Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes of 2018 – The ULTIMATE List

With so many releases coming out each year, there‘s the same number of different cushion set-up‘s presented within each model that excel in different aspects – responsiveness, impact protection, bounciness, low or high rides. The diversity is HUGE.

That being said, I‘m here to help you out finding the most suitable cushioning for your play style, position & overall preferences on the hardwood.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes in 2018!


 

 

 

WEIGHT: 13.06 oz / 370.2 g

TECH: ZOOM AIR, CUSHLON, FLYWIRE

TYPE: LOW-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $120

BD RATING: 8.5/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

From a day one, the Kyrie line was famous for its “pure point guard” performance – rock solid cushion & that rounded midsole for outstanding heel to toe transition. It was great, but only for a small mass of players. Duh… Not every one of us is such a terrific ball handler like Kyrie.

However, Uncle Drew is getting old. Those knees won’t last forever! So for this reason, the Kyrie 4’s do feature way plushier Cushlon midsole & the same Zoom Air unit in the heel area for a small amount of impact protection just in case.

Keeping it nice & short, this cushion setup is just simply perfect for those who emphasize striking responsiveness, lightness & perfect transition within your every step on the court. As I said in my previous TOP 10 list (actually it was TOP 12), you wanna put your opponent on scates when the 4’s are on your feet.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 427 g. / 15.05 oz

TECH: BOOST

TYPE: LOW-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $140

BD RATING: 8.7/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

This guy does offer a little bit more bounce in your step, yet keeping that insanely awesome “guard package” on a high level. Much alike any other BOOST implementation, this caged full-length BOOST tooling is ready to impress you with its ability to react to every single move, letting you be & move like Harden himself. Stir it up!

Again, upon that explosive response & lowest BOOST slab for low ride experience, we do have a fairly solid amount of impact protection if you’re a heavier, more explosive player or you just love to treat your knees the right way and keep that longevity bar up there.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

WEIGHT: 11.08 oz / 314.1 g.

TECH: 360-DEGREE FLYKNIT, LUNARLON, NIKE REACT

TYPE: LOW-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $200

BD RATING: 8/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

These bad boys utilize Lunarlon & REACT duo for a perfectly balanced, guard-oriented cushion setup. Listen, if you’re a true guard who loves dribble a lot, break some ankles occasionally, cut to the basket and spot up for a splash, this is your best bet.

That Lanarlon & REACT combo works flawlessly by providing you with a super low and responsive ride in the forefoot (the lowest setup you can get as a right now), while the heel area utilizes every bit of REACT foam for a perfect amount of impact protection for lighter players.

One more thing, if you’re a more explosive guard like Westbrook or prime Rose, you should consider options named below or take a look at the upcomming segment. This setup is too thin for you.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FNISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 314 g. / 11.06 oz

TECH: PROPRIETARY FOAM, SPEED PLATE

TYPE: MID-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $130

BD RATING: 8.7/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Curry 4 takes the cake from the Kyrie 4 as a stiffest cushion owner. Don’t freak out just yet. They still do not come close to the past Kyrie line models as far as stiffness goes – those was just straight up rocks under your foot.

With full-length Proprietary Foam setup in conjunction with heavily oriented support within the mid-sole & pretty darn wide base, the foam setup really and I mean REALLY unfolds. Straight up PRECISION. No lag while executing any type of move and right on the money foot planting to execute a perfect shoot. SPLAAASH! So if you consider yourself as a Curry type of player who loves to shoot some crazy off screen, deep or moving jump shoots, this is exactly what you need.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 453.5 g. / 16 oz

TECH: FLIGHT SPEED, FLYKNIT

TYPE: HIGH TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $185

BD RATING: 9/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

You just can’t go wrong with a full-length Zoom Air set-up and the AJ XXXII is the best proof of that. Hiding underneath the foot, there’re two segmented Air units for that perfect all-around performance blend.

Unit in the forefoot is UNLOCKED. That means there’s no extra layer of material above the unit, except the insole. So that being the case, the forefoot section is just heaven for any type of player. You can actually feel how that compressed air immediately returns your energy back in pretty much no time after touching the hardwood, letting you to do your thing without thinking about anything other than your game – outstanding responsiveness & low to the ground ride is what you get from it.

Now, unit in the heel section is bottom loaded, creating plenty of impact protection & adequate amount of bounce for our big guys out there.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 342 g. /12.06 oz

TECH: ZOOM AIR, FLYKNIT

TYPE: LOW TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $150

BD RATING: 8.5/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

If you cater towards more responsive cushion setup with just a tad bit better impact protection than those guard oriented performers can offer you – the KD 10 is what you need.

The whole set-up just screams RESPNSIVENESS. And even though, the midsole doesn’t seem to be super low of the ground, they do offer that nice low ride & with that flex zone in the forefoot, you’re receiving outstanding performance out of the forefoot section. While the heel zone is a little bit softer and more forgiven for that nice amount of impact protection when using your heel.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

WEIGHT: 398.8 g. / 14.07 oz

TECH: ZOOM AIR, MAX AIR, BattleKnit, Flywire

TYPE: LOW-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $150

BD RATING: 8.4/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

I love how they kept the main core together and build the new tooling around it. That being the case, ZOOM Air & MAX Air is still running the block just in a different fashion, which I really don’t mind.

The forefoot is now rocking a time-proofed combo of bottom loaded ZOOM pad (11mm. thick) within plush Phylon carrier. And if you don’t know from my previous reviews – this stuff is purely cash money. It packs both snappy responsiveness for our heavy forefoot strikers & bouncy/high impact protection ride without compromising each other’s performance. Meanwhile, the heel unit utilizes 180-degree Max Air madness (21mm. thick) to fulfill the needs of bigger & stronger players who tend to use heel all the time by offering a crazy amount of impact protection & that pillow-like squishiness.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE (NOW ONLY $105!) | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 360 g. / 12.69 oz

TECH: BOUNCE

TYPE: LOW-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $115

BD RATING: 9.5/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Despite the midsole being toned down quite a bit, all of this BOUNCE magic didn’t go anywhere. The heel area still offers that bouncy ride & ton of impact protection for our paint monsters out there. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about – always finessing dudes in the paint. Barbecue chicken alert!

When the forefoot area is something that every single guard would appreciate – INCREDIBLY responsive & low-profile setup will allow you to precisely accomplish every single step on the court. It’s like the Dame 3 in the back and the Kyrie 3 in front.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

WEIGHT: 360 g. / 12.69 oz

TECH: UA HOVR, ENERGY WEB

TYPE: LOW-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $105

BD RATING: 8.2/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Only half of the midsole going from the heel up to the midfoot section is utilizing HOVR – forefoot being plain EVA as the whole thing in the Curry 5. Still, that definitely didn’t prevent them from making the list.

after breaking in that EVA carrier where HOVR was hiding and finally activating its full power, the heel area was simply PERFECT (BOOST LIKE perfect). That sweet bounce in your step & loads of impact protection that even the lightest player could feel it, made the HOVR Havoc looking nothing like a budget model.

Obviously, as a cushion lover, I would love to see a full-length HOVR thing going on in the next upcoming UA’s basketball silhouette. But as a right now, we’re dealing with EVA in the forefoot which is certainly nothing “wow” or even close to that.

Yet, if you do prefer your forefoot to be shifty & responsive while the heel unit to be heavily cushioned – the HOVR Havoc is by far the best option out there, period.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: UNDER ARMOUR

 

 

WEIGHT: 14.42 oz / 370.2 g

TECH: ANTA-EVE

TYPE: HIGH-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $120

BD RATING: 8.5/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Who said that the underdog brand can’t produce a solid performer to compete with the main brands? Who said that simple slab of foam can’t be a well-rounded cushion tooling for basically any type of player? Who said that $120 price tag for this solid package isn’t awesome?

One layer of foam in the forefoot for the LOWEST ride in the sneaker game right now, alongside with striking responsiveness packed in reinforced midsole for pure control over your moves at any giving time. How about the heel area?

The back is double stacked, which means there we do have two layers of foam. Again, heavily reinforced midsole & big ass, strong ass heel counter ensures you’re not losing any of controls in the back as well, while still producing enough impact protection if you decide to do some explosive stuff.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: ANTA | AMAZON

 

 

 

 

 

WEIGHT: 394 g. / 13.89 oz

TECH: BOOST, PRIMEKNIT

TYPE: HIGH TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $150

BD RATING: 9.7/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

The thickest BOOST midsole offers unbelievable amount of bounciness for that pillow like ride. This is by far the best cushion setup along with the LeBron 15’s Air set-up for those who love comfort, bounce and ton of impact protection.

The outer side of BOOST is covered with rubbery cage to improve upon stability and to direct your injected force straight back to your foot. While the inner side of the BOOST midsole is completely open, unveiling the full potential of BOOST power. Pillow like performance for days!

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 457 g. / 16.1 oz

TECH: ZOOM AIR, MAX AIR, BattleKnit, Flywire

TYPE: HIGH-TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $185

BD RATING: 9.3/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

With this killer combo Nike just sent BOOST to sleep. Okay, maybe not complete to sleep, but for a nice nap for sure.

For the first time in the Nike basketball shoe history, the LeBron 15 features Zoom Air and Max Zoom blend for the cushion. What can I say – straight up pillows for your feet. So recommendations are pretty straight forward for this insane tooling. If you don’t mind being reasonably high off the ground, a slightly delay in responsiveness department isn’t a problem as well and you’re all about that impact protection & insane bounce- the LBJ 15’s are definitely your #1 pick.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 

WEIGHT: 423 g. / 14.92 oz

TECH: BOOST, GEOFIT

TYPE: MID TOP

RETAIL PRICE: $140

BD RATING: 9.7/10

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Compering with the D Rose 7, the 8 does perform pretty much identical, except improved responsiveness. It’s like adidas D Rose 7 (1.5 version) as far as the cushion setup goes. We have that BOOST “famous” bouncy ride & ton of impact protection for our big mans out there.

Now increased responsiveness is what makes this setup even more beastly and more versatile than ever. Due to caged BOOST laterally in the forefoot/midfoot areas for direct BOOST energy kick directly to your foot. This trick makes forefoot incredibly responsive which is perfect scenario for guards since they do use forefoot a lot. While the back of the BOOST cushion is wide open, letting you to receive A1 impact protection.

BEST PLACE TO BUY: FINISH LINE | AMAZON

 

 


 

Hope you enjoyed my TOP 10 list of BEST CUSHIONED BASKETBALL SHOES IN 2018. Will you be picking one of them up? Let me know!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment down below!

21 thoughts on “Best Cushioned Basketball Shoes of 2018 – The ULTIMATE List

  • February 18, 2018 at 5:47 am
    Permalink

    In your opinion whats the best combination of cushion and traction between dame 4s, kyries, harden 1s, crazy explosive 2017 high or low ( or some other shoe i’m overlooking. I thought the curry 4s were not enough cushion for me and the courts i played on the traction was not great because of dust. So something with traction where I won’t have to be wiping and bouncy cushion to prevent shin splints/ sore knees after a few hours at a time.

    When will you do a review for the harden vol 2?

    Reply
    • February 19, 2018 at 6:32 pm
      Permalink

      Hey man,

      I would stick with the Dame 4 and Crazy Explosive ’17 – both have one of the best cushion set-ups in the business (CE’s tooling is a bit plushier) & dirty courts aren’t a problem for them as well.

      I just picked them up from finish line, so expect a performance review in the following week.

      Reply
      • February 19, 2018 at 7:38 pm
        Permalink

        I’m quite a bit shocked reading your email where you say that the Crazy Explosive ’16 wasn’t that good in terms of cushion performance. I mean, this is almost the best option that the market can offer you right now. So there’s only one option left – Nike LeBron 15. This is as far as you can go. However, traction on them isn’t something super beastly. It’s solid, but not as great as on the Harden Vol.1 or D Rose 8.

        I would say, try the LeBron 15 or sacrifice a small amount of bounce for that beastly traction and go with the D Rose 8. That’s all I can say, bro.

        Reply
  • February 20, 2018 at 2:45 am
    Permalink

    Hey man,
    So would u say that the most responsive cushioning without all the boost like bounce is the KD 10?Responsiveness and impact protection are a must but i dont like the bouncy feel. I was thinking about picking up a pair cuz they seem to be what i need and the colorways are sick. thank u so much for all you do, u really are the greatest shoe reviewer! I have read everything on your website cuz its just plain out awesome!keep doing what youre doing!

    Reply
    • February 21, 2018 at 8:01 pm
      Permalink

      That’s right my man. The KD 10 is the best of producing that awesome blend between responsiveness & impact protection without crazy amount of bounce. So don’t hesitate and grab a pair. You’re gonna love ’em!

      Ohh, sh*t… You just made my entire day! #MOTIVATIONBOOST I appreciate you, bro.

      Reply
  • March 28, 2018 at 5:06 pm
    Permalink

    Which shoe gives the most cushion in the heel area? We are looking for a shoe that will give my son the most cushion in the heel area. I feel like it is between the Lebrons 15 and the Crazy Explosive 17.

    Reply
    • March 29, 2018 at 3:30 pm
      Permalink

      Yeah, you’re right. As a right now, the LeBron 15 has the most cushion in the heel and forefoot as well.

      Reply
  • March 29, 2018 at 3:43 pm
    Permalink

    Hey Daumantas,
    i was thinking about picking up the kyrie 4 and i was wondering if they were stable. i had the kyrie 3 but they felt like like i could brake my own ankles at any moment and didnt very stable. the cushion seemed better with the 4s cuz its seems more plush. the 3s cushion made my knees burn after like only 1 hr of playing in them. im only 22 but the cushion was really rock hard.
    thanks for all you do! i have been reading ur website for a while now and i keep on telling my friends to go to ur website if they want a awesome performence review on kickz

    Reply
    • March 30, 2018 at 9:13 pm
      Permalink

      Hey bro,

      So the Kyrie 4 is more stable than its predecessor, however, I still wouldn’t call them a stable ball shoe. You should check the PG2’s – they do have similar cushion set-up (personally, I do like PG2’s tooling more) & solid traction, yet the PG2 is definitely a winner in stability department for sure.
      Thank you for reading my stuff and spreading the word! You’re the true MVP bro.

      Reply
  • March 31, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    Permalink

    would u rather dame 4,crazy explosive ’17,or Drive 4? Thanks a lot

    Reply
    • April 1, 2018 at 8:38 pm
      Permalink

      As a heavier player I do prefer the Crazy Explosive ’17 over those two, mainly because of that huge amount of impact protection they produce. However, if you want something more stable and maybe lower of the ground, I would recommend you to try the Dame 4.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2018 at 1:16 pm
    Permalink

    Hey, what do you think is a better guard shoe, the Curry 4s, Kyrie 4s, Harden 2s, or any others? I mainly play on the outside and at times I can, like curry or kyrie, drive in and make some crazy layups. I don’t mind the cusioning too much as long as I don’t physically feel too much pain because of the shoe.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • July 27, 2018 at 10:09 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Jason!

      Sorry for the late answer man…

      I’m 100% positive that the Kyrie 4’s are the ones for your play style & preferences.

      Reply
  • July 30, 2018 at 10:20 pm
    Permalink

    What do you think the most comfortable basketball ball shoes there is?

    Reply
    • July 31, 2018 at 9:05 pm
      Permalink

      Are you talking about the most comfortable shoe in general or strictly about cushion? Either way, in my personal opinion, the LeBron 15, adidas Crazy Explosive 17, Kobe AD NXT 360 & KD 11 sitting on top of that list. Now if need to pick just one winner, the LeBron 15 is what I’m taking with me, mainly because it features by far the best cushion tooling for big/strong/explosive players.

      Reply
  • August 18, 2018 at 1:52 am
    Permalink

    What is the best shoe for a high intensity point guard (narrow foot) that prevents lower back pain. Need shoe for indoor play, workouts at least 4 hours per day.

    Kobe high tops were a dream shoe, but can’t get those any more.

    Reply
    • August 18, 2018 at 10:33 pm
      Permalink

      Considering the fact that you gonna use them not only for playing ball but for workouts also, I would suggest looking at the AJ 32, AJ Why Not Zero.1 or the adidas dame 4. Every single of them shares really stable platfor & all around support which is perfect for workouts. While the cushion toolings where constructed having in mind players with similar play styles.

      Reply
  • September 13, 2018 at 4:22 pm
    Permalink

    Hey man, What shoe do you recommend if I have problems with my knees?
    Thanks a Lot

    Reply
    • September 13, 2018 at 8:53 pm
      Permalink

      Sup man,

      In your case, you should be looking at the last section “FOR IMPACT PROTECTION & BOUNCY RIDE”, specifically at the LeBron 15 or adidas Crazy Explosive. Feel free to check out my both reviews to learn more about each of those performers & pick which suits you the best.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    Permalink

    Traction and cushion…. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    • September 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm
      Permalink

      You should be looking at the AJ 32, Dame 4, Crazy Explosive ’17 or the LeBron 15 Low – these picks do have the best blend between solid traction & awesome cushion.

      Reply

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