If you’re going to play basketball, basketball shoes are an essential tool regardless of your skill level. Sports-specific shoes are designed to not only up your game in that sport (basketball in this case), but to protect you from the types of strains and injuries that are common due to the repetitive motions and other factors that are related to that sport.
So, not only do basketball shoes enable you to play better, they protect you while you do it. Some of the best basketball shoes in the world are made by Nike, who puts a lot of thought into the features that comprise the ultimate basketball shoes, which is why Nike and their basketball shoes are worthy of a roundup all their own.
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Best Nike Basketball Shoes 2018
The midsole strap is Flywire integrated; the Flywire filaments provide superior lateral support due to the architectural cable-like nature unique to Nike’s Flywire filament technology.
Rubber is the ultimate choice in sole material due to its natural non-skid, slightly sticky texture. Meanwhile, the hexagonal tread is ideal for multidirectional movements, making it a great all-around tread for most basketball positions. These are some of the best Nike basketball shoes when it comes to traction due to this unique combination of tread pattern and rubber sole.
The mesh uppers of the Soldier IX’s keep your feet nice and cool, upping the comfort factor tenfold during long, intense games. The Nike Lebron Soldier IX’s feature an increased range of motion compared to other shoes on the market thanks to the innovative ecoupled rubber pods, which also promote durability for long usage. The straps at the shaft and atop the foot provide the ultimate in lockdown support.
The range of motion provided by the Soldier IX’s is exponentially superior to pretty much any other basketball shoe I’ve tried, and so is the traction. The level of performance you get during the game just can’t be beat. Moreover, they’re very comfortable and look awesome, which always makes for a good, all-around basketball shoe. The Soldier IX’s are easily the best Nike basketball shoes for those who value multiple benefits packed into one solid shoe.
The only dislike with these is they run small, but this is incredibly common among basketball shoes across all brands.
Nike’s Hyperfuse technology is a way create a lighter weight yet more durable material. It works by fusing three materials together—a base, a foam core, and a TPU overlay—to create that superior material performance. The Zoom Air cushioning technology creates a high level of surface sensitivity and awareness thanks to being extremely thin; it also redistributes force to reduce joint pain and fatigue.
The Flywire filaments are pretty common in Nike shoes, because they work well to add structure and support without bulk. The padded collar in the Hyperdunk’s provides essential comfort and support at the collar. A lot of shoe designers overlook the importance of comfort at the collar, but that just isn’t a problem with these shoes. Good outdoor basketball shoes need to be padded and resistant. That’s exactly what you get with the Hyperdunk’s
The Zoom Air and Hyperfuse combo provide a very high level of comfort without sacrificing performance. And that’s what you get with the Hyperdunk 2015’s: a healthy mixture of comfort and performance.
As usual, you have to size up if you have wide feet. This isn’t just a Nike thing—it’s a basketball shoe thing. Very few run true to size.
There are two main Zoom Air cushions; one at the heal and one at the forefoot. Four more independent, smaller Zoom Air cushions are also located at the forefoot. This array of Zoom Air cushions provides great support while being super thin, providing for great terrain awareness.
Zoom L.E.A.P works with Zoom Air to boost your energy level while playing; Zoom L.E.A.P also provides an extra boost when it comes to jumps and other powerful movements, so you can make the most of your potential.
Nike’s Flywire filaments add structure to the upper part of the shoe, ranging from the midfoot back to the heel; this also provides the ultimate lockdown.
Mesh is the ultimate in terms of breathability, and also durability. It’s strong and doesn’t wear and tear easy, making it a great fabric for basketball shoes. Plus, it’s comfortable which is always a plus.
The rubber soles on the Lebron XIII’s have geometric tread; you can also see the hexagonal patterned areas that house the Zoom Air cushions. This adds extra tread adds more variation and a more diverse level of traction, making it ideal for playing different positions.
The Flywire cables strengthen the mesh uppers without making them feel stiff, which I like. Also, I’m a big fan of the Zoom Air cushions. I like to be able to feel the court under my feet. I’m very instinctual when I play, so this feature works awesome for me.
Like usual, the sizing is ridiculously small, so size up. Also, you gotta be sure to break them in before you take them to the courts for a real game.
The Nike Men’s Air Jordan 1 Retro Mid Basketball Shoe has that vintage look that every sneakerhead will want to have in their collection. It takes you back to the day when basketball shoes were in their heyday, when some of the most memorable styles came out. But it’s also great on the modern man who likes a little throwback for his kicks. This is one of the best Nike basketball shoes to date and a real crowd pleaser.
The uppers of the Air Jordan 1 Retro are a mixture of leather and synthetic materials to provide an optimal mix of durability and performance. The leather is perforated at the toe for extra ventilation, increasing comfort during long wear.
The midsole holds one of the top features of this shoe, the Air Sole. The Air Sole makes you feel like you’re walking on a cloud, but that comfort doesn’t interfere with gameplay, so you get the best of both worlds.
These Air Jordans run truer to size than some of the other Nike basketball shoes—and basketball shoes in general, so unless you have very wide feet, you might actually be able to order your true size with these, which is great news for those who hate having to guess at different sizes.
The classic look of the Air Jordans speaks to me. They remind me of being a kid and the players I looked up to. Of course, these aren’t just basketball shoes for nostalgia; they play well and if you’re wearing them for style, they’re comfortable for all-day wear, which is great, because the cool looks of these sort of enticed me to wear them off-court during my daily life. And I have no regrets.
The only thing about these is, compared to some of the others, the colour choices aren’t as great. I personally like the basic colours, but it’d be nice to see more colour options.
Flight Plate technology is like rocket fuel for the Zoom Air cushioning pads that are common in Nike basketball shoes. Flight Plate essentially enhances Zoom Air’s capabilities, providing better cushioning and better rebound energy to propel you forward. If high tech is your thing, these might just be the best Nike basketball shoes for you.
Sewing shoes is phasing out. It’s not really needed and the no-sew construction provides better support, flexibility and durability, ensuring overall better performance on-court.
The rubber sole features a diamond tread; this tread type allows for optimal multidirectional traction, making it a great shoe for playing any position on any surface.
Since the upper part of the shoe is a mix of leather and synthetic materials, ventilation is a must; this is achieved with diamond-shaped perforations through the midfoot area, providing the ultimate in comfortable breathability.
As a fan of Zoom Air, I like the supercharging power of Flight Plate. You can definitely tell the difference and the response time is awesome. The diamond tread is also really cool and feels great on the court, which is a big bonus.
It’s not the most classic looking Nike shoe, but if modern is your thing, this won’t be a problem for you.
Ultimately, the best Nike basketball shoes are the Nike Men’s Lebron Soldier IX Basketball Shoe. Despite being among a variety of great shoes in this roundup, the Soldier IX stands out for its across-the-board top-notch qualities. You get a healthy mix of great features, which transfers to great gameplay on the court.