Top 12 Best Basketball Shoes 2021
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At BuySideSports we love the sport of basketball and we’ve dug deep to find the best basketball shoes for 2021. The shoes we’ve reviewed are all high quality and you can’t go wrong. We only list shoes that are durable and perform well on the court whether you’re a shooter, slasher, ball handler, or play above the rim.
As always, if a shoe has poor reviews, complaints, or is overpriced for the value we won’t include it. We only cover the best high performing basketball shoes.
Men’s Top 12 Basketball Shoes:
1. Li Ning All City Wade
The brand Li Ning is not as well known as the big US brands Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. However the All City Wade is gaining in popularity and provides great value for a mid-price shoe. It provides great cushioning and grip and is very lightweight. There are a ton of colourways available so if you’re looking for a specific colour this shoe likely offers it. It’s not just Dwyane Wade that endorses this shoe - CJ McCollum on the Portland Trailblazers also wears Li Ning.
2. Adidas Dame 7
This is one of the most popular Adidas basketball shoes. It has been built for players that want a light, comfortable shoe. It's tailored to players like Damian Lillard that make sharp cuts on the court and want to maximize their speed and agility. The DAME 7 was released in October 2020 and there should be many new coloways coming soon. The black edition is our favorite.
3. Air Jordan Mars 270
While most people wear Jordan’s for style and chase the old school limited releases, the Jordan brand still makes some excellent regular basketball shoes.The Jordan Mars 270 has a futuristic look and feel and excellent cushioning. They are very highly rated and reasonably priced.
4. Under Armour Lockdown 5
This is a great basketball shoe for anyone looking to find a pair under $100 from a high quality brand you can trust. The perforated leather makes it breathable and it’s moulded to provide a responsible fit and fast performance. A great pick if shopping on a budget.
5. Nike LeBron Witness 3 PRM
This shoe is a great addition to the long and successful LeBron James shoe line. It’s built with a mesh material to provide a lightweight feel. It also contains a full length air sole for maximum cushion and comfort. The overall look is very sleek, you will be stylin’ on the court. Comes in several colour options and includes detailing honouring Lebron’s hometown.
6. Nike Kyrie 6
The Kyrie Irving line of shoes has become one of the most popular on the market over the past six years especially in YOUTH sizes. This is a high quality Nike shoe that provides excellent support, durability, and traction. The mid high profile provides freedom of movement which is key if you’re trying to burn defenders and get to the rim like Kyrie. This shoe comes equipped with Air Zoom Turbo for rapid energy return.
You can’t go wrong with this pair, it’s been constructed with layers of support to lockdown your foot and provide a snug, comfortable feel. This shoe shoe has been a huge seller and it deserves it.
7. Adidas James Harden Volume 4
James Harden is the leading scorer in the NBA and it’s not close. His personal line of Adidas shoes have been a hit with his fans and they offer some distinctive advantages. The outsole and generative traction has been specifically built to suit Harden’s quick moves and lightning fast drives. It’s also built to be lightweight and snug to further enhance your speed. The cushioning is named Lightstrike by Adidas and provides a balance between soft cushioning and staying light on your feet.
The Harden Volume 4 has a lower profile than some other basketball shoes. However it still has a strong and durable mid sole to help players like Harden make hard cuts and battle defensive traffic to get a lay-up
8. Nike Giannis Zoom Freak 2
This shoe made for the two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetekounmpo has quickly become one of Nike’s most popular basketball shoes and is available in many different colours. It has a low cut profile, stylish look and feel and is made with premium materials. Under the heel they’ve stacked two air units for cushion, and they’ve produced a custom outer grip for this shoe that maximizes traction.
The Zoom Freak 2 builds on the first version and has been scooped up by adults and kids and has become famous for its stylish look and performance. We expect many more generations of this shoe to be released based on the extremely positive feedback and strong sales. You can’t go wrong grabbing this pair. Look for deals on some of the older Zoom Freak 1s if you’re looking to save some money.
9. Nike LeBron James Soldier 13
The Nike LeBron Soldier shoe line is now in its 13th version and has remained a big seller for years. One of the big advantages of the Soldier is the velcro lacing, which means you can get on the court in seconds. The high top silhouette provides very strong ankle support and makes for a secure, strong feel. All of the regular Nike benefits have been included such as Zoom air, a foam sole, and a breathable material. These durable shoes will help your power game and minimize any potential for ankle injuries.
The Zoom air units under the toe and heel and meant to maximize your lift when soaring to the hoop, going after rebounds, or blocking shots. Choose from many different colours offered for this popular shoe.
10. Under Armour Curry 5
This is a great Stephen Curry shoe that’s competitively priced and provides awesome value. It’s made by Under Armour and includes extra cushioning in the heel and ankle to offer support. The foam midsole provides an extra layer of comfort and ensure you can pivot and go by your defender quickly. Floor control and grip is prioritized in this shoe to cater to Curry’s quick movement and lightning fast movements and jump shots. This is one of the most popular Steph Curry products on the market.
11. Nike Kobe Mamba Focus
The basketball community is still devastated by the loss of Kobe Bryant. He has a celebrated line of Nike basketball shoes going back many years. The Mamba Focus has a low profile like almost all Kobe shoes and the emphasis is on grip, comfort, and executing rapid movement. The sole has a Mamba inspired pattern that will help you get the extra edge when performing a Kobe-like drive or fadeaway jump shot. This shoe was launched after Kobe retired and was specially designed to provide extra support and speed for his step beck jumper.
12. Beita High Upper
If you want to spend less and still get great value we highly recommend the Beita High Upper. It offers breathability, good cushioning, lightweight materials, and it’s durable. The Beita is available in tons of colour options and has the look and feel of a basketball shoe made by Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas.
The consistent high ratings from buyers are primarily based on the durability, cool design, and the fact that it’s the best basketball shoe available for the money. It’s costs 50 - 70% less than comparable shoes on the market
13. BONUS - PEAK Lou Williams Streetball Master
This is another excellent pick if you want great value at a low price point. It's from a new basketball shoe brand called PEAK. It offers good cushioning, lightweight materials and has a durable construction for indoor or outdoor use. There are 10+ colors to choose from and a full selection of sizes. Currently the #1 selling basketball shoe on Amazon!
SUMMARY - BUYSIDESPORTS.com TOP 3 PICKS
After taking everything into consideration, here’s the BuySideSports top 3 basketball shoes for 2020. These shoes offer the best mix of style, comfort, traction, durability, and value for the price.
BASKETBALL SHOE BUYING DECISION GUIDE
Here are the main decisions for buying basketball shoes:
- First Decision – High or Low Profile: The first thing to determine is whether you want the added ankle support of a high top shoe or prefer more freedom of movement in your ankle. This really comes down to personal preference and what style you like. Lebron only wears high-tops and his Nike shoes reflect that. Giannis and James Harden prefer a lower profile shoe and their signature shoes are all low profile. It’s really up to you and making sure you feel comfortable on the court.
- Second Decision – Traction or Comfort: Some basketball shoes prioritize traction and the ability to make sharp cuts over all else. Other shoes focus on comfort by providing deep cushioning for landing after jumping. Again, there’s no right answer – you can choose the basketball shoes that best fit your game.
- Third Decision – Heavy or Lightweight: First, all modern basketball shoes reviewed here are lightweight, the days of heavy shoes are gone. However, some shoes will have lighter materials and there’s no question a low profile shoe is going to be lighter than a high top. But don’t get hung up on this, all of the shoes we’ve recommended will feel good and light on your feet and won’t slow you down.
PERSONAL PREFERENCES TO CONSIDER:
The following considerations are up to you based on your personal preferences. We’ve covered this information in our reviews but how much emphasis you place on this criteria is completely your call. Again, it’s important to feel good when you put on your shoes and sometime that comes down to just wanting a specific player, brand, or colour.
- Style and Colour: Sometimes a shoe can seem perfect, even made by your favourite player, but you just don’t like the look. That’s perfectly fine! And sometimes the opposite happens, a shoe may not tick every box for you but you fall in love with the colours or the style. The number one factor for playing well is feeling good when you step on the court, so make sure whatever pair you choose looks and feels the right way.
- Player Endorsed or Generic: Some people will only buy shoes from their favourite player, others go out of their way to find shoes that are generic like the Nike Zoom. Whatever your preference, don’t get overly focused on just one player, sometimes their signature shoe just doesn’t work for your tastes.
- Brands: If you love Nike or Adidas and just want shoes from that brand, you’ll be able to find something that works for you. If brands are not that important to you, be sure to check the Li Ning and Beita shoes we reviewed. They are lower priced but still have high ratings for durability and fit.
Primary Factors When Designing Basketball Shoes:
- Material: The material will range in quality from less expensive microfibers and mesh to premium leather. While leather is the most durable of these materials we’ve made sure that any non-leather shoes we’ve recommended don’t sacrifice durability or strength.
- Profile Height: Basketball shoes range in style from high tops to low profile shoes that go no higher on your ankle than a regular running shoe. We’ve presented the best of both options in our top 12. Even if you’re looking for strong ankle support you can still buy basketball shoes with low profile and wear a secondary ankle brace. Steph Curry is a perfect example of this – he wears ankle braces with his low top signature shoes.