April 21, 2023
The NBA’s 77th season is well underway, with players showcasing their skills and styles on the court. As always, their choice of footwear remains a topic that’s almost as interesting as the games themselves. This season, a small shift in preferences has emerged as new up-and-coming shoe lines and brands make their mark on the hardwood. Here, we present the most popular shoes, player shoe lines, and shoe brands worn by NBA players in the 2022-23 season, based on the comprehensive Baller Shoes DB database.
Nike continues to dominate the shoe game, and despite the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant and the various legal battles between his estate and Nike, Kobe’s signature sneakers continue to dominate the NBA hardwood. The Nike Kobe 6 Protro (worn by stars like Jalen Brunson and Anthony Davis) takes the top spot, up from the second position last year, followed closely by the Nike PG 6 (worn by namesake Paul George and Desmond Bane), which rose from the third place. The Nike Kobe 5 Protro (Bam Adebayo), previously in the first place, now ranks third. Other popular choices include the Nike Air Zoom GT Cut (De’Aaron Fox), Nike Kyrie 7 (Collin Sexton), and Nike KD 15 (Kevin Durant). Notably, the Adidas Dame 8 (Damian Lillard and Christian Wood) and Air Jordan 37 (Bradley Beal) have both just squeaked into the top 10, reflecting the tough position that brands outside of the Swoosh continue to find themselves in.
While Kobe Bryant’s shoe line remains a fan favorite, we once again see some familiar faces in the top positions, including Kyrie Irving’s signature line, which maintains its second position with the Kyrie 7, Kyrie Low 5, and Kyrie Infinity all contributing to the count. Paul George’s Nike PG 6 and PG 5 also find themselves in the mix, making his line the third most popular among NBA players, up from the previous season.
The Top Brands
Nike remains the undisputed king of the basketball shoe market, with a staggering 254 players sporting the brand’s footwear, maintaining its dominance from the previous season. Adidas comes in second place, worn by 42 NBA athletes, while the Jordan brand takes third, with 29 players choosing its lineup. Puma, Under Armour, and New Balance are also making strides, offering alternatives to the dominant brands, with very well received performance shoes.
Emerging Trends and New Entrants
The 2022-23 NBA season has witnessed some interesting shifts in footwear preferences compared to the 2021-22 season. While Nike and Adidas continue to reign supreme, smaller and legacy brands are finding success by filling niches left vacant by the giants. For example, New Balance’s Two Wxy V3 has gained traction, and Puma’s Rise Nitro is making a name for itself. Chinese brands like Anta, Li-Ning, and Peak are also garnering attention as more players seek alternatives to the mainstream options.
Smaller players in the market like 361 Degrees (sported by Aaron Gordon), Qiaodan (headlined by Keldon Johnson) and Rigorer (worn by Austin Reaves) are dipping their toes into the sponsorship deal pond as well.