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Outplay your opponents with the best traction basketball shoes ever released!
Basketball is all about complex footwork and sudden, quick moves. It’s precisely why pro athletes always pick the best traction basketball shoes for their most important games.
Kevin Durant once said that “traction plays a huge role in the performance quality of a shoe” and even stated that “it can make a big difference in my game”. The word of an NBA MVP winner on the best traction basketball shoes is supreme, but it’s also backed by science and data.
The best traction basketball shoes help you maintain your balance as you accelerate, cut, or cross over during the game. They rely on two main factors: surface type and design pattern.
Surface type refers to what kind of court you usually play in. You got your high-polished maple hardwood on college and pro courts, your typical elementary composite rubber court, and the blacktop outdoor courts for pickup games. The best traction basketball shoes provide balance and stability on a wide variety of courts. Still, specific models tend to be more durable on outdoor courts because of their outsole design pattern.
The outsole design pattern is self-explanatory. The best clothing brands have conducted experiments to create the best traction basketball shoes throughout the years, and they’ve found that outsole design is a critical factor. The herringbone pattern has become the standard because it fits the multidirectional footwork and other basketball fundamentals that the game is built on.
With these two key factors in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best traction basketball shoes. These top-performing models keep players quick and injury-free regardless of their court of choice!
The Nike Kobe 6 Protro
The Nike Kobe 6 is, without question, one of the best traction basketball shoes ever made. The Kobe 6 is considered one of the best Kobe shoes because of its next-level traction and soft cushioning. But, it’s also considered a fashion item for many sneakerheads out there. It’s fair to say that this model has everything a basketball player could need.
The Kobe 6 is also one of the best traction basketball shoes because it was specifically designed to fit Kobe’s sticky footwork. The Mamba was known for its explosive multidirectional moves and hard stops to confuse opponents, and Nike involved him in designing and creating this superb model.
The LeBron Soldier 13
The LeBron Soldier 13 is one of the best traction basketball shoes for heavier players. The Soldier 13 is also considered one of the best LeBron shoes because of its exceptional cushioning, grippy outsole, and affordable price tag.
The durable rubber outsole comes with a state-of-the-art herringbone traction pattern that provides grip and stability on any court. It’s also considered one of the best traction basketball shoes for players needing extra support and stability around the ankle and midfoot due to the dual dynamic strap closure. This powerful combination maximizes court feel and minimizes injuries, making it one of the best affordable basketball shoes out there.
The Adidas Harden Stepback
The enhanced stability and containment around the feet, terrific cushioning, and grippy outsole make the Harden Stepback one of the best traction basketball shoes out there.
The Adidas Harden is universally considered one of the best Adidas basketball shoes because of its cushioned midsole flex and patented Supergrip rubber outsole combination. While these stylish shoes have seen their fair share of games in NBA hardwood courts, they’re exceptionally powerful in rigid blacktop surfaces and outdoor courts.
The durable Supergrip outsole delivers traction on any surface, and its ergonomic lacing system keeps your feet safe and comfortable throughout the game, making it a top-tier choice for any athlete.
The Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0
The Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 are not only top-tier running shoes; they’re also one of the best traction basketball shoes out there!
While the Ultra Boost 4.0 is known for having the best Ultraboost colorways ever released, these fashionable sneakers are surprisingly good on hardwood and blacktop courts.
Let’s be real: if you’re playing a pickup game during the weekend or after classes, chances are you won’t have a spotless surface to play on. Dust build-up and other unstable surfaces can put a serious dent in your performance, and it’s where these super stylish and highly versatile running shoes help you even the odds.
The precision-made Adidas Primeknit and Ortholite sock liner provide the perfect amount of stretch and mobility that athletes need on the court. If you’re the kind of player that relies on explosive movement and speed above all else, then the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 is a top pick.
Throughout the Ultra Boost series, one component has remained untouched: the super grippy Continental rubber outsole. This tried-and-true outsole alone makes the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 one of the best traction basketball shoes out there because of its versatility. These sneakers are designed to keep you stable and quick on roads, paved surfaces, composite rubber, and even slippery hardwood surfaces.
The Jordan One Take II Basketball Shoes
The Jordan One Take 2 is one of the best traction basketball shoes for aggressive, fast-thinking players. These lightweight basketball shoes combine stunning aesthetic details and a soft-to-the-touch upper with a carefully engineered outsole to give you the best indoor court experience.
You can make quicker cuts, sharper turns, and sudden breaks without compromising your feet cushioning, thanks to the One Take 2’s layered outsole and strategically positioned air units. The herringbone-patterned sections beneath your toe line provide the grip you need to dribble and break ankles with ease.
You’ll notice that these top basketball shoes have a top-loaded Zoom Air unit above the outsole herringbone pattern, providing superior responsiveness every time you jump. Plus, their highly responsive heel support mitigates after jump impacts so you can fight for successive rebounds more comfortably (and more effectively!).
Air Jordan 4 Retro Basketball Shoes
The Air Jordan 4 are counted amongst the best shoes for basketball due to their superb traction, enhanced breathability, and compact design.
These lightweight basketball shoes have a durable rubber outsole that provides traction on any surface. The multidirectional herringbone pattern on the Air Jordan 4 outsole increases on-court grip extremely well, adapting to the kind of footwork needed for accelerating, cutting, and crossing over throughout heated matches.
Above their trusty rubber outsoles, the Air Jordan 4 Retro upper features a combination of full-grain and synthetic leather that offers increased breathability and durability. Mesh-filled cutouts enhance heat dissipation across your feet bridge area, allowing you to stay cool and odor-free during high-octane matches.
Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that the Air Jordan 4 were first issued to honor Mike’s iconic shot to beat the Cavaliers during the 1989 playoffs. Since then, these light basketball shoes have become a streetwear staple that’s hard to outclass even today.
Nike Kyrie 1 Basketball Shoes
The Nike Kyrie 1 is also counted amongst the best traction basketball shoes made by Nike over the last decade, thanks to the brand’s highly effective herringbone traction pattern.
The Kyrie 1 is perfect for basketball players that love to get mileage out of their sneakers even outside the court. These low-cut basketball shoes merge Phylon midsoles and Zoom Air units at the forefoot to withstand complex footwork, sudden stops, and high jumps as you transition between offense and defense.
The key to these lightweight basketball shoes design lies in their outsoles’ full-length diagonal herringbone traction pattern. This pattern is scientifically proven to offer next-level traction for quick cuts and crosses regardless of the surface of choice and is now a standard in top-level play.
Furthermore, the Kyrie 1 is equipped with a carbon fiber plate that returns energy on jumps and dashes better than any other model. The Kyrie 1 also comes with a mesh upper reinforced with Hyperfuse for increased breathability and a neoprene underlay for a comfortable fit.
Under Armour Flow FUTR X Basketball Shoes
UA Flow FUTR X is hands down one of the best traction basketball shoes created by Under Armour. These lightweight basketball shoes come forth as the fully upgraded version of the Under Armour Micro G Bloodlines released by this brand almost ten years ago.
The FUTR X resurfaces the iconic black, white, and red colorway, distinguishing itself from other basketball kicks with a classic color mix full of sharp contrasts. Plus, this original design includes performance features such as a trusty containment strap, giving you a perfect locked-in fit that keeps your foot in place through intense sprints and cuts.
What’s more, these lightweight basketball shoes are completely rubber-free as their midsole and outsole are part of a single foam piece, providing a bouncy feel without the need for added materials. The FUTR X unmatched energy transferring capability and its sole’s geometric pattern make its indoor and outdoor grip phenomenal. The FUTR X is a fantastic choice for players who wish to push their bodies to the limits and stay injury-free.
It’s safe to say that the best traction basketball shoes will take your performance to the next level. We’ve reviewed over 152 of the best men’s basketball shoes out there and found that while many offer some incredibly aesthetic colorways options, only a handful offer the traction and grip that you’ll need on the court.
While we picked these lightweight basketball shoes for what they can do for your game, you’ll be happy to know that many of our top picks have been featured on some of the best fashion websites for men as well. Each model represents the perfect balance between performance and style to guarantee you get plenty of mileage out of these shoes even outside the court!