Since signing Michael Jordan in 1984, Nike has been on top of the NBA shoe industry.
Nike has continued its dominance in the basketball world by inking the biggest NBA players with shoe deals to maintain leadership. Next to Jordan, Nike’s deal with LeBron James has become one of the best deals in basketball history.
Using data from Kix Stats, the data analysts at Basketball Insiders have crunched the numbers to determine the most popular shoe brands in the NBA.
During the 2023 season, Nike was far and beyond the most popular brand worn by NBA players. Nike finished the regular season as the No.1 brand worn by NBA Players. In fact, Nike accounted for 67.2% of the shoes chosen by NBA players this year. When combined with its Jordan line, Nike and Air Jordan covered nearly 75 percent of the NBA market.
Check out the highlights from the data below.
Nike Is No.1 Brand Worn By NBA Players
Ever since the NBA has removed its “shoe rules” in 2018, players have had the ability to wear any brand, colors and types of shoes on the court.
Yet, though players are signing to other companies like Adidas, Puma, and Under Armour, the Swoosh logo holds a special place in the NBA.
Nearly every player in the NBA has signed a deal with Nike or was an ambassador at some point during their basketball career and that seems to have a played a role in its popularity throughout the league.
As a result, it comes as no surprise that Nike is the No.1 brand worn by NBA players. In total, 67.2% of the shoe choices made by NBA players incorporated the Swoosh logo.
There are three ways of inking a deal with Nike. NBA players can sign a signature shoe deal, a cash deal or a merchandise deal. Depending on the deal, Nike will incentivize players with extra perks and royalties based on certain incentives, like becoming an All-Star, reaching the playoffs, and more.
Aside from Nike, other brands like Adidas, Puma, Under Armour, and New Balance have also earned a share of the market. While it isn’t as big, Adidas is the second biggest brand in the NBA with 11.1% of players wearing the three stripes.
Check out the list below for the most popular shoes brands in the NBA.
- Nike — 17,398 Players (67.2%)
- Adidas — 2,873 Players (11.1%)
- Jordan — 1,936 Players (7.5%)
- Puma — 762 Players (2.94%)
- Under Armour — 565 Players (2.18%)
- New Balance — 517 Players (1.99%)
- Anta — 512 Players (1.97%)
- Li-Ning — 433 Players (1.67%)
- Converse — 407 Players (1.57%)
- 361° — 147 Players (0.56%)
Nike, Adidas and Jordans Make Up 86% of NBA Shoe Market
The three biggest shoe brands in the NBA are Nike, Adidas, and Jordan. For the 2022-2023 NBA season, the three brands combined to make up 85.8% of the shoe market.
In total, players wore one of these three brands for a combined 484,165 minutes.
Only around 15% of the market is made up of other brands, including New Balance, Puma, Under Armour, Anta, Li-Ning, Converse, and more.
Due to the high royalties in some China-backed companies, some players elect to sign shoe deals for larger amounts of money with lesser known brands. Chinese brands like Li-Ning, make up only 1.57% of the basketball shoe market but have signed players like Dwayne Wade, Jimmy Butler, and more to boost brand awareness.
Check out the top basketball shoes worn in the NBA, sorted total by minutes played.
- Nike — 370,212 Minutes Played
- Adidas — 69,909 Minutes Played
- Jordan — 44,044 Minutes Played
- Puma — 22,027 Minutes Played
- New Balance — 15,072 Minutes Played
- Under Armour — 13,093 Minutes Played
- Anta — 12,191 Minutes Played
- Converse — 11,685 Minutes Played
- Li-Ning — 11,673 Minutes Played
- 361° — 4,707 Minutes Played
Top NBA Shoes Based On Position
Perhaps one of the most interesting trends that emerged in the study was the position by position breakdown. Fewer NBA guards (6.8%) wore Jordan than any other position. Meanwhile, Anta, the world’s third-largest shoe manufacturer behind Nike and Adidas, was more popular among forwards than more well-known brands like Puma, Under Armour, and New Balance.
Among the three NBA positions, guards, forwards and centers, Nike is the No.1 brand worn by players. In fact, 61.4% of NBA guards, 70.5% of forwards, and 73.3% of centers wear Nike branded shoes.
The second-most popular shoe brand worn is Adidas. Depending on the position, the amount of players wearing them differs. For NBA guards, Adidas is worn 12% of the time, while forwards and centers only wear the shoes 9.5% and 10.2%, respectively.
Check out the shoe breakdown by position below.
Nike No.1 Brand Among Guards
- Nike — 8155 Players (61.4%)
- Adidas — 1599 Players (12%)
- Jordan — 898 Players (6.8%)
- Puma —514 Players (3.9%)
- Under Armour — 479 Players (3.6%)
- New Balance — 396 Players (2.97%)
Nike No.1 Brand Among Forwards
- Nike — 10,052 Players (70.5%)
- Adidas — 1356 Players (9.5%)
- Jordan — 1203 Players (8.4%)
- Anta —349 Players (3.9%)
- Puma— 316 Players (2.2%)
- New Balance — 247 Players (1.73%)
Nike No.1 Brand Among Centers
- Nike — 3967 Players (73.3%)
- Adidas — 550 Players (10.2%)
- Jordan — 488 Players (9%)
- Puma —161 Players (3%)
- Under Armour — 84 Players (1.55%)
- Anta — 78 Players (1.44%)
Source: Basketball Insider