7 Best Nike Basketball Shoes in 2023

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
7 Best Nike Basketball Shoes in 2023
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

When it comes to sports footwear, Nike leads. This holds true even in performance basketball where the brand and its subsidiary Jordan hold more than 80% of the market. This makes quite an extensive range to choose from.

Some models come with extra cushioning, some have outstanding grip, and some provide the most secure lockdown around your ankle. On top of that, you can also find those all-around performers that successfully blend all of the above. We are aware that this is a tedious process of choosing. 

To help you find the right option, we have tested and reviewed over 100 basketball shoes. We don't stop there because we also selected the cream of the crop for various categories. 

Best Nike basketball shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The Nike LeBron NXXT Gen is a badass shoe, we just have to be very clear on this. As a lightened version of the LeBron 20, it fuses LeBron's famous impact protection with an excellent ground feel which results in more solid control over footwork. We highly recommend getting this shoe if you plan to get aggressive on the court.


  • Top-notch traction
  • Lightest LeBron shoe (as of 2023)
  • Nice bounce in the forefoot
  • A fine balance of court feel and impact protection
  • Effective foot containment
  • Very comfortable wraparound feel
  • Quality materials
  • Standout design and colors


  • Surprisingly not for wide feet
  • Still kinda expensive
Full review of Nike Lebron NXXT GEN

Today's best price

Any color
Black (DR8784001)
101white/metallic silver-black (DR8784101)
Light Orewood Brown/Coral Chalk/Sesame (DR8784100)
Blue (DR8784400)
Black/Medium Soft Pink/White (DR8784003)
Grå (DR8784004)

Nike basketball shoes with the best traction

Nike KD 15

What makes it the best?

The releases from the KD line are hits, and the Nike KD 15 is not an exemption. This basketball shoe energizes every step without forgetting to protect the feet from impact upon aggressive strikes and hard landings. Dust is also not going to be a problem, and the grip is indeed consistent even on unkempt floors. Its collar is not as high, but the curved structure of the heel locks in the foot extra securely. It's apparent that a lot of careful thought was poured into the design process of this Nike offer.


  • Consistent grip on different surfaces
  • Dust-resistant outsole
  • Plush and protective foam
  • Bouncy midsole
  • Secure heel counter
  • Well-ventilated upper
  • Feels light
  • OK for outdoors


  • Not for wide-footers
  • Lacks flexiblity
Full review of Nike KD 15

Today's best price

Any color
White (DC1975101)
White/Volt/Photon Dust (FJ1216100)
Game Royal/White (DO9826401)
Multicolor/multicolor (DO9825900)
Multicolor/Multicolor (DO9825902)
Black/university red (DC1975003)
Wolf Grey/Wolf Grey/White (DO9826001)
Light orewood brown/metallic g (DV1199100)
More colors

Nike basketball shoes with the best cushioning

Nike Lebron 20

What makes it the best?

The LeBron 20 definitely looks much more toned down, so it is visually different from the previous Nike LeBrons; yet, players note that its performance is as big as ever. It serves the need of not only players who want a lot of impact protection but also athletes who want to be agile on the court. It's already a bonus that this shoe has the looks for off-the-court action.


  • Amazing overall performance
  • Great traction
  • Tremendous impact protection
  • Pronounced court feel
  • Dependable bounciness
  • Comfortable upper
  • Incredible foot containment
  • Stylishly streamlined looks


  • Not for outdoors
  • Has to be broken in
Full review of Nike Lebron 20

Today's best price

Any color
Orange (DJ5423800)
White/metallic gold/black/univ (DJ5423100)
Brown (DV9090200)
Silver (DJ5423002)
901 olive/brown-white (DV1193901)
Blue lightning/coconut milk/ir (DV1191400)
300 green apple/reflect silver/university red/bright crimson/blue chill (FJ4955300)
Black/university red/universit (DJ5423001)
More colors

Best lightweight Nike basketball shoes

What makes it the best?

A stand-out aspect of the Nike Zoom Freak 4 is its stability, which it provides without needing a higher collar. Besides the anti-wobble structure, this shoe also boasts pronounced court feel at the forefoot. And the Freak 4 delivered all this without adding so much to its weight. Because of all these benefits, we consider this shoe the most valuable lightweight shoe out of all Nike basketball releases.

In the lab, our caliper showed that the platform is 115.7 mm wide at the forefoot. This adds 3.1 mm more width to the average, giving the shoe a lot of extra room to stably hold the foot. 

Our caliper measurements also showed that the forefoot is 8.3 mm lower than the heel. Because of this setup, our heel strikes were a lot easier to execute. We also got to feel the court more through the forefoot, which in turn made us quicker on our feet.

The weight of the Nike Zoom Freak 4 is 12.3 oz or 348g. This is 1.4 ounces lighter than the average, which currently stands at 13.7 oz or 387g. Because of its lightness, we became even more agile as we drove toward the basket.

In spite of all the goodness, we still cannot recommend this shoe to ballers who want to feel a lot of plushness underfoot. As per our HA durometer, the softness (27.0) of the midsole does not fall far from the average (27.9). This means that the impact protection that this shoe can give is decent at best.


  • Noticeable upgrades
  • Amazing grip on indoor courts
  • Dust-resistant outsole
  • Smooth steps
  • Pretty good court feel
  • Dependable impact protection
  • Jump-improving bounce
  • Reliably supportive structure
  • True-to-size fit


  • Not ideal for outdoors (but OK)
  • Not for bigger players and wide footers
  • Cheap-feeling materials
Full review of Nike Zoom Freak 4

Today's best price

Any color
White (DJ6149100)
Light Bone/Moon Fossil/Sail/Sw (DJ6149002)
Wolf Grey/Wolf Grey/White (DO9679001)
Black/Black/White (DO9679002)
University Red/White (DO9679600)
Action Grape/Pinksicle (DO9680500)
Laser Blue/Light Menta/Glacier Blue (DJ6149400)
Vivid Purple/Laser Blue/Hyper Pink (DQ3824500)
More colors

Nike basketball shoes with the best comfort

What makes it the best?

Up to a certain extent, the LeBron Witness 7 is practically just the Nike LeBron 20 made less pricey and more suitable for outdoor use. From aspects that are truly important such as traction and cushioning down to matters that are only peripherally valuable such as looks, you can count on the LeBron Witness 7 to deliver.


  • Highly effective traction
  • Impressive impact protection
  • Optimum comfort
  • Breathable upper
  • Reliable heel lockdown
  • Good lateral stability
  • Great outdoor option
  • Fashionable design


  • Lacks court feel
  • Poor upper durability
  • No outriggers on the sole
Full review of Nike Lebron Witness 7

Today's best price

Any color
003 grey fog/cobblestone/laser blue/hyper pink (DM1123003)
White (DM1123100)
001 black/bright crimson/alligator/barely volt (DM1123001)
Purple (DM1123500)
Black (DM1123004)
Hyper Royal/Blue Lightning/White (DM1123400)
Bright crimson/arctic orange/magic ember/cave purple (DM1123600)
Black/University Gold-lilac (DM1123002)
More colors

Best Nike basketball shoes for outdoor courts

What makes it the best?

The Nike Cosmic Unity 3 is an investment that will give a lot of returns. We believe that this is the case where a high price tag is absolutely justified. For us, this shoe is an instant top pick in the durability and stability departments. And for sure, it is among the best options for outdoor use that we've seen in a while. If Nike fixes its firm midsole and trims down the weight for the next iteration, we are ready to claim it as THAT SHOE.


  • Perfect for outdoor courts
  • Outstandingly durable
  • One of the most stable shoes
  • Wide platform
  • Very secure lockdown
  • Reliable traction on all courts
  • Breathable enough
  • Sustainable materials


  • Firm sole with poor impact protection
  • Heavier than average
  • Break-in needed
Full review of Nike Cosmic Unity 3

Today's best price

Any color
Summit White/Pure Platinum/White (DV2757100)
Brown (DV2757200)
Purple (DV2757500)
Jade Ice/Emerald Rise/Clear Jade/White (DV2757300)
Wolf Grey/White/White (DZ2906001)

Best budget Nike basketball shoes

What makes it the best?

The Nike Air Max Impact 4 managed to go beyond the already high standards set by the Air Max Impact 3 performance-wise. Traction, cushioning, support, and comfort - the Air Max Impact 4 surely delivers on aspects that matter, making it a perfect value-for-money option for an entry-level player.


  • Traction is consistently good
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Decent impact protection
  • Comfortable and well-ventilated upper
  • Dependable foot containment
  • Great for outdoor use
  • Value for money


  • Needs to be broken in
  • Not for wide-footers
Full review of Nike Air Max Impact 4

Today's best price

Any color
Black White (DM1124101)
Black Anthracite Off Noir (DM1124004)
Black Volt Armory Navy Pure Platinum (DM1124006)
Black White Bright Crimson Wolf Grey (DM1124002)
Black (DM1124001)
White (DM1124100)
Bleu Marine Doré (DM1124401)
Ashen Slate Citron Tint Football Grey (DM1124400)

Comparison of the 7 best Nike basketball shoes

+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
Users rating
Best price
# of colorways

What sets the best Nike basketball shoes apart

Nike dominates the basketball market definitely not by chance. It offers a good deal of innovations that help with performance on the hard court. 

Many of the proprietary technologies featured in Nike basketball shoes debuted in running shoes.






Polyurethane pouch filled with dense gases, achieves that feeling of comfortably ‘walking on air’

Zoom Air

Air unit with tightly stretched tensile fibers knit inside it for a more perfect balance of responsiveness and impact protection


Special foam, bouncier and 30% lighter than phylon 


Air packets that are put directly beneath known pressure points for a more targeted and efficient cushioning


Special lab-produced foam that is both soft and responsive



Suspension-cables-like wires on both sides, cradling the foot and holding it securely in place especially during motion


Digitally engineered knit that is light, form-fitting, and seamless


Flyknit innovation for LeBron James that becomes increasingly stiff at the midfoot where stability is most needed


First used on LeBrons shoes, this is basically Flyknit infused with heat-molded yarn that makes it more durable and supportive

Beyond technologies: Other factors to consider

Apart from technologies, other factors play important roles in ensuring your enjoyment of Nike basketball shoes

Playing style

Expectedly, many of the top Nike basketball shoes are from signature lines dedicated to some of NBA’s most prolific players like guard Paul George and power forward Kevin Durant. This should make choosing the right shoe easier. Shoes from signature lines are sensitive not only to the star player’s personal preferences but also their playing positions.


According to Basketball Reference, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James are versatile players who can handle almost all playing positions. We can expect their shoes to be as flexible as they are.

Style and aesthetics

Nike basketball shoes are as pretty as they are high-performing. They will be of use even when you are off the court. 

Low or high, know what you want. High-top basketball sneakers are espoused by players like LeBron James. Low-top basketball shoes are worn by many of Nike’s NBA stars, the most prominent of which being Kobe Bryant. Wanting one collar length over the other is just a matter of preference. 

Know your color. Nike basketball shoes are available in thousands of colorways. Many of them commemorate important events or holidays such as Black History, Christmas, Easter, and the NBA Championships. There are also colorways that reference the lives and careers of their signature athletes. 

To know more about the general steps to consider when buying basketball shoes, read our detailed buying guide.

Indoor or outdoor? The sturdiness test

The basketball shoe industry in general is largely driven by the NBA. With this, Nike releases basketball shoes that are deliberately for indoor hooping on a well-kept hard court.

You need to know how to assess a shoe’s outdoor playability before you use it on asphalt or any other type of outdoor court. Here’s how you can assess the shoe:


Get the best Nike basketball shoes for less

The top Nike basketball shoes are going to be even greater if they are NOT expensive.

Cheap-basketball-shoes-copy (1).png

Non-signature models are not expensive simply because no big names are attached to them. 

The price of older models are deliberately brought down in clearance sales. Remember, the presence of a newer option does not automatically make older models less effective. They still have the technologies that make them desirable.

Even within signature lines, Nike develops takedown models to appeal to a wider audience. These basketball shoes are cheaper because they use non-premium materials. LeBron’s Witness line and Kyrie Irving’s Flytrap series are examples of takedown signature releases from Nike.

How we test basketball shoes

Coming up with unrivaled Nike basketball shoes in their own respective categories is not an easy task. We say this because we actually do the whole procedure for every shoe we tested. If you like to know what happens behind our comprehensive reviews and recommendations, read below:

  • We acquire the basketball shoes from Nike that we want to test. We value objectivity more than anything so we are very stern about this.
  • We play basketball in these shoes, both indoors and outdoors. The main features we observe and examine are grip, spring, lateral support, and lockdown, among others.
  • We conduct different tests in our lab that measure different aspects of the shoes. We also tear the shoes apart and look into all its components. 
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.