This guide covers the best low top basketball shoes on the current market.
In my twenty-five years of playing basketball, I’ve worn many, many low top shoes. It was that firsthand knowledge, mixed with additional research and reviews, that gave the ability to extensively cover the items listed below.
The Curry 8 is my first pick for the best low top basketball shoes due to how well it mixes durability, mobility, and a modern design.
The model is not only easy to cut and move in, it also has a stable base with a surprising amount of energy return. You’ll be able to sprint, jump, and dribble with no issues. There’s also plenty of ankle support, which actively lowers your chance of getting any nasty injuries.
Though the Curry 7 is amazing, there are several other fantastic low top basketball shoes that do well out on the court. I break those down throughout the following sections.
- Who Should Get This?
- Top Low Top Basketball Shoes: Our Picks
- Best Low Top Basketball Shoes: What to Look For
- Useful Tips and Resources
- My Verdict
Who Should Get This?
As they don’t have as much cushion or support as high tops, low top shoes are best for players who put an above-average emphasis on speed and agility. That makes them particularly useful for speedy guards, as well as forwards who favor quick shifts or outside positioning.
Something else to consider is that low tops tend to weigh less than other shoes. As such, players who want to get extra speed or agility will love them. They tend to offer a lot of mobility as well. If you like to cut a lot or dribble in traffic, those shoes are the way to go.
Top Low Top Basketball Shoes: Our Picks
This section reviews all of the best low top shoe options and goes over the different traits that make them so useful.
1. Curry 8
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Light for enhanced mobility. Durable traction with tough outsole. Well-rounded ankle support. Snug sit with ample lockdown.
- Fit: True to Size
- Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Sole: Rubber
Well-ventilated and incredibly comfortable, the Curry 8 is a low top shoe with very few weak points. The model has a great outsole that provides good traction on a range of different surfaces. Backing that is a strong lockdown that works with the fit to keep your foot secure.
As strong as the shoe is when you’re on the court or blacktop, it also comes with a surprising amount of flexibility. Where many models are strong and rigid at the same time, the Curry 8 offers a surprising amount of lightness that lets you properly operate in traffic.
The only drawback to this shoe is that you have to work for the comfort. There’s plenty of spring and softness in the sole, but that doesn’t happen right out of the box. The shoe takes a bit of time to break in. You need to spend some time getting used to them before playing a game.
2. Adidas Marquee
- Best for: Cushion
- Key Features: Premium impact protection and tough sole. Extra heel support backed by midsole cushioning. Highly varied color options.
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: Regular
- Weight: 15.4 ounces
If you’re after a comfortable low top sneaker that more than holds its own on the court, the Marquee is your pick. This model is a blast to wear and fights discomfort on multiple levels. It’s lightweight and extremely breathable, two traits that enable you to move quickly and efficiently.
On top of that, the Marquee is absolutely packed with energy-responsive cushion. There’s a ton of heel support in the back as well as padding all throughout the midsole that provides amazing impact protection. The shoe looks great and comes with all types of support.
If the Marquee’s have a shortcoming, it’s their traction. They can hold their own most of the time, especially when compared to some similar basketball sneakers, but they won’t give you as much grip when you’re playing somewhere dirty or dusty. Inside, however, they excel.
3. Mamba Focus
- Best for: Agility
- Key Features: Heel cage. Lightweight design. Comfortable and responsive Air Zoom unit. Eye-catching appearance. Grippy. TPU eyelets.
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 16.6 ounces
- Fit: Narrow
Players that put a premium on mobility or quick cuts will love the Mamba Focus. It’s a well-crafted Nike shoe that lives up to the brand’s big name. Not only does it have one of the most striking looks on the market, but it offers incredible grip and unmatched responsiveness.
The biggest pull to these shoes, besides their great lateral movement, is the comfort. They come with both a lightweight heel cage and an Air Zoom Unit. That combination gives you more spring when running during a game, as well as more padding when you need to jump or land.
Just note that the Focus does take some getting used to. You aren’t going to want to play with them right out of the box, as they will need to be broken in. Get in some practices first, or simply wear them around town, and you’ll be good to go.
4. Harden Volume 5
- Best for: Versatility
- Key Features: Stable sole and rigid base. Lightstrike technology. Enhanced energy return. Unique look. Easy to put on and take off.
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: True to size
- Weight: 2.31 pounds
Guards and big men alike will love what the Harden Volume 5 has to offer. These shoes not only do a good job for quick cuts and fancy dribbles, they have the strength and rigidity to support bigger feet down in the post. That makes them a well-rounded low top that helps all players.
Besides their versatility, the Volume 5s are well-made shoes. Their special construction gives you plenty of control, stability, and energy return while you run. The Lightstrike technology is also incredibly useful, allowing you to play as hard as you want without experiencing discomfort.
Be aware that some players may not enjoy the Volume 5’s look. It’s a bit off the beaten path. That may work for those who want to make a bigger fashion statement, but those who like subdued styles won’t favor it. Even so, the many features are worth the trade-off.
5. PG 5
- Best for: Support
- Key Features: Full-length Air Zoom Strobel. Comfortable and flexible. Lace bands and multi-directional tread.
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: Narrow
One downside to low tops is that they don’t have the same protection as mid or highs. The PG 5s break that mold by delivering a strong sneaker with a good amount of power and stability. The shoe also manages to stay lightweight and is comfortable to wear for entire games.
A big pull of the PG 5 is the lace bands, which actively work with the tighter fit to provide good lockdown and support no matter how hard you play. The multi-directional tread backs that up perfectly, as does the flexible construction. Those come together to create a fun, stylish shoe.
Just be aware that, for the most part, the PG 5 is an indoor sneaker. The versatile item has a great base, but it’s not going to hold up outside in the elements like other models. If you want to get the most use out of them, stick to the gym.
6. Spawn 3
- Best for: Breathability
- Key Features: Die-cut EVA sockliner. Cushioned midsole with extra padding. Interwoven TPU layers and exposed mesh. Flexible.
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 1.83 pounds
- Dimensions: 0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches
Players who run hot, or those who like to cut down on overheating, will love the Spawn 3. This model is a snug sneaker that offers great lockdown on top of premium ventilation. It does that mainly through the exposed mesh areas, as well as the die-cut EVA sockliner.
Those characteristics are then backed up by a full-length cushioned midsole and PU coated mesh. You get plenty of support with these on, and there’s a lot of durability thanks to the combination of interwoven TPU layers and the tough rubber sole.
As great as the Spawn 3 is from a breathability standpoint, it tends to fit slightly on the larger side. Knowing that’s important because you want to get a half size down when getting your pair. Doing so will be much more comfortable and prevent any unnecessary rubbing or blisters.
Best Low Top Basketball Shoes: What to Look For
Every characteristic in this section is important to keep an eye out for when getting new low top basketball shoes.
Material and Toughness
Low top shoes have less material than other styles, which in turns means they tend to not be as durable. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be tough. There are plenty of strong models. When getting your pair, look for robust materials as well as large, highly reputable brands.
Just remember that you need your pair to be lightweight and breathable too. It’s easy to put an over emphasis on durability, but you still need a flexible shoe. Do what you can to find a balance between the two.
Something that many players forget when getting a low top shoe is lockdown. More mobility and agility are essential, but you don’t want your foot moving around too much in a more open design. Rather, find an option with a snug, comfortable fit that keeps your foot in place.
Support matters as well. A lower cuff can cause ankle issues, especially for players with a history of injuries. A strong base and extra supportive characteristics like a sturdy collar go a long way towards ensuring you stay as safe as possible.
Regardless of what type of low top shoe you pick, it needs to be comfortable. Breathable uppers with a lot of extra flexibility are incredibly important in that regard. You should also keep an eye out for ample internal padding, as well as cushion around the heel, collar, or tongue.
Once you know what shoe you want, you may have some additional questions. This section covers the most common.
Are Low or High Basketball Shoes Better?
This comes down to preference. Low top shoes offer mobility and speed, while high tops tend to have more durability and support. The style you ultimately choose comes down to your personal preference, as well as what position you play.
Why Do Basketball Players Wear Low Top Shoes?
Players tend to wear low top shoes when they need extra mobility, agility, or speed. The sleek design is perfect for guards or players who need to shift a lot. Players who like lighter clothing options usually use them as well.
How Do You Wear Low Top Basketball Shoes?
You put them on like you would any mid or high top model. However, as they do lack a bit in stability, you may want to back them up with extra support through a custom insole or a sturdy ankle collar.
Useful Tips and Resources
If you’re looking for a basketball shoe that can help you be a little bit faster, low tops are the shoe for you. However, they are not the only way they can quicken up your game. If you want to really get going, check out these tips.
Now that you know what low tops you want, you next need to keep them in good shape. Maintaining your shoes through steps like these will increase their longevity and enable you to get more from them.
I believe that no low top basketball shoe is as good as the Curry 8. Despite the lightweight construction, the shoe still manages to provide good traction, durability, and stability. On top of that, the open design allows you to freely cut or move. It truly is the complete package.