This is my review of the best Nike basketball shoes in 2021.

Purchasing a pair of high-quality basketball shoes is important to any player. Some would argue it is the most important item to ensure your gameplay and safety are taken care of.

I have always been a brand loyalist for my basketball shoe, which has always been Nike.

Take it from someone who knows their Nikes that you simply can’t go wrong with them as your sneaker choice in any sport, but especially basketball.

This article will select a few of their best Nike basketball shoes and drop some knowledge on why they are the best in my opinion.

Quick Summary

  • Nike Versitile – A quality option with no bells and whistles, just the usual high-performance Nike standards. Stylish, lightweight, and affordable, this is a great sneaker for any level hooper, with a clean leather sole and Air-Sole heel for added impact cushioning.
  • Nike Mamba Rage – Ideal for someone with narrower feet, but contours nicely for someone with a wider foot after a couple of uses, this sneaker epitomizes what you can look for when it comes to footing and traction. Would you expect anything less from Kobe, a player with arguably the best footwork in NBA history?
  • Nike KD Trey 5 VI – The “Durants” provide the perfect mid-range sneaker that straddles the high-top/low-top categories nicely, for any baller. A stylish sneaker with amazing foot and ankle support, thanks to the added lace strap easily customizable for anyone.

Who Should Get This?

No one can go wrong when it comes to wearing anything from Nike.

Whether it be athletic clothing like shorts, t-shirts, or sweats, or a basketball sneaker for the courts, Nike has been the reigning champ in quality gear for the past three decades.

So, the short answer to who should get these sneakers is: ANYONE!

You can’t go wrong with the Nike brand in the category of basketball shoe as the company founded its reputation on athletic footwear.

The longer answer on who should get these sneakers would be brand loyalists: people who fell in love with a past Nike basketball shoe and don’t want to miss a beat when transitioning from their last pair of shoes to their next.

Best Nike Basketball Shoe: What to Consider


This will play a huge part in both your initial and long term, thoughts and feelings about a basketball shoe. The comfort of a shoe should stand out from the minute you try it on to the minute they wear out enough to decide it’s time for a new one.

Your feet are your biggest asset in the game of basketball. Sure, you need your hands and body, but everything on the court starts with your foundation, which has to be comfortable on the court.


Sprained ankles seem to be a dime a dozen in the game of basketball. If you have played a significant amount of hoops and you haven’t sprained your ankle, then you probably aren’t working hard enough.

With the amount of jumping and lateral movement in the sport, it is almost inevitable. This is why your sneaker needs to cradle your foot and heel and feel sturdy with each movement you make on the court.

The three shoes we have selected provide maximum support and have been tested by some of the highest levels of ballers in the game.


Let’s face it. Style is important. It should never be the first, and the only reason that you purchase a shoe that you are going to be logging hundreds, maybe thousands, of minutes playing.

But reason number three that you buy the shoe? You betcha!

Nobody wants to be laughed off the court by their friends after a bad sneaker purchase. The basketball shoe you wear also gives you an identity on the court.

Are you a silky shooter like Kevin Durant or maybe an elite scorer like Kobe? The sneaker looks even better if it fits the player to a “t”.

Best Nike Basketball Shoes: Our Picks

1. Nike Versitile

When you look at a championship team, there are a few players that get all of the credit from the media and fans. However, Those superstars know that they wouldn’t be champions if it weren’t for the team’s role players. The players that did all of the dirty work and got their hands dirty are the backbone of those teams. This shoe is definitely a role player. It isn’t the KD, or the Jordan, or the Kobe of the sneaker world, but is just as effective for any player that wears them.

What We Like:

  • This sneaker is a great value purchase. Parents of young hoopers should take notice. You will be providing your child with a great sneaker without draining your wallet.
  • The fly-wire cables along the sides of the shoe offer unmatched stability.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The rubber sole is bulky but relatively unnoticeable unless you tried this sneaker and another on at the same time but every little bit counts to some players.

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2. Nike Mamba Rage

One thing about Kobe Bryant’s game was his reputation as one of the most ruthless players ever. He always wanted an edge over his opponent, and that competitive nature trickled down to the sneaker he was wearing. His Mamba Rage is quality basketball shoe at its finest.

What We Like:

  • The traction and footing on these shoes are second to none. You will simply be more efficient in your pivoting and lateral movements than the next player wearing these.
  • The customized Drop-in Lonarlon foam midsole offers the perfect blend of cushion and support. Great for those getting up in their playing career looking for more comfort on the court.
  • Some people who have worn these can’t believe how light they are. Some even said it felt like they were running barefoot!

What We Don’t Like:

  • Every person has a different opinion on low-top basketball shoes. I am not a fan and have had poor luck with them. But NBA players continue to trend in the direction of the low-top and how can you argue with them?

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3. Nike KD Trey 5 VI

Kevin Durant has always been plagued by his feet. If I were a seven-footer playing shooting guard in the NBA, I would probably have the same issues. He works tirelessly to create a shoe that helps in his desire for great cushioning and support for his feet, a great sign for those buying his KD Treys.

What We Like:

  • An amazing combination of support and cushion.
  • A Zoom Air unit in the front helps the shoe respond better to your movements while never having to reach your heel for support.
  • The lace strap for stability and an added layer to the style and look of the sneaker.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Because support and stability are such a priority for this particular shoe, some feel it is a bit too tight on their foot, making it uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

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Useful Tips and Resources

Pairing your basketball shoe with a quality pair of socks ups your game an extra notch. Let’s keep it in the family with the Nike Dry Cushion Crew Training socks. These socks can stand the test of a long day on the court and offer extra heel support through their dynamic design. They also pride themselves on being one of the longest-lasting socks on the market.

Final Words

As we have covered extensively in this piece, the basketball shoe you decide to wear on the court is not an easy choice, nor should it be.

You want to evaluate your injury history, playing style, and the types of courts you will be playing on along with the shoes that you ultimately decide on when making your choice.

Nike has been the gold standard of quality for so long so you really can’t miss it when you choose the Swoosh.