Who has the best shoes in the NBA? Ranking the freshest kicks in the NBA

Who has the best shoes in the NBA? Ranking the freshest kicks in the NBA

Ciku Njuguna
updated at August 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Do basketball shoes make you play better? Sneakers are part of the essential tools of the trade since basketball players need them to run, stop, start and jump throughout a game. In addition, the players with the best shoes in the NBA gain significant popularity from fans and deals from sports apparel companies may come calling.

Best shoes in the NBA
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

So, who has the best basketball shoes in the NBA? Join us as we rank the NBA players with the freshest kicks.

It is obvious that the kicks you wear in basketball matter. Sports apparel companies such as Adidas, New Balance, Puma and Nike understand that basketball is a high-intensity game with explosive movements such as dunks. In addition, basketball shoes can negatively affect a player's performance if factors such as flexibility, stability, safety, ankle support, cushioning, traction and comfort are not considered.

The best NBA signature kicks in 2022

So, what shoes do most NBA players wear? What are some of the most common NBA shoes? According to Kixstats, NBA players' favourite shoes in the 2021-22 season include the Nike's Kobe 6, Kobe V, Air Zoom G.T Cut, PG 5, Kyrie 7, KD 14, Kyrie Low 4, Air Jordan 36, Zoom Freak 3, and Adidas' Dame 7 Extply.

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The 2021-22 season has seen the entry of new signature kicks by top NBA players. Let us find out what a signature shoe is.

NBA stars receive lucrative partnership deals from well-known sports gear brands to create, design and market sneakers.

When did the first Air Jordan sneaker come out?
A pair of the original Air Jordan sneakers worn by Michael Jordan. The Air Jordan I high-top sneakers had Michael Jordan's signature on the outside heel of both shoes. Photo by Heritage Art.
Source: Getty Images

HoopsHype estimates that only 17 NBA players currently have signature deals with various brands. Each player receives an average of $5-15 million annually with bonuses and incentives. LeBron James is one of the NBA's best players, with the biggest shoe deal worth about $90 million.

So, who has the best signature shoes in the NBA? Here is a list of the freshest signature kicks in the 2021-22 NBA season.

10. Witness V by LeBron James

LeBron James' Nike basketball shoes
The Nike Lebron 9 in the Summit Lake Colorway (left), the Neptune Blue and Total Orange Colorway (right). Photo by 20fifteen.
Source: Getty Images

Like Michael Jordan's Air Jordans, Lebron's kicks are some of the most popular NBA shoes. The Witness V sneaker features a high top that offers ample ankle support, cushioning and traction.

9. Freak 2 by Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis' signature sneaker deal with Nike includes the Zoom Freak 2, 3, 4, 5 and the Giannis Immortality shoes. According to stats by Kixstats, the Zoom Freak 3 is the fifth most popular shoe among centres in the NBA 2021-22 regular season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Nike basketball shoes
Sneakers worn by Giannis Antetokounmpo during a game against the Detroit Pistons at the Little Caesars Arena in April 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Nic Antaya.
Source: Getty Images

8. Curry 7 by Stephen Curry

The Curry 7 by UnderArmour is a low top with high cushioning and traction features perfect for a point guard. Despite this, Curry wore DEZ Customz's #RetireInequality shoes to the 2022 NBA Finals.

7. KD 13 by Kevin Durant

What are Kevin Durant’s signature basketball shoes?
Nike sneakers worn by Kevin Durant during pre-game warm-ups against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center in March 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Mark Brown.
Source: Getty Images

The KD 13 is one of the best KD shoes of all time. The sneaker features full-length cushioning, extra forefoot room and a Zoom Air unit for jumping. The KD 14 features heavily on the top 10 players' sneaker choices for various positions.

6. Nike Kyrie Low 4 by Kyrie Irving

The Kyrie Low 4 is a popular and profitable low-top lightweight sneaker. So, why did Nike drop Kyrie? Amid speculations, ESPN revealed that doubts surrounding his future in the NBA gave the company cold feet.

Does Kyrie Irving have his own signature shoes with Nike?
Nike basketball shoes worn by Kyrie Irving during a game against the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center in February 2022 in Sacramento, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson.
Source: UGC

5. Harden Stepback by James Harden

Undeniably, Harden has one of the best shoes of all time in the NBA. But are Harden's Stepbacks good for playing? The lightweights are well-liked by players in almost all positions for their breathability, hard Bounce cushioning and a secure fit for running.

What are James Harden’s new basketball shoes?
The Adidas basketball shoes worn by James Harden while warming up prior to a game against the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center in February 2022 in California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson.
Source: UGC

4. Air Jordan 36 - Michael Jordan

Regarded as the most popular and perhaps the best basketball shoe in the world, Nike Air Jordan is a classic sneaker model that keeps improving. In the 2021-22 season, the Air Jordan 36 featured among the top 10 most worn shoes in the NBA, appearing 742 times in the regular season.

3. Kobe 5 & 6 - Kobe Bryant

What are Kobe Bryant's signature shoes?
Kobe Bryant during a Nike Kobe A.D. shoe event at the MAMA Gallery in November 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Allen Berezovsky.
Source: Getty Images

Over time, Nike's basketball shoes have become more famous because of Kobe's signature sneakers. Curious to know how many NBA players still wear Kobe's shoes? During the 2021-22 season, over 130 players wore the Kobe V while 145 players in different positions played in the Kobe VI model.

2. Nike Air Zoom G.T. Cut - Sabrina Ionescu

Which WNBA player has a signature shoe? The Air Zoom G.T Cut was designed especially for the WNBA's top point guard, Sabrina Ionescu. In addition, the sneaker's performance is undeniable since it ranks second among the best shoes in the NBA and the WNBA.

1. Nike PG 5 - Paul George

Since 2016, Nike and Paul George have partnered to release 6 PG signature kicks. The PG 5 ranks second to Nike Kobe 6 in popularity since the sneaker was worn by various players for an average of 32,000 minutes on the court in the 2021-22 regular season.

How many basketball shoes does Michael Jordan have?
NBA star Michael Jordan's worn and signed $500,000 sneakers were displayed during a press preview before the Christies Luxury Week auction in New York in December 2021. Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP.
Source: Getty Images

The sports apparel market is worth about $5 billion. Scroll down to discover the most sold basketball shoes in the world. Here is a summary of the top 20 most popular signature sneakers by NBA players in 2022.


Signature shoe

Trae Young

Adidas Trae Young 1

Damian Lillard

Adidas Dame 8

James Harden

Adidas Harden Vol. 6

Donovan Mitchell

Adidas D.O.N. Issue #3

Michael Jordan

Jordan XXXVI

Anthony Davis

Cosmic Unity 2

LeBron James

LeBron 19

Kevin Durant

KD 14

Kahwi Leonard

New Balance KAWHI II

LaMelo Ball

Puma MB.01

J. Cole

Puma RS-Dreamer

Damian Lillard

Adidas Dame 7

Kobe Bryant

Kobe V

Michale Jordan

Air Jordan 36

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Low 4

Paul George

PG 5

Steph Curry

Under Armour Curry Flow 8

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie 7

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Zoom Freak 3

Sabrina Ionescu

Air Zoom G.T. Cut

High-performance requirements and game-related injury prevention demand that basketball players have the proper gear. Players and companies such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and others invest significantly to release the best shoes in the NBA.

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Ciku Njuguna photo
Ciku Njuguna
Ciku Njuguna is a journalist with 3 year’s experience in content creation based in Kenya. She currently covers sports personnel as well as team biographies.