The 5 Best Basketball Shoes For Traction

Last updated on April 20th, 2022 at 10:08 am

Shopping for the right pair of basketball shoes is not a walk in the park. In the market, there are plenty of different models, with each of these models performing differently and built for different purposes.

When shopping for basketball shoes, it’s important to consider your style of play, court quality, and even the type of material used on the outsole.

Traction plays a key role in ensuring that players can perform at a much higher level. Apart from helping you stop, shoes with good traction will also help you jump, cut, and shoot effectively.

On the court, traction depends on the friction between the court and the outsole of the basketball shoes. Shoes that come with poor traction might lead to constant slipping and avoidable injuries.

That said, what are some of the things that you should consider when shopping for your next pair of basketball shoes.

Basketball Shoes With The Best Grip: Things to Consider

Design Patterns

For quite a long time, the traditional herringbone pattern used on the outsole of basketball shoes has been one of the most important elements of basketball shoes. The herringbone design responds well to multi-directional movements.

Different shoes come with unique patterns. While there is no specific tread pattern that offers the best traction, all the shoes on this list offer fantastic traction compared to basic basketball shoes.

For instance, the design patterns on the Kyrie 1’Leo Chang were specifically developed to suit players who contort at extreme angles when cutting, crossing over, and speeding up. To prevent slippage, Chang changed the herringbone pattern in such a manner that it offered maximum grip, which prevented slipping.

Surface Type

When shopping for basketball shoes, it’s important to consider the type of surface that you will be playing. Many shoe engineers often take into consideration the different court types that players will be using.

For instance, shoes like Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low designed specifically for outdoor use have a surface ratio, rubber composition, and design pattern that is totally different from the Nike Zoom Hyperposite II that’s designed specifically for indoor use.

The 5 Best Traction Basketball Shoes

1. Under Armour Curry 8-Best Overall 9/10

One of the few basketball shoes with a traction rating of 10/10, the Under-Armor Curry 8 is the most recent release and arguably one of the best basketball shoes for traction on the market. Unlike most shoes that come with a rubber outsole, the Under-Armor Curry 8s traction is built within the UA flow midsole.

Thanks to the abrasion resistance, which is like carbon fiber, the new technology ensures that there is no skidding, squeaking, or slipping on hardwood floors.

Apart from the traction, the Under Armour Curry 8’s also comes with a new form of cushioning, the UA flow, which is a collaboration between Under Armour and Dow. Besides comfortability, the cushioning in the Under-Armor Curry 8 also offers impressive responsiveness and court feel.

Being a high-end basketball shoe, the Under-Armor Curry 8 also comes with premium materials that comprise synthetic overlays and a flexible knit upper.

What we liked about the Under-Armor Curry 8

  • One of the best traction systems we’ve seen
  • Premium materials and finish
  • Great cushioning

What we didn’t like about the Under-Armor Curry 8

  • Not recommended for outdoor use

2. Nike KD Trey 5 VII-8.5/9

A highly affordable silhouette, the Nike KD Trey 5 VII is one of the best traction basketball shoes on the market. Designed with a top-tier traction system, the Nike KD 5 Trey offers plenty of stopping power and rarely collects dust when playing, irrespective of the type or condition of the court.

While the Nike KD Trey 5 is one of the best basketball shoes under $100, it’s still a solid performer that comes with great cushioning that’s ideal for shifty and quick guards.

Despite being an all-rounder, the materials on the Nike KD Trey 5 VII are not premium, which might explain the pricing on the shoes. The shoe is still quite durable. Besides the materials, stability and support are more of an issue with this installment because of the somewhat narrow base.

All in all, the Nike KD Trey 5 VII is the ideal basketball shoe for swiftswift guards who are looking for lighter shoes and do not require plenty of lateral movements.

What we liked about the Nike KD Trey 5 VII

  • Superior traction
  • Great cushioning
  • Little to no break in time needed
  • Super light

What we didn’t like about the Nike KD Trey 5 VII

  • Stability and support can be an issue because of the narrow base
  • Cheap materials

3. Nike Air Jordan 34-8.0/10

Designed with a herringbone pattern, the Nike Air Jordan 34 comes with superior traction, which works well in all conditions. Being the first Air Jordan shoe line to come with a herringbone pattern, the traction on Air Jordan 34 is not only aggressive but also spreads through the outsole.

The grip offered by these basketball shoes is on another level.

Although the outsole is thin, durability is not an issue with this installment. Unlike previous models, the cushioning is not as plush, however, it’s balanced and will provide an overall ride. When looking at the materials used for the upper, they are not what you would normally expect on an Air Jordan installment.

Apart from being light, the materials used on the Nike Air Jordan 34 also enhance the breathability of the shoes. Underneath the uppers, you will find another woven performance enhancement layer that tightens up when pressure is applied.

True to size, the Nike Air Jordan is undeniably one of the best Air Jordan’s on the market, which is ideal for players looking for solid basketball shoes with plenty of traction.

However, it’s important to note that being a wide footer, I found this pair quite constricting at the front. It took me over 3 weeks to break into the shoe.

Thus, if you decide to settle for this pair, then it’s important to always go either half a size or a size higher.

What we liked about the Air Jordan 34

  • Solid traction
  • Highly durable
  • Breathability is not an issue

What we didn’t like about the Air Jordan 34

  • The materials used for the upper do not feel premium
  • Break-in time can be long for wide-footers
  • Quite pricey

4. Adidas D Rose 11-Budget Option: 8.0/10

If you are a wide-footer, who is looking for solid basketball shoes then you should get the Adidas D Rose 11. Sporting a similar traction pattern to the D-Rose 11, the Adidas D Rose 11 has one of the best traction systems ever, making the shoe ideal for both outdoor and indoor plays.

Apart from the solid traction, the shoes also come with one of the best cushioning systems, the Lightstrike. In addition to impact protection, the Adidas D Rose also comes with a firmer forefoot and a bouncy heel. Being a budget basketball shoe from Adidas, the materials on the Adidas D Rose 11 do not feel premium.

They still get the job done. Because these shoes run a size wide, there is a wide room of space at the forefront and on the sides as well, which makes them ideal for players with wide feet.

What we liked about the Adidas D Rose 11

  • Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Proper cushioning system
  • Solid traction

What we didn’t like about the Adidas D Rose 11

  • Lacks premium materials

5. Nike KD 13-7.5/10

Featuring one of the best cushioning set-ups, the Zoom Strobel, the Nike KD 13s are not only comfortable but also one of the best traction basketball shoes in the market. While the traction system on the two previous installments, the Nike KD 13 and the Nike KD 11, the traction on KD 13s is on another level.

Instead of herringbone patterns, the Nike KD 13 features circular cups and nubs, which are positioned to go a long way in maximizing grip.

In addition, because of the solid rubber outsole, you can use the Nike KD 13 on both outdoor and indoor courts. As previously mentioned, cushioning on the Nike KD 13 is top-notch, with the shoe offering a somewhat springy feeling underneath the feet.

Sporting an insole that is like the Zoom Kobe 6, the Nike KD 13s will mould to the player’s feet, which feel as though you have a custom orthotic insert on your feet. Overall, the KD 13 is a great basketball shoe that offers plenty of traction, stability, support, and cushioning.

What we liked about the Nike KD 13

  • Great traction
  • Superior comfortability
  • Ideal for both outdoor and indoor courts

What we did not like about the Nike KD 13

  • Lacks premium materials