What are the best Nike basketball shoes?

Buying guide

Get a jump on the competition with these sneakers.

Last updated: 27 June 2024
4 min read
What are the best Nike basketball shoes?

To put your best foot forwards on the court, consider these eight winning sneakers. Ideal for basketball, they'll help absorb impact, boost speed, promote stability and improve traction. To hone in on your ideal pair, reflect on your playing style and position, whether you shoot hoops indoors or out, and your risk for injury. Then, review these key priorities and the kicks that score highest on those fronts. Armed with the right pair, you'll be able to give it your best shot.

Which are the best Nike basketball shoes for different needs?

Consider what matters most for you: outdoor play, performance, cushioning or ankle support.

Outdoors

If you play on concrete often, focus on durability and cushioning. The hard surface can take a toll on joints, feet and shoes.

Ja 1 'Day' Basketball Shoes

These sneakers in Ja Morant's line include an Air Zoom unit in the forefoot and plush cushioning in the midsole. A raised foam collar supports the ankles, while a containment system and forefoot strap provide stability.

Nike Air Max Impact 4 Women's Basketball Shoes

Max Air cushioning in the heel and a sculpted foam midsole work towards absorbing shock. Meanwhile, rubber wraps around the sides assist with durability, and a herringbone-patterned outsole helps with traction.

Performance

These lightweight pairs are all about supporting speed and mobility while reducing slippage with features like responsive foam and grippy outsoles.

Nike G.T. Cut 3 Basketball Shoes

The ultimate in this category, these shoes boast full-length ZoomX foam (which provides Nike's highest level of energy return of all such foams). Plus, they sport super-high traction from heel to toe.

Nike G.T. Jump 2 Women's Basketball Shoes

This mid-top provides responsive cushioning with three Zoom Air units. The shoe also features Nike React foam in the heel for even more cushioning and a herringbone-patterned outsole for traction.

Cushioning

If you play centre or power forward, look for extra cushioning to absorb impact and provide comfort.

KD17 Basketball Shoes

Comfortable and responsive, these shoes in Kevin Durant's line feature a large Air Zoom unit in the forefoot and Nike Air cushioning in the heel. The ridged outsole pattern supports traction.

Sabrina 2 'Court Vision' Basketball Shoes

The midsole of these new sneakers features two types of foam: Nike's newest Cushlon for plushness, surrounded by firmer Cushlon for stability. An Air Zoom unit in the forefoot helps with responsiveness and support.

Ankle support

If you're prone to injury, seek out one of these pairs for more ankle containment.

KD16 Basketball Shoes

These shoes are mid-rise and thicker in certain areas to help keep the ankles in place. Meanwhile, Nike Air and Zoom Air units offer cushioning, and grooves and ridges in the outsole offer multi-directional traction.

LeBron NXXT Gen AMPD Basketball Shoes

Along with helping to support the ankles, these mid-rise shoes offer responsive cushioning via two Air Zoom units.

Frequently asked questions

What shoes do most NBA players wear?

Most NBA players wore Nike basketball shoes during the 2022–2023 season, according to Sports Illustrated. The KD15 was one of the top picks. Depending on their position, pros opt for different kicks. Lightweight shoes with lots of traction are on top for guards or those who play defence, while ankle support and cushioning take priority for centres and power forwards.

What are the three main types of basketball shoes?

High tops offer the most ankle support, yet they are heavier and less mobile. At the opposite end of the spectrum, low tops provide the least ankle support, yet they feature less weight and more mobility. Mid tops, which stop at ankle level, strike a balance between these characteristics.

Any tips for shopping for basketball shoes?

Pick a pair that's snug but not too tight, making sure your feet remain in place when you walk or run. To check for the right fit, try them on with basketball socks.

Words by Dina Cheney

Originally published: 4 June 2024

Related Stories

Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

Buying guide

Best Nike basketball shoes for guards

What shoes are best for long-distance running?

Buying guide

The 5 best shoes for long-distance running

The best neutral running shoes by Nike

Buying guide

The best neutral running shoes by Nike

What is the difference between running & walking shoes?

Buying guide

What is the difference between running and walking shoes?

The best Nike shoes for dedicated cross-training workouts

Buying guide

The Best Nike Shoes for Dedicated Cross-Training Workouts