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Becoming a menace on the court is certainly no trivial task. It takes countless hours of hard work, dedication to your craft, and an incredible attention to detail to develop into an above-average basketball player. One thing that goes largely under-looked though is the importance of a fire shoe game. While talent and dedication are clearly the two biggest indicators of a great basketball player, there is no denying the fact that a quality pair of this year's basketball shoes can instantly elevate a player's game to unseen heights. So as we sift through the best basketball shoes in 2018, keep an eye out for which particular pair fits your ideal player archetype—whether your a sharp shooter like Steph Curry, a rugged rebounder like Andre Drummond, or a well-rounded player like King James himself.
Kyrie 4 by Nike
Speaking of King James, let's start with his ex-running mate's signature shoe, the Nike Kyrie 4s. Kyrie Irving's signature sneakers have become a staple amongst the basketball community, as the high top shoe is ideal for explosive, off-the-dribble players with a flare for the theatrics. If you want a shoe with grade-A ankle support that is still smooth and flexible enough to help make quick cuts, the Kyrie 4s could be your best bet.
Zoom Shift 2 by Nike
The Nike Zoom Shift 2 remains a staple of the basketball community. A simple, lightweight design helps provide its wearer with a smooth, comfortable fit. Additionally, the Zoom Shift 2 provides one of highest-quality lacing systems in the shoe game today, essentially ensuring your laces will never come untied mid-game. The zoom air cushioning also helps make the Nike Zoom Shift 2 one of the most comfortable sneakers on the market, both on and off the court.
Dame 4 by Adidas
Damien Lilliard has become one of the more under-appreciated players in the league today, so it's no surprise his sneakers also don't get enough love. They do, however, certainly deserve it.
His newest iteration, the Dame 4s, are garnering popularity amongst casual and hardcore basketball fans alike. The rubber outsole helps give the shoe some much-needed traction, and they're incredibly light, so if you're a point guard in the mold of Lilliard himself, you'll be at maximum explosiveness. Be warned though—if you have a history of ankle problems, these are considered low tops, so ankle support can serve as a potential issue. In the general scope of low tops, these have better support than most, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Air Jordan 32 by Nike
Michael Jordan remains, arguably, the most influential basketball player of his generation, and look no further than his historically-great sneaker sales for additional proof of his everlasting legacy.
Not only do his iconic sneakers serve their purpose as a fashion staple, they're also pretty good on-the-court, too. Who would've thought?
Nike has brought back the Retro Air Jordan 32s, and for good measure. The classic shoe is aesthetically pleasing, and provides the wearer with a solid fit and good support. If you're looking for a shoe that you can both wear out to a party and hoop with, the 32s might be your best bet.
Originals Pro Bounce 2018 by Adidas
So far, we've covered a few shoes that are ideal fit for the modern-day guard, but what about for the all-around player? Well, look no further than the latest version of the Adidas Originals Pro Bounce, a classic shoe that simply gets the job done. These mid top sneakers are perfect for basketball players of any level, as they're lightweight, durable, and flexible enough to withstand the rigors of a full-court competitive game, and comfortable enough to pair up with the best basketball shorts for athletes on a day you're chilling with other ballers playing NBA 2K19.
Hyperdunk X by Nike
While the Hyperdunk, to some, might seem like it's a somewhat new commodity on the sneaker market, the iconic shoe actually just celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Arguably the most comfortable high top basketball sneaker on the market, the Hyperdunk X is a staple shoe for an above-the-rim, explosive player. After all, they don't call them the "hyperdunks" for no reason. These can get a little pricey, but if you're in the market for lightweight basketball sneakers with excellent support and flexibility, you may want to shell out the additional dough for these bad boys.
Air Jordan 6 Retro by Nike
Real sneaker heads should not be surprised to see another pair of Jordans on this list—particularly, the pair his Airness wore during his first three-peat with the Bulls—the Air Jordan 6s.
Not only do these classic high tops look great, but they also perform well. They are perfect for running the floor, so playing on a full length regulation court should not be an issue (unless, of course, you're wildly out of shape), and the boot-like design also makes this sneaker comfortable enough to wear for a full 48 minutes. The only issue you may come across is the possibility of scuffing your kicks. These vintage basketball sneakers are highly-sought after, so you may not even want to risk them on the court. If you do though, you'll definitely feel like a freaking champion. Just like MJ himself.
Crazy Explosive Primeknit by Adidas
The Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017s were met with somewhat lukewarm reviews, failing to make the cut on most lists of the top basketball shoes in 2018. However, Adidas got it right with the Crazy Explosive Primeknits, which have been a hit thus far. The breathable, lightweight sneaker is perfect for wing players looking to improve their first step, and also works well for traditional big men, as the high tops provide ideal ankle support for those who make a living battling under the boards. They also rank amongst the best basketball shoes for shooting, making its versatility essentially unrivaled.
Men's Zoom KD 11 Basketball Shoes by Nike
Say what you want about Kevin Durant the person, but his signature shoe deserves a little bit of love, especially for those looking to elevate their on-court performances—literally. The Nike Men's Zoom KD 11 basketball shoes remain one of the hottest selling shoes on the market, and it's no secret that their ability to help your vertical is a vital reason for that. The KD 11s are flexible enough to help you glide like a gazelle on the court (much like the real KD), and the react foam technology imbedded in the shoe can help preserve your knees for the long run. Forget play style, these sneakers are ideal for anyone that steps onto the court.
PG 2.5 by Nike
Paul George, who has essentially stepped into the aforementioned Durant's role on the Oklahoma City Thunder, also makes a durable, well-rounded basketball sneaker. The PG 2.5 basketball shoes are arguably the most popular sneaker amongst ballers both young and old. While the midfoot strap might appear intrusive to some, it actually bears little weight (literally) on the sneaker itself, and provides a more concrete fit after adjusting. The rubber outsoles also help the sneaker's traction, so you're not wiping your shoes down during each and every timeout. For those serious about playing competitive basketball, the PG 2.5s are the way to go.
Just remember folks, you're going to want a shoe that checks a multitude of boxes—ankle support, flexibility, weight, and overall comfortability, amongst others. Don't show up to the court in running shoes like a scrub—get the real deal. AKA, the best basketball shoes in 2018.