Basketball involves speed, precision, and sudden movements, which is why traction is so important during a game. A good bite from the traction on the outsole of your shoes will help you to stay balanced and maintain control, whether you’re playing on an indoor or outdoor court. That’s why we’ve saved you time and found the basketball shoes with the best traction on the market.
You need to remain in control, which is why your sneakers need to have excellent grip. A good bite from the traction will help you to stay balanced while maintaining your motion.
All the sneakers listed in our guide feature outsoles with good tread patterns for ultimate grip, cushioning for impact support, and lightweight upper materials for agility. We also look at the pros and cons of each shoe in this guide, so you can choose the best traction basketball shoe for you!
Buyer’s Guide for Choosing Great Basketball Shoes
Outdoor vs Indoor Tread Patterns
It’s important you choose shoes that’ll work well with the court. For instance, indoor courts require a shoe that offers a good tacky grip on the smooth surface, so a tread pattern with wide grooves is better.
Outdoor courts are often dusty and have hard surfaces. Dust can badly affect the traction performance, so check whether you’ll need to wipe your sneaker’s outsoles to avoid this.
You also want a shoe with a tread pattern that will really grip the court. Anything with a circular-shaped traction pattern is perfect, as it’ll help to stop sliding and almost act as a suction cup.
Sufficient Foot Support
When making sudden stop-and-go movements, you’ll need a shoe that offers good lateral support and ankle protection to avoid sprains. Other details such as midsole cushioning and upper padding also minimize impact and help to prevent injuries. Consider what features are a must-have for you before making your purchase.
Players who have foot conditions such as flat feet might prioritize shoes with adequate support, so be sure to check if the shoes you like will work for you!
First and foremost, check the outsole material. Overall, rubber is the best for excellent traction. Besides being a natural material, it’s also non-marking, which boosts a shoe’s longevity and durability. It’s also slip-resistant, which makes it a great choice for basketball sneakers.
Additionally, durable rubber outsoles will also last longer after wear on concrete courts. This means that if you’re on outdoor courts more often, rubber is the best option for your outsoles.
Depth of Tread Patterns
Avoid tread patterns with deep grooves too as they’re harder to remove the dust later on. This is important because keeping your basketball shoes clean and dust-free is a great way to help the traction. If you notice a build-up of dust or dirt, gently clean the outsole with a damp cloth and get all the dirt out of the tread grooves with a toothpick or small brush.
For dusty courts, you want a shoe with a tread pattern that will really grip the floor. Anything with a circular-shaped traction pattern is perfect, as it’ll help to stop sliding and almost act as a suction cup. Take a look at our guide below to help you make your mind up!
Overall Best Traction Basketball Shoes
- Best Traction Nike Basketball Shoes: Nike Lebron 20 Basketball Shoes
- Best Traction Adidas Basketball Shoes: Adidas Dame 8 Basketball Shoes
- Best Traction and Ankle Support Basketball Shoes: New Balance Two WXY V3 Unisex Basketball Shoes
- Best Grip Basketball Shoes: LI-NING Fission 8 Wade Men Basketball Shoes
- Best Traction and Cushion Basketball Shoes: Nike KD 15 Men’s Basketball Shoes
- Best Budget Traction Basketball Shoes: PEAK High Top Lou Williams Streetball Master Mens Basketball Shoes
Best Traction Nike Basketball Shoes- Nike LeBron 20
The LeBron 20 launched in September 2022 as part of LeBron James’ iconic sneaker collection with Nike. Not only is it a great-looking shoe, but it offers superb performance and stability, plus plenty of cushioning for comfort.
However, it’s the tacky traction of the outsole that really makes these sneakers stand out. The traction provides good grip for most court surfaces, and the multi-directional tread pattern on the outsole supports the traction and keeps you in control of quick stops.
Because of the tacky finish, the Lebron 20 is better suited to indoor courts and only needs an occasional dust wipe to ensure that performance isn’t affected.
The woven mesh upper material is fully breathable, thin, and fits snugly to contain the foot, while the leather tongue is lightly padded to prevent rubbing. Although it’s a low-top sneaker, the inner side of the heel is also padded to secure and support your ankle.
- Multi-directional outsole tread
- Light breathable upper
- Suitable for wider feet
- Excellent tacky traction
- Bouncy cushioning
- Better for indoor courts rather than outdoors
- Higher price point
What People Are Saying
One recent buyer said that the LeBron 20 has “phenomenal traction” and very “responsive cushioning.”
Another satisfied reviewer mentioned that the “traction is outstanding and the fit and materials are premium.”
Best Traction Adidas Basketball Shoes – Adidas Dame 8 Basketball Shoe
Available in a range of eye-catching colors, the unisex Dame 8 basketball shoe from Adidas offers a lot for a fair price.
With a classic wavy herringbone outsole tread and a center compression line running through the middle, the Dame outsole has great traction for both indoor and outdoor courts. Issues such as dust and general dirt on outdoor courts may affect the grip, so keep the outsole clean after a game to boost the traction performance.
To boost durability, especially for outdoor use, the outsole is made from tough rubber to prevent wear and tear.
For cushioning, Adidas has implemented their responsive Bounce Pro cushion technology, which offers good impact protection for the heel area. The cushioning is thinner towards the forefoot to allow for better spring during jumps.
The tongue and upper material is made from breathable recycled mesh textile to keep feet dry and sweat-free. Good for both the environment and the court!
- Great Bounce Pro cushioning for impact protection
- Durable rubber outsole is great for outdoor courts
- Deep tread pattern provides grip
- For indoor and outdoor courts
- Breathable upper
- Needs to be wiped after outdoor court use
What People Are Saying
One seasoned basketball player found that the shoes “support my feet in all the right places.”
Another reviewer stated that “the traction feels amazing!”
Best Traction and Ankle Support Basketball Shoes- New Balance Two WXY V3 Unisex Shoes
The WXY V3 sneakers may look a little chunky, but these basketball shoes from New Balance are sturdy and offer plenty of ankle support. Moreover, the traction is very impressive thanks to the abstract circle pattern on the middle of the outsole.
Although the tread grooves aren’t deep, the circle pattern acts like a light suction cup, providing great grip. The grooves are widely spaced apart. Additionally, the tread’s wide spacing improves the traction’s performance by preventing dust from easily collecting.
The wide base of the shoe helps with balance and stability when landing from jumps, and the stiff heel cushioning supports the ankles and avoids sprains. The heel counter and padded ankle area will also keep your feet locked securely into the shoe without restricting your movement.
If ankle support is something you need in your shoes, we’ve got you covered with a range of great basketball shoes with optimal ankle support.
- Circular tread pattern provides strong traction
- Padded ankle support helps avoid injuries
- Extra flexibility with breathable yet snug synthetic upper
- Wide outsole base
- Secure lacing system
- Cushioning is on the firmer side
What People Are Saying
A recent buyer said that they found the traction “offers impressive grip in multiple directions.”
Regarding the traction performance, another reviewer stated that “the traction is close to perfect.”
Best Grip Basketball Shoes – LI-NING Fission 8 Wade Men Basketball Shoes
Great for both indoor but especially outdoor use, the Li-Ning Fission 8 offers excellent traction. It’s lightweight for speedy players but offers plenty of bounce for high jumpers as well.
An interesting feature is its solid rubber outsole with a unique infinity-symbol-like tread pattern to help with the grip. The traction is strong enough to allow you to move in all directions on court, whether on a parquet or asphalt floor.
Good grip is even more important for guards on the court as they need to utilize their speed for passing, dribbling, plus shooting on offense. So if you’re a guard, or someone who likes a fast playing style, these shoes would be a great choice.
Another highlight of the Fission 8 is the light, impact-absorbing cushioning. A further Light Foam Plus midsole in the sneaker provides extra cushioned units in the forefoot and heel area.
To keep you secure in the shoe, Li-Ning uses a double-binding lacing system plus a Velcro strap. For further ankle support, the sneaker has a TPU heel lock counter system to offer further support.
- Breathable tongue and upper
- Light Foam Plus cushioning in midsole and heel
- Double-binding system keeps feet secure
- Rubber outsole with traction tread pattern works for indoor and outdoor courts
- Heel lock detail
- Tongue of the shoe is quite thin, might feel pressure from the laces
What People Are Saying
An outdoor basketball player found that “the outsoles have held up nicely for three weeks of playing! A good basketball shoe for my outdoor needs.”
Another customer stated that the shoes “handle a dirty floor” and have “a non-slip feel.”
Best Traction and Cushion Basketball Shoes- Nike KD 15 Men’s Basketball Shoes
The KD 15 offers something for every type of basketball player, but the standout feature of the show is the traction. It offers amazing performance due to its combination of impact protection, bounciness, and shoe fit. The fit is down to the lightweight textile upper which sits well on your feet and is easy to play in.
There’s also a moldable insole that will naturally fit to the shape of your feet. You just need to be patient with the break-in time as it can take a while. The traction tread design is multi-directional and offers good grip on all kinds of surfaces, making it an ideal option for outdoor games.
Another area where the sneaker does very well is cushioning and padding in the ankle area. The cushioning is generally quite bouncy thanks to a Cushlon foam midsole, which is soft and shock-absorbent. Nike’s Zoom Air unit in the forefoot and heel area helps with bounce and impact.
- Durable for outdoor use
- Shock-absorbing Cushlon foam midsole for impact protection
- Lightweight design makes it easy to play in
- Grippy traction on all courts
- Nike Zoom Air unit in forefront and heel provide great bounciness
- Fairly narrow fit, not ideal for wider feet
What People Are Saying
One reviewer said that the KD 15 is “an amazing shoe” and the “traction is top tier”.
Another player mentioned that “these are kind of all-around shoes” that are suitable for whatever position you’re playing on the court.
Best Budget Traction Basketball Shoes – PEAK High Top Lou Williams Streetball Master Mens Basketball Shoes
The high-top basketball shoes from PEAK are a great pair of sneakers at a budget price. The price hasn’t affected the performance or look of the sneaker though, which is quite sleek!
The wear-resistant rubber outsole helps the shoe’s durability for all types of playing conditions, especially on outdoor court surfaces like cement and asphalt. We also liked the two-pattern mix tread on the outsole, which features a hexagonal design across most of the surface with a classic striped groove on the outer side.
This boosts the shoe’s traction when you’re moving quickly into different positions, while the striped tread on the outer side keeps you stable by preventing your foot from skidding outwards.
For great stability and lateral movement support, the shoe also has a stabilization module. This acts as a shield that rolls up over the forefoot area and acts as protection against sprains. For further ankle support, there’s plenty of padding in the heel counter to keep you secure when playing.
- Two-pattern mixes on the outsole tread offer increased traction
- Great budget price for quality traction
- Durable rubber outsole
- Padded heel counter adds ankle protection
- Stabilization module shields the forefoot from sprains
- Shoe size tends to run big
What People Are Saying
For indoor court use, one customer found that “the shoes grip the court very well.”
Another reviewer mentioned that the sneakers are “well made, durable, and nice looking.”
Investing in basketball sneakers with excellent court traction is vital for optimizing your performance as well as minimizing your risk of injury when on the court. Adequate traction allows you to accelerate and stop with confidence and ultimately elevates your game.
Before making a purchase, consider the sneaker’s outsole material and pattern type. By making an informed decision, you can invest in the best traction basketball shoes which will benefit you and elevate your on-court performance!