Best Basketball Shoes of 2018 – With Detailed Performance Reviews

Posted on Posted in Product Review

Brand new year so you know it’s time to check out the latest basketball kicks to drop, especially if you’re a fellow hooper.

When it comes down to picking the right basketball shoe, it doesn’t matter how flashy they are or how much they cost. The only thing that matters is how comfortable they are to YOU.

It is pointless to have some crazy highlighter shoes or shoes that cost hundreds of dollars if it feels like your playing on needles every time you hoop in them. I see it happen all the time in basketball games.

Players would warm-up in these flashy or expensive shoes just so that they can stand-out to the crowd. But by halftime they done switched them shoes out for some more comfortable ones because the discomfort was starting to hurt their performance on the court. It even happens in the NBA.

So here is a detailed list of the Best Basketball Shoes of 2018 that are currently available right now. The list is in no particular order, it is just some of the best performers and highly rated basketball shoes that have been released this year.

Alright enough talking, lets dig right into it.

 

Adidas Dame 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traction

The Adidas Dame 4 features some of the strangest looking traction patterns you’ll ever come across, but I tell you this, it ABSOLUTELY gets the job done. I mean the traction isn’t nothing to go crazy about, but it produces results. Very good results at that.

What makes the traction pattern so effective is that the little grooves on the bottom of the shoe are defined and widely spaced apart which makes it harder for dust to get trapped inside them.

There are a few sections where the grooves are a bit dull and can cause minor slippage on the court. But all you have to do is wipe the sole real quick and you are good to go.

Plus, it’s not like your constantly whipping the bottom of shoe. Just a few times throughout the game and that’s it.

Score: 4.7 out of 5.0

Cushion

 

When it comes to the cushion of the Dame 4, the traditional Bounce cushion is used, and it is implemented throughout the entire shoe.

However, the Bounce cushion used on this shoe feels more closer to the ground than previous Damian Lillard signature shoes which in turns provides the player with more court-feel.

The way they have the it setup is that they give you more cushion in the heel area for impact protection and more of a responsiveness feel in the forefoot area. Providing you with a quick and explosive first step to blow right pass your defender for the easy bucket.

Basically, if your a basketball player that relies on their speed and athleticism to make plays, your going to LOVE this shoe.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Materials

The materials in these bad boys has to be one of the biggest selling points of the shoe.

The Dame 4’s uses the mesh material which gives your feet airflow. You won’t sweat through your socks or feel like your feet is on fire while playing in these. Plus, the mesh material requires little to none break-in time.

So once you lace up the shoe, you are ready to start serving out buckets. The tongue, collar, and heel area features this compression type of material which feels AWESOME (considering you like a secure fit type of shoe when playing basketball like me.)

It has your feet wrapped up like a burrito. Can’t get no better than that, right?

Score: 5.0 out of 5.o

Fit

As far as fit goes, I recommend going true-to-size. So if you wear a size 10, get that size 10.

The lock-down on these shoes is GREAT due to the compression material I mentioned earlier. You can actually feel the suction on your foot and you know your not going anywhere. It’s not a suffocating type of compression either.

It is similar to how you would wear compression tights or sleeve but for your feet. Pretty cool right? I know.

With the lacing system, you don’t even have to tighten them all that much because the materials bring so much to the table. Once you have them laced up, it almost feels like a one-to-one fit.

Score: 4.9 out of 5.0

Support

The support aspect of this shoe is SOLID. Your feet sits into the mid-sole of the shoe and it cradles you while your playing. This is great for lateral movements such as playing defense or coming off of screens.

It doesn’t ever feel like your going to slip over the foot-bed which causes ankle injuries and nobody wants that. The overall fit mixed in with the lacing system and compression material just makes the support that much more better and effective.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Overall

Damian Lillard and team Adidas took everything that was great about the Dame 3 signature shoe and just made it even better. I literally have no complaints with this shoe. It is a fun shoe to play in and most definitely on of my go-to shoes to hoop in.

They provide a variety of color ways for this shoe which is good to have so you won’t see to many players wearing the same color shoes.

Plus, you don’t got to break the bank trying to buy these which is super important. So if you are that quick and explosive type of player that is always on their toes, this shoe will fit right into your playing style.

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Harden Vol 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traction

The traction pattern on the Harden Vol 2 was based off of pressure mapping Harden actual footwork while actually playing basketball.

However the performance of it wasn’t as impressive as it looks. It is sections on the traction pattern where it is really tightly spaced and just didn’t compete very well with the dust from the court.

So you’re constantly wiping at the sole of your shoe which can get very annoying and distracting after a while. And this was a real step down Harden signature shoes because the Harden Vol 1 basketball shoe had no problem whatsoever sticking to the court.

On a positive note, the rubber is super thick and durable, so it would hold its own on outside courts.

Score: 4.2 out of 5.0

Cushion

Just like the Harden Vol 1, the Boost cushion makes a comeback on the Vol 2.

This time around the cushion is super thick and is implemented throughout the entire shoe. You can actually see how thick the cushion is from the outside of the shoe, but it doesn’t feel as if your elevated off the floor though.

I don’t have a clue on how the designers made that happen, but its cool and feels GREAT.

This type of setup offers you a ton of impact protection and absorption from when your jumping and running. If you like your basketball shoes with a lot of impact protection fused in with a some court feel, these guys will make your day.

Score: 4.6 out of 5.0

Materials

The Harden Vol 2 uses a combination of materials with textile in the front and synthetics in the back.

The good thing about the textile material is that it doesn’t require no break in time and your ready to go as soon as you lace up.  There is additional stitching layered on top of the textile material to prevent it from over-stretching or getting torn.

And I can say that it works like a charm, don’t understand why their isn’t more basketball shoes implementing this method.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Fit

I recommend going true-to-size with the Harden Vol 2 because they have a narrow fit.

It gives you that secure and contained feeling while your playing basketball which I am a fan of. The side panels on the shoe works like a cage for your foot so the overall lock-down of the shoe is AWESOME.

Plus, the side panels come equip with multiple lacing options so you can choice which one works best for you. Also, there is a lot of padding in the heel area of the shoe which makes a nice cuff fit for your foot.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Support

While it may seem like your pretty high off the ground, you feel secure within the shoe at all times.

There is an internal heel counter in the back of the shoe as well as a huge rubber piece that you can see which makes for STRONG stability.

The lock-down and fit of the shoe just adds onto the overall support of the shoe. So you can definitely count on these shoes keeping you locked-in while you cooking on the basketball court.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Overall

The Harden Vol 2 did disappoint when it comes to the traction of the shoe, especially when the traction on the Harden Vol 1 was PHENOMENAL. But it made up for it with the with the exceptional fit and lock-down of the shoe.

In my opinion, these shoes can serve as both a solid indoor and outdoor basketball shoes. The rubber is just so thick and durable and the materials are built to last.

So you get the best of both worlds when it comes to the Harden Vol 2.

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Nike Lebron 15

Traction

The traction on the Lebron 15 are unique. You got a ton of little triangles spread out throughout the entire out-sole.

The triangles are really defined and aggressive which is GREAT because that allows the traction to actually stick to the court.

The grip that the out-sole provides is perfect when your running strictly forward and backward like when you running up and down the court. But there is minor slippage when you have to make lateral cuts like when your playing defense and truing to cut your opponent off.

I would not recommend using these outside because the rubber is real soft and you’ll end up popping the air units.

Score: 4.6 out of 5.0

Cushion

The cushion on these babies are AMAZING and is the selling point of the shoe.

Their integrated with the widely-known Max Zoom Air. If your a basketball player that loves a lot of cushion while playing, these are the shoes made for you. Almost feels like your playing on memory foam.

The only downside is that you are sacrificing court-feel and is definitely sitting up higher than you would in a guard shoe such as the Curry’s or the Harden’s.

But if you are the type of player that prioritizes cushion in a basketball shoe, you are not going to come across a shoe better than the Lebron 15.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Materials

The Lebron 15 solely features the fly-knit material and surprisingly, it is very durable.

One would think with this much fly-knit incorporated throughout the shoe, it would be torn up within months of playing in them. But no, the materials are built to last and requires no break in time whatsoever.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Fit

I would recommend going down half a size for these shoes because the fly-knit material will stretch over time. The overall lock-down of the shoe was surprisingly AWESOME.

The only real layout on the outside is the fly-wire lacing system, but it works great. Then all the other components really locked and positioned your heel into the back of the shoe making for a secure fit.

Score: 4.7 out of 5.0

Support

The overall support of the shoe is solid, but just doesn’t give enough lateral stability due to the large amount of cushion. The upper are was great for support, but the mid-sole area needed some more coverage laterally in my opinion.

Score: 4.5 out of 5.0

Overall

The Lebron 15 may look like a high-top shoe, but plays more like a low which is really cool.

Like I said earlier, If you are a player that only looks for cushion in a basketball shoe, you are not going to fine one better than these. They are meant for the powerful player that uses their body weight to make plays on the basketball court like Lebron James.

While the designers could of added more lateral stability, the shoe will get the job done. Plus, these shoes will definitely give you some extra inches onto your height making you look and fell taller.

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5.0

 

Nike PG 2

Traction

The traction pattern on the PG 2 is very AGGRESSIVE so you know that means it sticks to the court.

The grooves are widely spaced so their is no opportunity for dust clogging up in between them. However, the rubber material on the out-sole is super soft which is great for indoor courts but would not hold up outdoor basketball courts.

Score: 4.9 out of 5.0

Cushion

The cushion in the PG 2 is a big step up from the from the previous shoe, PG 1. They feature a MASSIVE Zoom Air unit in the forefoot area.

You can feel it with every step you take on the court giving you that ‘bouncy’ feeling while hooping. Like you just might dunk on a poor defender.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Materials

The materials on the PG 2 features suede on the rear panels and forefoot area to give it that stylish look and protect the mesh that lies underneath it.

The mesh material is very durable and their is no break-in time required. So once you lace the shoes up, your ready to go.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Fit

I recommend going true-to-size for the PG 2 and they work really well for players with wide feet.

They have adaptive fit straps in the lacing structure so that you can loosen or tighten up as needed. The lock-down from the front to the back is GREAT.

The lacing structure is setup to where once you tie these bad boys up, you are not coming out of them. The heel setup cuffs and secures your foot in an comfortable way which is rare.

Score: 4.9 out of 5.0

Support

 

The support on the PG 2’s is simple, but gets the job done and does it well.

The base of the shoe is structured to where it mimics the shape of your foot. The rear section of the shoe keeps your foot snugged in but doesn’t feel like its suffocating it which is AWESOME.

The internal heel counter could have been a little more firm but with the way everything wraps around your foot it really doesn’t matter.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Overall

The PG 2’s are a great all-around shoe. I really have no complaints or drawbacks when it comes to this shoe because they feel and look great. If your a fast-paced type of basketball player, always moving around on the court, these shoes will fit right into your game.

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5.0

Jordan Why Not Zer0.1

Traction

The traction on the Zer0. 1 is AWESOME to say the least. They will stick to the court like white on rice.

The pattern on the out-sole is made of a ton of tiny grooves. I recommend getting the solid rubber out-sole (as shown in the picture above) instead of the translucent because you will have enhanced traction. But the translucent out-sole gets the job done as well.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Cushion

The cushion featured on these bad boys is full length Zoom Air, but you don’t feel it as much as you would other shoes.

You feel more of the Zoom Air in the forefoot area but kind of disappears in the heel area of the shoe. This type of setup could work to your advantage if your always on the ball of your feet while playing basketball because it gives you faster reaction times.

So your first step will feel quicker and you would feel more ‘bouncy’ and explosive.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Materials

The designers of the Zer0. 1 keep the materials pretty simple, but could have done better.

This shoe is primarily plastic which can be a little uncomfortable at times and requires some break in time. Underneath the plastic you have mesh that wraps around your foot so nicely that you don’t even think about the plastic. The plastic material makes the shoe very durable.

So you don’t have to even worry about getting rips or tears in the shoe over time. This shoe is built to last.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Fit

The fit has to be the best aspect of this shoe. I recommend going true-to-size with Zer0. 1 because they are really tight and snug on your feet.

Once you slide your foot into these shoes, you instantly feel as if the shoe was created JUST FOR YOU. The way they squeeze and hug your feet, but not in a suffocating way is just a great feeling.

Score: 5.0 out of 5.0

Support

The support of the shoe just feeds off all the other aspects I previously mentioned.

The shoe really only bends at the forefoot, the rest of the shoe is just really strong and supportive which is how it supposed to be. This means that when you make an hard cut or change your pace on the court, your foot won’t slide over the foot-bed of the shoe.

If you have an history with ankle injuries, these babies got you covered due to the huge mid-sole and heavy-duty heel counter.

Score: 4.9 out of 5.0

Overall

The design team and Russell Westbrook have created an AWESOME shoe.

It requires some break in time but it is well worth it for the comfort, stability, and durability you get from this shoe.

It provides exceptional ankle support which is rare in basketball shoes nowadays. Plus, it is very affordable. Doesn’t costs you hundreds of dollars to get your hands on these babies.

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5.0

Nike Zoom Live

Traction

The traction pattern on the Zoom live is SOLID.

The traction pattern is multi-directional grooves and they are very aggressive so you know that you are sticking to the court once you step out in these.

I don’t recommend using these shoes outdoors because the grooves are very aggressive and the rubber is kind of soft so the concrete will just wear them down faster than you got them.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Cushion

The cushion on the Zoom Live is very simple and basic, but gets the job done and does a great job.

It features a Phylon mid-sole and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot area of the shoe. The Zoom Air unit is pretty thick so you can feel it as your playing basketball or just walking around in the shoe.

Usually with this type of setup, it makes the shoe uncomfortable to play in, but that is not the case with these shoes. They created the perfect blend of foam and cushion to make the Zoom Air unit feel natural while your playing.

Score: 4.5 out of 5.0

Materials 

The materials has to be the best part of the shoe. It features basic mesh and fuse in the forefoot area and nylon underneath to keep it sturdy. Nothing too fancy or anything we haven’t seen before.

The mesh and the fuse materials make the perfect duo because the mesh allows for flexibility and comfort while the Fuse is protecting the mesh from ripping or tearing away.

The materials just overall moves in sync with your foot. It doesn’t restrict you when your trying to cross your defender or rise up for the jump-shot.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Fit

I recommend going true to size for the Zoom Live. If you know you have a wide foot, I suggest that you go up half a size for a more comfortable fit.

The lockdown of the shoe is SECURE and does its job by preventing your foot from sliding off the foot-bed of the shoe.

The strap on the shoe provides extra security and stability if you need it. So once you lace them up, they are staying on your feet.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Support

The support of the shoe is SOLID. The shoe has a wide base which promotes stability and lowers the risk of you rolling your ankle.

Your foot sits perfectly in the mid-sole. You don’t sit to high or sink to low in the midsole, just right in the middle where you need to be.

The internal heel counter is huge so it keeps your foot snugged and positioned on the foot-bed. Although they appear to be a low-top shoe, the support you get from them makes them feel more like a mid or high-top shoe.

Score: 4.8 0ut of 5.0

Overall

The design team at Nike did a great job when creating this shoe.

While it may seem like your basic and average basketball shoe, it beats out some of the more expensive and popular basketball shoes out on the market today.

Plus, you don’t have to break the bank trying to get some of these. If your a basketball player looking for a shoe that is affordable and high quality, this is the shoe for you.

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Nike LeBron 15 Low

Traction

The traction on the Lebron 15 Low is very TACKY.

They feature an aggressive diamond pattern in a circular motion which has you covered both laterally and linearly. Their is minor slippage right in the ball of the foot due to the high arc of the shoe. It isn’t anything major that would make you not want to play in the shoe.

The high arc of the shoe provides you with a smooth transition into your jumping motion when your shooting a jump shot, grabbing a rebound, whatever the case may be.

Score: 4.7 out of 5.0

Cushion

You got the best of both worlds in cushion on the Lebron 15 Low with an Air Max unit in the heel area and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot area.

You can feel the springy bounce with every step you take. The Zoom Air unit in the forefoot isn’t super thick like on past Lebron’s signature shoes. This gives you the perfect mixture of court-feel and cushion.

This type of setup is great for guards and post players which is the case for Lebron because he is a big player and can play all 5 positions on the court.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Materials

The designers of the Lebron 15 Low keep it simple and solely feature the battle-knit upper. The battle-knit is very comfortable and flexible which are key components when it comes to the materials of a shoe.

These shoes are very easy to put on due to the stretch of the battle-knit. It’s literally like putting on a sock and you are good to go.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Fit

I recommend going true to size on the Lebron 15 Low. It provides you with a little bit of extra room in the forefoot area. So if you like your shoes to feel snugged or you have a narrow feet, I suggest you go down half a size.

The lock-down is SECURE on these babies. The lacing system just secures your foot into the bed of the shoe and the heel area of the shoe just sucks it all in together which makes for a great fit.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Support

The support of the Lebron 15 Low id very solid. They include an wide base which stabilizes and protects you from rolling your ankle which we all know is the worst.

The internal heel counter and the lacing system just ties everything in together making for great comfort and support while your getting buckets in these shoes.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

Overall

The Lebron 15 Low is a great shoe with an stylish look. I would prefer these over the Lebron 15 Mid that I previously reviewed earlier in the article. They are just a lot more stable and provide more court feel without sacrificing too much cushion.

The designers at Nike and Lebron just made a well-balanced shoe that works for all types of basketball players.

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

The Bottom Line

These are the Best Basketball Shoes of 2018 in my opinion and I guarantee you can’t go wrong with any of them. When it comes to finding out which basketball shoe is best for you, choose the ones that are comfortable for you and suits your playing style.

If your explosive type of basketball player, I suggest you look into the Adidas Dame 4. Or if you a more stocky player, I suggest you look into the Lebron 15 Lows. But get the shoe that works for you.

Remember, these shoes don’t magically bless you basketball skills, you still have to put in the work for that. And your on the right website to take your skills to the NEXT LEVEL.

Check out my article on the best skills workout to do this off-season

I hope you enjoyed this article and encourage you to share it with others. If you have any questions or want to share some of your favorite shoes, leave an comment below. I would love to hear.

 

 

12 thoughts on “Best Basketball Shoes of 2018 – With Detailed Performance Reviews

  1. To be honest, I’m not a big shoe guy. If the shoe fits, and isn’t particularly ugly, I’ll wear it. However, I’m just now getting back on the court and this review is really helpful. It just sucks how there are so many good shoes on the market with only subtle differences between them.

    I am partial to the Harden’s because I am from Houston (Go Rockets!). I’ll probably have to grab a pair of those.

  2. Very informative! I really like all the choices that you give and I see the ratings but it still leads me to a question. I have really bad feet. Standing still actually hurts more than playing basketball, dancing even walking, but I need comfort. What would you recommend for the highest level of comfort?

    1. I would recommend that you look into getting some insoles. You might need a little more cushion for your daily activities. 

  3. Hi I just visited your Next Level Hoops Post and the content on it is very good as well as the images you have..I was wondering i do a lot of walking and some jogging..what shoe would you recommend? ..thanks and the rest of the site looks really good..keep it up 🙂

    1. Well you could walk and jog in any of these basketball shoes. But I would recommend getting a shoe that are designed for walking.

  4. I like Nike brand and I have a lot of products coming from Nike. Among those shoes you recommend, Nike PG2 is the one I will choose because of its bouncy feeling. Its material is also the reason I like as it give you a stylish look.
    Before reading your article, I am not aware of this site EastBay offering such a good price for basketball shoes.
    Thanks for this information and I know now where to get my shoes.

  5. I have learned a lot of people only look at a small fraction of what is need to make a great shoe work. For me, everything you listed is extremely important- but I would like to add the weight of the shoes. You see this advertised in marathon and soccer, but basketball shoe weight is big for me in terms of breakout speed and vertical jump. Great lists though in terms of what people should look for!

    1. Yeah weight does play an important role.That’s why I specified if the shoe was more a guard shoe meant for quick movements or a more of a power player shoe that is meant to be more protective for stronger players.

  6. hey nice list of shoes. I like colourful shoes. The Nike designs catches my eye. Adidas look more regular when compared the to Nike design. If I ever buy, I will take one of the Nike with neonic color. I hope there is size seven for me. I hope it fits.

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