And just like that, 2020 is over. Here’s to 2021. For the past three years, The Sneaker Brief team has reviewed basketball shoes from a multitude of different brands, and only so many models are solid all around. Here’s a collective list of the best basketball shoes of 2020.
Since this post only covers 2020 basketball shoes, we have a “The Best Basketball Shoes Available Now” page that will be frequently updated throughout the year to cover new releases. Currently that page features the same shoes in this post, but again, it will be frequently updated as new shoes release during the year. Please note that not every shoe featured in this article we have published a performance review on due to time limitations we unfortunately experience.
The performance of the sneaker can cater to different wearer’s needs and multiple positions. Key word: versatility.
Basketball shoes are basketball shoes. The game of basketball is played both indoors and outdoors. Thus, a basketball shoe should be suitable to be played on several different court conditions, both indoors and outdoors, and be able to hold up. The shoe needs to be durable. If it’s falling apart after only a brief amount of wear, then there’s no point in purchasing the shoe. The shoe doesn’t need to be a total tank, but it needs to be reasonably durable for a usual season’s worth of play.
Not all of us are super wealthy and have a ton of money to spend on basketball shoes. Let’s be real here. Shoes aren’t THAT expensive to produce and manufacture. There’s no reasonable excuse to retail a shoe at $200 unless it has a literal motor in it to auto-lace like the Nike Adapt BB 2.0.
The best, most versatile basketball shoe of 2020. Grippy traction, varied premium material options upon colorway, low to the ground, excellent impact protection, and phenomenal support. The shoe really has no outstanding flaws and is versatile in almost every was possible. Finally, it’s an affordable option too.
Extremely similar in performance to the GH1, just with a different design. Everything you get out of the GH1, you can expect to get in the GH2 as well—just with a bit less court feel, lower ankle collar, and a one-piece bootie construction.
ANTA KT5 Low
Lighter and more minimal than the already light GH1—the KT5 Low is a shoe that does not disappoint. ANTA’s A-Web knitted upper is premium and supportive enough in the right areas of the shoe, while having your foot sit within the midsole to help avoid it from sliding out of the footbed. Stability, support, durable traction, and cushion is all stellar in the shoe. A downside not all will face is the fit. The shoe fits tight, but the customizable lacing system makes up for it. All around definitely the best minimal shoe of 2020.
ANTA Shock The Game 4.0 “Crazy Tide”
The Shock The Game 4.0 “Crazy Tide” is a shoe that you simply can’t go wrong with. With its striking design, it remains impressingly functional, extremely supportive, well-cushioned, and an accommodating, wider fit, that is suitable for just about any player/position. Its only flaws are really just its weight. While they may be heavier than other shoes on the market, they don’t feel like so on foot.
Nike Zoom UNVRS Flyease
Quite the innovative shoe from Nike Basketball that plays very well. The Zoom Strobel cushion, support, and traction is where the shoe really excels, with some wearers having fit issues. Although they ride high off the ground, the stability is still much better than most recent Nike Basketball shoe releases. A major flaw is the durability of the traction, but we decided to include them in this article since they are available online for less than $100 and the durability of the rest of the shoe is ample.
adidas Crazy BYW X 2.0
A shoe that most didn’t even know released. A basic EVA carrier midsole that encases full length Boost, which sits low to the ground. Thick herringbone grooves and an immensely overlaid textile upper provides the shoe with great support and durability. However, there is the long, bubbly fit some may experience, and these have only three eyelets of laces. The laces stop a bit before the midfoot, so if you have forefoot lockdown issues, tightening the shoe may be an issue for you.
Currently available basketball shoes which may not fully meet the criteria given, but were too good to pass up on for including here.
Li-Ning Way of Wade 8
Although not the most simplistic, or streamlined looking shoe, the Way of Wade 8 is no exception to stellar performance. The shoe excels in every department, with durability being especially superior. Its main limitations for some may be its heavier weight and bulkiness feeling on foot. Aside from that, the price is steep, retailing at $225. However, we still wanted to include them in here because they are destined to hit discounts soon.
Rajon Rondo made a big mistake leaving ANTA. Nevertheless, his sixth signature shoe that he didn’t even wear during the NBA Bubble is one of the best of the year. The reason they’re in this “throw-in” section is simply for one reason: the lacing system. For me personally, I didn’t have many issues with lockdown since I have wider feet. However, the eyelets in this shoe are raised synthetic “squares” that make the shoe extremely difficult to tighten. Thus, many wearers with narrow feet who need a super tight fit will probably have issues locking down the shoe. Otherwise, cushion, traction, materials were all exemplary.
PUMA Clyde All-Pro
Compared to PUMA’s previous basketball shoe releases, which were heavy, bulky, and had very stiff cushioning—the Clyde All Pro is definitely a step in the right direction. While the All-Pro doesn’t really “excel” in any given department, it gets the job done in most. Traction, cushion, and materials are all on point, with the fit being on the narrow side and the fishing-line esque eyelets as a durability concern. They feature a Pebax heel and ProFoam+ (EVA) for the entire midsole. While the cushion is still nothing special in terms of rebound and springiness, it is still an adequate set-up, and is again, a step in the right direction.
adidas D.O.N. Issue #2
The adidas D.O.N. Issue #2 is a tank like basketball shoe which plays really well, but still feels like a tank on foot. Similar to the Issue #1, the shoe is bulky, heavy, and has sizing problems (like most adidas shoes). Regardless, the Bounce midsole absorbs impact quite well, and the traction is a great indoor and outdoor option. Retailing at $100, you can’t go wrong if you want a solid shoe with “meh” aesthetics to beat up.