Out of all sneaker attributes, basketball players are suckers for traction. For some, it can even be a deal-breaker. No matter how firm and bouncy the cushion is or no matter how premium the materials are, it would not make it in the regular rotation of basketball shoes if it won’t bite the floor the way it should. Who makes it in the list of the best basketball shoes for traction ? Let’s take a look.
Best Basketball Shoes for Traction: Tier 3
Nobody pays attention to Chinese kicks like Anta, but with the GH1, they got a nice pair that works on practically all basketball courts. It can also be used outdoors and with minimal wiping, you can take advantage of its grippy outsole.
The only thing you have to watch out for is the shoes are probably made with wide-footers in mind. Try it in the store beforehand or if you have narrow feet, you can probably get away going down half a size. Overall, it’s a solid shoe that won’t disappoint you in the traction department.
UA Curry 3Zero 3
Again, if you’re just willing to look around a little bit, you’ll find some underrated shoes outside the big dogs. That’s certainly the case here with the Curry 3Zero 3.
The 3Zero 3 is a lightweight shoe that has immensely powerful traction. Coupled with the fact that you can find it for around $70, that’s an amazing value if you want a shoe that truly performs in the traction department.
The downside of the 3Zero 3 is the stiff Micro-G implementation. Quick guards who want a lot of court feel will like it, but if you’re a big man that wants the maximum impact protection, this is not the shoe for you.
Best Basketball Shoes for Traction: Tier 2
UA Curry 7
Traction is not something you should worry about in the Curry line, whether it’s the main signatures or the budget models. The Curry 7 uses a herringbone plus a radial pattern that amazingly requires as little wiping as possible. Isn’t that too good to be true?
OK, so here’s the part where we’ll touch on the not-so-good part. The Curry 7 uses a dual midsole setup– a combination of Micro G and HOVR. If you have used a Micro G cushion before, you probably felt its firm bounce, while you would expect the HOVR to be plushier. In this setup, you get neither. That may or may not be a good thing, depending on who you are as a ballplayer.
Again, you need to remember that this model is built for Steph Curry. He is quick and agile and probably would want something that doesn’t feel like he’s sinking on his feet. If you are also that type of baller, then this model is for you. Otherwise, you’d probably want something with a more foamy cushioning setup.
The FastFit is the best implementation of a laceless basketball shoe bar none. Its widely-spaced scale traction pattern grips the floor so well it can be comparable to the Kobe 9s. It is also one of the grippiest traction you’d feel in a shoe that it could easily be in Tier 1 if not for the things that need a little work.
What, exactly, are those things? It felt like a thing Spandex-like material. While you’d feel like you are wearing nothing after a while, you may think you got cheated off of 200 bucks with something like that. Of course, it’s all part of the futuristic theme that Nike is going with this, but if the shoe needs a little revision, the materials have to go.
Best Basketball Shoes for Traction: Tier 1
Nike BB NXT
When it comes to traction, Nike nails this one right on the head. The pattern is one of the most unique that you’ll see but the performance is on a whole another level. The traction is so good you have to experience it to believe it.
As if the traction is not good enough, the rubber compound used on the BB NXT is durable enough to be played outdoors. What many don’t like is it looks like a running shoe. I guess, you just can’t have it all, huh?
Aside from the traction, the cushion is its best attribute. It has three layers of the React midsole and two huge Zoom pods in the forefoot. If that is not the very definition of impact protection, I don’t know what is! While it may take a little getting used to because you sit very high, the setup still feels quick off the ground. Yes, folks! This shoe is as good as it sounds.
Puma RS Dreamer
The BB NXT is by far the best shoes for traction in any in this list, but not far behind is the Puma RS Dreamer. Like the BB NXT, it has a pretty unique traction pattern, something that looks like a feather. The best thing about the Dreamer’s traction is it is consistent whether you’re playing in a clean court or a dusty one.
So, what’s the deal here with the RS Dreamer? Puma still got to improve its cushioning technology. ProFoam is a solid performer, but when you implement it in a thicker midsole, you won’t feel any bounce whatsoever. There will be ballers who like it that way, but if you want more impact protection, this is not the shoe.
The Bottom Line: Best Basketball Shoes For Traction
Out of all the attributes of a performance basketball sneaker, traction is probably the most important. Outstanding traction maximizes your performance and lets you do your thing without worrying about slippage and whatnot.
So here is the list of the best traction basketball shoes:
Tier 3:Anta GH1 and Under Armour Curry 3Zero 3
Tier 2: Under Armour Curry 7 and Kobe FastFit
Tier 1: Nike BB NXT and Puma RS Dreamer
When looking for the best basketball shoes for traction, it’s important to explore other brands outside of Nike, Jordan, and Adidas. Nike still has the upper hand most of the time because of its plethora of shoe models and several cushioning technologies that they can implement. Even so, you may be surprised that superior traction systems also exist in Anta, Puma, and Under Armour shoes. You just have to try it out and see what works for you.