Playing basketball is fun, keeps you fit, and helps you bond with your friends. Getting the right equipment can help to take your skill to the next level. Whether you’re playing a game of pick-up basketball, playing for the school basketball team, or you enjoy playing in a youth or adult league, you can’t be at the top of your game without the best basketball shoes.
Before we jump (no pun intended) into the list of the best basketball shoes, let’s take a moment to review some of the benefits of playing sports such as basketball. We all know basketball keeps you in shape, but in addition to the cardiovascular benefits, one recent study shows that basketball is beneficial for building stronger bones in children. Youth athletes who play multidirectional sports like basketball instead of unidirectional sports like track are able to build stronger bones, decreasing their risk of bone injury in adulthood. Much of this has to do with the pace of the game and the use of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Sports such as basketball also carry a range of hidden benefits. Another study shows children who play team sports such as football and basketball are less likely to suffer mental health problems. Conversely, researchers found that youngsters who only play individual sports – such as tennis, golf, or gymnastics – are at greater risk of mental health issues than kids who don’t play sports at all. These are great reasons to invest in some high-quality basketball shoes and get your kids signed up for youth basketball immediately.
So, which pairs of shoes are going to level up your game? StudyFinds did some digging, consulting 10 sports apparel and review sites in an effort to bring you a consensus list of the best basketball shoes. Our list comprises the seven most frequently listed basketball shoes from across these sites. Think the experts missed a pair of great basketball shoes? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
The List: Best Basketball Shoes, According to Experts
The top spot on the list of the best basketball shoes belongs to Nike LeBron 20. These shoes offer everything you’re looking for in a quality basketball shoe. From comfort to support, the Nike LeBron 20 shoes should be at the top of your list.
“The Nike LeBron 20 was one of the most hyped LeBron James basketball shoes ever, and it really did live up to the expectations. The LeBron 20 offers elite-level traction and some of the year’s best cushioning (and maybe even all-time). The midsole is full-length Cushlon with a forefoot Zoom Turbo unit and an additional standard heel Zoom Air unit in the heel. The upper is also lightweight and comfortable,” writes Wear Testers.
LeBron James has been playing in the NBA for the better part of 20 years so it’s fitting that his LeBron 20 shoes are some of the best around. These shoes are designed to celebrate some of the biggest moments in LeBron’s historic NBA career.
“The LeBron 20 is the first performance shoe in the LeBron Signature sneaker line, featuring a low-top silhouette. The unique design of the shoe reflects special moments in LeBron’s career. The main features of the shoe are the Zoom Air in the forefoot, the 13mm heel for better impact protection, and the cushioning underfoot, all lead to a more comfortable shoe. The LeBron 20’s may have a traditional look, but it has been created for the next generation,” adds A Influencer.
Great basketball shoes need cushioning, breathability, comfort, and support. The LeBron 20 offers all of those qualities and more. “When it comes to cushioning, the LeBron 20 stands out because it offered an effective blend of impact protection and ground feel, which is further enhanced by its 4.4 mm drop. In addition, this shoe also delivered protection from twists through its pretty firm and stable base. Using a caliper, we learned that the midsole is slightly thinner than average, especially around the heel. The heel stack is only 27.0 mm high when the average could go as high as 30.0. This setup brought our feet closer to the ground, effectively enhancing court feel,” furthers Run Repeat.
2. Nike KD 15
Next up on the list of best basketball shoes is the Nike KD 15. These are the signature shoes of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, and they perform just as well as he does on the court. “Full-length Zoom Air cushioning combines with new tech within the lacing to hold you in place: when you tighten up, the floating wings that anchor the laces press down on the foot to secure you. Odd, seeing as KD loses a shoe approximately twice a game,” explains High Snobiety.
Durant is known for losing his shoes, it happens all the time. Perhaps it’s because he explodes off the floor and elevates into his jump shot like a rocket ship shooting into outer space. Whatever the reason, the KD 15s are an awesome basketball shoe.
“Kevin Durant is one of the best basketball players who now has a range of shoes with his name. The Nike KD shoes have always been among the best basketball shoes, and Nike KD 15 is no exception. It is designed with new tech that supports the foot and enhances a person’s comfort,” adds A Influencer.
You’ll be able to ball with confidence knowing that you have the most supportive shoe imaginable. From the midsole to the toe to the heel, the KD 15s are stable and comfortable.
“Kevin Durant makes the game look deceptively easy, and his signature KD15 basketball shoes follow suit. These shoes aren’t overly flashy or packed with unnecessary features. Instead, they’re stripped down to deliver the essential qualities players need to hoop with confidence. The midsole features two key components that stretch from heel to toe: A layer of soft foam cushioning and a full-length Zoom Air unit. Together, they create an energetic, responsive feel for explosive movements on the court,” furthers Men’s Journal.
Third on the list of the best shoes for basketball is the Nike LeBron NXXT Gen. LeBron James has attached his name to just about everything that involves the game of basketball and these shoes are just as awesome as “The King” himself.
“The LeBron NXXT Gen is an affordable counterpart of LeBron James’ signature line. The multi-directional traction pattern on the sole pays homage to LeBron’s roots in Akron. A large forefoot Zoom Air unit, curved to bend multiple directions, offers responsiveness and energy return for quick and agile moves. A top-loaded Zoom Air unit in the heel adds extra cushioning for comfort. The midsole’s soft, smooth foam keeps you low to the ground, enhancing the shoe’s court feel,” explains Kicks Crew.
These shoes are lightweight and comfortable, offering exactly what players need to freight train their way to the basket with confidence and style. As one expert explains, these shoes are even more lightweight than similar basketball shoes.
“We totally enjoyed wearing the LeBron NXXT GEN in our games because it was surprisingly light for a LeBron shoe. It also delivered a good amount of bounce and was quite flexible. All these benefits convinced us that this is indeed the best pick of its time. At only 13.12 ounces or 372 grams, this LeBron shoe is even lighter than the average hoop shoe, which weighs 14.22 ounces or 403 grams. The reduced weight allowed us to run faster and jump higher as we battled for points on the court,” raves Run Repeat.
Players can rest assured that these shoes will perform indoors, outdoors, and everywhere in between. “These shoes are equipped with Nike’s latest technologies, including a lightweight and breathable upper material for optimal ventilation and comfort. The shoe features a full-length Zoom Air unit that provides responsive cushioning and impact protection for explosive moves on the court. The outsole is designed with a multidirectional traction pattern, ensuring excellent grip and stability on various court surfaces, whether you’re looking to ball on the hardwood floors or take them outdoors to the concrete courts,” adds Clutch Points.
Fourth on the list of the top shoes for playing basketball is the Air Jordan XXXVII (37) Low. These shoes celebrate his “Airness” and offer players a terrific shoe with lots of comfort and maneuverability.
“No basketball shoe list could quite be complete without a pair of Jordans. The Air Jordan XXXVII low basketball shoes are a stylish and high-performance option for basketball players. Featuring a low-top design, these shoes offer excellent flexibility and versatility with all movement patterns on the court. The shoe’s Zoom Air cushioning technology provides responsive and lightweight cushioning, ensuring a comfortable and bouncy feel with each step and jump,” writes Clutch Points.
For anyone looking to incorporate a little style into their game, these shoes will do just that. These shoes are the low-top version of the Jordan XXXVII’s and they offer everything you need to take your game to the next level.
“The newest installment of the legendary Air Jordan sneaker line is always an important date to hoopers…The Air Jordan 37 Low kept the leno-weave upper and double-stacked Air cushioning setup while offering a lower profile to athletes,” adds Sports Illustrated.
These Jordans are lightweight, breathable, and offer excellent cushioning. The Jordan XXXVII low-tops also incorporate the patented Formula 23 foam so players can move, twist, and jump with confidence.
“The Air Jordan 37 Low is the perfect blend of lightweight support and security. A combination of solid leno-weave and TPU ribbon upper that mimics a taped-up ankle without adding unnecessary weight. Enjoy air on air with double-stacked Nike Zoom Air units for incredible energy-returning responsiveness, allowing you to move swiftly on the court. The thick stack of Jordan’s signature foam, Formula 23, in the heel ensures a smooth landing and quick rebound, ready to take on whatever comes your way,” adds Kicks Crew.
Next up on the list of the top shoes for basketball is the Nike Kyrie Infinity basketball shoes. These beautiful shoes are part of NBA star Kyrie Irving’s shoe line with Nike and are some of the best shoes for playing basketball at any level.
“When a shoe bears the name of an athlete, it sometimes carries the characteristics of that person. Kyrie Irvin is an elite basketball player who needs a pair of shoes that allow him to move with ease. That’s how the Nike Kyrie Infinity was born. Though Nike has a range of basketball shoes named Kyrie, this one is among the best basketball shoes of 2023 with internal bands and tight laces, which not only makes it comfortable to run with these shoes, but it also reduces injury,” explains A Influencer.
The support and lacing system of the Kyrie Infinity basketball shoes helps players avoid injuries and stay in the game. These shoes also offer amazing traction and grip on the hardwood.
“Go Kyrie or go home. Irving’s sneaker portfolio never fails to impress. In addition to all the features packed into his explosive bball shoes, there’s lots of love with the vibrant colorways that match the Brooklyn Nets player’s personality. We’re currently loving the look and feel of the Kyrie Infinity basketball shoes with their mid-cut and grippy traction,” writes Hibbett.
These basketball shoes feel great because they utilize a triple-layer cushioning system. This makes the Kyrie Infinity shoes great for guards and ball handlers alike. “We turn to Nike one more time for another pair from one of the greats. Kyrie’s sneaks have a three-layer cushioning system, resulting in a plush and padded sensation,” furthers Esquire.
Sixth on the list of the best basketball shoes is yet another pair of Nike’s, this time it’s the Nike Jordan 6 Rings. These gorgeous basketball sneakers pay homage to the great Michael Jordan by commemorating the six NBA Championships he won as a player.
“Imagine just taking all the best bits of all the best Jordans and mashing them into one shoe? Well, you don’t need to imagine it. The Nike Jordan 6 Rings takes elements of each shoe worn by Mike in the Championship series. What we’re really interested in here is that Nike has made a retro-style basketball shoe that can play with the new kids, too. The sole unit combines Zoom Air units and a sticky rubber outsole to provide bounce and traction,” writes High Snobiety.
The Jordan 6 Rings give players the ability to move, jump, and explode to the basket in the same fashion as Jordan himself. These shoes are designed to be comfortable, durable, and versatile.
“The Jordan 6 Rings Shoes pay homage to Michael Jordan’s championship legacy, combining key features from each championship series. Crafted with a mix of leather, synthetic leather, and textile materials, the upper ensures comfort and durability. Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot offer responsive cushioning, while the foam midsole provides stability and lightweight support,” adds Clutch Points.
If you’re looking for a stylish shoe that performs as well as it looks, then the Jordan 6 Rings are the perfect basketball shoe. Combine that style and functionality with additional support and you have one of the top basketball shoes.
“The result is a dynamic Air Jordan shoe that lets you show out both on and off the court. Zoom Air units at the forefoot and heel offer responsive cushioning, the textile upper features leather and synthetic overlays for increased durability and a stylish look, and a rubber outsole delivers reliable traction. Additionally, an adjustable side strap ensures a secure fit around the top of your foot,” furthers Men’s Journal.
7. Nike Luka 1
Rounding out the list of the best basketball shoes is the Nike Luka 1. Let’s face it, Nike just keeps pumping out quality basketball shoes and the Luka 1’s are no different. These are the signature shoes of NBA superstar Luka Doncic and they perform as well on the court as the young All-Star.
“Apart from top players who have become Nike’s ambassadors all these years, Nike always considers young players to collaborate. One of them is Luka Doncic, a Slovenian player in the NBA who has become popular in the last few years. Luka 1 is the first shoe with his signature, which became one of the best basketball shoes in 2023. Luka 1 is a lightweight and responsive shoe that can help the player to perform various movements. Although it can be used outdoors, Luka 1 is mostly an indoor basketball shoe,” writes A Influencer.
There’s no doubt that Doncic is a budding superstar in the NBA. Doncic is a global icon in the world of basketball, and his shoes are following suit. “The first shoe with full-length Formula 23 foam, it has an ultra-supportive fit crafted with the step-back in mind; this responsive cushioning and impact protection of the shoe’s midsole help enhance comfort during high-intensity play. The outsole is designed with a durable rubber material that provides excellent grip and agility. With its sleek design and Luka Dončić-inspired details, the Nike Luka 1 Next Nature basketball shoes are a great choice for players who want to showcase their style while performing at their best,” furthers Clutch Points.
The Luka 1 basketball shoes are designed for speed and efficiency. The full-length Formula 23 foam that runs from the heel to the toe is the pinnacle of basketball shoe technology.
“Few arrivals in the NBA are as successful as that of Luka Doncic. Now in his fourth year in the league, the star has got his first official signature shoe with the Swoosh…this is a great shoe to sport for regular shootarounds, as it offers one of the most balanced rides we’ve felt yet,” adds High Snobiety.
You might also be interested in:
- Wear Testers
- High Snobiety
- Sports Illustrated
- Run Repeat
- Clutch Points
- Kicks Crew
- Men’s Journal
- A Influencer
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.