Best Traction Basketball Shoes [2020 Review]

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

Are you looking for the best traction basketball shoes in the market? Stress no more, though every basketball shoe has traction, some are better than others. We understand getting the right one can be tacky, that’s why we did all the research for you.

Our Top Traction Basketball Shoes

To come up with this list we are about to discuss today, we conducted thorough research. In addition to that, we tested the shoes and read a lot of customer reviews. Towards the end of this guide, we will give you insights on what to consider when buying a pair of such.

Brand
Best Overall
Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 7
Best for the Money
Nike Kyrie 3
Best Cheap Pick
Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost
Product
adidas Men's Shoes | D Rose 7 Basketball,...
Nike Kyrie 3 Basketball Shoes Kyrie Irving Mens...
adidas Men's Shoes | Crazylight Boost Low...
Material
100% Synthetic
synthetic and rubber
100% Textile and synthetic
Size
7.5 -14
10
8 - 16
Rating
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 7
Product
adidas Men's Shoes | D Rose 7 Basketball,...
Material
100% Synthetic
Size
7.5 -14
Rating
Best for the Money
Brand
Nike Kyrie 3
Product
Nike Kyrie 3 Basketball Shoes Kyrie Irving Mens...
Material
synthetic and rubber
Size
10
Rating
-
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost
Product
adidas Men's Shoes | Crazylight Boost Low...
Material
100% Textile and synthetic
Size
8 - 16
Rating
-

Best Traction Basketball Shoes Overall: Adidas Performance Men’s D Rose 7

adidas Men's Shoes | D Rose 7 Basketball,...

Our top pick is this new pair from Derrick Rose signature line. The Adidas D Rose 7 is a high-performance basketball shoe designed to enable swift direction change and stop on a dime. Inspired by the legendary player, these shoes offer you the maximum grip Derrick Rose expects on their shoes as he sharply cuts sideways.

When it comes to traction, these shoes have thick rubber and herringbone traversing in all directions, inspired by the Great Chicago Fire. As a result, they have an unmatched grip that makes them work both indoors and outdoors. They don’t attract any dust either.

The pair has a length Boost cushion that enhances comfort and provides impact protection. The outsole consists of thick rubber which makes them very durable. You get excellent performance without having to sacrifice your comfortability.

Moreover, they’re very supportive with a stable base from the outrigger, torsional, spring plate, and lockdown wings. The engineered mesh and synthetic upper has synthetic overlays which add strategic support on top of enabling breathability.

For ankle support, the collar is padded. While some people might find it bulky and limiting, heavier players find this perfect and very helpful. Compared to the other three pairs on this list, it is the most expensive. 

If you have wide feet, assure you try this pair on before you buy it. D Rose 7 runs narrow. Luckily, you might get a number that fits perfectly. That will give you awesome foot lockdown and make sliding on the court a thing of the past.

Features

  • 100% Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 5″ from arch
  • boost’s energy-returning cushion
  • Engineered mesh and synthetic upper 
  • Synthetic overlays
  • Molded collar offers  
  • Minimalist and lightweight design
  • Premium D-Rose signature details
  • Rubber outsole 

What We Like

  • Exceptional grip for both indoors and outdoors
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Very supportive and durable
  • Solid lockdown
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Great design

What We Don’t Like

  • Runs narrow
adidas Men's Shoes | D Rose 7 Basketball,...
  • boost is our most responsive cushioning ever: The more energy you give, the more you get
  • Engineered mesh and synthetic upper provides maximum breathability; Synthetic overlays for strategic...
  • Lightweight design

Best Traction Basketball Shoes for the Money: Nike Kyrie 3

Nike Kyrie 3 Basketball Shoes Kyrie Irving Mens...

This list would not be complete without some Nike sneakers. We went for Nike Kyrie 3, a recent model of Kyrie Irving’s signature line. If the D Rose 7 sound great yet they’re a little too much for your pocket, these are another great choice. They offer an astounding grip for crazy cuts. 

Kyrie 3 uses advanced herringbone traction technology. The traction pattern is among the best ever and barely fails, especially on the court. This traction pattern is on the whole outsole together with two multidirectional pods in the forefoot. The pods help the player with grip when changing directions

This pair has a Zoom Air cushion only in the heel. This translates to minimal cushioning hence if you have back or knee issues, it might not be the best pick. Also, if you love your basketball shoes well-cushioned, consider another option like the Crazy Explosive.

These shoes have a well-padded collar. This offers great support to the ankle and it doesn’t limit movement because it easily contours. This combined with the rounded sole makes the foot comfortable. The shoe has a lace closure system that enhances foot lockdown.

Across the top of the shoe is that a strong, stretchy band flexes with your foot for support during quick cuts and sprints. It also boasts of Flywire technology which makes it very supportive and ultra-light. Finally, you also get over 20 colors to choose from.

Features

  • 100% Authentic.
  • Rubber outsole
  • Herringbone traction design
  • synthetic-and-rubber
  • two multidirectional pods
  • The rounded sole 
  • Fly wire technology
  • Lace closure system

What We Like

  • Amazing grip
  • Excellent ankle support
  • Very comfortable
  • Breathable and ultrahigh
  • High quality
  • Good foot lockdown
  • Stylish design
  • Numerous colors to choose from

What We Don’t Like

  • Runs narrow
  • A bit tough to break in
Nike Kyrie 3 Basketball Shoes Kyrie Irving Mens...
  • The rounded sole and extra traction along the edges of the shoe let you play at any angle. Two pods...
  • Across the top of the shoe, a strong, stretchy band flexes with your foot for support during quick...
  • Flywire technology?ultralight, super strong cables that integrate with the laces?adds even more...

Best Cheap Traction Basketball Shoes: Adidas Performance Men’s Crazylight Boost

adidas Men's Shoes | Crazylight Boost Low...

Considering the efforts Adidas has put on traction technology, it is no surprise Adidas Crazylight Boost are here too. These basketball shoes are great for performance and comfort. These shoes are ideal for power players, fast players and all-around players. 

When it comes to traction, the shoes feature Power Coral Traction. Inspired by the coral leaf, many people can describe this technology as a topography map. On that note, the shoes have a very strong grip that helps players to stop on a dime and go in any direction.

The Crazy Explosive boasts off full-length Boost cushioning. This provides all the comfort your feet need. It also acts as a shock absorber, therefore, offers impeccable impact protection. The best part is the energy-returning feel with every step.

The shoes have a stylish silhouette. The upper consists of Jacquard synthetic and textile while the inner lining consists of textile only.  Although the upper’s material is quite thick, it is breathable hence your feet will not sweat and receive enough support.

The outsole consists of continental rubber, when a player cuts, it capes around the midsole for traction and stability. The pair has an updated anatomical lacing system. This is to minimize breakage as it was with the previous design. 

This also relieves pressure off your feet caused by laces. Hence they have exemplary foot lockdown and offer extra comfort. The Crazylight Boost shoes give you the same comfort as D Rose 7 though the cheapest.

Finally, these shoes come in a variety of colors you can choose from. As long as you play with it indoors, this Adidas low-tops will serve you a long way.

Features

  • 100% textile and synthetic
  • Power Coral Traction technology
  • Full-length Boost cushioning
  • Jacquard synthetic and textile upper 
  • Molded heel collar piece 
  • Continental Rubber outsole 

What We Like

  • Excellent grip and stability
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Responsive midsole
  • Heel cap
  • Great foot lockdown
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Available in many colors
  • stylish

What We Don’t Like

  • Not suitable for outdoors
  • Little ankle support
adidas Men's Shoes | Crazylight Boost Low...
  • boost's energy-returning properties keep every step charged with an endless supply of light, fast...
  • Jacquard synthetic and textile upper for ultimate comfort
  • Molded heel collar piece for perfect fit

Best Lightweight Traction Basketball Shoes: Under Armour Curry 3

Under Armour Curry 3Zer0 (Black/White, Size 9 D(M)...

Are you looking for an ultra-lightweight basketball shoe that gives you total control and exemplary support? Under Armour Men’s Curry 3 is the one for you. Another great piece from Stephen Curry, they’re cheaper than D Rose 7 and Nike Kyrie 3 and almost the same price as our best cheap option.

For traction, it uses the herringbone pattern which has a pivot point in the forefoot, thin grooves, and a hard rubber compound. If you do Stephen Curry’s step backs, jab steps, and v-cuts, these shoes give you amazing traction to keep you stable.

The rubber outsole attracts a lot of dust, therefore, requires frequent wiping. Failure to that, a player will experience slippages. For cushioning, the shoes have a charged system. This is because Stephen prefers no bounce in his shoes. It does not have much responsiveness either.

If you change direction frequently on the court, this is a great choice for you. On the other hand, if you do dunks or have knee problems, consider going for a pair with better shock absorbers. The fit on this pair is true to size though you can also buy half a size down for a snug fit.

The shoe features carbon fiber wings on the heel. These protect the ankle in addition to providing ultra-lightweight support. The collar is also padded with anafoam for extra ankle support. The lacing system runs all the way up.

You can wear these shoes both on the court and out in the streets. It might not be a good idea though if it’s very hot. This is because the threadborne upper is not breathable hence you end up with sweaty feet. Ultimately, every feature of this pair points out it is best suited for a guard. 

Features

  • Ortholite insole
  • Thread borne upper
  • Anafoam padded collar
  • Dynamic midsole frame
  • Rubber outsole
  • Herringbone traction system
  • Charged cushioning

What We Like

  • Superb grip
  • Good ankle support
  • More natural feeling cushioning
  • Commendable foot lockdown
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Stylish design
  • Interesting color combos

What We Don’t Like

  • Lack of impact protection
  • Not so breathable
  • Not a great fit for wide feet

What To Consider When Buying Good Traction Basketball Shoes

Man dribbling basketball against two defenders

While we considered traction as the main determinant in this guide, there are other important features that you need to consider. These basic factors show if a shoe is durable and worth it, or if it is the best fit for you.

Traction

This is mandatory for any basketball shoe. As a result of the characteristic smooth flow of the hardwood, added to the high impact moves players do, the grip is essential.

Different brands have different competitive traction patterns that they use to give their shoes an added advantage.

For example, the shoes we discussed exhibit the herringbone traction system, great Chicago fire inspired traction system, and the power coral traction system.

Among all these, some are better performers than others. This is clearly evident when a player is on a dirty floor or outdoors.

Type of Player

Each basketball shoe is best for a certain type of player. Understanding which features goes with which player is paramount.

However, that begins from you knowing which player you are.

  • All-round Player: If you are an all-rounded player, you tend to look for the most traditional shoe type. Fortunately, most shoe designs are under this category. Therefore, go for shoes with relative cushioning and ankle support.
  • Fast Player: This type of player usually does for a lightweight, lower cut basketball shoe. If you are one, look for moderate support, cushioning, and flexibility. The aim is to keep you as light as possible so as to increase your speed.
  • Power Player: If you love to dunk or try any high impact stunts, you need a shoe that can withstand all the abuse. You also need to be kind to your body, protect your knees and feet and ankles. To achieve this, get a shoe with maximum cushioning and traction and support.

Cushioning

Just like traction patterns, cushions are versatile considering the brand making them. Whichever player you are, you need some degree of cushioning for your own good. Let’s take a look at some cushioning technologies used:

Man dribbling basketball against defender
  • Adidas Boost: Based on the theory of TPU compression. In Layman’s language, the amount of energy you exert on the sole is the same energy the TPU cells will give back. Hence termed as the ‘boost’.
  • Nike Zoom Air: Its cushioning is a combination of internal fibers with pressurized air. This results in a highly responsive spring back cushion.
  • Jordan FlightPlate: This technology enhances Nike Zoom Air by adding a flight plate. Its pressure against the Zoom bags helps create a new level of responsiveness and cushion.
  • Under Armour Charged Cushioning: This is the least bulky of all the cushions. It is a two-piece system that comprises a soft, plush layer of foam on top of a layer of thick, firmer foam.

Fit

A good basketball shoe has to fit correctly. The fit affects your comfortability and ultimately your performance. Two important things to check out are:

  • Thumb Space Clearance: To avoid your toes from rubbing the end of your basketball shoes, use the thumb space test. When you try a shoe on, stand up, and see where your toe is. Once you feel it, put your thumb on the shoe to see if it fits.
  • Broad Toe Box: Nobody wants ingrown toenails, blisters, or bruised toenails. This is as a result of causing pressure on your toes. To prevent that, get a shoe with a broad forefront to give your toes space.

Support

If the support is off, nothing else works. Basketball is a highly intensive sport with vigorous moves.

Your ankles and knees need to be adequately supported for you to achieve the stunts without getting hurt. Though no basketball shoe can totally prevent injuries.

High-cuts are the go-to shoes if you’re after maximum support. They limit ankle movements which turn out to be very protective.

Teenage boy testing if the traction in his basketball shoes are working

Ensure your shoe has enough cushioning, as we have mentioned above. A combination of good ankle support and shock absorption is the ultimate solution.

Style

While style is not as important as functionality, we still consider it. You don’t have to put up with a shoe you don’t like just because it has the right features. We believe there are shoes that cut across both fashion and function to give you a masterpiece.

First, don’t consider style before purpose. While a pair of shoes might look good, they won’t always feel comfortable on your feet. Second, while brands and athlete endorsements are enticing, let them not distract you. Lastly, if you love your style, get two different shoes for on and off the court.

Conclusion

We hope you found this guide on the best traction basketball shoes insightful. Remember to carefully assess every option to settle for the one that suits you best. Also, keep in mind the factors to consider and discover which player you are if you haven’t yet.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.