There's no denying that the sneaker sphere is jam-packed with a multitude of high-heat releases, with collaborations and retro offerings at the forefront. Silhouettes like Michael Jordan's Nike Air Jordan 1 and the timeless Air Force 1 continue to emerge in countless colourways today, though people seem to forget these models' origins—basketball. On that note, the world of basketball shoes goes beyond just these two.
A decent pair of basketball trainers are essential to playing your best on the court. Whether you prefer high or low top basketball shoes, something that can provide maximum midsole cushioning, ankle support, outsole traction, and withstand long periods of wear on the hardwood floor is what you need for outstanding performance. Of course, the style and colour of the shoes are also important factors for some players. A design that can equally match your playing style on the court will no doubt catch the crowd's attention.
Whatever you're looking for, you're in luck because we've spent countless hours researching hundreds of popular basketball sneakers to find the best pairs for every type of player. From signature shoes of professional basketball players to the best all-round sneakers, no matter how you play we've found something for everyone and compiled them into this list to create the ultimate guide to the best basketball sneakers you can buy today!
With the 2021–22 NBA season still underway, we ensured that this definitive guide to the best basketball shoes ticks all the boxes: quality, fit, comfort, traction, design, and much more. From the late Kobe Bryant's Nike Zoom Kobe signature shoes to the Ice Trae's new Trae Young 1s from adidas, make sure you read on to find out what basketball you should be wearing on the court.
Best All-Round Basketball Shoes
One of the best things about all-around basketball shoes is that they can support your needs on the court no matter what style of play. If you're new to playing and you're still figuring out your play style, a pair of all-round basketball shoes is your best option!
Nike Air Zoom G.T. Run
The Nike Air Zoom G.T. Run is one of the most popular basketball trainers that can assist you throughout four-period gameplays, delivering maximum comfort and energy return through a dual Zoom Air cushioning unit and React foam tooling. Lightweight material constructing the upper allows optimal airflow, accompanied by foam tongue overlays giving extra comfort forefoot and padded collars supporting the ankles.
Under Armor Flow FUTR X
What's great about the Under Armour Flow FUTR X is that its cushioning unit is made without any rubber materials, making them light to give more advantage for traction no matter the offence strategy you're playing. The breathable mesh-woven base also helps heighten the lightness of the pair, with a forefoot strap atop a lace-up system that ensures your feet are secure at all times. Its streamlined profile also gives them a running shoe feel, boosting your strides a little more than other basketball trainers on the market.
The PUMA MB.01 is LaMelo Ball's first signature silhouette on the court, signed under the German sportswear brand PUMA. Just like its striking look, its features are just as incredible. The base allows plenty of opportunities for the other elements to shine, starting with the PUMA NITRO Foam technology that enhances the balance to the max. Numerous reviews online state that the PUMA MB.01 basketball trainers are definitely worth buying and we definitely agree! The only downside would be that they tend to pick up a lot of dust due to the ridges on the outsole.
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes
If you prefer playing streetball, you may want to look for a pair of sneakers which are a little more durable and hard-wearing than your usual basketball trainers. The demand you need for playing on concrete rather than hard maple is very different, so be sure to check out some of our picks for the best outdoor basketball shoes.
PUMA Clyde All-Pro
The PUMA Clyde All-Pro is a classic pair you should consider picking up. Unlike its predecessor, the PUMA Cycle Hardwood, the All-Pro has a much better rate in terms of responsiveness and traction underfoot. Not only that but the upper also has a snug fit that is lightweight and easy to break-in. For those familiar with the Kobe 9s, we can guarantee you that these are a great alternative—feeding you back the same experience.
New Balance KAWHI 1
Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard is one of the players that possess their own signature shoes that have become known on and off the court. Leonard's impressive defence on the court earned him the nickname "The Claw", with his KAWHI 1 shoes made by New Balance supporting him. The silhouette features New Balance's FuelCell cushioning technology that was also present on the OMN1S, making them comfort-reliable. However, many say that they take some time to break in and that they're suitable for players seeking additional support around the ankles—the extra TPU caging around the heels provide this.
Nike KD 14
The Nike KD 14 has been predominantly acknowledged for its traction and cushioning on and off the court. Like the PUMA Clyde All-Pro, they are reliable when playing a game of streetball, and its Zoom Air unit underfoot concealed within the thick midsole further assists your play with ample comfort on concrete, giving a spring-like effect with every cut and jump. The hook-and-loop strap overlays also offer additional security—a feature that has been absent since Kevin Durant's Nike KD7 model.
Best Performance Basketball Shoes
If you're played basketball before and know your own play style well, it may well be worth investing in a pair of basketball trainers which highlight the key aspects of your play. Whether you're looking for a lightweight shoe with a lot of grip for cutting through defences, or a sturdier sneaker with lots of traction for shooting from distance, once you know your play style you can pickup some incredible basketball shoes which really enhance your performance.
Nike Zoom Kobe Protro 6
We can't talk about basketball shoes without mentioning the legendary Kobe Bryant and his Nike Zoom Kobe collection with the Swoosh brand. The Nike Kobe 6 Protro, in particular, is a silhouette that is accepted by many. When it comes to traction, the model stands up high in the ranks, backed by impressive cushioning, impact protection, durable heel counter, and many other elements that match up the late basketball pro's combative playstyle. The faux-snakeskin overlays represent Bryant's "Black Mamba" title and prove it by the super flexible upper.
Nike Zoom Freak 3
There's no denying that Giannis Antetokounmpo's Nike Zoom Freak 3 is a massive upgrade from his former Zoom Freak 2. They're perfect for those who have quick strides on the court due to their lightweight feel and comfortable, responsive cushioning. The Zoom Freak 3 fits true to size, and you can rely on them to give you full performance right out of the box. The only downside many basketball reviews say is that despite its impressive traction, the outsole lacks durability.
adidas Trae Young 1
Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young is one of the most impressive players the modern basketball industry has ever had. Young impressed the fans at the NBA 2020-2021 playoffs with his play but also with his first signature sneakers with adidas, turning a lot of heads throughout 16 games. Many shoe testers say that cushioning is one of the biggest highlights of the Trae Young 1, thanks to the Lightstrike technology built at full-length within the midsole accompanied with Boost in the heel. The overall construction has a low-to-the-ground feel that gives the shoes more stability.
Best Affordable Basketball Shoes
If you're balling on a budget (literally), looking for your first pair of basketball shoes, or just looking for the best value for money, we've got you covered! Brands such as Nike, adidas and Under Armour have put a lot of time into building affordable basketball shoes which perfectly balance performance and price.
Nike Max Impact 3
If you're looking for a pair of cheap basketball trainers that can still provide you with the same performance as any other high-priced pair, the Nike Max Impact 3 is for you—tagged with a pocket-friendly price of approximately £80. Its mix of mesh and synthetic tooling supported by Nike Air Max cushioning underfoot enables paramount breathability and ample comfort. An exaggerated herringbone traction pattern outsole stabilises the user's movement backed by moulded rubber overlays towards the front to strengthen it further.
adidas shoes are known to be some of the most comfortable trainers you'll ever wear. Superior Cloudfoam cushioning technology is what makes the adidas OWNTHEGAME basketball shoes a great pair to have in your rotation, with a mesh base ensuring that your feet on the court experience maximum breathability whether you're on offence or defence. In addition, it comes equipped with an Adiwear outsole that provides incredible traction and control over your pivots. The adidas OWNTHEGAME is a mid-top basketball shoe that costs around £55 only, so there's no reason why you shouldn't consider buying a pair today.
Under Armour Curry Flow 8
Stephen Curry's Under Armour Curry Flow 8 is one of the best basketball shoes of all time. Numerous wear-testers claim that traction and cushioning are the noteworthy features of the models, with some even stating that the Steph Curry 8 is the best from the Under Armour Curry line-up. The base is crafted from flexible knit fabric supported by synthetic tooling, giving comfort and structure. The UA cushioning technology provides maximum energy return on the court, the Flexible Pebax overlay adds support around the sides, and the UA Flow outsole enables quick cuts and pivots. You might find their original retail price is a little pricier than the previous pairs mentioned above, but they tend to land on the sale section quite often.
Best Retro Basketball Shoes
Last but not least, we had to show some love to our favourite retro basketball sneakers. Sometimes you want basketball shoes which perform well on the court, but also look incredible. That is where retro basketball shoes really come into their own.
Air Jordan 11
There's no denying that Michael Jordan's signature basketball sneakers from Jordan Brand are absolutely legendary. Alongside the famous Air Jordan 1, Jordan 3, Jordan 4 and Jordan 5, plus a few more fan-favourites, the Air Jordan 11 created by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield is a silhouette loved by many since 1995. Available in high-top and low-top profiles, the AJ11 possesses a premium look due to the glossy patent leather side overlays atop a ballistic nylon mesh base. Professional b-ball players say that the Air Jordan XI's impact absorption is also pretty impressive.
Nike Air Foamposite One
The Nike Air Foamposite debuted on the court in 1997 and caught the attention of everyone for its distinct look. While its high price tag has put a lot of people off, basketball shoe testers say that its outstanding performance on the court is the reasoning behind it—giving the user comfort and ankle support like no other. In terms of style, it has appeared in eye-catching colourways and even hosted a collaboration with renowned NY-based streetwear brand Supreme in 2014.
adidas Forum 84 Hi
Some of the lifestyle sneakers we all know and love today are rooted deep into basketball culture. The adidas Forum 84 Hi is one of the pairs that originated in the '80s (the same period when the Nike Air Force 1, Nike Dunk, and Air Jordan 1 debuted) and has cemented itself a permanent spot in adidas' line-up. It boasts a high-top profile equipped with an ankle strap, giving the user's feet additional lock-down security—even the Forum Low also has this feature forefoot.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How should basketball shoes fit?
When buying basketball shoes, you need to ensure that they fit snug to your feet throughout. Having plenty of support around the heels and ankles prevent the risk of injuries, although still consider that there should be some breathing space so that you do not feel any discomfort.
Which basketball shoes should I get?
If you're eager to shoot some hoops soon and you're still undecided on what basketball shoes to buy, consider purchasing something within your budget that will provide plenty of all-over support no matter your style of gameplay. The PUMA Cycle All-Pro and Under Armour Curry Flow 8 are extremely affordable considered the top choices in the basketball community today.
How to break in basketball shoes?
Like many other shoes, basketball shoes can take some time to break in. We recommend that you start easy by wearing them 15-30 minutes a day to get used to the feel of the sneakers. We advise you not to play a full-length session with your basketball shoes when they're fresh out of the box as they might cause blisters.
Overall, choosing a pair of sneakers is never easy—especially when it comes to sports! As a matter of fact, you're the only one who can decide what the best shoes are for basketball as everyone has different preferences. And with this complete guide to basketball sneakers that we curated here at The Sole Supplier, we do not doubt that you won't regret what pair you take home today.
If you're looking to stay ahead of the latest footwear news from Nike, Jordan, adidas, and many others, we recommend you stay locked in right here at The Sole Supplier for all the latest updates.