10 Best Nike Basketball Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

Author: Dimitrije Curcic. Updated: .

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. 

How we come up with the top 10 

The best Nike basketball shoes are determined by ranking them according to their Corescore. A corescore is an aggregate numerical assessment that is based on reviews by players, expert reviewers, and even ordinary users. 

For the list below, we were able to survey more than 930 experts and more than 64,000 users.

Popular basketball shoes aren't the better rated ones

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10 best shoes
29 most popular shoes

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.

 

 

Technology

Description

Cushion

Air 

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

Lunarlon

Special foam, bouncier and 30% lighter than phylon 

Vapormax

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

React

Special lab-produced foam that is both soft and responsive

Upper

Flywire

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

Flyknit

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

Battleknit

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

Knitposite

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.

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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:

 

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Get the best Nike basketball shoes for less

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

 

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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 Soldier line and Kyrie Irving’s Flytrap series are examples of takedown signature releases from Nike.

 

The best Nike basketball shoes in every category

Now, are you ready to buy nike basketball shoes?

Author
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.

dimitrije@runrepeat.com