Rather than focusing on style as we have in the past with our list of the best Air Jordans, we're prioritising function over fashion here. Technology, traction, comfort, and overall quality are what we're looking for in our search for a top set of sneakers.
Taking these factors into consideration along with price and reviews, we've put together a list of the best basketball shoes currently available for the upcoming season's tip-off.
We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding basketball shoes to help you work out which sneakers will be best for you and your position on the court.
Without further delay, here's our list of the best basketball shoes available now...
Best Basketball Shoes
- Air Jordan 37
- Under Armour Lockdown 5
- Nike LeBron 19
- adidas Dame 8
- Nike Cosmic Unity 2
- Nike Hyperdunk X
- Under Armour Curry Flow 9
- Nike Zoom Freak 4
- Nike Air Zoom G.T. Jump
Best Indoor Basketball Shoes - Air Jordan 37
Michael Jordan was one of the greatest players to ever grace the NBA; however, the Air Jordan 37 doesn't just top this list through name value alone.
No, the Air Jordan 37 is perhaps the most advanced basketball shoe available, with Nike focusing on take-off and landing in particular by introducing Formula 23 foam for the first time to cushion you as you land and give you a greater energy return going for a dunk in your top basketball hoop.
To keep the shoes light, Nike uses a new variation of the classic leno-weave material which is also said to reinforce the uppers thanks to Arkema yarn.
Ultimately, the Jordan 37s look to be some of the best basketball shoes around for both men and women, so should be ideal if you're looking to perform on the court wearing your best NBA jersey this season.
Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes - Under Armour Lockdown 5
These Under Armour Lockdown 5s have been designed with durability in mind, especially with their film toe caps for additional support and protection when you want to take the game outdoors.
On top of that, these sneakers come with an air mesh tongue which should improve their breathability as well as comfort when paired with the plush sock liner.
Interestingly, the Lockdown 5s also come with anti-odour technology which, Under Armour states, discourages bacteria and odour-causing microbes from developing. As an aside though, check out our list of the best shoe deodorizers right here.
On the whole, if you're searching for a solid pair of basketball sneakers that have been built to last, even when worn outdoors, then these Lockdown 5s could be the shoes for you.
Best Basketball Shoes For Wide Feet - Nike LeBron 19
The Nike LeBron 19s are designed to be the most comfortable pair of sneakers on the court thanks to the 360º Max Air unit within the thick, responsive Zoom Air units under feet.
On top of that, you get pods embedded in the tongues and collars of these sneakers to provide lightweight cushioning around the ankle and over the top of your feet.
To round off Nike's commitment to comfort, these sneakers feature full inner sleeves which contour to your feet for a snug, secure feel.
The thin, transparent exterior layers are said to be highly durable and lightweight to help reduce in-shoe movement, thus making them a great option to consider.
Best Budget Basketball Shoes - adidas Dame 8
The Dame 8 is, unsurprisingly, Damian Lillard's 8th signature sneaker with adidas, and upgrades on the 7 in a number of key areas to help make this one of the best basketball shoes around on a budget.
Firstly, they come with adidas' Dual-density Bounce Pro cushioning which is designed to provide the ideal ratio between energy return, cushioning, and support. You also get a unique pattern on the rubber outsole that is said to provide outstanding grip on a hardwood court.
It's also worth noting that these sneakers are created sustainably as well as 25% of the components used to make the upper contain a minimum of 50% recycled content.
Ultimately, the Dame 8s provide a great option for you to consider if you feel a pair of low-cut trainers are the way to go to maximise your performance on the court.
Best Sustainable Basketball Shoes - Nike Cosmic Unity 2
When it comes to sustainability, there is arguably no better basketball shoe out there right now than the Nike Cosmic Unity 2.
The sneakers feature 20% recycled material by weight to give a little something back to the environment through their design.
In terms of performance, the shoes come equipped with a full-length Zoom Air Strobel, plus upgraded uppers from the previous iteration for improved balance, stability, and containment.
All in all, these sustainably made sneakers may be the answer if you're looking for well-rounded pair of shoes made from recycled content.
Best Basketball Shoes For Jumping - Nike Hyperdunk X
These Nike Hyperdunk Xs come with all the necessary tools to give you a little extra lift on your vertical jump as well as provide a soft landing once your feet return to the ground.
This is because the sneakers come with a huge amount of foam in the insoles and a wavy traction pattern across the outsoles that are designed to improve grip and enable a better take-off as you start your leap.
On top of that, the uppers are made from a lightweight, textile material with a 3/4 finish for a securer fit around your ankles.
On the whole, these sneakers look to be a great option to consider to help you score the perfect dunk in your best basketball hoop.
Best Basketball Shoes For Guards - Under Armour Curry Flow 9
It comes as no surprise that Curry's latest signature shoe was developed with speed, agility, and dribbling in mind given Steph's position on the court.
First and foremost, these sneakers feature Under Armour's WARP upper technology, which has been designed for enhanced comfort and control throughout the dynamic range of basketball movements.
On top of that, Curry Flow 9s come with TPE-blend sock liners with lower compression sets, aimed to improve your energy return for explosive power.
Moreover, you get Under Armour's Flow cushioning which is said to be super-light and bouncy, all whilst providing insane grip. So, these Curry Flow 9s look as though they'd be great on the court, especially when paired with the new Golden State Warriors Classic jersey.
Best Basketball Shoes For Forwards -Nike Zoom Freak 4
The Zoom Freak 4 is designed to suit the skillset of one of the best power forwards in the game right now - Giannis Antetokounmpo.
They feature hollowed-out midsoles around the forefoot area where two Zoom Air units are positioned to compress under the weight and then expand to deliver an improved energy return.
They're also slightly tilted as if they were worn by a 100-metre sprinter emerging for the starting blocks to help increase forward motion and, in turn, allow you to attack the rim at speed.
All in all, we feel the Zoom Freak 4 is up there as one of the best basketball for power forwards around right now.
Best Basketball Shoes For Centres - Nike Air Zoom G.T. Jump
Worn by one of the best centres around right now in Nikola Jokić, these Nike Air Zoom G.T. Jumps look as though they're ready to help you defy gravity as they come packed with advanced yet lightweight technology.
For instance, you get double-stacked Zoom Air units that are designed to work in unison with an external jump frame made from PEBAX which, Nike boasts, is incredibly lightweight, springy and strong to help improve your hang time.
Moreover, the thin-web rubber outsoles feature herringbone patterns to maximise traction with the court, whilst cut-outs under the arches help minimise their weight.
Overall, we feel you won't find many better basketball shoes suited to a centre's game than these Nike Air Zoom G.T. Jumps.
Best Upcoming Basketball Shoes
With sneaker technology constantly improving, there are plenty of revolutionary new designs to look forward to this year, however, there are also a few retro remakes to keep an eye on as well.
With that being said, here are some of our top picks to look out for over the coming months.
Nike LeBron 20
As LeBron James enters his twentieth year in the NBA, Nike has revealed what the King's next signature sneaker, the LeBron XX, will look like and what technology it will feature.
Arriving on 29 September, the shoes will debut in a colourway known as the "Time Machine" and include some of the most beloved technology from LeBron's signature line from the past.
For instance, the shoes feature Nike Sphere around the collars to improve breathability, something that was originally introduced for the Air Zoom Generation, LeBron's first signature sneaker with Nike.
If these sound like the basketball shoes for you, then make sure you stay tuned for more details on the LeBron XXs right here.
PUMA Stewie 1
PUMA has revealed a new signature sneaker for WNBA MVP and champion Breanna “Stewie” Stewart, the first women's signature basketball sneaker in over a decade.
The debut colourway features a striking combination of neon yellow and contrasting black accents towards the heels complete with a rippling water effect across the midsoles.
The Stewie 1s are set to launch this fall alongside a full apparel collection, so stay tuned for further details on their arrival right here. You can also sign up to be notified of their drop at PUMA right now.
Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut 2
Two colourways are set to debut in total, the first being a "Bred" design for NBA 2K23 cover star Devin Booker which was originally due to launch in September. However, Nike's latest update see's the sneakers pushed back until some time this October.
The second design is a colourway known as "Sabrina Ionescu" for, unsurprisingly, Ionescu herself, which is due to launch on 13 October 2022.
Technology-wise, the shoes come with new tread and traction, a refined heel shape, and additional Zoom Air units in the heels to upgrade the feedback response. Stay tuned for their arrival right here.
Nike Kyrie 8
The sneakers have widely been referred to as the 9s in reports as the 8s technically already exist in the form of the Kyrie Infinitys. However, Irving himself commented on SlamKicks Instagram post to confirm the shoes are, in fact, new Kyrie 8s.
They feature a white, black, and dark pink colour scheme, but no word on what the shoes will include tech-wise just yet. Keep an eye out for their potential arrival on 11 November 2022.
adidas Harden Vol. 7
Photographer Cassy Athena has taken to Instagram to reveal images of James Harden wearing his next signature sneakers, the adidas Harden Vol. 7s.
Harden was seen rocking these purple and black Vol. 7s during one of Rico Hines’ open run practice sessions at UCLA alongside fellow NBA stars Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and Tyrese Haliburton.
There's been no word regarding their release date just yet, but we'll make sure to keep you updated once any more information is revealed right here.
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 Should You 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 though is what kind of support the shoes offer to improve comfort. Uncomfortable sneakers can seriously detriment your performance on the court by distracting your focus, and could even lead to injury.
You'll also want to ensure the sneakers come with a ton of padding to absorb some of the impact from landing a jump. This is also crucial to reduce your risk of injury.
Another feature to consider is the shoe's ankle support. You've probably heard of the term ankle-breaker before, used to describe when a defender falls over from a crossover dribble. Therefore we believe it's important to give yourself the best support possible to minimise the risk of injury if and when then happens.
Do Basketball Shoes Fit True To Size?
Generally speaking, basketball shoes fit true to size.
Ideally, basketball shoes fit tightly around your feet for security and control, with enough space on either side to keep you comfortable whilst also protected from other players and impact.
Clarks recommends you leave about one finger's width of space between your longest toe and the end of your everyday shoe, something which we feel can be used to determine what size basketball sneakers to go after.
Most manufacturers come with a handy size chart to compare to if you're really unsure. Check out our guide to measuring your shoe size right here to get you started.
Can You Run In Basketball Shoes?
For short distances, you'll probably get away with using basketball shoes for running, particularly if they're low-tops, however, if you're tackling a longer workout, we'd advise against wearing basketball sneakers.
You're probably better off going for a top running shoe that will likely be lighter, more comfortable, and is ultimately built for forward motion rather than lateral movement like basketball shoes.
Can You Wear Basketball Shoes In The Gym?
We've previously talked in-depth about whether basketball shoes are suitable for the gym and concluded that the stiffness, support, and flat soles of basketball shoes make them a viable option to wear when training.
The main downside of them is the amount of cushioning contained in the midsole to protect your feet and joints on the court, something that isn't required during weightlifting and can in fact be deferential as the padding might absorb your downward power.
How Do You Clean Basketball Shoes?
Cleaning basketball shoes can be a little tricky at times given the wide variety of materials typically used to construct them.
However, we mention in our guide to cleaning basketball shoes that a soft-bristled brush is perhaps the most effective way to remove loose dirt from the surfaces and soles of your shoes, regardless of the material.
From there, you'll want to then use a cloth, or stick with the brush, to apply some warm water and shoe cleaner to remove the remaining stains.
Gently scrub the surface in circular motions, paying particularly close attention to working with the grain if you're cleaning any suede areas.
Then leave your sneakers to dry naturally and away from any direct heat after because the high temperatures can warp rubber and melt any adhesives.
Make sure you check out our list of the best sneaker protectors as well if you're looking to keep your basketball shoes spotless for longer.
How Do You Lace Basketball Shoes?
While there are a few different approaches you could take to lace your basketball shoes, one of the most common techniques is one we've actually covered in our guide to lacing Jordan 1s.
Start by creating a straight bar with your shoelace between the first set of eyelets, then cross over the two lengths in the middle and thread through the next eyelets up on the opposite sides.
Repeat this step until you reach the top, making sure your laces stay flat as you go and that you're leaving enough length left at the top to tie the two ends together.
Once you've done this with both your sneakers, you should be ready to play basketball.
Do You Need To Break In New Basketball Shoes?
While it may be tempting to step right onto the court in your new basketball shoes, they may not necessarily be ready for action, especially if they've been sitting in a factory for weeks beforehand.
Fortunately, breaking in new basketball shoes can be relatively easy once you know how. Simply wear your new shoes for around 10 to 15 minutes a day doing some kind of light activity and your shoes should be ready to wear on the court.
Make sure you wear the same high-top basketball socks that you'd wear during a game to help your feet become accustomed to your new sneakers.
When Should You Replace Basketball Shoes?
There's no set time frame on when exactly you should consider replacing your basketball shoes as the answer will vary depending on their build quality and how often you wear them.
That said, there are several recommendations as to when might be a good time to start looking. For instance, Dr. Michael Lowe, team podiatrist of the Utah Jazz, has previously said that shoes should be changed monthly during the season to greatly reduce the risk of injury.
However, this relates to the game at a professional level where players are constantly training or competing. As an amateur, you're unlikely going to need to switch out your shoes that often.
A general rule we'd recommend is if you begin to notice any significant damage or drop off in performance from your sneakers, then you might want to start searching for a set to replace them.
Do You Need Socks To Go With Basketball Shoes?
Basketball shoes are tailored toward helping you perform and stay supported on the court, but the same can be said for basketball socks as well.
For instance, Nike's Hyper Elite basketball socks come with anti-fatigue compression, arch support, and ribbed traction, all of which are specifically engineered to keep you comfortable for an entire game.
Therefore, we'd recommend picking up a pair to maximise your support during a game.
Read More: Best Basketballs Available Now