In this article, I’ll break down numerous types of basketball shoes with excellent traction that can help improve your game.
I have spent more than 20 years playing basketball. In that time I’ve used a wide range of different shoes. That first-hand experience enabled me to properly review the numerous models outlined in the following sections.
In my opinion, the Adidas Crazy Explosive is the best high-traction basketball shoe because it offers a strong grip without sacrificing performance, durability, or style.
The shoe offers a strong blend of power, agility, and stability. It looks great as well. You get various high-end aspects, including a TPU stability wrap and anatomical lace system, inside an attractive eye-popping design. There’s also plenty of support to prevent pain or injuries.
However, there are many other solid traction basketball shoes out there. If you’re curious about other models, I break down the best ones below.
- Best Overall: Adidas Crazy Explosive
- Most Breathable: Under Armour Curry 7
- Best Lightweight: Nike PG 5
- Most Comfortable: KD 13
- Most Stylish: Under Armour Spawn
- Most Versatile: Dame 7
Who Should Get This?
Every single basketball player, regardless of position or play style, can make use of good traction. You never want to slide on the court, and proper grip helps you run, stop, and dribble with ease. Those who like to jump or dunk a lot will love it as well because it helps them take off.
Extra grip helps you stick to the floor, which makes the following shoes perfect for those who like to cut or drive. However, post players who need to plant or enhance their footwork will love them too. No matter where or how you play, you need traction to perform well.
Top Traction Basketball Shoes
This section goes over the shoes with the best traction on the market and explains why they stand out from similar models.
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Durable construction with springy rubber sole. Excellent protection. Anatomical lace system. Primeknit upper. Comfortable feel.
- Style: Low top
- Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Sole: Rubber
The Crazy Explosive is a premium traction-heavy shoe from one of the biggest brands on Earth. The low-top design matches perfectly with the grippy outsole, allowing you to freely move, cut, or run without slowing down or getting stuck. That makes it especially great for guards.
Another large bonus is that the pair comes with multi-layered support to protect your foot. The sock-like construction and TPU stability wrap both go a long way towards that end. The anatomical lace then locks you into the shoe by providing you with extra comfort and security.
The biggest downside to these otherwise solid shoes is that they can feel a bit warm due to the sock-like construction. That may cause some discomfort for players who run warm. If you can get over that or aren’t prone to overheating, they go a long way.
- Best for: Ventilation
- Key Features: Lightweight and breathable. Excellent traction. Specialized outsole. Strong design with emphasis on ankle support. Attractive appearance
- Fit: True to Size
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Sole: Rubber
Steph Curry is one of the best players of all time, and his 7 shoes match his heightened performance. As with other models on this list, these come with extreme traction that helps you stick to the court as you play. However, they are also extremely lightweight and flexible too.
These shoes are perfect for people who need to cut quickly because they enhance and enable agility. On top of that, the design comes with ample ankle support that keeps your foot protected when you move. The specialized outsole and interesting look both add to the package.
However, note that these shoes do take a little bit of work to get going. They won’t feel great right out of the box. Rather, they take a while to break in. They also aren’t the most durable models on this list. It takes some time, but they are great once you get over the initial hump.
3. Nike PG 5
- Best for: Lightweight
- Key Features: Light design with full-length Air Zoom Strobel. Flexible construction. Lace bands add support. Multi-directional tread.
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: Narrow
If you’re someone who doesn’t want to notice their footwear, the PG 5’s are a great pick. These shoes are incredibly lightweight and deliver flexibility to enhance your cuts and help you move. That’s then backed by a multi-directional tread pattern for great traction on any surface.
Adding to the package is the full-length Air Zoom Strobel as well as the strong cushioning. That not only makes the shoes a pleasure to wear, it gives you extra bounce in your jumps. The shoes come with sturdy laces as well that wrap over your foot for additional security.
As these are lighter shoes, durability is not their strong suit. Though they easily have what it takes to withstand multiple games or practices, they are going to likely wear down more quickly than other pairs. Do your best to take care of them when you aren’t playing or in practice.
4. KD 13
- Best for: Comfort
- Key Features: Double layered Zoom Air unit for maximum cushion. Excellent energy return. Soft, lightweight upper. Ready out of the box. Soft tongue. Comfortable.
- Upper: Mesh
- Dimensions: 15.39 x 9.65 x 5.28 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
The KD 13 is another strong sneaker that offers a range of useful traits in addition to some of the best traction on the market. It’s a durable model that still manages to stay flexible thanks to the soft upper and lighter design. The minimal materials help towards that end as well.
Where this truly excels is its comfort. The shoe comes with two different levels of Air Zoom. It also has a flexible upper and soft tongue. There’s cushion throughout the shoe as well. All three of those traits create a secure-but-soft base that hugs and protects your foot at the same time.
As many traits as the KD 13 has, it’s not the best looking shoe around. While some might find the design appealing, there are many more striking or eye-catching options out on the market. If you don’t mind the look or aren’t focused on style, however, there’s a lot to like about the model.
- Best for: Style
- Key Features: Lightweight construction with excellent grip. Interwoven flexgear adds support. Tongue and collar padding. Great look.
- Weight: 1.83 pounds
- Construction: Synthetic
- Sole: Rubber
If you’re someone who wants their shoes to stand out on the court, the Spawn 3 from Under Armour is a great choice. This model comes with an extremely unique design that’s unlike any other shoe on this list. Of course, they have incredible traction on top of the excellent style.
Few shoes provide you with as much control like this one. The outsold traction pattern is unique, giving you the ability to stop on a dime. The special flexgear layers and tongue/collar padding are worth a mention as well. The Micro G foam midsole helps you land too.
The biggest downside to these shoes is that, as they are lightweight and flexible, they lack a certain amount of ankle support. If you’re someone who rolls their ankle a lot or who is prone to such issues, you may want to look elsewhere or purchase ankle braces when getting these.
6. Dame 7
- Best for: Versatility
- Key Features: Light and low design. Strong sole and outsole. Breathable design. Lightstrike cushioning.
- Construction: Synthetic
- Sole: Rubber
- Upper: Textile
The Dame 7’s are a great pair of shoes that come with wonderful traction, as well as a strong base that offers both support and mobility. They have a lower design that helps you move and actively increases agility, two features that make them perfect for guards who need to cut.
Another bonus of the pair is that they are incredibly comfortable. The Lightstrike cushioning offers a lot of impact support for when you’re running or jumping, while the lightweight design creates a surprisingly amount of breathability. That perfectly complements the tough grip.
These shoes give you just about everything you need in a versatile model. Just note that they do look a bit plain, which may put some people off. The look might work for some, but there are flashier items on the market. They also lack a bit in terms of long-lasting durability.
Best Traction Basketball Shoes: What to Look For
These aspects are all vitally important to ensuring the shoe you get best matches your needs.
All shoes come with their own unique pattern. While there is no absolute best one, the options featured in the above sneakers come with special treads that go beyond basic basketball shoes. Look for different treads when possible and get one that gives your play style the best grip.
The goal is to find a pattern that matches your game. If you’re a guard or someone who relies on agility, get a pattern that provides extra agility or the ability to quickly turn. If you’re a big guy, you likely want a traction pattern that enhances jumping or helps you stay in place during a rebound.
Every shoe you use out on the court needs to be durable. This is especially true for traction because good grip won’t do much if it wears down in a month. Always get strong options that come from well-known brands. That will give you quality assurance and peace of mind.
When looking for durable shoes, the materials you pick should reflect where and how often you play. If you have special game shoes that you only wear inside, you don’t need to focus on their construction as much as you would getting strong shoes for outdoor courts.
Though it’s far from the first aspect you need to look for, style always matters. If you’re someone who cares how they look on the court, don’t be afraid to go with a model that looks sharp. That can include a style, design, pattern, or simply how the shoe has been constructed.
This should always come after finding the other traits you need, but once you have a few options don’t be afraid to go out of your way to get something that’s flashy or fun. There are many colors and designs on today’s market. Get one that you’re proud to show off.
Useful Tips and Resources
All shoes need grip. It doesn’t matter if you play on a dusty outdoor court or a clean indoor gym, being able to stick to the floor enables you to cut, move, run, and jump to the best of your abilities. As such, it’s important to learn how to get more grip on your shoes.
Once you get more grip, you’ll be able to cut more easily. If you want to stop or change directions in a way that helps you throw off defenders or get open, check out this video to see some good cuts you can add to your game.
I believe that no high-traction basketball shoe goes above and beyond the Adidas Crazy Explosive. The pair isn’t just stylish, it has a unique feel that’s both soft on your feet and allows you the full flexibility to take advantage of the strong grip as you run around the court.
The shoe offers a little bit of everything beyond the extensive grip, including ample support and durable construction. It’s lightweight too. If you want something that hugs the hardwood while also offering other premium traits, it’s hard to better than the Crazy Explosive.