor basketball shoes that you can check out.

High-Tops, Mid-Tops, and Low-Tops

Lastly, let's discuss the cut of the shoe. The idea that high-tops and mid-tops offer more ankle support to prevent injuries is a myth. Low-tops provide just as much support because the main source of support comes from your ankle itself. Many NBA players have been playing in low-top basketball shoes for years, as proven by Kobe Bryant.

However, there is a placebo effect with mid-tops and high-tops. Players who have previously sustained ankle injuries may feel safer in mid-tops and high-tops, and confidence is crucial on the court. Ultimately, stick with what works for you.

Curry Flow 10 'Curry-fornia' Basketball Shoes - Royal Blue/White

Curry Flow 10 'Curry-fornia' Basketball Shoes - Royal Blue/White colorway on a light gray background.

The Unisex Curry Flow 10 “Curry-fornia” Basketball Shoes are equipped with cutting-edge technology for dynamic basketball movements. The UA WARP upper provides enhanced comfort and control, while the half-bootie upper lining ensures an impeccable fit and lockdown. With UA Flow cushioning technology offering lightweight bounce and grip, combined with an internal midfoot shank for stability, these shoes allow players to change directions swiftly. The durable UA Flow outsole enhances court feel, granting the ability to accelerate and decelerate with unprecedented speed and control.

Under Armour Curry Flow 9 Team Basketball Shoes

Curry Flow 9 Team Basketball Shoes

Emulate Steph Curry by choosing a rubberless shoe. Although the Warriors may not have made it to the finals this time, it's not due to a lack of skills. With these shoes, you'll elevate your game. They are lightweight and offer excellent grip.

You can also follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Lakers of all time, LeBron James. His shoes deliver speed, precision, and keep you grounded. The traction pattern on these shoes is actually a map of Akron, his hometown.

James Harden is known for his fashion sense, so it's no surprise that his shoes combine style and intelligence. The upper of his shoes resembles a puffer jacket, while the hybrid BOOST and Lightstrike midsole provide balance during jumps, cuts, and direction changes.

Best Reactive Basketball Shoes

Adidas Dame 8 Basketball Shoes - Black

Adidas Dame 8 Basketball Shoes - Black colorway on a light gray background.

The Adidas Dame 8 basketball shoes are a top-tier choice for basketball players. They feature a sleek and modern design with a breathable mesh upper and synthetic overlays for enhanced support and durability. The Bounce cushioning technology in the midsole provides responsive and energized cushioning, while the herringbone traction pattern on the rubber outsole ensures excellent grip and traction on the court. These shoes also boast a comfortable and secure lace closure system, with Damian Lillard's signature details adding a personalized touch. With their style, performance, and advanced features, the Adidas Dame 8 basketball shoes are a reliable option for players seeking optimal performance on the basketball court, all while sporting classic Adidas colorways.

Nike Cosmic Unity 2 Basketball Shoes - White/Black/Green

Nike Cosmic Unity 2 - White/Black/Green colorway on a white background.

The Nike Cosmic Unity 2 basketball shoes are a versatile and sustainable option for athletes. Made with recycled materials, including a recycled mesh upper, these shoes provide both breathability and support. The midsole features responsive Zoom Air cushioning for excellent impact protection and energy return, allowing for explosive movements. The outsole traction pattern ensures a reliable grip on concrete or hardwood floors. With a sleek design and vibrant color options, the Nike Cosmic Unity 2 combines style and performance for basketball players who prioritize environmental consciousness.

Nike G.T. Cut 2 Basketball Shoes - Aura/Barely Green/Vivid Sky/Sail

Nike G.T. Cut 2 Basketball Shoes - Aura/Barely Green/Vivid Sky/Sail colorway on a light gray background.

The Nike GT Cut 2 basketball shoes are designed to provide stability and support for quick cuts and agility. They feature a lightweight and breathable upper that enhances airflow and keeps feet cool during intense gameplay. The forefoot is equipped with responsive Zoom Air cushioning for excellent energy return, and the molded ankle collar offers a secure and comfortable fit. The multidirectional traction pattern on the outsole ensures reliable grip, allowing for quick stops and re-acceleration. With a combination of performance features and sleek design, the Nike GT Cut 2 is a solid choice for basketball players seeking agility and responsiveness on the court.

Reebok Shaq Attaq Basketball Shoes - Core Black/Bold Purple/Collegiate Gold

Reebok Shaq Attaq Basketball Shoes - Core Black/Bold Purple/Collegiate Gold colorway on a light gray background.

The Shaq Attaq basketball shoes from Reebok pay homage to the legendary Shaquille O'Neal and are perfect for big men who love dominating the paint. These high-top shoes feature a durable leather and synthetic upper for enhanced support and durability. The iconic pump technology allows for a customized fit and a locked-in feel. The EVA midsole provides cushioning and impact absorption, while the herringbone outsole pattern ensures reliable traction and grip. With a bold design inspired by Shaq's presence on the court, the Shaq Attaq basketball shoes are a classic choice for fans of the big man and those seeking a combination of style and performance.

APL Superfuture Basketball Shoes - White

APL Superfuture Basketball Shoes - White colored on a light gray background.

The APL SuperFuture basketball shoes, the first-ever shoe brand banned from the NBA due to their "performance enhancing" capabilities, are designed for game-enhancing performance on the court. Featuring a sleek and modern design, these shoes are built with APL's innovative Load 'N Launch technology, which utilizes a compression spring in the midsole to enhance vertical leap and energy return. The shoes also incorporate a breathable upper and a padded collar for comfort and support during gameplay. With their stylish appearance and advanced performance features, the APL SuperFuture basketball shoes are a great choice for players looking to elevate their game.

Jordan 6 Rings Shoes - Black/Red/White

Jordan 6 Rings Shoes - Black/Red/White colorway on a white background.

The Jordan 6 Rings Shoes pay tribute to Michael Jordan's championship legacy by combining key features from each championship series. Crafted with a mix of leather, synthetic leather, and textile materials, the upper ensures comfort and durability. Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot offer responsive cushioning, while the foam midsole provides stability and lightweight support. The rubber outsole delivers durability and traction, making these shoes a celebration of Jordan's legacy both on and off the court.

All Star BB Prototype CX White Out Basketball Shoes - White

All Star BB Prototype CX White Out Basketball Shoes - White colored on a light gray background.

The Converse All Star BB Prototype CX basketball shoe in the white-out colorway is a cutting-edge footwear option for basketball players. It features a modern design with a sleek white upper and a chunky, translucent midsole. The shoe incorporates innovative technology, including the CX foam cushioning system, which provides responsive and comfortable support during practices and games. The shoe also features a durable rubber outsole for excellent grip on the court. With its combination of style, performance, and advanced features, the Converse All Star BB Prototype CX is a great choice for basketball enthusiasts looking for a standout shoe.

Luka 1 "Next Nature" Basketball Shoes - Wolf Grey/Black/Kumquat/Lapis

Luka 1 "Next Nature" Basketball Shoes - Wolf Grey/Black/Kumquat/Lapis colorway on a light gray background.

For players looking to euro step like the best of them, the Nike Luka 1 "Next Nature" basketball shoes are designed in collaboration with NBA star Luka Dončić. They feature a lightweight and breathable upper with a secure lace-up closure for a personalized fit. The shoe's full-length Formula 23 foam provides an ultra-supportive fit, enhancing comfort during high-intensity play. The outsole is designed with durable rubber material for excellent grip and agility. With its sleek design and Luka Dončić-inspired details, the Nike Luka 1 Next Nature basketball shoes are a great choice for players who want to showcase their style while performing at their best.

Nike LeBron Witness 7 Basketball Shoes - Court Purple/White

Nike LeBron Witness 7 Basketball Shoes - Court Purple/White colorway on a white background.

The Nike LeBron Witness 7 Basketball Shoes feature a breathable mesh upper that offers a lightweight and conforming fit. With webbing to secure the forefoot and reinforced stitching for a snug feel, these shoes provide full-foot containment. The padded collar, foam and mesh tongue, and full-length Max Air unit in the low-profile midsole offer in-shoe comfort. Strategically placed Air units enhance responsiveness and stability. The rubber outsole, designed with a split and cut-out under the arch, combines with a classic herringbone pattern to ensure durability and reliable traction on the court.

New Balance TWO WXY v3 Shoes

TWO WXY v3 ShoesNew Balance presents the TWO WXY v3 Shoes, inspired by science. The sneakers' design mirrors the brain's firing synapses, allowing for split-second reactions on the court. These shoes handle quick stops, pivots, and high-impact landings with ease.

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Best High-Top Basketball Shoes

Nike Air Zoom G.T. Jump Basketball Shoes

Air Zoom G.T. Jump Basketball ShoesBest Basketball Shoes for Jumps

Puma MB2 Supernova Shoes

Emulate LaMelo Ball with the Puma MB2 Supernova Shoes. These ultra-light sneakers offer breathability and a relaxed fit, as well as a comfortable midsole and full-coverage outsole.

Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes

Nike Kyrie Infinity Basketball Shoes

Kyrie Infinity Basketball ShoesThe Nike Kyrie Infinity Basketball Shoes feature a three-layer cushioning system for a plush and padded sensation. The breathable mesh upper offers a lightweight and conforming fit, while the webbing secures the forefoot and reinforced stitching ensures a snug feel.

You may not have known that APL makes basketball shoes, but the brand is stepping up onto the court with a pair that can hang. The first rendition of these shoes incorporating the brand's Load 'N Launch technology was actually making players jump too high, so it was banned by the NBA. The brand is back with an improved version.

Best All-White Basketball Shoes.

Converse All Star BB Prototype CX Shoes

All Star BB Prototype CX ShoesBest All-White Basketball Shoes

Nike Giannis Immortality 2 basketball shoes - Gray/Blue/White

Nike Giannis Immortality 2 basketball shoes - Gray/Blue/White colorway on a white background.

The Converse All Star BB Prototype CX Shoes are top-notch basketball shoes designed for optimal performance and style. They feature a sleek and modern design that enhances your basketball game. The lightweight and breathable upper keep your feet cool and comfortable during intense gameplay. With the Zoom Air cushioning in the midsole, you can expect responsive and comfortable cushioning that allows for explosive movements and higher jumps. The durable rubber outsole provides excellent grip and stability, ensuring you stay grounded on the court. The All Star BB Prototype CX Shoes offer the perfect combination of performance and style for basketball enthusiasts.

Nike Giannis Immortality 2 basketball shoes - Gray/Blue/White

Nike Giannis Immortality 2 basketball shoes - Gray/Blue/White colorway on a white background.

The Nike Giannis Immortality 2 basketball shoes in the Gray/Blue/White colorway are a must-have for serious basketball players. These shoes are designed to provide optimal performance and support on the court. The lightweight and breathable upper promote airflow and keep your feet cool, even during intense games. The Zoom Air cushioning in the midsole offers responsive and comfortable cushioning, allowing for explosive movements and high jumps. The outsole is made of durable rubber with a multidirectional traction pattern, ensuring excellent grip and stability. The design of the shoe is inspired by Giannis Antetokounmpo's style, with lightning bolts on the outsole that connect him to Zeus, the king of the gods in ancient Greek mythology. With the Nike Giannis Immortality 2 basketball shoes, you can expect both performance and style.

Adidas Harden Volume 7 basketball shoes - Core black

Adidas Harden Volume 7 basketball shoes - Core black colored on a light gray background.

The Adidas Harden Volume 7 basketball shoes in Core black are a fantastic choice for players seeking agility, speed, and control on the basketball court. These high-performance shoes feature a lightweight and breathable upper that provides a secure and supportive fit. The BOOST cushioning technology in the midsole offers exceptional responsiveness and energy return, allowing for explosive movements and quick cuts. The outsole is designed with a unique traction pattern that ensures excellent grip on both indoor and outdoor courts. With bold colorways and branding inspired by James Harden's signature style, the Adidas Harden Volume 7 basketball shoes are a reliable option for players looking to elevate their game with enhanced comfort and performance features.

How to break in a basketball shoe

Nowadays, basketball shoes are typically made with synthetic textile materials along the upper, which significantly reduces break-in time. However, there are a few helpful tips to expedite the process of breaking in your basketball shoes.

Wear your basketball shoes casually

Before taking your basketball shoes onto the court, you can wear them casually or around the house for a couple of days to mold them to your foot. Additionally, wearing them to the weight room for light exercise can also help. After 2 or 3 days, you should be ready to bring them to the court.

Wear your basketball shoes to practice

Before debuting your new kicks in an official game, it's wise to give them a trial run in a controlled environment. Use them for a shootaround or participate in a few practices before game day.

By following these recommendations, your basketball shoes will be nicely broken in and ready for action.

In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best basketball shoes, it's all about understanding your playing style and finding a shoe that caters to your needs. Whether you prefer the explosive energy of the Nike G.T. Cut 2 or the classic style of the Reebok Shaq Attaq, there is a shoe out there that will take your game to the next level. So lace up, hit the court, and let your hoops dreams soar with the perfect pair of basketball shoes.