We love playin’ basketball …
There is no denying the fact that we love basketball and spend hours working out for our moves (dunkin’ and shootin’) even when we’re not on a court.
The toughest part is to pick the right kind of tools/kit that we need to propel ourselves in our element.
The most important of them is the basketball shoes that we choose for different reasons.
And picking best basketball shoes is not an easy task; we know that there are different positions that we take in basketball and there is a key to each position.
If you’re a shooter, your key is cushioning and for shooting guard may be traction is more important.
Whatever your position might be on a court, this guide will help you choose the best basketball sneakers for that.
Best Basketball Shoes Review 2020 (Top Picks)
Nike Men Air Force 1
This is one of the most highly sought after and purchased Nike sneakers made for basketball players. It is not made for those who want a basketball sneaker to be their sneaker to go everywhere.
It is made for those who know that they need a good basketball shoe with amazing traction, sufficient cushioning and a proper lockdown.
In terms of traction, the best thing to know is that these shoes have tough rubber outsoles. There is nothing parallel to tough rubber outsoles when it comes to a firm grip on a court whether it is a clean/slippery one or a dirty one.
The traction pattern is made of circles – one circle encapsulating another. While this pattern is not as good as herringbone one, it does the job.
As for cushioning, this sneaker has got a Nike Air Zoom cushioning – Nike proprietary cushioning technology that consists of the air-filled capsule and tensile fibers.
This helps a player with much-needed bounce for the next move and dunking the hoop.
In terms of material, the choice they made is subject to the purposes it serves; it is TPU and known best for protection and durability. There are some perforations that help with breathability – though that is not sufficient.
Nike KD 8 Kevin Durant
Nike KD 8 Kevin Durant is everything that Air Force 1 is not.
I’m not saying that it is better than Air Force 1 (coz both have their own pros and cons), but when compared to Air Force 1’s simple and clearly straight forward style – made only for the court – this shoe says a lot.
It is an ideal mix of Nike’s casual/urban style and all the features that you need from a basketball sneaker.
It comes in many colorways and it has so many interesting features that are worthy to be mentioned.
For example, take a look at its lockdown system; apart from the laces that go from toe-box to its low collar.
But there is a Flywire system – a network of cables beneath the material that is linked with the laces. When you cinch down the laces, you do not only get the primary lockdown that laces ensure, but Flywire cables provide you an even better snug fit feeling on your feet.
It has a translucent rubber outsole for traction – which looks fancy and appealing to young men who buy these sneakers, but which is not ideal for traction.
Thank goodness that a modified Herringbone pattern on that rubber outsole does some damage control. For cushioning, it has a full-length Air Zoom capsule.
Nike LeBron Soldier XII
Nike LeBron Soldier XII is a basketball sneaker that you might love for so many reasons. You might be a die-hard fan of LeBron James and this sneaker might be the top of the mind thing to get so you can associate yourself with LeBron James.
You might love sneakers that are equally good for court as well as partying.
Or you just need high collar sneakers because you need ankle support after an injury.
However, these reasons to buy Nike Lebron Soldier XII are not conclusive; I can tell you many other good reasons.
For example, depending on the colorway that you pick, you have the freedom to either have a translucent sole or a tough rubber sole. The pattern is a multi-directional pattern with very clear and apparent grooves that definitely try to compensate for the lack of a better pattern such as herringbone one.
As for cushioning, LeBron Soldier XII packs a punch of two different technologies. In the midsole, it has got a small Air Zoom unit that is added mostly for the heel and in the front-side of the same, there is a Phylon midsole that provides support to the upper side of the feet.
Adidas Pro Bounce
Adidas Pro Bounce is no doubt one of the best basketball sneakers offered by Adidas. This is the reason why I included this to be the first Adidas sneaker to be discussed in this guide,
Not only in all stores in Europe and North America, but on Amazon as well, this shoe is selling like hotcakes.
There are many colorways available, but there is something that can be said with surety; this is not just another basketball sneaker – this is your go-to shoe for any urban/casual gathering.
Depending on the colorway that you pick, you can get either synthetic rubber or translucent outsole. This is not the best choice when you need a high-traction shoe. What else takes it far from being ideal is the Tetris-like traction pattern.
The traction pattern is not ideal, but with very strong and apparent grooves you get good control on the court.
However, where this sneaker excels is at cushioning. It has a full-length Bounce cushion to ensure a bouncy effect whenever you land on the ground. Bounce is Adida’s response to Nike Zoom Air. This proprietary cushioning technology is a mid-sole cushion that supports the foot and launches it in the next direction.
Adidas Crazy Explosive
What if a good mix of basketball and urban lifestyle is not enough for you?
What if you need a basketball ball shoe with an unparalleled glittery profile? What if just casual was not fine and you wanted every important feature that a good basketball sneaker comes with?
This is the sneaker that you need with that kind of needs. Other than its urban fashion appeal, there are many basketball reasons to buy this shoe.
It comes with a translucent rubber outsole. We know that this kind of rubber sole starts to fray on its ends, but the multi-directional pattern with apparent grooves saves the day on a clean/slippery court.
When it comes to cushioning, this shoe seems to be performing better than many competitors. It has got a full-length Boost midsole. Boost is yet another cushioning technology made by Adidas and its partners.
It is made of TPU – the micro cells of TPU compress and then restore their shape to provide a boost or bouncy effect. They also work like small shock absorbers.
Now, something about the material – this shoe is not made of 100% breathable material. It is made of Neoprene which is basically a waterproof and durable material. It is chosen for its durability and protective features – although it has a membrane that makes it somewhat breathable.
Adidas Dame 5
What if you wanted a basketball sneaker but you were tight on budget?
What if you knew that you were tight on budget, you needed a cheap basketball shoe, but you were not willing to get that from any Asian manufacturer with a shady reputation?
What if you can get an Adidas basketball shoe with all important features for a price far lesser than that of Adidas sneaker made for basketball players?
I know, you’d love to buy it then and there. This is what Adidas Dame 5 is; an affordable Adidas basketball sneaker with almost all important features.
It is a mixed bag of everything.
Amazingly, this shoe comes with a thick and tough rubber sole that is highly required for a strong grip on the court. As if this was not enough, Adidas decided to apply a semi-herringbone pattern to that tough rubber sole.
The grooves are so apparent and rigid that you cannot question the quality of traction.
As for cushioning, they added a thick and full-length Bounce midsole. As it has been explained above, Bounce is a variation of simple EVA foam; the job of this kind of cushioning is to a) provide a good shock absorption the moment your foot touches the ground, and b) to provide a bounce that propels the player into next intended direction.
Under Armour Drive 4
Under Armour is one of the top manufacturers of sports products – especially basketball shoes.
Their shoes are underrated when compared to Nike and Adidas, but if you ask a basketball fan, you’d find them bragging about their UA sneakers.
The drive is one of the most famous lines if sneakers offered by UA and Drive 4 features many promising specs e.g. a solid heel counter, different types of cushioning technology and lockdown, etc.
However, this is not all about UA Drive 4.
Take traction for example – it has the best traction combination that you would need on clean and slippery courts. The sneaker comes with a tough rubber sole best for traction and there is a herringbone pattern with big and apparent grooves. If traction is what you want nothing can go wrong with this sneaker.
As for cushioning, this sneaker has got UA’s proprietary cushioning technology known as Micro-G. Micro-G technology is based on a thin foam that gives you a bouncy feel and because it is thin you enjoy a low-to-the-ground court feel which means better control on your feet.
As far as material is concerned, they used something like the ballistic mesh on tongue and the rest of the upper material is synthetic fabric – this means breathability, not at expense of durability.
Under Armour Jet Mid
UA Jet Mid is a medium collar basketball sneaker with a sleek, stylish and smart profile. It is a mixed bag of everything that a basketball player expects from their shoes.
The textile upper, the thick cushioning and a modest lockdown system make it sort of pretty above average basketball sneaker.
Although it is a budget sneaker and more affordable than other sneakers offered by UA, it does not seem to be compromising on the most important specs that buyers expect from UA.
For example, traction is spot on with a tough and thick rubber outsole and a herringbone pattern on it. This duo never fails to win the praise from the basketball shoe lovers.
What I personally liked is that UA took the traditional herringbone pattern and added its own unique touch to it. The grooves on this shoe’s outsole are more prominent and stronger than any herringbone pattern outsole.
For cushioning, instead of using UA’s expensive Micro-G cushioning, they used a full-length EVA foam midsole. The most important quality of EVA-based cushioning is a rebound effect that the player feels whenever their feet touch the ground.
For the material, they used engineered mesh and synthetic leather – former for breathability and the latter for protection and durability.
Under Armour Curry 3Zero
In case of Jet, Mid was not up to your standards and you want more from a UA made basketball sneaker, you should consider Under Armour Curry 3Zero.
And no …
It is not the Indian curry …
This sneaker got its name from the famous basketball player named Stephen Curry. Just like Nike and Adidas made many basketball shoes to pay tribute to other great athletes of basketball.
This sneaker from UA meets and competes with Nike sneakers made not only for the basketball court but for an urban/casual lifestyle too.
When it comes to traction – UA knows how to please the purchasers of basketball shoes. Their sneakers – most of them including this one – comes with the best combination that one needs to have a strong grip on any kind of court: a thick and tough rubber sole and a herringbone pattern.
As for cushioning – you should know that it is not some full-length EVA midsole, but UA’s proprietary Micro-G cushioning. It is a foam 30% thinner than other foams while more or less the same bouncy as those other foams. With 30% reduced thickness you get a low-to-the-ground court feel that lets gravity have you better control on your feet.
Reebok Shaq Attaq
Is this the wrong English?
Is it ‘shark attack’ spelled wrongly?
No! Rebook named these stylish and fashionable sneakers after legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.
It is a tribute to his game, his personality, and everything.
However, all this detail is only for those who are interested. In case you want to know why Reebok Shaw Attaq? Apart from many other reasons – the most solid reason is this sneaker’s fashionable look and appeal.
It appears to be leaning more towards urban/casual lifestyle and fashion.
But this does not stop this sneaker from performing like a pro on any kind of surface. It has got a thick and tough rubber sole. What makes it even better is a mix of traditional herringbone pattern with Reebok’s own random patterns.
All in all, it works like a charm.
As for cushioning, this sneaker features Reebok’s proprietary injection-molded EVA midsole cushioning technology. What is an injection-molded EVA foam?
Well, they turn EVA into a super-hot liquid and then that liquid and blowing agent are kept in a mold that is actually smaller than the size of the finished cushion.
After the heated liquid gets into a solid foam form – they open the mold and springs out a thick and bouncy foam. This kind of cushioning is preferred because of this bouncy effect and you know what you can do with good bounce.
Best Basketball Shoes Buying Guide 2020
You’ve just had a detailed look at the best basketball shoes according to my opinion. However, in case you want to be able to pick your dream basketball sneakers on your own, here are the points to look for when you buy them.
Let’s forget basketball for a second …
Have a look at the outsole of sports shoes made for any sport … football, baseball, tennis – any sports.
You’d see that the lower part (outsole) of those shoes is optimized for a strong grip on the ground or court.
Depending on the kind of surface you get to play with, you have to make sure that in the heat of the game, advancing, defending or passing the ball or whatever you do, you do not lose grip on the ground.
This is ensured by picking a shoe that has two amazing features:
- A solid rubber sole – because nothing beats a solid rubber sole when achieving a strong grip on the ground is what you want. A tough rubber sole is better than any kind of sole out there – be it synthetic or translucent rubber one
- A pattern of grooves and ridges that supports solid rubber and deals with all kinds of clean, dirty, balanced and unbalanced surfaces. Even hikers know this – they pick their hiking shoes based on the pattern on the outsole. Bigger and apparent the grooves, ridges, and patterns, easier it would be for you to have a stronger foothold.
It has come to our attention that the best kind of pattern is a herringbone pattern – if you take a look at it, you would notice that there is a series of triangles in each line – connected with each other.
However, there have been experiments with both. Shoes with a translucent rubber sole and a pattern different than herringbone or semi-herringbone pattern can also do a great job on a clean/slippery court.
But in case you want the best and most successful combination (without any fear of failure) I’d say go for tough and thick rubber outsole with a traditional herringbone pattern.
So, what is the job of cushioning if traction is everything that matters?
Well, first of all, no one said that traction is the only thing you need from a basketball sneaker. Yet, it is one of the most important features and equally important is cushioning.
There are two main tasks expected from good cushioning technology:
- Cushioning, as the word suggests, is supposed to provide comfort and support to your foot – especially hell – whenever your foot lands on the ground. The job is to absorb the shock, protect the heel (at least) and provide comfort to it.
- The second job is more about the nature of things you have to do to play basketball. I’m talking about jumping – from minute jumps to the big jump that you make to dunk the hoop, you need a bouncy, springy effect. Micro-foams or tensile fibers in a cushion help you with that.
But here comes a problem – unlike traction, it is hard to find a winner in cushioning.
You know that all companies try tough rubber outsole and herringbone pattern, so you can stick to the combo, choose a company of your choice and pick any sneaker with these specs.
Not in the case of cushioning – every company has its own patented and proprietary cushioning technology.
Nike has Zoom Air cushion – in simple words, it is a capsule full of air with tensile fibers in it; at the time of impact, these tensile fibers compress and they come back to the actual position and this helps with shock absorption as well as jump.
Adidas has Bounce and Boost technologies – Bounce is a midsole made of foam that works in both ways: shock absorption and jump. While Boost is made of micro pieces of thermoplastic polyurethane. These micro pieces have tiny pockets of air – so they compress and get back into original shape with impact.
And there are other technologies for example Under Armour’s Micro G technology. You need to know about all of them and pick one that is suitable for your cushioning needs.
By material, I mainly mean the upper material and the material used to protect or frame that upper material.
And I’m sorry to make things complicated for you, but picking a material is even difficult than picking a cushioning technology.
The reason is pretty simple and the example is again from mountaineers and hikers.
They know that their hobby demands their feet be cladded in the kind of shoes that will never give up whether it is water or sand or rugged terrain etc.
But they also know that waterproof and highly durable shoes made of materials such as leather or suede do not let air in.
This leads to another problem – sweat and blisters.
For basketball too, the problem is the same.
If you go for shoes made with TPU, leather or neoprene or similar stuff – yes you definitely check the durability and protection boxes and you know that those shoes will be with you for years to come, but there are other problems.
You can take care of the water, but sweat will always be there. I’m not saying that you would get blisters, but there will be enough bacteria to cause problems like fungi, staph infection, cellulitis, and rashes, etc.
So, the best option is to pick a breathable material that is not as vulnerable as mesh, but not as airtight as TPU or leather.
I’d say engineered or ballistic mesh would be great.
In case you’re really bent on durability, get a shoe with mesh and fabric overlay or one with synthetic fiber upper.
Last, but not the least, you need to find out a lockdown option that goes well with your personal choices and the kind of snug fit feeling that you want to feel around your feet.
There are many lockdown options and the most common of them is definitely laces. Laces provide quite a primary and standard lockdown option.
However, since it’s a pretty standard option, a few facts may have a good or bad effect on the kind of lockdown that you get with laces.
For example, the quality and positioning of eyelets, the length of the shoe that is covered by laces and other such factors control how good lockdown you get.
There are other options as well – there are shoes made by Nike and other companies that come with Velcro straps. Those hook and loop straps may or may not provide a satisfying lockdown – theoretically speaking, they do not have the same grip as laces.
But there are instances where a thorough and two-sided network of Velcro straps provided good lockdown.
Then there come sophisticated technologies offered by main basketball shoe manufacturing companies – technologies like Nike’s Flywire.
They added a network of beneath the material cables that link the midsole with laces and when you cinch down the laces, you pull those cables and eventually pull the lower surface of the show which creates a sandwich like a lockdown.
In such cases, the upper material and the lower part of the shoe press the feet and provide an ideal lockdown.
How to pick from them – well this depends a lot on your budget and your preferences. People who hate straps and the time that they waste would definitely pick Velcro option, and those who do not feel good lockdown unless they have a few laces to cinch down, would prefer laces.
The smart technologies like Flywire makes laces an option better than they were without such sophisticated gimmicks.
Best Basketball shoes Comparison Table
|Nike Men Air Force 1||Tough rubber + circular pattern||Air Zoom|
|Nike KD 8 Kevin Durant||Translucent rubber + herringbone||Air Zoom|
|Nike LeBron Soldier XII||Translucent/tough rubber depending on colorways||Air Zoom + Phylon|
|Adidas Pro Bounce||Synthetic/translucent rubber with Tetris-like pattern||Bounce|
|Adidas Crazy Explosive||Translucent rubber + random design pattern||Boost|
|Adidas Dame 5||Tough rubber + herringbone||Bounce|
|Under Armour Drive 4||Tough rubber + herringbone||Micro G|
|Under Armour Jet Mid||Tough rubber + herringbone||EVA midsole|
|Under Armour Curry 3Zero||Tough rubber + herringbone||Micro G|
|Reebok Shaq Attaq||Tough rubber + herringbone||Injection-molded EVA|
Now let us take a closer view of the cushioning provides by the best basketball shoes brands.
Fit and Comfort for Best Basketball Shoes
How a basketball shoe fits on your feet is another critical thing. The fitting is also an important thing to deal with when it comes to basketball. Finally, to the exclusion of everything else, it needs to fit precisely on your foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐ Which basketball shoes should I get?
The shoes with good traction and cushioning must be your priority while buying.
⭐Which basketball shoes have the best grip?
Under Armor Drive 4 is the shoe with amazing traction/ grip.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for walking or running?
No, these are not much good for walking or running.
⭐Are basketball shoes non-slippery?
The shoes with amazing traction will absorb any type of shock and will be non-slippery on the court, but shoes with bad traction will slip.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for tennis?
No, these are not suitable for tennis, it’s difficult to drag your toe, and tennis shoes are a bit harder than basketball sneakers.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for hiking?
No, the upper is of the basketball shoe is soft and flexible and that is why these are not good for hiking.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for the gym?
Yes, these shoes are not a bad option for the gym but using gym specific shoes will be much better.
⭐Are basketball shoes comfortable?
Yes, these are comfortable but not all of them, so you have to choose the best pair of shoes wisely.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for support?
Yes, some shoes provide good support, choose the high-top basketball sneakers for support.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for badminton?
No, these are not good for badminton because in this case, your ankles will easily be prone to injuries, more flexibility is needed for badminton.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for racquetball?
No, you may think that these shoes would be useful for racquetball. However, that is not so much the case.
Basketball is played on an altogether different surface which has a considerable measure of friction. So they won’t hold too on a racquetball court and can make you slip.
⭐Are basketball shoes good for squash?
No, these are not squash shoes either. Notwithstanding, basketball is not squash shoes and should not be utilized for squash under any conditions.
They have gum rubber outer soles. Squash shoes and indoor courts shoes commonly have outsoles made of a mix of manufactured rubber and gum rubber.
⭐How to tie basketball shoes?
These sneakers can be tied so easily just like tying your casual shoes or running shoes.
⭐Can people wear basketball shoes casually?
Yes, one can wear casually. These shoes are generally designed to be comfortable for your feet, which is a benefit if you are walking for long periods.
Adding more, these are very stylish, and thus it is a good option for one going out.
⭐How to make basketball shoes grip better?
Brush all the dust, residue and dust off the base of your shoes with a somewhat moist fabric. Before every game or practice, clean your shoes and again during halftime.
Wet the tips of your fingers with a liberal measure of spit, at that point rapidly brush your fingers over the exterior of your shoes to wet the soles. Use the traction spray to improve your traction or grip.
⭐Why basketball shoes are important?
These are important for the basketball game to give you the best cushioning and traction to reduce stress and to prevent your ankles from injuries.
⭐Why are my basketball shoes slippery?
Your shoes are slippery because they have poor traction, they have dust on its sole, and they are not clean.
⭐Will basketball shoes stretch?
Wearing a brand new pair of shoes for basketball games will become painful for your feet.
However, you can stretch your basketball shoe, stretching your shoes is a great way to get comfortable without the pain and you can easily control how much to stretch.
⭐How long will basketball shoes last?
I think they will last for 3 to 4 years if used heavily. Anything used roughly or heavily will decay earlier.
Based on the table, here are 3 best basketball shoes from 2020 that we suggest:
- Nike LeBron Soldier XII – dual cushioning and breathable upper material
- Adidas Dame 5 – best traction combination and Bounce cushion
- Under Armour Curry 3Zero – style appeal, best traction combo, best cushioning and breathable upper
So, that was our Best Basketball Shoes 2020 Review Article. I hope you liked it. Free free to share your thoughts via comments. Thank you!