Basketball is one of the most popular sports in Australia, being played by thousands of men, women, boys and girls across every state in the country.
Like most sports, having the right gear is key to enjoying a good game of ball. And the most important piece of gear in your basketball kit is your shoes.
Read on as we take a deep dive into the world of basketball shoes. After the summary table below, we will discuss the important considerations you need to make when choosing your shoes, followed by detailed reviews of our top 5 picks.
Adidas Harden Vol. 3
These are the shoes James Harden wore to win MVP in 2018.
Utilising Adidas Boost technology, these shoes are both explosive and responsive, while remaining laterally stable thanks to the integrated synthetic overlay and webbing system. Further, a knit upper provides superior comfort while not sacrificing durability.
But where the Harden 3 really shines is in it’s court traction. The outsole of this shoe is covered in a traditional herringbone-patterned traction, providing some of the best grip on the market. On a dusty surface, however, performance is reduced.
Overall, wearers of the Harden 3 love it because it perfectly balances everything they want from a basketball shoe. It combines comfort, performance, stability, and durability, in a way that just works.
- Great traction
- Boost cushioning
- Comfortable knit upper
- Advanced acceleration
- Traction not as great on dusty courts
Under Armour Curry 6
The newest shoe on this list, the Curry 6 represents the culmination of everything achieved up to this point in the Curry Signature series.
Receiving rave reviews from all who try it, this is likely to be the hottest shoe of 2019.
The Curry 6 includes Under Armour’s proprietary midsole technology HOVR. This is a big deal. Originally developed for use in UA’s running shoes, HOVR provides a zero gravity feel and superior energy return.
The HOVR foam absorbs and eliminates impact and is designed to return as much energy as you put into each movement. This is what contributes to the Curry 6 being one of the most responsive shoes on the market.
Traction is very good thanks to a unique combination of spiral and dotted patterns combined with flex-groves to maximise feel and control, designed specifically for Steph Curry’s playing style.
Stability and support are excellent thanks to an external heel counter and a full length compression fit with integrated lacing.
- HOVR technology
- Amazing traction
- Super stable and responsive
- Expensive for Under Armour
Under Armour HOVR Havoc Low
Under Armour appear to be going from strength to strength in terms of their basketball shoes, and the HOVR Havoc represents one of their most popular offerings.
An EVA sock liner provides underfoot cushioning and support while the mesh and synthetic outer remains durable and breathable.
Like the Curry 6, the Havoc features HOVR technology, meaning you get maximum return from your movement and energy expenditure.
While it may take a while to break in, expect to reap the rewards over time from the integration of HOVR into this shoe.
Traction and stability are the name of the game here. Synthetic overlays lock in your mid foot, while integrated lacing zones provide support across the shoe, and an external TPU heel counter locks down your heel.
UA shoes are famous for their traction and in the Havoc Low the rubber outsole lives up to the reputation with an advanced herringbone pattern.
- Amazing traction
- HOVR technology
- Responsive and supporting
- Good for outdoors
- Can take some time to break in
Nike Lebron 16 Review
For those who want serious cushioning, look no further than the Lebron 16.
Integrating Nike’s trademark Zoom Air into the midsole, these shoes excel when it comes to impact cushioning and comfort. Lateral outriggers improve the support from previous models, while a tongue and lace design locks down your foot.
Amazing traction is another strong point here, with a chunky spiral pattern meaning even dust is unlikely to cause you problems. It’s also perfectly at home on an outdoor court.
To top it off, a flyknit upper makes these some of the most comfortable shoes on the market.
For those of you set on a pair of Nike’s but if you’re looking for something closer to the ground and with less bounce, then check out the Jordan 33.
- Massive cushioning
- Zoom Air midsole
- Lateral outriggers improve support
- Great traction
- Not as responsive as other options
#5 Adidas Marquee Boost Review
Great for players who like a bit of ankle support, the Marquee Boost is modelled on the basketball boot of the past but incorporating all the modern technology.
The signature shoe of John Wall, these shoes are designed for speed and responsiveness. A soft, Boost cushioned heel ensures comfort and heel impact protection.
A herringbone patterned outsole provides excellent traction and should hold up OK with some outdoor play.
- Very responsive midsole thanks to Boost integration
- Good heel cushioning
- Ankle collar not for everyone
How To Choose The Perfect Basketball Shoes
Firstly, note that there is no single best basketball shoe. Each shoe has strengths and weaknesses and is designed for a different type of player.
The key is to understand what you need from a shoe and the evaluate your alternatives.
With that said, read on as we look at exactly what you should look out for in a basketball shoe.
Size, Weight And Position
Are you a forward, a guard, or a centre? Are you 6.5 foot and 100kg, or 5.8 foot and 70kg? What is your playing style?
Ask yourself these questions and use this to help you decide what attributes you want from a shoe.
Big players such as power forwards will usually prioritise cushioning and support. Their shoes will often also have a chunkier traction pattern.
Guards on the other hand may want a shoe closer to the floor and one that provides superior speed and responsiveness.
With these things in mind, let’s look at the three key attributes you want to prioritise when choosing your shoes:
Traction can be a complicated topic. Depending on the court surface and your playing style, shoes will perform differently for each person. Also note that if you play on dusty surfaces, shoes with tightly designed traction patterns will need wiping frequently.
For players quick on their feet it’s hard to wrong with one of the options from Under Armour like the Havoc or Curry 6.
Bigger players will appreciate the grip offered by anything in Nike’s Lebron signature range.
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2. Stability And Support
To maximise support and stability, the first thing you want to do is ensure you are wearing shoes that fit you well. Basketball shoes should feel snug but not tight and there shouldn’t be any pressure points between your foot and the shoe’s inner.
High and mid height basketball shoes can be a great option for those prone to rolling their ankles, or simply feel more comfortable with the added protection.
Lateral support across the foot is essential and the top shoe companies are constantly coming up with new ways to improve this, such as with one piece lacing systems, or the lateral outriggers on the latest Lebron shoes.
Heel lock is another important factor in stability and can be achieved through a variety of methods.
A lot of players wear strapping or braces to support their ankles so this is something worth looking into if it’s a concern for you.
Cushioning is important for all players however it really becomes essential for bigger players who need impact protection.
Others who will want to prioritise cushioning are those who suffer from knee pain or shin splints.
Lighter, faster players, may want to forgo some cushioning in favour of responsiveness.
The key here is to understand the technology used by each manufacturer (Zoom Air, Boost, HOVR) and how it has been applied in the shoe you are looking at.