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Best Basketball Shoes Ultimate Guide

THE ​Best Basketball Shoes Of 2018

How We Help You Find The Very Best Basketball Shoes Available To Purchase Online...

Our team collates the findings from the most popular basketball shoe reviewers online in order to present our community with an accurate and up to date collection of the coolest, high performance basketball shoes currently available .

We summarize the findings and opinions of the most knowledgeable and respected shoe critics in the world on criteria such as style, traction, cushion, fit, material and support. We then present this to you in an easy to understand format.

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To compile the following list of the best basketball shoes we have:

  • Investigated over 90 pairs of basketball shoes.
  • Watched over 150 expert performance testing videos.
  • Read over 1000 reviews from both expert performance testers and consumers.

We hope our shoe review collation process makes it simple for you to choose the perfect pair of high performance basketball shoes for your specific on-court needs.

List Of Expert Basketball Shoe Critics/ Performance testers We Respect & Follow:

  • Kickgenius
  • The Sole Brothers
  • Hoop And Life
  • Schwollo  
  • Weartesters
  • RicheeKim

 Best Basketball Shoe Review Roundup: By BallTillWeFall. Last Updated April 22, 2018 1:34 AM

Earning Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means the team at BallTillWeFall.com earns a small commission if you decide to purchase products through these links. The price is the same for you though. In some cases you may even receive a discount. Your support is very much appreciated. Keep Ballin'.

" Our innovative shoe review collation process allows you to easily separate the best basketball shoes form the rest"



3 Kicks that Are Hot Right Now! Featured Recommendations




Editors Choice

Nike Lebron XIII is the first model to incorporate both Nike Zoom and Max tech. The result of this combo is a super high performance shoe which offers premium comfort and play-ability.

Best Value For Money Basketball Shoes

The Nike PG1 offer exceptional value for money considering that this is a signature shoe with a range of high quality design elements and materials incorporated.

Most Popular Basketball Shoe

The Nike Kyrie 4 basketball shoes have received very positive reviews from players and shoe critics alike. The shoe offers everything we came to love about the Kyrie 3's plus much more.

Looking For A New Set Of Kicks? Start Here...

Basketball shoe companies continue to innovate and come up with new ways to enhance the performance capacity of their latest releases. The battle between the big guns such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour has once again leveled up this year. Shoe companies continue to invest millions of dollars researching and implementing basketball shoe technologies that are designed to help you run faster and jump higher

This year we have seen some phenomenal basketball shoes released from all of the big brands.

Use our popular Basketball Shoe Review Roundup below to help find the perfect basketball shoes for you.

Current Top 10 Basketball Shoes

1. Adidas Dame 4

The Adidas Dame 4 is the latest collaboration between Damien Lillard and Adidas. The Dame 4 has received excellent reviews in every aspect of the shoe performance testing from expert shoe critics. This shoe is designed for guards who rely on speed and provides great court feel without sacrificing impact protection. Some shoe critics have stated that traction takes a little while to break in, but is of a very high standard. The Dame 4 provides great lock-down and support. Definitely one of the best value basketball shoes for guards that money can buy.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Awesome Mult-Directional Traction
  • Comfy Zoom-Air Forefoot 
  • Aggressive stance and pattern inspired by Dame
  • Affordable Price
Cons
  • Some users report that these may take some time to break in
  • Can be difficult to keep clean

What The Experts Are Saying About The Adidas Dame 4....

I loved playing in these. Perfect for guards who want to be low to the ground and are looking for a very responsive shoe.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  The Sole Brothers


With good cushioning, good fit, and good materials, the Dame 4 is good at everything. As an overall package, this is one of the most complete and fun shoes to play in that you will ever find.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Duke4005 (weartesters.com)


2. Under Armour Curry 4

The  Curry 4 Low is very similar to the very popular high-top model. This low top prides itself on premium multi-directional traction pattern which allows for fast cuts in the lane. Many expert shoe critics have  commented on the premium textile knit added to the low cut version. Overall, the Curry 4 Low is a welcome improvement on the already great high-top version.  If you are looking for a light, responsive low-top it is hard to beat the Curry 4's.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Premium Mult-Directional Traction
  • Microfiber Paneling
  • Sun foot speed plate
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Some users report that these take a few sessions to break in.

What The Experts Are Saying About The Curry 4 Low....

I love how light and minimal the Curry 4 Low feels. Traction and cushion remained unchanged from the High-Top, but materials and fit are much improved.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  The Sole Brothers


The Curry 4 Low offers great traction and stability for low-to-the-ground guards that prefer to be quick on their feet.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  NightWing2303  (weartesters.com)


3. Adidas Crazy Explosive 

The Adidas Crazy Explosive basketball shoe has been extremely well received by critics thanks to the premium materials, design and play-ability. The anatomical lacing system provides excellent lock-down and support. The inclusion of a prime knit upper reinforces the foot while providing breath-ability. However, it is the combination of boost technology and lightweight design that makes this an exciting basketball shoe to wear. These shoes are designed to help you jump higher.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Premium boost cushioning
  • Snug "sock-like fit
  • innovative lacing design provides great lock-down
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Can be a little difficult to get on for the first few times.

What The Experts Are Saying About The Adidas Crazy Explosive....

I think most players will enjoy the Crazy Explosive because it does everything well if not great and really gives the player an excellent one to one fit with a low to ground yet well cushioned ride.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Schwollo


Feels like playing in a sock with good traction and Boost cushioning!


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  KickGenius


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4. Nike Lebron 15

The Lebron 15 has received rave reviews in the world of basketball shoe performance testing. Many shoe experts are calling this shoe the greatest signature shoe ever released. This is the first Lebron shoe to combine both Air Max and Zoom technology. This combo provides premium shock absorption and responsiveness. This is a great shoe for "heavier" players that require support without sacrificing speed.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Premium Air Max and Zoom cushioning
  • Snug fit
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Some players report feeling unstable due to thick cushioning

What The Experts Are Saying About The Nike Lebron 15's....

The Lebron 15 is the best Lebron of all time. This shoe ticks all the boxes, the only slight downside was the traction.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  PureKicks


I think this is one of the best Lebron's ever. Material usage is great, cushioning is great, support is great - basically, everything is really nice! But keep in mind that this shoe is made for big and heavy players, and won't work as well for smaller guards.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  RicheeKim


5. Adidas D Rose 8

The Adidas D Rose 8's surprised many shoe critics with it's impressive tech upgrades this year. The traction and support in this years model is of the highest standard and comparable to much more expensive Adidas models. The traction has proven to be excellent on even the dustiest of floors. The shoe is ridiculously light and responsive. If you are looking for a high-top that allows you cut and sprint at your best then this is a great choice for you.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Excellent traction
  • Comfortable "Boost" cushioning
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Cheap materials used on outer

What The Experts Are Saying About The D Rose 8's....

By combining great traction, awesome cushioning, and serious fit, the Rose 8 is built for every player.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Duke4005


Since the D Rose 5, we’ve gotten great cushioning, traction, support and stability, and a reliable fit year over year and the D Rose 8 is no different. Materials aren’t always the best but that’s always been a non-issue for me.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Schwollo


6. Air Jordan 32

The Air Jordan 32's are a welcome improvement over the terrible Air Jordan 31's. Shoe critics are loving the improvements in traction and upgrades in material used on the outer. The 32's have added Zoom cushioning which provides an excellent balance of support and stability. The new sock-like upper provides a snug fit, however some say that this makes it difficult to put on for the first few times.  Finally Jordan Brand has released a shoe worthy of making our top 10 basketball shoe list once again.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Excellent traction
  • Comfortable "Zoom" cushioning
  • High quality materials used
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

What The Experts Are Saying About The Jordan 32's....

The Air Jordan 32 is a great performer and I was a little sad when I had to put these aside to test other performance shoes. The only two downsides are the long break-in period and the hefty price tag.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  JAHRONMON


The Air Jordan 32 is a huge step in the right direction. Everything feels refined. If Jordan Brand can keep the stability but increase the flexibility then it will have perfected the Flight Speed setup. I think people are going to like this one.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  NightWing2303 (weartesters.com)


best_gifts_for_basketball_players

7. Nike Kyrie 4

The Kyrie 4's represents an excellent value for money basketball shoe, perfect for guards who cut and slash like Kyrie. The cushioning has been improved in this latest version as has the level of support provided. Many performance testers have commented on the premium heel lock-down provided by this shoe.. The traction is reported to fall short of the quality we have come to expect from the previous Kyrie releases. However, these shoes are a steal considering the current price.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Excellent support
  • Great value for money
  • High quality materials used
Cons
  • Traction not as good as previous Kyrie versions

What The Experts Are Saying About The Kyrie 4's....

All in all, the Kyrie 4 is a solid shoe that does everything fairly well, while doing nothing outstanding or really poorly. Cushioning has improved, the traction is decent overall and I really liked the comfort of the plush interior.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Schwollo


Overall, the Nike Kyrie 4 is Nike’s best performer this year. There’s just enough cushion for most, solid traction, fantastic fit and adequate support — and all of comes at a “team” friendly price point of $120.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  NightWing2303 (weartesters.com)


8. Nike Kobe A.D NXT

The Nike Kobe AD NXT's are thankfully an impressive upgrade when compared to the disappointing Kobe AD's. The new lacing system is a real game changer. Many performance testers have commented on the awesome lockdown this system provides. This shoe is a little over-priced, but like most Kobe products you are sure to get great value for your money

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Excellent support and traction
  • High quality materials used
  • Responsive sole
Cons
  • Expensive

What The Experts Are Saying About The NIKE KOBE A.D NXT's....

I think this is a very good shoe. Great traction, nice materials and an outstanding fit (for narrow feet). This is a BIG upgrade over the original Kobe AD


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  KickGenius


The NXT version of the Kobe A.D. has much more in common with the Kobe 11 than with the original A.D. - and that's a good thing. Traction and cushion are solid. The fit isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you have a narrow foot you are going to love it.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  NightWing2303 (weartesters.com)


9. Nike PG 2

The Nike PG 2's are better than the original PG 1's. Yes, Nike has done a great job making a great shoe even better. Although most shoe critics agree that the PG 1's had better aesthetics, they all agree that the performance of the PG 2's are on another level. Best yet, Nike has kept the price of the PG 2's very low. The PG 2 is by far the best value for money basketball shoe currently available.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Excellent support and traction
  • High quality materials used
  • Premium lock-down system
  • Affordable Price
Cons
  • Some critics say they don't look as good as the previous model.

What The Experts Are Saying About The NIKE PG 2's....

The PG2 is one of those shoes you can buy online without trying on and not really worry about anything because it just works straight out of the box. No weird sizing, no major break in time, no major flaws and it is priced fairly at $110.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Schwollo


Better than the original is the best way to describe the Nike PG 2. I know people prefer the aesthetics of the PG 1 over the PG 2, and I happen to agree, but when it comes to performance the PG 2 is a really fun shoe to play because it enhanced nearly every feature found on the PG 1.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  NightWing2303 (weartesters.com)


best_vertical_jump_programs

10. Adidas Harden Vol 2

The Adidas Harden Vol 2's is a significant improvement over James Harden's first signature shoe. The Harden 2's have added much thicker Boost cushioning which provides nice support without losing any of the responsiveness from the previous model. The traction is great and the support is much improved. This is a great shoe for both fast guards or heavy big's.

Traction
Cushion
Material
Support
Fit
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Great for heavy or light players
Cons
  • Some critics say that traction can be poor on dusty courts

What The Experts Are Saying About The Adidas Harden Vol 2's....

We really enjoyed playing in these. The Harden Vol. 2 should work well for everyone - responsive enough for guards but the support and comfortable cushioning will work well for bigger guys too!


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  The Sole Brothers


Overall, this shoe is pretty good. Great shoe if you have bad knees, you need a lot of comfort and impact protection and you can live with the lackluster traction.


BASKETBALL SHOE PERFORMANCE TESTER:  Nelson Chan @Hoop and Life


Why you Should Invest In The Best Pair Of Basketball Shoes You Can Afford...

Selecting a quality pair of basketball shoes (such as the top 10 basketball shoes listed above) is very important if you take your game seriously because:

  • They provide premium traction which allows for more effective cuts and defensive slides.
  • They provide the best possible impact protection which can greatly reduce the amount of stress placed on your knees.
  • They provide the best possible comfort, meaning that you can play game after game without blisters and force related injuries.
  • They provide lock down support which has been shown to improve performance and reduce the risk of knee and ankle injuries.

Basically basketball shoes can help you get the best performance possible out of the skills and level of conditioning that you already posses. They can't make you a better shooter or instantly make you dunk a basketball but they can level up your game to a significant degree.

The most important thing to do is to find the best basketball shoes for your specific needs. Let's take a look at exactly how you can do that.

basketball_training_programs_online

how To Find The BEst Basketball Shoes For Your Playing Style...

The list of the top basketball shoes above provides great way to find a pair of shoes that have been proven to perform well overall. However, to get the most out of your shoes you should always choose a pair that matches your specific physique, weight and style of play. For example a center that weights 260 pounds will require a different style of basketball shoe than a small point guard that relies on speed and agility to dominate on the court.

Here are a few things that you need to consider in order to find the perfect basketball shoe that best suits your style of game?


Choosing The Best Style Of Basketball Shoe For You

Low tops, mid tops, and high tops. These are three different general styles of basketball shoes that you can choose from. Back in the day players would tend to choose high tops that ride well above the ankle joint. However in the current era players tend to choose a more sleek low cut option so that they can optimize speed and agility. Let’s take a closer look these 3 styles of cut and find the best one suited to your specific needs.

High Tops:
best_high_top_basketball_shoes

High tops were a popular option throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's. These days they are mainly worn buy "bigs" playing forward or center position. Rarely do you see a point guard rocking high tops in the current NBA. High Tops do provide great ankle protection and support however they are usually much heavier than the low and mid cut options. One of the most popular high tops of recent times are the Lebron signature range from Nike. If you are a heavy set big then high tops are likely a great choice for you.

Mid Tops:

Mid Tops provide a great balance between the protection offered in high tops and the mobility we love in low cuts. Mid top basketball shoes are a popular choice that provides a decent amount of ankle protection but remains relatively lightweight. Mid tops are often chosen by forwards or shooting guards. However, these days many guards are choosing mid's as they are often as light as low cuts but offer more superior ankle protection. The most popular range of mid top basketball shoes at the moment are definitely The Nike Kyrie Irving range.

Low Tops:

Low-cut shoes are usually very lightweight and the go to choice for point guards that want to optimize speed and agility on the court. Sure big guys can wear them too. However they often have less cushioning then the high or mid tops which is often a priority for heavier players. The most popular low cut basketball shoe range at the moment is the Kobe Bryant signature series.


Stephen_curry_masterclass_review

Material

There are a huge variety of materials used in basketball shoe production these days. Every year big shoe brands come up with new combinations of existing materials or sometimes even come up with something new. Some brands are even starting to 3D print their shoes.  The most high performing materials used in the current basketball shoe market are the Adidas PrimeKnit and Nike Flyknit.

The Primeknit and Flynit allow for fast break in times and maintain their secure fit over a long duration. Cheaper materials on the other hand are less pliable and take much longer to break in. Cheaper materials often stretch over time. Stretching is less of an issue in high quality basketball shoes. Rest assured all of the shoes listed above in our roundup of the best basketball shoes of the year are all manufactured at the highest standard with the very best materials. 

Like most things in life you get what you pay for. The more expensive brands tend to come equipped with high performance material. Of course if you choose a pair of Big Baller Brand shoes this " get what you pay for" scenario just goes right out the window. Stick to the "big brands" and you really can't go wrong with the high tech materials used in the current era of basketball shoes.

Traction

Basketball is a game that requires dynamic lateral movement with rapid changes in direction. This places a high demand on the sole. For example cutting through the lane or throwing a massive crossover requires excellent traction to prevent slippage.

The level of traction that a particular shoe can provide is determined by 2 factors:

  1. The traction pattern
  2. The materials used for the outsole.

The most common traction pattern used in basketball shoes is the “herringbone” pattern. The Herringbone consists of Zig-zag lines that provide optimal traction in every direction. The gaps between the lines prevent dust from accumulating on the sole of the shoe. 

"Herringbone" is the most commonly used traction pattern on modern basketball shoes

Herringbone traction has proven to be effective time and time again. Most brands tend to stick with this pattern, however sometimes companies try to get fancy and mix it up, often with disastrous results. Stick with a herringbone traction pattern and you can't go wrong.

The quality of the rubber compound used in the manufacturing of the sole of basketball can have a massive effect on performance of a shoe. Soft rubber tends to gather dust easily and is designed primarily for indoor use. Use a soft rubber sole outdoors on the blacktop and they will get chewed up fast.  Hard rubber on the other hand will provide much more durability on ruff courts but will not be as smooth of a ride on the hardwood. Generally, solid sole rubbers are always a better option than the translucent variety. Translucent soles tend to gather dust easily and have poorer results on traction performance tests.

Cushion

Cushioning on basketball shoes has come a long way over the past few decades. You really cant go too wrong with any of the best basketball shoes featured on this page. One thing to consider is that the heavier you are, or higher you jump the more cushioning you will require. For example a 7ft "big man" will require much more cushioning to alleviate load on the ankle and knee joints than a  5’9″ point guard who weighs 160 lbs. In fact, lighter players tend to prefer a firmer cushion that provides greater responsiveness and court feel.

The most popular cushioning on the market is the Nike Zoom Air. The Nike Zoom Air is an innovative design that has stood the test of time. It is made of tensile fibers that are contained in a pressurized “Air” chamber. This air pocket is often located in the midsole. Another popular option is a high tech foam based sole. An example of this is Adidas Bounce and UnderArmour MicroG . These full length foam soles tend to distribute forces more evenly over the entire foot, and personally I think provide much more comfort.

Support

The most supportive basketball shoes tend to be high tops with minimal cushioning. Unfortunatly this combination tends to lack responsivness and force absorbtion.

Back in the 90's most players wore high tops as every player was fearful of breaking their ankles if they were to choose the low cut variety. Fortunately these days the combination of sports science and shoe tech has resulted in low and mid cut shoes that do provide very good support.

Perhaps the greatest innovation in recent basketball shoe support tech is the introduction of the outrigger. The outrigger is a small extension of the lateral outer sole of the shoe. This simple addition has been designed to reduce the incidence of lateral ankle sprains, the most common ankle injury in basketball.

Recommended for you: The Top 5 Ankle Braces For Basketball Players.

best_ankle_braces_and_guards_for_basketball

Final tHOUGHTS

Hopefully you have found our collated list of the best basketball shoes currently available helpful in allowing you to find the perfect shoe for you. Take the time to find a shoe that matches you on court playing style. Often it is safe enough to buy a shoe based on the particular size and playing style of the endorsed athlete. For example, if you are heavy and powerful then the Lebron's would likely be a great choice for you.

If you are a guard that loves to handle the ball in a dynamic fashion then choosing a shoe that Kyrie wears will likely benefit your game.

If you have any questions about any of the top basketball shoes featured in this post please leave a comment below. We will endeavor to answer your queries as soon as possible.


Last Updated on by Ball Till We Fall

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