Must-Have Basketball Shoes With Great Traction

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When it comes to playing basketball, we all know that we don’t like slipping all over the court and sustaining severe injuries. This disastrous thing will certainly happen if your shoes don’t have the right traction. I can’t stress enough how important traction is when it comes to your shoes, this will either make or break your performance.

The outsole is the part of a shoe that comes in contact with the ground and provides traction. Of course, the type of traction varies per shoe and it usually depends on its colorway. Gum soles, translucent rubber, and normal rubber are the most common. Then again, traction isn’t the only thing you have to focus on in a shoe, the features should be balanced. The shoe must have an excellent grip, breathable materials, have a sufficient amount of support, and a decent lockdown to keep the foot in place.

It’s important to note that there are factors that can add to the level of traction in a shoe and this includes the condition of the court, the type of floor, and the amount of dirt on the floor. These are factors that are not often controlled by players so the best thing to do in this type of scenario is looking for shoes that have traction patterns that don’t attract too much dirt. I’ll be explaining these more in detail as you read along.

This is why we are gladly introducing you to our list of the best traction basketball shoes! You may scroll down further to see a more detailed review of each shoe.

What is Traction and Why is it so Important?

Traction is an important factor in basketball wherein it enables players to move in any direction seamlessly, without slipping and sustaining injuries. It’s common knowledge to us that basketball requires players to perform various types of movements like sprinting, jumping, stopping, shuffling, backpedaling, and sprint starts. In order to execute such movements with precision and ease, proper traction must be present in the outsoles of your shoe.

As I’ve said, there are factors that can add up to the traction of a shoe and this includes the condition of the court, the type of floor, and the amount of dirt on the floor. Now, when it comes to the condition of the court, you don’t always have control over this. You can still do something about dusty and dirty indoor courts because they’re much easier to manage but when it comes to outdoor courts, that’s a different thing. So the best course of action is to pay attention to shoes that have traction patterns that don’t attract too much dirt and dust.

According to one study, the traction on basketball shoes had the most massive impact on jumping, sprinting, and cutting. Traction not only affects the performance of a player but also the way they attempt to play. Let’s say for example that one player would be more reserved when they play if they feel that they are experiencing low levels of traction. Another example would be in regards to the court condition, if the floor is not optimal then it can inhibit a player’s aggressiveness during matches.

What Happens if I Don’t Pay Attention to Traction?

If players don’t put importance in the traction of their shoes then that could lead to serious consequences that would ultimately determine whether the playing team would win or lose. For starters, the players won’t be able to perform at their peak and that would eventually result in a loss. Next, players would be more prone to slippage. Slippage would result in a variety of things and this includes fouls, travels, various types of turnovers, breakdowns, and so much more.

Furthermore, slippage can also be the cause of injuries. The severity of slips varies, when a player falls down it’s considered somewhat of a severe slip. When players fall with extending arms, it would cause injuries to their upper extremities.

Overview Of The Best Traction Basketball Shoes

1.  PG 3 by Nike

  • 5/5 rating
  • Top: Low
  • Signature: Paul George
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey, Orange, Red, Silver, White
  • Released: 2018

2.  Kyrie Flytrap II by Nike

  • 4.5/5 rating
  • Top: Low
  • Signature: Kyrie Irving
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Grey, White
  • Released: 2019

3.  Curry 7 by Under Armour

  • 4.4/5 rating
  • Top: Low
  • Signature: Stephen Curry
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey
  • Weight: 374g
  • Released: 2019

4.  Dame 5 by Adidas

  • 4.6/5 rating
  • Top: Mid
  • Signature: Damien Lillard
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Grey, White
  • Released: 2019

5.  Air Jordan 34 by Nike

  • 4.7/5 rating
  • Top: Mid
  • Signature: Michael Jordan
  • Lockdown: Lace-Up
  • Colorways: Black, Blue, Red, White
  • Released: 2019

Must-Have Basketball Shoes With Great Traction

1. PG 3 by Nike

PG 3 by Nike

5/5  Overall Rating

The circular patterns on the outsole provide excellent traction
Suitable for outdoor use
Shoes are comfortable to wear.
Very breathable and lightweight.
Lockdown and support on this shoe is very good. Feet will not slip off of the shoe easily
Foam on the midsole is lighter and softer compared to its predecessor
Heel provides excellent impact protection
The material for the upper is really soft and provides ample support
Zoom unit feels bouncier than the PG 2

Materials look and feel cheap
Some complain about the shoe’s look, looks cheap
Foam is prone to wear and tear
Snug fit on the forefoot

What do most people think of this product?

Paul George is a veteran All-Star who wants to become a more efficient athlete. He still wants to perform at his elite level without having to waste extra energy. That’s where the shoe designer, Tony Hardman, came into the picture and designed the perfect shoe that will meet the needs of George. Tony and his team adhere to three principles in making the PG 3: Shed What Is Unnecessary, Make Every Step Matter and Remember Where You Came From.

The shoe features a ½ bootie construction, a lighter foam midsole, a ripstop collar, and a circular traction pattern that are known to have a very nice grip. The designer explains the function of each feature: the shoe being lightweight suits his style of play which means George can easily maneuver on-court and make quick movements both defensively and offensively. Then the soft foam on the midsole and the Zoom Bag will help George become faster and generate more speed.

To further talk about the cushioning and its function, the light foam midsole is paired with the Zoom Air bag which was also used in the previous PG model. According to the veteran player, he received more response from the new cushioning. Moving on to the traction, it was stated that the circular traction on the outsole was inspired by Moon craters. This has an increased multidirectional grip on any type of surface.

The fit on these shoes are true to size but some have claimed the forefoot area has a snug fit. We suggest that wide-foot wearers try these shoes in their local shoe store to get a better and more accurate fit. The ½ bootie construction helps with the lockdown of the foot. If you take a close look across the forefoot you’ll see free-floating synthetic wings that further lock in the foot.

The materials of the shoe are responsible for reducing its overall weight. A combination of mesh and synthetics were used for the shoe’s upper. The tongue is integrated into the rip-stop collar which makes room for support without jeopardizing agility.

When it comes to the style of signature shoes it’s always the most fun part to talk about since it often talks about the athlete’s past or the journey they had to go through to become who they are today. For Paul George, the several numbers seen on the outsole trace back to his past. It symbolizes his birthday, jersey numbers, number of tattoos are some of the things that represent his life and these are located on the inside of the circular traction pattern of the PG.

Overall, the shoe performs really well despite criticisms on its look and cheap build. This lightweight shoe is perfect for all types of players out there and it will definitely be great for kids to have a kick-start on basketball shoes. Some kids may be overwhelmed with the heaviness of some shoes, so PG 3 is the perfect choice for a lightweight shoe. Traction is great and cushioning is light and responsive.

2. Kyrie Flytrap II by Nike

Kyrie Flytrap II by Nike

4.5/5  Overall Rating

The traction on these pairs are phenomenal.
Grip sticks like glue and only minimal wiping is required
Performs well even for outdoor use. The grooves on the outsole run deep and the rubber outsole is pretty thick
These make for perfect PG shoes because they are lightweight and feel minimal
The overall look of this shoe is better compared to its predecessor
The materials on this shoe are better than the first Kyrie Flytrap
Great support and lockdown
No break-in time
Very responsive pair of shoes and offer a lot of court feel
Consumers are satisfied with its overall performance
Runs true to size

Impact protection is terrible. Cushioning is too firm and small forefoot Zoom Unit doesn’t really contribute anything
Some have claimed these shoes are uncomfortable
Some have claimed the fit to be too long and narrow

What do most people think of this product?

This shoe was designed for the purpose of complimenting Irving’s style of play. This shoe is advertised to give players maximum control and traction. The shoe also features a curved outsole that wraps up the sides and that makes room for an all-angle traction. On the forefoot is the Nike Zoom Air unit and the purpose of this feature is to return a springy and responsive feel. The shoe is also equipped with a forefoot band that enhances the overall support and containment of the foot while the player executes quick movements while changing directions when in-game.

The provided cushioning on this shoe is the Nike Zoom and it’s neatly placed on the foam midsole of the Kyrie Flytrap II. The purpose of this cushioning is to provide a responsive and springy feel under the foot. This will make any player zoom in on the basket and reach that 10-foot hoop, all thanks to the bounciness of the cushioning. The outsole of the shoe has a curved design that keeps up with the complicated footwork of Irving, his spin moves, and crossovers. The innovative design of the outsole provides traction in every direction.

The fit on the Kyrie Flytrap II is true to size but some claim that it runs kind of narrow at the forefoot. We recommend that you order your real size if you decide to purchase these basketball shoes online. The shoe utilizes a lace-up closure with  a flexible forefoot band for a really good and comfortable snug fit. The flexible band helps with the containment of your foot as you move around the court. An external heel clip and a padded collar helps keep the ankle locked in.

The materials that make up the shoe is a durable screen-printed upper. This durable mesh material is designed to give the player a breathable support as they make quick cuts on the court. In terms of its style, it features a low-top two-piece construction with an exaggerated heel piece. The “KI” logo and the number 11 can be found on the midfoot. For added aesthetic, the heel piece is textured and has a stitching around the Swoosh logo. The outsole boasts a third-eye inspired look.

Overall, a lot of wearers are satisfied with the performance of Irving’s signature shoe. The aesthetic, performance ,and quality of the shoe is superb. Every feature just blends together very well. You’ll get a pretty good deal out of this shoe, it’s affordable and provides great performance. We’d recommend you give it a try!

3. Curry 7 by Under Armour

4.4/5  Overall Rating

This shoe is considered to be the best model in the signature shoe line since the Curry 2
Very durable pair of shoes
Traction on these shoes are excellent
The cushioning has been improved
Lockdown and support are very good
This fits better than Curry 6

Some have complained that the cushioning feels too firm
Materials that make up this shoe aren’t premium

What do most people think of this product?

Another shoe from Stephen Curry’s signature line would be the Curry 7. If you loved the Curry 2 then you’ll definitely be fond of its successor. The Curry 7 is a low-top basketball shoe that features UA HOVR, Micro G, and a new flexible plate to give players stability, explosiveness, and energy return. Leon Gu, Under Armour’s designer, has combined two cushioning technologies on this shoe, the UA HOVR foam at the top and Micro G at the bottom, and these two are balanced on a flexible plate. This is also the first type of shoe to have the Micro G cushioning.

If you’ve had bad experiences with unresponsive shoes then you’ll like the features that the Curry 7 has. This is because this shoe uses a combination of both UA HOVR and Micro G which provides the player an excellent amount of energy return and responsiveness. The roles of both cushioning are as follows: Micro G is for responsiveness and the UA HOVR is for energy return. This is what Curry exactly wants on his shoes, says the designer. If you’re wondering what the flexible plate is for, it’s used for balancing the two cushioning materials and overall stability (according to Stephen’s needs).

Traction won’t be a problem for this pair of shoes because of the durable rubber outsole and decoupled heel. The heel keeps you from slipping and adds stability to your motions. In terms of lockdown, the lacing can be customized to your preferred fit. Comfort and support is to be expected from this shoe, and we have the decoupled heel to thank for that. The outsole has adaptive herringbone traction patterns that grip on the floor of the court. The lacing system can be tailored to your preferred fit. The padded heel and ankle collar are added for increased comfort and support.

The materials that make up the shoe are translucent layers of synthetic leather, mesh, and TPU skins. The combination of these materials reinforce the shoe’s zonal areas. In turn, that adds to the stability, comfort, and mobility of the player. As for Stephen, these are essential for him in order to be at his peak performance on-court. The Curry 7 is also equipped with an internal counter which provides stability and step-in comfort. Basically, this shoe is very stable since almost every material that makes up this shoe provides just that.

One interesting factor to this shoe is the pull tab. Why? Well, that’s because when Stephen was involved in the designing process of the shoe the designers added three characters that represent Stephen’s children. They were placed on the pull tab and these characters are a wolf, a unicorn, and a butterfly.

Overall, this shoe was designed specifically for point guards. Stability and impact protection are a plus on the Curry 7. Let’s not forget the combination of two cushioning, the UA HOVR and the Micro G. Expect to play at your top performance once you wear these pair of shoes on-court.

4. Dame 5 by Adidas

Dame 5 by Adidas

4.6/5  Overall Rating

Dame 5 has the best Bounce cushioning out of all the other models in the shoe line
Sleek design and stylish
The fit of the shoe is enjoyed by many
The herringbone pattern for traction works perfectly. Works well on both clean and dusty courts
Does not require break-in
Full tongue and knit collar allows players to wear ankle braces


Mesh upper material feels cheap
Wearers don’t like the colorways
Some have experienced minor slips on dusty courts

What do most people think of this product?

This shoe has been branded as the best model out of Damien’s signature line. The way the designers came up with this design is based on the combined attributes of the Dame 2, 3, and 4. For those who highly regard responsiveness, you will get the most out of this shoe, thanks to the full-length Bounce cushion. The herringbone pattern on the outsole is actually the first Dame model to have such a pattern. Traction works great, regardless of how clean or dirty the court is, and just gives a really nice grip on the floor. As for the upper, it’s made from either mesh or suede, or full-length leather.

Similar to its predecessors, the Dame 5 boasts its full-length bounce cushion. There are lots of benefits you can get from this type of cushioning such as responsiveness, energy return, and impact protection. No wonder the shoe has received a lot of praise, the way this cushioning performs are loved by both normal players and Damien himself.

The outsole depends on what colorway the shoe has, it can either be a light gum, gum, or solid rubber. Now the interesting part about its pattern is it’s the first Dame model to actually have it. The famous multidirectional herringbone pattern is one of the shoe’s highlights. The traction still performs at its best on whatever surface the player is on, be it clean or dirty, there’s no hindrance to the excellent traction it provides.

The fit on these shoes come in the standard Adidas sizing, however, there are actually mixed reviews regarding the fit. Some say that it fits true to size, others claim that the shoe runs too long and wide. The best way to know about your size is to visit your local sports store and do a personal fitting there. The thermo polyurethane panel is the one responsible for keeping your foot in place.

The upper’s material will vary and depends on what colorway you’re planning to get. You have the choice to choose between mesh and suede combo or full leather. For added comfort, the tongue, ankle, collar, and inner walls of the shoe are padded. In addition, the outriggers of the shoe will help in preventing ankle rolls. The Dame 5 sports a mid-top silhouette and comes with a wide variety of nine colorways.

Overall, the features that the Dame 5 boasts lives up to its name. It performs really well when worn in-court. The only downside is the sizing of the shoe, but once you have that figured out then you’re all set!

5. Air Jordan 34 by Nike

Air Jordan 34 by Nike

4.7/5  Overall Rating

These pair of shoes have a perfect lockdown
So far, this is the lightest  Air Jordan model
Herringbone traction pattern performs really well
Support is superb
A lot have praised the materials of this shoe to be breathable and lightweight
Cushioning on these are top-notch and regarded as one of the best shoes equipped with the Zoom cushioning
Consumers believe that this is the best Air Jordan model

Court feel may not be the best
Materials look cheap according to some consumers
Requires quite a bit of time to break-in

What do most people think of this product?

Like any Air Jordan model, this particular shoe was designed to provide the best performance. The Air Jordan 34 has been jam packed with innovative features that will surely be a game-changing shoe for the new generation of basketball players. According to Tate Kuerbis, they have removed any other feature on the shoe that isn’t needed and only left out the materials which players needed in court. In turn, this has made the shoe lightweight. Players will experience dynamic control, responsiveness, and explosiveness with the Air Jordan 34.

Perhaps one of the main highlights that this shoe boasts is the Eclipse Plate. This is made out of molded TPU and what this feature does is it provides aerodynamic stability and support when players make side-to-side movements. Another thing, this makes players sprint down the court faster and perform higher jumps, overall—have more control. The Zoom Air cushioning is now visible because the Eclipse Plate has been placed on the side which unlocks the full capacity of the Zoom Air Unit for added responsiveness and bounce.

As for traction, you don’t need to worry about anything since the trusty herringbone pattern on these will allow players to fully stop their step and change the direction of their movements in a snap. You won’t be slipping around the court with the Air Jordan 34. One thing that people seem to love is the lockdown of the shoe. It makes use of the traditional tongue and lace-up closure which gives players the freedom to tailor the fit according to their own preference. The mid-top collar is padded which keeps the heel and ankles in place.

The Air Jordan 34 is made out of textiles and other lightweight materials that reduces the overall weight of the shoe. Thanks to its light weight, the shoes become more breathable without sacrificing its support and stability.

Overall, the Air Jordan 34 is actually considered to be one of the best basketball shoes of 2019. We can’t argue with that because this shoe just proves to us how amazing it is by flaunting its superb cushioning, traction, support, and lockdown. The aesthetic of the shoe is indeed a head-turner and you can sport this look in both the streets and on the court. We highly recommend this shoe ‘cause you can never go wrong with Air Jordans!

Science of Traction

Groove Tread

There were authors that did research about the groove patterns on basketball shoes, and they recommended that the groove depth of the outsole must be deeper than the depth of the contaminants (dirt, dust, sweat, etc) on the floor. The deeper the tread, the better the grip when it comes to stopping or starting.

Traction Pattern

There are various types of traction patterns for each shoe, but the most well-known out of all is called the herringbone pattern. According to Eric Avar, a designer at Nike, the traditional herringbone pattern is so important because it responds extremely well to multidirectional footwork and has an excellent grip on any type of surface. You can literally change the direction of your movements with ease.

Here are other types of treads:

  • Low Profile Treads. Gives some traction but is comfortable.
  • Deep Cut Treads. Gives the best traction and is slip-resistant. Best for outdoors.
  • Multi-Tread Patterns. Provides a good grip on any type of surface.

Outsole Material

Generally, soft rubber outsoles are the preferred material when it comes to getting an excellent grip, especially on indoor courts. Soft rubber soles are simply better than hard ones because they have a higher coefficient of friction/grip. We advise against using soft outsoles outdoors since this will quickly wear down your soles. We recommend you opt for a more durable rubber outsole for outdoor use.


The fit of the shoe also has something to do with traction. Choose a shoe that gives a snug fit and little wiggle room to ensure that your feet won’t slip out or to make sure you won’t slip. This will make stopping a whole lot easier too because you will completely come to a halt once you plant your foot on the floor.

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