20 Oct 2021 2:44 PM +00:00

Best Basketball Shoes 2021: Top Picks For Jumping, Guards, And More

When looking for the best basketball shoes, there are a lot of factors to keep an eye out for to determine what's right for you and your style.

If you've been playing NBA 2K22, you might have an urge to take to a court and show off some of your favourite moves from the game, but to do that, you'll also need the appropriate footwear to accompany your top basketball.

To help with your search, we have put together this list based on price, reviews, and features, highlighting some of the small differences that we think make these shoes stand out from the crowd.

So, if you're looking for something built for all-round play, like these Air Jordan XXXVI's, or searching for something slightly less expensive, like these adidas Dame 7's, we've got you covered with this guide.

Best Basketball Shoes


Best Basketball Shoes - Air Jordan XXXVI

Best basketball shoes Nike Air Jordan product image of a singular white and gold basketball shoe
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Image Credit: Air Jordan

Brand: Air Jordan | Material: Jacquard Leno-Weaver

Like Nike is with making some of the top footballs, the Jordan brand is synonymous with basketball thanks to the accompanying name value of Michael Jordan, a true legend of the sport.


The Air Jordan XXXVI's don't just top this list through name value alone though as they're designed to perform on the court via their lightweight materials and solid traction for movement.

Jordan also shaves a lot of weight off this shoe by hollowing out the gap between the outsole and the midsole, helping stop the shoe from weighing you down as twist, turn, and leap through the air during a game.

Not only will the Jordan XXXVI's help you perform, but they will also help keep you protected through the inclusion of Zoom Air, designed to distribute the impact felt when landing from an explosive jump.

Best Basketball Shoes On A Budget - adidas Dame 7

Best basketball shoes adidas product image of a singular blue and white trainer
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Image Credit: adidas

Brand: adidas | Material: Synthetic Textile

This is Damian Lillard's 7th shoe in his range, upgrading on the 6 in a number of key areas which help make this one of the best basketball shoes on a budget.


The Dame 7's are well-ventilated but also cushioned thanks to the inclusion of Lightstrike foam, meaning your feet should stay protected against impact from both the court and other players.

Moreover, reviews suggest the Lightstrike cushioning offers a reliable court feel which is particularly responsive around the forefoot, helping you to stay on your toes and alert during what is widely renowned for being an incredibly fast-paced game.

Ultimately, the Dame 7's provide a great option if checked out our low top vs high top article and feel a low-cut trainer is the one for you to help you perform on the court.

Best Basketball Shoes For Jumping - Nike KD14

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a singular red and black shoe
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Image Credit: Nike

Brand: Nike | Material: Synthetic Mesh

The KD14's have been designed to help versatile, relentless players like Kevin Durant attack the game so should be a great item to pack in your top gym bag ready for a game.


The multi-layer mesh upper and uniquely included mid-strap should keep your feet grounded inside the shoe as you dash around the court, as well as providing a decent level of protection to your ankles.

The cushioning of the KD14's includes a full-length Zoom Air Strobel which will likely provide a soft, bouncy, and fairly responsive feel across all manner of settings.

In terms of traction, reviews suggest these shoes perform well both indoors and outdoors, meaning you should be able to turn quickly to beat your man in attack, or to sprint back and defend.

If you want to find out more, check out our article on what basketball shoes are best for jumping.

Best Basketball Shoes For Cushioning - Nike LeBron 18

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a singular black, white and purple shoe
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Image Credit: Nike

Brand: Nike | Material: Knitposite 2.0

LeBron James is certainly someone who would be included on the Mt. Rushmore of basketball and therefore it is no surprise that the LeBron range tends to be Nike's flagship shoe for technology.


We featured the LeBron 18's in our article 'are basketball shoes comfortable' where we break what exactly makes a trainer comfortable, but which of the boxes do these sneakers fill?

Well, firstly, the LeBron 18's come with three layers of cushioning including Air Max in the heel and full-length Zoom Air, something typically found in Nike's top running shoes, helping to keep you comfortable, particularly on outdoor courts.

Nike boasts the LeBron 18's have been designed to include a grid-like pattern on the outsole which should improve traction when traveling in multiple directions, ideal if you are a small forward like LeBron himself.

Moreover, the diamond-shaped cut-outs help reduce weight making these shoes, not only highly comfortable and protected but also lightweight enough for speed and agility around the court.

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards - Adidas Harden Vol. 5

Best basketball shoes adidas product image of a singular black shoe with a multicoloured cow-like pattern
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Image Credit: adidas

Brand: adidas | Material: Unspecified

Guards, like James Harden, typically run the offense with their speed, agility, and dribbling, and the Harden Vol. 5's have been designed to be the best for anyone playing in these positions.


One of the most important aspects of a guards game is traction, so the Vol. 5's have been designed to excel in this field thanks to its web-like traction pattern, helping you with quick lateral and forward movements.

adidas have gone with a drop-in midsole featuring both Boost and Lightstrike technology, meaning the cushioning should be solid without sacrificing too much of the court feel.

On the whole, the Harden Vol. 5's provide a great option if you're a point or shooting guard and want a shoe that will help you function like some of the NBA 2K22 stars on your top TV.

Frequently Asked Questions About Basketball Shoes

With so many different styles of basketball shoes on the market, you may have a number of questions about what makes each of them stand out, but don't worry because we're here to clear up a few of the most common queries.

What Do I Need To Look For In A Basketball Shoe?

There are a number of key features to consider when deciding on which basketball shoes will suit your needs.


One of the most important elements to look for is whether they are comfortable as you want to ensure your feet can absorb the constant high-impact of specific movements like jumping which is part and parcel of a basketball game.

Another feature to consider is the shoes ankle support as you may have heard of the term ankle-breaker, used to describe when a defender falls over from a crossover dribble, and therefore you will likely want to give yourself the best support possible if or when this happens to you.

Do Basketball Shoes Stay True To Size?

Typically speaking, yes they should do but some basketball shoes have additional features which may affect the comfort and fit.

Ideally, basketball shoes are tight-fitting for security and control, but also wide enough and padded enough to keep you comfortable and protected from other players and impact from landing on the court.

Why Are Basketball Shoes So Stiff?

As basketball players tend to do a lot of running and jumping during a game, one problem they face is the tendency for their ankles to roll resulting in injury.

Basketball shoes are therefore made from a slightly stiffer material than say football boots to support your ankle and hopefully prevent rolls from happening.

Read More: Best Astroturf Football Boots Available Right Now