7 Best Low Top Nike Basketball Shoes

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
7 Best Low Top Nike Basketball Shoes
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The Nike brand is the undisputed king of basketball shoes. In fact, more than 80% of the professional players playing in the NBA today are wearing Nike shoes, with legendary names like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and Kevin Durant, just to name a few, endorsing the brand.

If you need a little help in choosing the right Nike low-top basketball shoes, you’re definitely in for a treat. We procured low-top basketball shoes from Nike and we took our sweet time in creating these in-depth reviews. We tested them all, employing not just our expertise but also our equipment and tools in our lab. We also chose the ones that totally impressed us and put them in different categories for your easy navigation.

Here, you have plenty of great choices depending on your personal preference and playing style.

How we test basketball shoes

To make our shortlist of the ultimate best selections, we put each pair of shoes through the stringiest testing process. That means meticulous scrutiny and examination of the shoes inside our RunRepeat shoe testing lab, as well as working with a team of wear-testers to determine their on-court performance.

We strictly follow these protocols:

  • We purchase all the low-top basketball shoes from Nike from our own pockets.
  • We perform various mechanical tests at the lab, which involve cutting the shoes into pieces and analyzing their parts from the outsole grip on wood or concrete to the softness of the midsole, cushioning, and bounce, among others.
  • We play a lot of basketball games both indoors and outdoors in the park. We report back with our feedback. We further test each model by doing other sports activities.


Best low-top Nike basketball shoes overall

What makes it the best?

It was so easy for us to feel the court surface when wearing the LeBron NXXT GEN from Nike. Our movements, therefore, were much more precise and controlled. It’s also great that this shoe delivered good lockdown through its moderately firm heel counter and high torsional rigidity. Given all these benefits, we hail this shoe as the best low-top from Nike today.

Compared to the stack height of the average basketball shoe, the heel of the Nike LeBron NXXT GEN is 3.1 mm thinner while the forefoot is just as thick (22.0 mm) as the average (21.6) Aside from improving court feel, this reduction in the heel’s thickness also allowed us to be more agile as we drove past our opponents and ran toward the basket.

The heel counter, which we scored 3 out of 5 for firmness, comfortably stabilized the rear. Not once did we feel any wobbling in that area. The NXXT GEN also got a 4 out of 5 for torsional rigidity, and this definitely helped in keeping our feet safe from painful and highly injurious ankle rolls.

It’s pretty unfortunate that this shoe isn’t really for players who have wider feet. The widest part of the toe box is only 98.9 mm wide, while the average is 101.0 mm. Wide-footers should look elsewhere unless they want to know what foot-binding feels like.


  • 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

Low-top Nike basketball shoes with the best traction

Nike KD 15

What makes it the best?

The KD 15 from Nike delivered excellent traction with so much ease!

Traction is often affected by dust, but this surely was not the case with this Nike shoe. We played indoors, outdoors, on well-kept courts, and even on those surfaces marked with neglect; the outsole had a pretty secure grip on them all. There was truly nothing more that we could ask for. 

Then there’s the magic of this shoe’s midsole. The foam carrier is softer, measuring 24.5 on the HA durometer while the average is currently 27.9. With this, our landings were never too harsh. But the goodness doesn’t stop there. Whenever needed, we felt the whole midsole tooling supplying the energy that we needed. Running toward the basketball has never felt this efficient!

When it comes to support we have the heel counter and the overall firmness of the shoe to thank. After manually twisting and pulling it in the lab, the heel counter got a 5 out of 5 from us for stiffness. After measuring the shoe’s overall flexibility using a digital gauge, we learned that it’s 48% more resistant than the typical shoe. There was not an instance where the foot unwittingly slipped off the footbed.

The KD 15 would have been a perfectly desirable shoe if not for its incapacity to accommodate wider feet. The widest part of the forefoot is only 97.0 mm, while the average is at 99.9 mm. Wide-footers should really look for something else.


  • 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

Low-top Nike basketball shoes with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2 has the best cushioning system. It provided a lot of impact protection which made us last longer in our games. Aside from this benefit, this shoe also had a lot of flexibility that allowed it to keep up with the natural flexions of our feet. Its fairly consistent grip on the courts also made this shoe a true standout among all the low-top basketball shoes from Nike that we played in.

We enjoyed the softness of the midsole tooling the moment we put this shoe in. We used various devices to confirm what we experienced, and the caliper indeed showed that the drop-in insole is almost twice as thick (8.6 mm) as the average insole (4.3 mm). 

When it came to flexibility, this shoe was a bomb. We used a digital force gauge to see how much energy was needed to bend this shoe at 90 degrees. The device showed that the G.T. Cut 2 needed only 32.2N when the average shoe would require as much as 40.9N.

Grip was indeed its standout feature. We never had issues whether we were playing indoors or outdoors. The outsole just provided the amount of bite that we needed to remain planted during blocks and to sustain balance and support during attacks.

If there was a glitch in the design process, it would most probably be on something related to the tongue. It just wouldn’t stay in place. We had to make several stops just to tie the laces again, hoping that they could somehow secure the tongue.


  • Excellent impact protection
  • Plush cushioning
  • Consistent traction
  • Good for outdoor court
  • One-to-one fit
  • Breathable upper
  • Strong laces


  • Lacks support and stability
  • Bottom-heavy
  • Little court feel
  • Tongue shifts
Full review of Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2

Best premium low-top Nike basketball shoes

Nike Lebron 20

What makes it the best?

Among all the low-tops in Nike’s lineup, only the LeBron 20 was able to deliver the most awesome blend of impressive durability, comfortable plush cushioning, and effective foot-twist protection. It is indeed the unchallenged king among all low-tops from Nike. We do not see any other serious contenders to its popularity and numerous expert reviewers and recreational hoopers confirm it as well with their reviews. Other Nike low-tops can only hope to be AS popular as this shoe because we do not see any way for them to be MORE popular than the LeBron 20.

The upper of this shoe resisted abrasion quite well. A high-friction tool that rotates at 10,000 RPM was placed against the toe area for four seconds. This much pressure was pretty intense, but it still failed to poke a hole into the upper. No wonder repetitive toe drags were no match for the sturdy upper during our games!

After measuring the hardness of the midsole using a durometer, we found that it is 8.6% softer than the average. This translated well on the court. Even if we did a lot of heel strikes and harsh landings, our feet still experienced great impact protection. There was no pain at all!

The firmness of the shoe was also of great help to us, especially in preventing foot twists. To test it more closely in the lab, we manually bent and twisted it. The LeBron 20 easily got a 5 out of 5 from us in terms of its torsional rigidity.

It’s just a bummer that the LeBron 20 packs up a lot of weight. At 14.7 oz or 416g, this shoe is way heavier than the average 13.7 oz or 387g. Those who want to feel light on their feet should look for something else.


  • 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

Best lightweight low-top Nike basketball shoes

What makes it the best?

It’s typical for low-tops to be on the lighter side, so they have to deliver more on the other aspects to make an impression. And this is exactly what the Zoom Freak 4 did. Aside from being light, it also amped up on support and stability. It also offered a nice balance of court feel and impact protection. Given these benefits, we saw it fit to give the Nike Zoom Freak 4 the title of being the best lightweight shoe in Nike’s low-top arsenal.

Specifically speaking, the Zoom Freak 4 is 1.4 (39g) oz lighter than average. This reduction in weight resulted in more confident sprints and more effective jumps, especially for rebounds and blocks.

Lockdown, shall we say, was among the most important highlights of the shoe. Aside from a fully gusseted tongue, this shoe also had a firm heel counter. After squeezing and twisting it in the lab, the heel counter got a score of 4 out of 5 for rigidity. These features helped in keeping our feet in place, even as our movements became a little too aggressive.

According to readings on our HA durometer, the midsole has a softness score of 27.0, which clearly is just around the 27.9 average. Indeed, the midsole was not too firm and not too plush either. We appreciated the balance that we felt while wearing this shoe.

Based on what our digital force gauge showed us, this shoe bent at 90 degrees when 54.0N of force was applied. It’s far more rigid than the average hoop shoe, which needs only 41.9N. Given this much rigidity, the shoe does not flex naturally with our feet as much as we'd like.


  • 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

Best Nike basketball shoes for beginners

Nike Ja 1

What makes it the best?

Aside from being affordable, the Nike Ja 1 is best for beginners because it is lightweight, flexible, and offers just the right amount of impact protection and responsiveness in the midsole. Truly, this mix of benefits provides a good introduction to the world of basketball.

Weighing only 12.73 ounces or 361 grams, this shoe is indeed lighter than average (14.22 oz or 403g). This allows beginners to adjust quite easily to the demands of the sport, which is quite intensive on running, jumping, and quick direction changes.

The flexibility of the Ja 1 allowed our feet to move much more naturally. In our lab assessments, we learned why. It only took 34.7N of force to bend this shoe at 90 degrees. An average shoe would need 40.9N.

As per our HA durometer, the midsole has a softness rating of 26.5 which is practically equal to the 26.6 average. This averageness gave us the right balance of compression and firmness, which translated to a more natural ride.

We just have to take note here that this shoe is not the best for outdoor games. After Dremel-drilling the outsole, the resulting dent is 1.6 mm deep, which is deeper than the 1.1 mm average.


  • A true bang for the buck
  • Amazing grip on the court
  • Quite a supportive ride
  • Pretty comfortable wraparound
  • Great plushness around the heel
  • Good forefoot bounce
  • Durable structure
  • True-to-size fit
  • Stylish look


  • Cheap-feeling materials
  • Still has to be broken in
Full review of Nike Ja 1

Best budget Nike basketball shoes

What makes it the best?

Among all the low-tops from Nike, the Precision 6 is notable because of its speed-oriented combination of a firm midsole and pretty resistant base. It was also very breathable, and it surely kept our rides comfortable and our feet dry. The fact that it’s only $75 when the average for Nike low-tops is $127 makes us conclude that the Nike Precision 6 is indeed the best buy among them all.

The midsole of the Precision 6 is indeed firmer than the average (27.9), with the HA durometer estimating the midsole’s softness at 31.5. This setup allowed us to move with much more control and speed, making us a formidable force in the court.

The base of this shoe is also noteworthy. During our games, our runs felt so stable and we never had to worry about our feet suddenly twisting. After twisting with our hands in the lab, we realized just how resistant it is to force. It felt so rigid that we were left with no other choice but to give it a high score of 4 out of 5 for rigidity.

When it comes to breathability, we tested it by pumping smoke into the shoe to see if the upper material easily lets the smoke pass through it. And it surely did. In fact, we gave the Precision 6 a score of 4 out of 5 for breathability.

It just sucks to think that the upper’s breathability is tainted by its being not durable. Twelve seconds of drilling with the Dremel already did considerable damage to the toebox.


  • Effective grip on clean courts
  • Very comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Wide and stable base
  • Good ankle support
  • Nice court feel
  • True to size
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Totally lightweight
  • Breathable upper
  • Really affordable
  • OK for outdoors


  • Dust-prone outsole
  • Little impact protection
  • Upper lacks durability
  • Not for wide-footers
Full review of Nike Precision 6
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.