Best basketball shoes 2023: Our top picks this season

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook

Finding a pair of the best basketball shoes for your own ball game can be tricky at times, especially if you don't quite know where to begin. Fortunately, our list of top picks is here to help.

Rather than focusing on style as we have in the past with our list of the best Jordan 1 Highs and Nike Dunks, for instance, we're prioritising function over fashion here.

Advertisement

Technology, traction, comfort, and overall quality are what we're looking for in our search for a top set of sneakers to take your game to the next level.

With these factors in mind, along with price and reviews, we've put together a list of the best basketball shoes currently available, taking new releases, like the "Virtual" NB Fresh Foam BB, into account as well.

From standout signature sneakers from Steph Curry, Luka Dončić and Damian Lillard, to some of the best Nike LeBron shoes from The King himself, we've got everything you need to kick off your search right here.

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

Best indoor basketball shoes - Air Jordan 37

Best basketball shoes Air Jordan product image of a light bone and black sneaker with a colourful outsole.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: Jordan 37 | Weight: Unspecified | Materials: Leno-weave

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.

Advertisement

No, the sneakers are perhaps the most advanced basketball shoes available, with Nike focusing specifically on your take-off and landing by introducing Formula 23 foam to the midsoles to cushion you as you land and give you a greater energy return during your launch.

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 latest offering from Jordan looks to be one of the best yet for both men and women, so should be ideal if you're looking to perform on the court in an excellent pair of Jordans for basketball.

Best outdoor basketball shoes - Under Armour Lockdown 5

Best basketball shoes Under Armour product image of a black sneaker with metallic gold accents.
Credit: Under Armour
Brand: Under Armour | Model: Lockdown 5 | Weight: 12.3 oz | Materials: Mesh / Synthetic

For extra support and protection when playing outside, these Under Armour's have you covered with their film toe caps.

Advertisement

On top of that, the shoes feature air mesh tongues which should improve their overall breathability as well as comfort when paired with the plush sock liners.

Interestingly, the Lockdown 5s also come with anti-odour technology which, Under Armour states, discourages bacteria and odour-causing microbes from developing, much like some of the best shoe deodorizers can.

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 could be the shoes for you.

Best basketball shoes for wide feet - Nike LeBron XX

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a light green mesh sneaker with pink accents.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: LeBron XX | Weight: Unspecified | Materials: Knitted Mesh

LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players to have ever stepped onto a court, so it may come as no surprise that Nike has applied the same level greatest to his signature sneaker line as well.

James' latest signature model, the LeBron XX, is a great example of this. What we like about this shoe, particularly for wide feet, is that it's made from what should be a flexible, lightweight, and breathable knitted fabric, giving your feet more space to sit comfortably.

To round off Nike's commitment to comfort, these sneakers also come with Nike Sphere around the collars, a feature which originally appeared in the Air Zoom Generation, LeBron's first signature sneaker, which has been reintroduced to further improve breathability.

Carbon fibre shanks also return to the midfoot sections, providing a greater energy return and torsional rigidity for explosive movements on the court.

Like some of the best Jordan 1 Lows, they feature low-cut collars which should help reduce the feeling of being restricted in your movements which, in turn, should give you confidence in your ability to beat your opposition with your speed.

Best basketball shoes for flat feet - Jordan Luka 1

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a white sneaker Neo Turquoise accents in the midsole and heel.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: Jordan Luka 1 | Weight: 12.1 oz | Materials: Flight Wire Cables

For flat feet though, we feel you won't find a better pair of basketball shoes than the Jordan Luka 1s.

Advertisement

Like the 37s, they come with Formula 23 foam midsoles to give flat feet the support they need to propel you during take-off or during side-to-side movements such as crossovers and defensive slides.

Moreover, the sneakers also come with IsoPlate foot frames, which have been designed with the multidirectional play of Luka Dončić in mind by giving you greater lateral and forward support.

On the whole, we believe these shoes are well worth considering if you're after a new pair that shouldn't break the bank with their price tag, hence their inclusion in our list of the best sneakers under 100 as well.

Best budget basketball shoes - adidas Dame 8

Best basketball shoes adidas product image of a purple and black sneaker with orange accents and a cream midsole.
Credit: adidas
Brand: adidas | Model: Dame 8 | Weight: 12.7 oz | Materials: Textile

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 it one of the best basketball shoes around on a budget.

Advertisement

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, Lillard's latest signature sneaker looks as though it has a lot to offer in terms of performance, all for a relatively inexpensive price.

Best basketball shoes for jumping - Nike Hyperdunk X

Best basketball shoes Nike HyperDunk product image of a black mesh sneaker with a white midsole.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: Hyperdunk X | Weight: 11.1 oz | Materials: Textile

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.

Advertisement

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 10

Best basketball shoes Under Armour product image of a black sneaker with a white midsole and red and yellow speckled accents.
Credit: Under Armour
Brand: Under Armour | Model: Curry Flow 10 | Weight: 12.5 oz | Materials: Unspecified

It comes as no surprise that Curry's signature shoe was developed with speed, agility, and dribbling in mind given Steph's position on the court.

Advertisement

For instance, the sneakers feature Warp 2.0 technology, which is essentially strategically placed tapes across the uppers according to the areas of highest stress load to improve comfort and control during dynamic movements

Moreover, Curry's signature sneakers come with TPE-blend sock liners with lower compression sets, which aim to improve your energy returns for more explosive power at the rim.

You also get Under Armour's Flow cushioning which is said to be super-light and bouncy, all whilst providing insane grip.

With all this in mind, these Curry Flow 10s 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

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a white shoe with black and barely volt green accents.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: Zoom Freak 4 | Weight: 11 oz | Materials: Unspecified

The Zoom Freak 4 is designed to suit the skillset of one of the best power forwards in the game right now - Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Advertisement

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 these low-top sneakers are 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

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a white sneaker with a black pattern beneath the mesh upper.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: Air Zoom G.T. Jump | Weight: Unspecified | Materials: Mesh / Jumpwire

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.

Advertisement

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 high-tops.

Best sustainably-made basketball shoes - Nike Cosmic Unity 2

Best basketball shoes Nike product image of a coconut milk-coloured sneaker with black Swooshes along the lateral side.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Model: Cosmic Unity 2 | Weight: 12.1 oz | Materials: Unspecified

When it comes to sustainability, there is arguably no better basketball shoe out there right now than the Nike Cosmic Unity 2.

Advertisement

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.

Like some of the best Jordan 1 Mids, they also come with mid-cut collars to deliver ankle support, but without the same restrictions on your movement as high-tops sometimes create.

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 upcoming basketball shoes

With sneaker technology constantly improving, there are plenty of revolutionary new designs to look forward to over the coming 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 Ja 1

Best upcoming basketball shoes - Nike Ja 1 product image of the blue, yellow, and pink "Day One" colourway.
Credit: Nike

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, one of the hottest young talents in the NBA, recently signed to Nike's signature roster, and is set to receive his first-ever signature shoe as a result.

The first colourway is known as the Ja 1 "Day One" according to Instagram and represents 12’s dedication to the game, his exceptional work ethic, and his roots.

You'll have to wait until April 2023 to get your hands on a pair though. As to exactly when in April, well that remains to be seen. However, you can keep up-to-date with the latest release date news on the Ja 1 "Day One" right here.

adidas Harden Vol. 7

Best upcoming basketball shoes adidas Harden Vol. 7 product image of purple and black sneakers on feet with three stripes down the heels.
Credit: Cassy Athena
Advertisement

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 basketball shoes?

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 which, in turn, may lead to injury.

You'll also want to ensure the sneakers come with a ton of padding to absorb impact to protect your knees and joints and, once again, reduce the 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.

The grip is important, too, according to Dicks Sporting Goods, as you don't want to find yourself slipping at crucial moments in a game. Herringbone or hexagonal traction patterns tend to be best for basketball.

Finally, keep an eye on how heavy the basketball shoes you're interested in are. We'd recommend something lightweight to prevent any feelings of being restricted on the court.

Advertisement

However, make sure the shoes come with adequate protection as well to avoid any injuries occurring from people landing on your feet.

Are high-top shoes better for basketball?

As touched on above, high-top shoes tend to deliver a little more support around your ankles and, as a result, could prove useful in helping you avoid injury.

They can also provide protection in contact situations and may even prevent your feet from sliding around in your shoes if teamed with an ankle strap.

However, the downside of high-top basketball shoes is you may feel restricted by the collar. In turn, your movements may not be quite as slick or quick as they would wearing low-tops.

It all comes down to personal preference though and what you find most comfortable and effective for your game on the court.

Do basketball shoes fit true to size?

Generally speaking, basketball shoes fit true to size.

Advertisement

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.

Do you need to 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.

Advertisement

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 of your sneakers, you should be ready to play basketball.

Do you need to break in 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.

Advertisement

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 to wear socks 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.

Advertisement

Can basketball shoes be used for everyday use?

In short, yes you can wear basketball shoes are part of your everyday routine.

In fact, basketball shoes may even be optimal to wear every day thanks to the ton of support and cushioning built into them to make them capable of withstanding the pressures of an actual game.

Not only that, but basketball shoes come in an array of different styles and colours, which include some of the best sneaker collabs around, so there's likely a pair of low-tops, mids, or highs out there waiting for you to add to your sneaker rotation.

We'd recommend checking out our list of the best sneaker brands to help you find the right basketball shoes for you.

Read More: Best Air Jordan 1s under 200 - Our top picks