Known for premium running shoes and classic sneakers, New Balance expanded into basketball footwear more recently. While the brand has decades of experience crafting high-performance athletic shoes, many players wonder how New Balance stacks up for hoops.
With technologies like FuelCell and ENCAP along with basketball-specific features, New Balance basketball shoes aim to deliver lightweight responsiveness, dynamic traction, and cushioned support for players.
But with a range of models now available, how do you choose the right pair? Finding your perfect basketball shoes depends on considerations like fit, traction, support, cushioning and more.
In this complete guide, we’ll overview the key factors that make or break basketball shoes. Then we’ll highlight some of the top-rated New Balance basketball models for men and compare their specialized designs. Let’s dig in to find your ideal basketball shoes from New Balance!
Most Important Basketball Shoe Features
When evaluating basketball shoes, start by considering these vital factors:
Traction is essential for quick cuts, pivots and stops on the hardwood court. Shoes with solid rubber outsoles in traction patterns optimized for indoor or outdoor play provide the best grip.
Cushioning absorbs impact to keep feet, ankles, knees and hips feeling fresh during play. Different foam types like New Balance’s FuelCell offer responsive comfort.
Ample support enhances stability for jumps and hard landings. Features like wide bases, external supports and heel counters improve lockdown.
In general, lighter shoes enhance speed and agility. New Balance basketball models tend to have lightweight foam cushioning.
Mesh uppers allow airflow to keep feet cool and dry during intense play. Leather can get hot.
Solid rubber outsoles withstand abrasion while quality leather uppers resist damage. Seek durability for longevity.
Wide and narrow size options ensure proper fit. A snug lace-up system prevents slippage while materials like inner sleeves lock feet in place. High tops add ankle support.
Look for position-specific designs. Guards need lightweight shoes for speed while big men require stability and ankle support that high tops offer.
Performance and comfort take precedence but luckily New Balance models come in stylish color combinations to suit your taste.
Basketball shoes range from $80 to $160+ based on materials and technologies. Determine your budget.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s see how some top New Balance basketball shoes stack up.
Reviews of the Best New Balance Basketball Shoes
After thorough evaluation of traction, cushioning, support, fit and more, here are our picks for the top New Balance basketball shoes available:
1. New Balance Two Wxy v2
Arguably New Balance’s best balanced on-court shoe, the Two Wxy v2 delivers responsive speed supplemented by stabilizing support.
- Multi-directional herringbone traction pattern grips indoor courts
- FuelCell cushioning provides a lightweight feel with energy return
- Wide base and external heel counter supply lateral stability
- Modern engineered mesh upper for ventilation
- Lace-up closure with padded tongue and heel for security
- Versatile for guards, wings and big men
- Retails around $140
With a comfortable broken-in feel right out of the box, the Two Wxy v2 scores big as a durable, well-cushioned team player ready for season after season.
2. New Balance Omn1s
Built for fast cuts and explosive steps, the appropriately named Omn1s offers supreme speed and agility.
- Grooved outsole pattern for smooth traction control
- Lightweight FuelCell foam cushioning
- Low profile podular stability frame from midsole to upper
- Extremely lightweight feel amplifies quickness
- Circular mesh ports enhance ventilation
- Inner mesh sleeve provides elastic lockdown
- Ideal for quick guards who prevail on agility
- Bold color accents on tech-inspired style
- Also around $140 retail
For players who rely on speed and fast footwork, the Omn1s delivers ultra-responsive lightness to run the court.
3. New Balance Retro OXG6000
Recalling heritage basketball styles but with modern tech, the OXG6000 brings vintage hoops look with ample comfort and support.
- Full rubber outsole in circular pivot point pattern
- ENCAP cushioning absorbs impact in heel and forefoot
- Leather upper provides containment and support
- Midfoot rivet stabilizes the foot over the sole
- Ample padding at Achilles notch eases chafing
- Lace-up leather molds comfortably to feet
- Casual vintage style works on or off court
- Better for casual play than hardcore hoops
- Just $90 makes it very budget-friendly
For light hooping or sporty style, the OXG6000 combines a retro basketball aesthetic with sufficient cushioning and support. The leather upper offers a supple feel but may heat up.
4. New Balance Kawhi
Designed with input from NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, this namesake model matches his versatile skills.
- Multi-directional tread inspired by Kawhi’s footwork
- FuelCell foam brings responsive bounce
- Wide base with external support frame
- Cushioned yet stable for dynamic play
- Mixed synthetic and mesh upper
- Asymmetrical lace loop saddle for lockdown
- Style taking cues from Kawhi’s preferences
- Well-balanced guard/forward performance
- Premium materials and tech justify $160 price
As Kawhi dominates both ends of the court, the Kawhi shoe performs steadily in all aspects to match his versatile dominance.
Basketball Shoe Feature Comparison
| Model | Player | Traction | Cushion | Support | Weight | Ventilation | Materials | Price |
| Two Wxy v2 | Versatile | Herringbone | FuelCell | Wide Base | Medium | Mesh Upper | Synthetic/Leather | $140 |
| Omn1s | Guards/Wings | Grooved | FuelCell | Low Profile Frame | Very Light | Mesh Ports | Mesh/Synthetic | $140 |
| OXG6000 | Off-Court/Light Play | Circular Pivot | ENCAP | Midfoot Rivet | Heavier | Leather Holes | Leather Upper | $90 |
| Kawhi | All-Around | Multi-Directional | FuelCell | External Frame | Light/Stable | Mesh Accents | Synthetic/Mesh/Leather | $160 |
This overview shows how New Balance basketball shoes differ across major features to match needs from quick guards to big men and multi-faceted players.
Tips for Purchasing the Perfect Basketball Shoes
To choose the right basketball shoes for your game from New Balance or any brand, keep these tips in mind:
- Try shoes on in-store with athletic socks to gauge fit and comfort
- Consider your playing style and position-specific needs like speed or ankle support
- Examine the outsole tread pattern and confirm it’s made for indoor or outdoor play
- Test midsole cushioning by walking around to feel impact absorption
- Inspect material quality and stitching for durability clues
- Leather offers containment and support but won’t breathe as well as mesh
- Mesh uppers deliver ventilation and breathability at the cost of some durability
- Compare high tops versus low tops based on your need for ankle mobility or stability
- Seek a secure lockdown through lace system, inner sleeve, or midfoot supports
- Break in new shoes gradually to reduce stiffness and allow the materials to mold to your feet
- Allow shoes a day to air out and dry between sessions to prevent odor
- Rotate two pairs of basketball shoes to increase longevity
- Wipe shoes clean frequently and check for pebbles stuck in the treads
- Plan on replacing basketball shoes after 300 to 500 hours of play or annually
Basketball Shoe FAQs
Still have some questions about choosing basketball shoes? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How much ankle support do you need in a basketball shoe?
Guards favor lower shoes for speed and mobility while big men opt for more ankle stability from high tops. Assess your swiftness vs. support needs.
Do basketball shoes need more or less cushioning than running shoes?
More cushioning in the heel cushions the constant stops and impacts. But the forefoot cushion can be closer to running shoes for propulsion.
What outsole tread patterns perform best indoors vs. outdoors?
Outdoor courts call for deep multi-directional traction to handle dust and debris. Pivot point treads enhance indoor maneuvers and cuts.
How much do pro-level basketball shoes cost compared to entry models?
Entry level runs $80-100, mid-range is $100-130, and pro shoes exceed $140. Higher price means premium materials and tech.
How can you find the right fit if you have wide feet?
New Balance offers wider widths in some models. Measure your foot and request wide sizes when possible for roomier fits.
Should you buy basketball shoes a half or full size up?
True to size is best for lockdown, but those with wide feet may consider sizing up. Avoid too much room causing foot slippage.
How long should basketball shoes last before replacing them?
Plan around 300-500 hours of play. But assess annually and replace once the outsole tread is worn through or they lose support.
Lace Up Game-Ready Confidence
Finding your perfect pair of basketball shoes means considering factors like fit, cushioning, ventilation, traction, support and style. Determine your needs and then select a top-rated model like the New Balance Two Wxy v2 or Omn1s to get game ready.
Make sure to try on shoes in the width and size that fit your feet best. Test models in the store by walking and moving around. And don’t forget those performance socks for the ideal fit!
Break in new shoes over time, keep them fresh, allow them to fully air out, and replace them annually or at the first signs of excess wear. With the right New Balance basketball shoes matched to your needs, you’ll have confidence each time you step on the court.
Do you have any other questions about choosing basketball shoes from New Balance or other brands? What features do you prioritize for your game? Share your thoughts and experience below!