11 Tips for Buying Nike Basketball Shoes

From the days of Jordan slamming hoops through to the Lebron years and his sneakers today, Nike remains king of the court when it comes to basketball shoes. And one thing’s for sure, the appeal remains cross-generational. The sneakers from old are still hitting hard with demand from the mainstream as if they’re some kind of wonder drug.

For instance, the retro Jordan range of Nike basketball shoes is iconic to the point where many would prefer a pair of his sneakers to anything new on the market today. Yet, if you’re serious about basketball and you’re set on Nike as your brand, you need to think about the functionality of your shoes, just as much as their look and reputation.

Check out 11 tips for buying Nike Basketball shoes. Here’s your checklist:

Check the Rubber Outsoles

First and foremost, you need to check the rubber on the basketball shoes you’re thinking of purchasing. For outdoor play, thickness and density are major factors that you should be checking out. It doesn’t matter if they’re translucent or solid. When thinking about making a purchase, be sure to check out Nike student discount so you can get the quality basketball shoes you need for your outdoor activities without breaking your budget.

If you’re pulling your weight around the court, thinner rubber Nike shoes are going to slim down pretty quickly. If you want a go-to pair of tried and tested thick rubber outsole basketball sneakers, you can’t go wrong with Air Jordan 1 retro!

Traction Patterns

If you’re someone who often plays indoors, an aggressive traction pattern can work great long-term for maneuverability. However, the same can’t be said if you are a regular outdoor player. The reason for this is that aggressive patterns can wear down very quickly.

Look for traction patterns that aren’t too deeply inset if you want a good all-around basketball shoe. The idea is that the outsole will wear down in a more even manner. The last thing you want is your shoes wearing down in certain areas as this will affect your stability on the court. 

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Pretty much all popular Nike shoes have amazing cushioning technology built into them. However, some types of cushioning may work better than others when it comes to playing basketball.

Softer cushioning is more suitable for outdoor play as the terrain can be pretty rough at times and hard on your knees. Of course, aim for cushioning that gives you a spring that you feel confident with too. 

Zoom Airs are a decent choice to check out, but try to get full-length versions for maximum effect. UA Flow or Micro G foams are also an excellent consideration for good cushioning out on the court. 

Material Preferences

Since creators of basketball sneakers make them using a wide variety of materials, it’s all about what’s your preference? Nowadays, Nike has some crazy material technology built into their footwear that we recommend you research before you make any quick decisions.

Ultimately, though, do you want hard-wearing modern synthetics for durability and performance? Or are you more into your old-school raw materials that break in well and can perform just as well for the right person? 


While it’s no issue for the likes of Durant and Curry, price is always going to be a major factor for us mere mortals. We think it’s a good idea to consider price after you’ve set your standards with the four factors we’ve just mentioned above.

To get the best deals, there’s no doubt you should hit up the outlets. In these places, you’ll be able to find some of last year’s sneakers, but the prices are going to be much better for the budget-minded player. And in any case, last year’s basketball shoes aren’t going to be so much different in terms of the technology they have built-in compared to this year’s.

If you have a generous budget, then your options are more open. Just try not to get carried away with the hype about a sneaker, but instead, think about what’ll work best for you in practical terms. It may be a below-budget Nike basketball shoe works best for you.


The downside to buying your shoes online is you won’t get a real feel of several different shoes to realize the best ones for your feet. Heading down to physical stores when buying basketball shoes is the way to go if you can.

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When you do go down to the store, a good tip is to wear some thick socks to get a realistic idea of how they would feel in a game. Plus, don’t feel awkward about stretching, jumping, and doing a few short runs in the shoes you try on.

As to whether your Nike basketball shoes should be loose or tight, the keywords here are a “snug fit.” If they are too tight, you’ll just get irritated in play and you might even feel pins and needles on occasion if they’re super-tight! But if they are too loose, expect blistering and the potential for injury; like a sprained ankle, for example.

And if you’re wondering if Nikes run too big or small when it comes to sizing, the consensus is they run a little small. So keep this in mind if you are shopping online.

High-Tops vs. Low-Tops

The age-old question is, “should I go for high or low-tops?” In the past, most coaches would always tell you to get high-tops. The reason for this was they wanted their players to not have so much risk of ankle twists and strains. 

Yet, it’s pretty much known now that high-tops don’t offer so much in the way of support to prevent such injuries. So why not just allow your ankles to be free and allow for better maneuverability? Well, some players just feel comfortable and natural playing in high-tops. 

But if you want to maximize your speed potential, it’s worth considering some Nike low-top basketball shoes. Guards in particular might want to opt for this shoe type so they can change direction at speed and gain better traction in the game. 

Wingers might want to think about high-tops or even mid-tops. Mid-tops are an interesting choice as they won’t weigh you down as much as high-tops and will allow you to shift your weight better too. 


Some players might not care about the style of their basketball sneakers as long as they function well. But let’s get real, if you’re opting for a pair of Nikes, you may as well get some that represent your style aspirations, and personality.

If we had to choose a style right now in the Nike range, a stand-out pair would be the KD 14s with their full-length Zoom Air Strobel. But we have to give a serious shout-out to the Air Jordan 36 sneakers and, of course, the Nike Lebron Witness 6 basketball shoes with their super fresh and slightly retro stylish with a modern edge.

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Off-Court Use 

let’s face it, not everyone buys a Nike shoe to play basketball, even if that’s what it’s designed for. If this applies to you, then think about what you want from your sneakers for day-to-day use.

If you live in a cold, snowy climate, you should be thinking about getting some raw material high tops to keep your feet warmer. You might also want deeper traction with your shoes for a better grip on snow and ice.

Arch Support

The sizing of the Nike basketball shoes you try on might be perfect in terms of length and breadth. However, you have to question whether they have adequate arch support. 

Some players swear that when they have better arch support they can jump higher. So if you’re looking to improve your jumping ability on the court, don’t neglect arch support as a possible way of doing so.

Don’t Impulse Buy!

It’s all too easy to blow your budget “at the moment” when you come across a crazy pair of Nike basketball shoes that you fall in love with at first sight. Be realistic and run through the checklist of things to look at before you buy.

You might feel stoked with your purchase initially. But when all the excitement wears off with your new sneakers, you’re the one who’s going to have to play game after the game not feeling 100% with your footwear.

So take your time when shoe shopping, and make sure to try on a whole range of Nikes before you buy. By doing this, you get to have multiple comparisons to think about so you can hone in on your perfect pair.

Nike Basketball Shoes Are Awesome

Most people will agree that Nike basketball shoes are awesome for playing basketball, wearing them on the street, and collecting. But if you’re serious about enhancing your play on the court, take your time when choosing your pair.

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