7 Best Basketball Shoes, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic on
7 Best Basketball Shoes, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023
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Basketball is a combination of running, jumping, quick stops, and abrupt direction changes. Regular trainers can support some of these movements, but only the right basketball shoes support them all.

Some shoes make for perfect all-arounders while others excel in a specific characteristic like grip or cushioning.

We have reviewed over 100 basketball shoes from 10+ different brands to single out the best options to date.

How we test basketball shoes

To come up with our list of the top basketball shoes, we spent hours scouring the web for reviews left by players, expert reviewers, and even ordinary users who also wear their Adidas or Nike basketball shoes casually. 

Their scores are then weighted and averaged to come up with a Сorescore for each product.

Best basketball shoes overall

Nike KD 15
Nike KD 15


4.8 / 5 from 147 users
90 / 100 from 7 experts


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


  • Not for wide-footers
  • Outdoor use not recommended

What makes it the best overall?

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.
Read our full review of Nike KD 15 here
nike kd 15 review
nike kd 15 lab test
nike kd 15 outsole traction

Best high top basketball shoes

New Balance OMN1S
New Balance OMN1S


4.7 / 5 from 127 users
84 / 100 from 6 experts


  • Good lockdown and support
  • Amazing traction
  • Durable materials
  • Superb comfort
  • Simple look
  • Secure fit
  • Breathable


  • Narrower fit overall
  • Lacks cushioning

What makes it the best high top?

With its excellent support and lockdown paired with a perfect mix of court feel, responsiveness, bounce, and impact protection, it's no wonder that the New Balance OMN1S is loved by many. When it comes to performance, basketball players mentioned that this pair is a great first signature model that can go head-to-head with other signature shoes such as UA Curry 7 and Adidas Harden Vol. 4.
Read our full review of New Balance OMN1S here

Basketball shoes with best cushioning

Nike Cosmic Unity
Nike Cosmic Unity


4.6 / 5 from 116 users
89 / 100 from 17 experts


  • Top-tier cushioning
  • Consistent traction both on clean and dusty surfaces
  • Supportive once broken in
  • Grippy outsole
  • Wide feet friendly
  • OK for outdoor use
  • Sustainable materials
  • Awesome looks
  • Soft, snug fit


  • Break-in period needed
  • Not so breathable

What makes it the best cushioning?

If you are a player who loves a supportive, plush cushioning setup that still feels relatively low to the ground, this is a basketball shoe that fits that mold well. Plus, there's the benefit of being a more sustainable purchase choice!
Read our full review of Nike Cosmic Unity here
nike cosmic unity midsole
nike cosmic unity midsole tech

Best Nike basketball shoes

Nike Zoom Freak 4
Nike Zoom Freak 4


4.7 / 5 from 92 users
84 / 100 from 3 experts


  • 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


  • Outdoor use not recommended
  • Not for bigger players and wide footers
  • Cheap-feeling materials

What makes it the best Nike?

The Nike Zoom Freak 4 is a worthy follow-up to the Freak 3s because of the noticeable improvement that it brings. It brings out the best in players who do a lot of rebounds and fast runs to the basket because of the high levels of energy that it returns with every step. It's pretty safe to say that this basketball shoe from Nike is worth every penny spent on it.
Read our full review of Nike Zoom Freak 4 here
nike zoom freak 4 review
nike zoom freak 4 lab test

Best outdoor basketball shoes

Jordan Zion 2
Jordan Zion 2


4.8 / 5 from 116 users
84 / 100 from 7 experts


  • Strong side-to-side grip
  • Tremendous support
  • Very pronounced court feel
  • Reliable energy return
  • True-to-size fit
  • Breathable
  • Good for bigger men
  • OK for outdoors
  • Casual style


  • Dust-prone outsole
  • Lacks impact protection
  • Seriously needs breaking in

What makes it the best outdoor?

Zion Williamson is a really big and powerful player, and his second signature shoe is built for players like him. Its design and overall structure contain so much force and high levels of aggression on the court. It's all about powerful cuts, forceful offenses, and determined sprints to the basket. It's as if the Jordan Zion 2 is saying: "give it your all or not play at all!"
Read our full review of Jordan Zion 2 here
jordan zion 2 review
jordan zion 2 lab test

Best value

Jordan Luka 1
Jordan Luka 1


4.7 / 5 from 228 users
89 / 100 from 2 experts


  • Impressive grip
  • Nice impact protection
  • Amazing energy return
  • Comfortable upper materials
  • Breathable
  • No-frills foot lockdown
  • Stable steps
  • No need for break-in


  • Cheap-feeling materials
  • Not for outdoors

What makes it the best value?

Luka Doncic's signature line with Jordan is off to a good start with the Luka 1. Fairly anticipated by fans, this Jordan basketball shoe does not disappoint when it comes to making its wearer more nimble and agile on the court. The shoe is really in the business of fueling every step and catapulting every jump. Guards like Luka himself are having their heyday with this!
Read our full review of Jordan Luka 1 here
jordan luka 1 review
jordan luka 1 lab test

Why basketball shoes?

Logic says that because basketball involves a lot of running, it’s OK to play in your reliable ASICS or Brooks runners. They’ve got traction. They’ve got a cushion. They even promise durability. But are these in the right amounts?

Why basketball shoes_(hi).png

Compared to running shoes, good basketball shoes need the following:

Great traction. Basketball needs good traction because of the complex footwork that it requires. There are quick stops, jumping, and a lot of lateral actions. These are high-intensity movements that a shoe designed for running is not prepared for. 

Slightly less cushion. Because of the complexity of their footwork, basketball players need to feel the court. Too much cushion can lead to dangerous movement miscalculations, slips, and falls. 

More support. A good basketball shoe withstands immense pressure from aggressive movements. The extra stiffness and weight that it has make this possible.

Choosing one basketball shoe among many seemingly great options is already a daunting task. You can make your search easier by following the 3 quick steps below.

Basketball shoes and playing styles

Basketball positions allow us to predict what movements a player most likely does during the game. Basketball shoes should correspond to the needs of the wearer’s playing position.

Basketball shoes and playing position (hi).png

Centers and power forwards are quite similar. Big and strong, they usually position near the basket to do rebounds or blocks. Reebok’s Shaquille O’neal and Nike’s LeBron James are among the most celebrated big men in the NBA. 

Small forwards, point guards, and shooting guards are more aggressive with their movements. Smaller and more agile, they are pretty mobile and more physically engaged with their opponents. Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry are great examples. 

Generally, basketball shoes must provide a secure lockdown regardless of what role the wearer plays on the court. To ensure this, the best shoes are often equipped with laces, which you can tie in different ways depending on the size and shape of your foot. View quick lacing demonstrations here.

Finding the best fit in basketball shoes

It’s obvious that you should get the right size to maximize a shoe’s potential. What’s not so obvious are the factors that affect your size-related decisions. 

Brands fit differently.  RunRepeat is equipped with a tool that helps you find the right size given the brand. This tool can also use your actual size, brand preference, and inputs from other users to come up with sizing recommendations.

Consider the thickness of your braces. Ankle braces provide additional support to your foot. Braces basketball players use are thicker than normal. If you plan to wear braces, get shoes that are at least half a size larger than your usual shoe size.

Don’t forget the aesthetics

Low or high, know what you want. Low-tops are not really better performers than high tops, and vice versa. It’s just a matter of preference. 

Know your color. Basketball shoes are available in thousands of colorways. Some of these colors allude to NBA teams, NBA events, popular holidays (e.g. Easter and Christmas), and even political advocacies (e.g. Black History Month).

Indoor or outdoor: The sturdiness test

The basketball shoe industry is largely driven by the NBA. As such, brands rarely release shoes that are deliberately for outdoor hooping. 

If you often play outdoors, you need to know how to assess a shoe’s outdoor playability. Here’s our suggestion:

how to assess a shoe’s outdoor (hi).png

The best basketball shoes for wide feet

We have to be blunt, top basketball shoe creators like Jordan and Adidas rarely release products that are really for those with wide feet. Buyers will really have to rely on reviews of fellow wide-foot players before they make purchase decisions. 

In the first half of 2020, LeBron James’s LeBron 17 and Paul George’s PG3 from Nike and Chris Paul’s CP3 12 from Jordan are among the basketball shoes voted to be the best for wide-foot players. 

A lacing technique can also help in making regular shoes fit wide feet better. You can watch a quick demonstration here.

How do I break in my basketball shoes?

There are shoes that need break-in time so that they can be worn more comfortably. There are many ways to break in basketball shoes. The following are some.

  • Hold the shoe by the heel and then twist the toe area left and right using the other hand. Do this as many times as needed to soften the upper. Softening helps the material conform to the foot better. 
  • Wear the shoes daily with a thick pair of socks for at least ten minutes.  After a week, try a different pair of socks while doing household chores. You may look funny wearing high-end kicks in your home, but doing this makes the shoe court-ready quickly.
  • Use the shoes during your light indoor gym workouts such as in treadmill running. Don’t lift heavy weights while in basketball shoes as this might put too much pressure on the footwear.
  • Practice playing basketball in your basketball shoes. Basketball practices introduce the shoe to your unique movement patterns. After a few weeks, the basketball shoes should be ready to hit the court for some real action.
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.