Best Basketball Shoes For GUARDS + Detailed Hooper’s GUIDE

Are there such things as the very best basketball shoes for guards? As with most things in life – it depends.

Choosing a proper shoe for your own personal preferences can get complicated but not if you know a few general principles. Let’s break it all down.

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: IntroPin
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN

Today’s performance sneaker market is absolutely MASSIVE and choosing the “perfect” pair for you can be extremely confusing.

Our modern era of basketball is constantly blending the positions together as it seems that everyone now does, or is even required to do, a little bit of everything on the court.

But even though the market has gone through a shift to provide tons of shoes that fit pretty much everybody, there are plenty of kicks that still excel in certain qualities a lot of guards prefer or enjoy the most.

This will never change.

I put together this guide to give you the need-to-know of how to choose a good guard’s shoe, how to handle today’s oversaturated shoe market, and a handpicked & regularly updated sneaker list which will do the trick all year round, any year.


I. BEST BASKETBALL SHOES FOR GUARDS: OVERVIEW

In a hurry and looking to get to the point? Here’s an overview of today’s best guard’s shoes

SHOECATEGORYRETAIL PRICEMY RATING
adidas Dame 8Best All-Around #1$1209/10
adidas Harden Vol. 3Best All-Around #2$1408.5/10
Nike Kyrie InfinityBest All-Around #3$1308.5/10
Nike Kobe 5 ProtroBest All-Around #4$200N/A
adidas D.O.N. Issue #3Best On A Budget #1$1107.5/10
Nike LeBron Witness 5Best On A Budget #2$1007.6/10
adidas Dame 3Best For Outdoors #1$1159.5/10
Nike LeBron 16Best For Outdoors #2$1858.8/10
Nike Kyrie Low 4Best For Low-Profile Guards #1$1107.5/10
Nike Kyrie 6Best For Low-Profile Guards #2$1308.3/10
adidas Crazy Explosive 2017Best Cushioned #1$1509/10
Nike LeBron 18 LowBest Cushioned #2$1607.8/10
Nike Cosmic UnityBest Cushioned #3$1508.4/10
Li-Ning Way Of Wade 8Most Supportive #1$2258.5/10
Air Jordan 34Most Supportive #2$1758.4/10
Air Jordan 36Most Supportive #3$1858/10
Curry Flow 9Most Comfortable #1$1608.6/10
Anta Rajon Rondo RR5Most Comfortable #2$100-$150N/A
adidas Trae Young 1Best For Wide Feet$1408/10

Don’t sweat it – keep it simple!

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: MarketPin

Here’s the thing about the basketball shoe game today – you’re probably not going to experience all or even most shoes that are offered today.

Unless you’ve got a fancy budget to work with all the time, you’ll likely just stick to a few pairs per few years, or even a single pair ’till it breaks down on you.

This is why it’s important not to overthink the “choosing” part of things. There are literally HUNDREDS of shoes available, and most of them are really good. The difference in performance & quality can oftentimes be marginal.

This is also why many shoes I’ve reviewed here tend to have very similar scores.

THERE IS MORE GOOD STUFF THAN BAD

Having a huge selection to choose from is awesome for us buyers because brands are competing for their place in the market.

Sure, there are quite a few shoes that could be considered bad products and there are also shoes that stand out from the crowd as they’re just levels above all else.

But the middle ground of just “good” shoes is the most common scenario – this means that instead of thinking “I might pick the wrong one” you could just pick one and go with it, and you’ll likely be a-okay.

Read a dedicated shoe review, check the user feedback and stick with what you prefer in terms of materials, the amount of cushion you prefer, whether you play indoors/outdoors, low tops or mid/high tops, etc.

Chances are, you’ll likely be happy with your decision, provided you did some digging on the particular shoe you’re eyeing.

This applies to shoes for just about any other position or play style. Keeping it simple and sticking to your preferences is key.

Now with that said, there’s still a reason I’ve made this post.

While you shouldn’t overcomplicate things, there are still a few things you should know about picking a good guard’s shoe.

If you follow those principles (which are pretty simple) and also go with what you like, you’ll be prepared for a comfortable, safe, and fun game on the court.

Let’s break down those principles.


Here are the main qualities to seek for a good guard’s option

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: QualitiesPin
I. CONSISTENT MULTI-DIRECTIONAL TRACTION

Good traction is needed for every player – but aggressive multi-directional traction that provides enough grip no matter how you plant your feet is absolutely necessary for a guard.

Guards are fast, nimble, and some are particularly shifty. Going 0-100 miles an hour and then suddenly 100-0 is part of our game and we need the shoe’s outsole to “bite” the floor so we can push off of it every single time that’s needed.

This is why you see these crazy-looking traction patterns that come all the way up to the midsole, such as Kyrie’s shoes.

This ensures that no matter how awkward your foot plant is, where you step, how you push off, and how fast you’re going, the outsole should handles the job.

Not every shoe can deliver that kind of bite – so it’s one of the most important factors to take in. Nike’s herringbone pattern is still among the most trusty options out there.

The rest is a bit trickier – that’s where reading shoe reviews and sticking to these shoe lists helps a lot.

II. CUSHION WITH PROPER IMPACT PROTECTION

No matter what kind of guard you are – you need some amount of impact protection to safely and efficiently absorb your foot’s contact with the ground.

Jumps, cuts, landings, changes of direction, and quick stops are all part of a guard’s bread and butter.

Most cushion compounds that brands offer today do offer that amount of protection but there are still setups released today that are pretty barebones and that I wouldn’t recommend to any player.

If a shoe doesn’t have any kind of tech for its cushion and an EVA midsole is the only component – I’d stay away. Most of the time.

Besides impact protection, the overall feeling of the shoe’s cushioning properties will 100% come down to personal preference. Bouncy or mushy, soft or firm, elevated or low to the ground – pick what you like as there’s no right or wrong answer here.

III. ALL-AROUND SUPPORT, BUT NOT RESTRICTIVE

Overall security and foot containment are also absolutely critical for a guard. But unlike other players – guards usually make the most of “forgiving” setups when it comes to support.

The balance between security and mobility is still tricky to nail down for brands today but there are shoes that deliver enough security without overly restricting you, keeping you safe but also quick.

The implementation of the right support features, the upper materials that provide enough structure but aren’t overly heavy or stiff, and the stability of a shoe’s cushion setup are the biggest factors to nailing down the perfect balance.

My support guide has some in-depth insight into this.

IV. FAST AND LIGHTWEIGHT

Notice the wording “a light feeling shoe”. A shoe’s weight on paper shouldn’t be your #1 factor here – there were plenty of times where a shoe that’s heavy on paper actually feels super quick.

Every component of a shoe has to work well with one another as there’s no 1 single thing that makes a shoe feel light and mobile. But my lightest feeling basketball shoe guide is a good start.

But as an addition, for shifty, nimble players (think Kyrie, Steph Curry…), ideally, you’ll want to aim for a shoe that has a wider base with the tooling slightly curved.

This means that you’ll be stable but lateral, medial and linear foot movements will come off as more responsive due to the curvature of the shoe. Not a critical factor but something that feels nice for certain guards.


Shoe list last updated: August 10th, 2022

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Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Dame 8Pin

ADIDAS DAME 8

REVIEW πŸ›’ ADIDAS πŸ›’ AMAZON
Best All-Around #1

I’ll be honest – the Dame line by adidas has been my favorite signature line for a while now. There’s something about most Dame shoes that just feels so natural to the way I play.

Not all of his models are immensely versatile (though most of ’em are), and they’re not always wide footer-friendly, but somehow I still find myself hooping in a Dame silhuette the most.

The 8th iteration of Damian Lillard’s sneaker has brought back everything I love about these shoes: great outdoor traction that will last, amazingly well-balanced Bounce Pro cushion, reliable support that doesn’t get in one’s way (a good fit for a flat footer too), and a lightweight mesh upper.

Fans of the previous Dame 7 will probably appreciate the Dame 8’s cushioning system even more. The heel portion is bouncy and absorbs impact, while the forefoot is much thinner & lower to the ground, so the midsole provides the best of both worlds.

Something that I personally appreciate is the wide toebox portion that comes with the Dame 8, so wide footers can stick with their usual size, while narrow/regular footers might want to step a half size down, or try these out in stores if possible.

A word of note, be sure to give the outsoles some time to soften up and break in, as the traction was a bit inconsistent initially. For me, a few days of action were enough to start experiencing optimal grip on all outdoor surfaces I tried.

This is undoubtedly the shoe I’d recommend to ANY guard if someone would ask me to shoot a quick recommendation. It’s versatile, it’s affordable, and it’s widely available. Nothing more needed.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 9/10
RETAIL PRICE: $120
CUSHION: full-length Bounce Pro (dual density EVA foam)
UPPER: mesh w. Fuse panels
SIZING: 1/2 size down (fits long & wide toebox)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Harden Vol 3Pin

ADIDAS HARDEN VOL. 3

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT 

Best All-Around #2

I gotta be honest, the third Harden shoe is still my favorite, despite being several models old now.

I think it’s truly the epiphany of a supremely balanced low-top that not only suits a quick guard’s game perfectly but also brings a smile to any other player’s face.

Boost cushion returns on a Harden (hopefully not the last time) and it’s awesome. It’s not the bounciest or thickest version of Boost available but it’s soooo efficient, it’s crazy.

Ever felt like you’re playing basketball but you’ve got a pair of runners on?

This cushion feels similar to that – fast, low to the ground, a little bit of cushion underfoot, and blazingly fast energy return. Nothing quite like Boost.

The other parts of the shoe are just as great: traction is deadly (and should last a while outdoors), they’re supportive given the compact build, and the upper utilizes textiles backed up with nylon.

The upper’s comfortable and feels minimal, yet it’s not really minimal. It wraps around your foot providing excellent containment.

Everything’s extremely similar to the newer Harden Vol. 4 but Boost gives just a bit more uuumph, so more possibilities for heavier/more explosive guards, and the outsoles are a little more durable too.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.5
RETAIL PRICE: $140
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: textile w. nylon
SIZING: true to size (slightly long) or 1/2 size down for a very snug fit

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Kyrie InfinityPin

NIKE KYRIE INFINITY

REVIEW πŸ›’ NIKE πŸ›’ GOAT
Best All-Around #3

It feels weird to acknowledge a Kyrie shoe as a solid all-around choice, but the 8th model in Uncle Drew’s main shoe line, the Kyrie Infinity, has proved all of us wrong. They CAN make a versatile shoe after all.

The Nikey Kyrie Infinity gave me reliable multi-surface traction ONCE I broke the outsoles in and brushed off the initial coating. Give these some patience and you’ll be biting the floor with no issues.

The beloved Zoom Strobel unit is now in the forefoot of the Kyrie Infinity, along with a Zoom Air unit in the heel, and the cushion on these feels a ton of fun. When’s the last time we said that about a Kyrie product?

Heavier, more explosive guards will benefit from the stronger impact absorption properties, while quicker & shiftier guys will still feel fast and low to the ground. The beauty of the Zoom Strobel.

The rest of the shoe is solid as well: I experienced no containment or other security issues, and the upgraded mesh upper with suede & leather touches will surely bring a smile to your face if you appreciate genuine materials on your shoes.

Be wary of the shoe’s torsional properties though – a lack of a proper midfoot shank solely leaves the midsole to take care of midfoot rigidity. Much like the Kyrie 7, these are also fairly easy to compromise torsionally, so those with flat feet or coming off of foot injuries should probably stay away.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.5
RETAIL PRICE: $130
CUSHION: forefoot Zoom Strobel + heel Zoom Air + Phylon midsole
UPPER: mesh w. suede & leather panels
SIZING: true to size (very snug)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Kobe 5 ProtroPin

NIKE KOBE 5 PROTRO

πŸ›’ STOCKX πŸ›’ GOAT
Best All-Around #4

Last but not least, we’ve got a modernized version of the classic Kobe 5 – the Nike Kobe 5 Protro.

The reworked cushion setup uses a large Zoom Turbo unit in the forefoot along with a pillowy Cushlon midsole. Pair that with a fast, responsive Zoom Turbo unit at the front and we’ve got a nifty combo that should do the trick for most guards.

Everything you might want is here: underfoot cushion in the heel/midfoot, spring back at the front, stability, some court feel, and all that while staying quick.

The materials have been slightly altered, utilizing a synthetic Fuse-like material throughout the shoe. Think of it as thin plastic that has the properties of an actual material.

It’s structured and supportive but give it enough time and it does mold to your foot nicely. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe with these.

Lastly, the same traction pattern was re-used for the Protro but what ain’t broke – don’t fix it. This traction is consistent and deadly. Occasional wiping will be needed on a poor court but shouldn’t give you too much trouble.

While the build of the shoe is definitely durable, I don’t think you’ll be wanting to constantly bang outdoors with these. Keep outdoor action to occasional.

build
QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: N/A
RETAIL PRICE: $200
CUSHION: forefoot Zoom Air Turbo + Cushlon midsole
UPPER: Fuse-based synthetic
SIZING: true to size (snug)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: DON Issue 3Pin

ADIDAS D.O.N. ISSUE #3

REVIEW πŸ›’ ADIDAS πŸ›’ AMAZON
Best On A Budget #1

If you can’t spend much over a hundred bucks, adidas always have something up their sleeves. Donovan Michell’s 3rd signature model is there to save your wallets.

The adidas D.O.N. Issue #3 doesn’t feel as premium or fun as a Kyrie Infinity or as a luxury Kobe 5 Protro does, but it WILL take care of most hoopers’ essential needs on the court without breaking the bank.

Much like a lot of adidas’s releases, be sure to check for sales, as there’s a good chance you can snatch these under retail right now.

The semi-translucent outsoles handled all the moves I threw at ’em both indoors and outdoors traction-wise.

For cushion, this Lightstrike midsole isn’t your bouncy Boost or supremely versatile Zoom Air but it did provide lightweight impact protection, responsiveness, and a tad bit of step comfort.

As always with adidas, the support department is rock-solid, literally. The shoe’s chassis is tank-like and stability was also top-notch.

The minimal textile upper worked for what it is, plus there are a few synthetic nubuck panels to reinforce the build. Minimal break-in time, solid mobility. Nothing crazy, but everything worked.

A few culprits did occur during my time with these. I had some occasional heel slippage that never really went away but nor did it make the shoe unplayable. Read up on my heel slippage guide for some tips on how to combat it.

Also, as per several reports of indoor players, you will have to wipe the outsoles down OFTEN if you play on a dusty/weary indoor surface. Outdoors: all was a-okay for me.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 7.5
RETAIL PRICE: $110
CUSHION: full-length Lightstrike
UPPER: textile w. synthetic panels
SIZING: true to size (fits slightly long & wide toebox)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Witness 5Pin

NIKE LEBRON WITNESS 5

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best On A Budget #2

For an even tighter budget, The King actually has something to offer you. LeBron’s Witness line of kicks is there to provide cheaper takedown models of the flagship line, and the 5th model is a solid fit for most guards in my opinion.

The LeBron Witness 5 didn’t overly impress me in any area but it provided everything I needed for comfortable, seamless hoops. There’s not a lot more to be asked for at an affordable $100.

I got solid traction (not as deadly as on a Kyrie or a Curry shoe but still good nonetheless), a balanced midsole that was accompanied by two decent Zoom Air units in the forefoot, lightweight support, and a comfy mesh upper.

The outsoles should last at least a season outdoors, and the upper was still looking fine after ~5 months of action. The Zoom pod placement right over the outsole was a little weird for me at first, as they weren’t sitting directly under the balls of my feet.

However, while still not completely ideal, I got used to this construction and played just fine.

This cushioning setup actually felt pretty darn solid. There are adequate impact protection properties here, as well as a fairly smooth heel-to-toe stride while keeping things moderately low to the ground.

Lastly, I would advise a heavier, more athletic guard to go for something else as this minimal mesh build won’t give you that elite containment. Anyone else though – you should be good to go.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 7.6
RETAIL PRICE: $100
CUSHION: 2 forefoot Zoom Air units + EVA midsole
UPPER: mesh w. Fuse panels
SIZING: true to size

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Dame 3Pin

ADIDAS DAME 3

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best For Outdoors #1

Launched back in 2016, this is one of the few shoes I’m still regularly playing in that are 3+ years old. And I’m talking about the same one pair! A true outdoor tank that held everything I had on ’em and still going.

I never have to worry about wiping the outsoles off, sliding out, or worrying if I’ll be fine on an old nasty court. Stuff we rarely get these days.

And the way the Dame 3 is built is also super sturdy: the FUSEDMESH upper is tough as hell but still comfy enough, adidas’s Bounce cushion is still operational and provides a very balanced ride for just about any guard and the support on these is tank-like while not feeling overly suffocated.

Everything you need for outdoor play is here. And the best part – you can snatch these for dirt cheap in several places since they’re considered outdated now! Don’t let the release date fool you.

A word of note, make sure to give these time to break in as they might feel a little firm at first. These are also wide footer-friendly. I’m a wide footer myself and they’re perfect with my regular size.

These are a little tough to put on due to the one-bootie construction and the upper that doesn’t stretch, so get ready to do some stuffing.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 9.5
RETAIL PRICE: $115
CUSHION: full-length Bounce
UPPER: FUSEDMESH (mesh w. infused TPU)
SIZING: 1/2 size down for regular/narrow footers | true to size for wide footers

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: LeBron 16Pin

NIKE LEBRON 16

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best For Outdoors #2

Another tank of a shoe that might not look like it but delivers all you need for comfortable and secure outdoor play. Launched back in 2018, the 16th LeBron is the most practical LeBron shoe in my opinion. And yes, even with the 17th and 18th shoes out.

Here’s all you need to know: these have a curved line pattern outsole that bites any floor extremely well and uses some of the most durable rubber we’ve seen on a LeBron, and I didn’t need to wipe them off as dust escapes the pattern quickly.

The full-length Max Air & Zoom Air cushioning is tons of fun if you’re looking for a balanced setup with some extra bounce to it.

They’re also supportive yet super comfy thanks to the Battleknit 2.0 upper. Speaking of the upper – it’s a knit stitched with nylon, so you’re getting comfort and reliability.

One of the most durable iterations of a knit I’ve seen in a while – but not a surprise since the LeBron line always led the way in offering some of the most reliable knit-based builds.

I had some heel slippage initially but that went away after some time, so be aware of that. And you can go true to size even if you’re a wide footer – these felt just right about 6-7 days in for me while being very wide footed.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.8
RETAIL PRICE: $185
CUSHION: full-length Max Air + Zoom Air units
UPPER: Battleknit 2.0 (knitted textile w. nylon)
SIZING: true to size

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Kyrie Low 4Pin

NIKE KYRIE LOW 4

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT 

Best For Low-Profile Guards #1

Kicking off the low-profile guard category, here’s a PERFECT solution for those guys: the Kyrie Low 4. This one’s all about staying minimal, fast, responsive, and agile.

The outsoles worked great right off the bat for me. These computer-generated multi-directional patterns don’t always translate well on the court but this time they did. Mind you though, they’re straight from the Kyrie 7.

For cushioning, this one’s the definition of minimal. While there’s a Cushlon midsole and a forefoot Zoom Air unit on paper, things are super fast, firm, and slapped low to the ground in practice. If you prefer such a formula-like ride, this one’s a treat.

The upper speaks similar volumes: an ultra-thin ripstop fabric is there to minimize weight but it didn’t compromise security.

This is a very strong fabric that only stretches to a certain point, so you’ll be covered in terms of foot containment and support, provided you get the size right.

Flat footers and most wide footers – you’ll likely want to stay away from these. The construction of the Kyrie Low 4 is very compact, especially in the midfoot-forefoot areas.

These also utilize the same torsional properties as the Kyrie 7 does, so don’t get these if you have weak/injured/flat feet.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 7.5
RETAIL PRICE: $110
CUSHION: forefoot Zoom Air + Cushlon midsole
UPPER: ripstop fabric
SIZING: true to size (very snug)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Kyrie 6Pin

NIKE KYRIE 6

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best For Low-Profile Guards #2

The Nike Kyrie 6 is another solid low-profile choice but expect a tad bit more versatility and protection compared to the barebones Kyrie Low 4.

The Kyrie 6 takes the usual Kyrie formula and slightly improves it to make it more comfortable compared to the previous Kyrie 5. The shoe offers a Phylon midsole + a forefoot Zoom Air Turbo unit for cushioning.

This setup is still super fast, low to the ground, it’s very stable due to the shoes flat base and you’re getting just enough impact protection to feel safe and comfortable. A near-perfect setup for quick guards in my eyes.

The shoe’s tooling is slightly curved which helps with quick lateral movements, it’s very supportive and the upper’s a textile at the front & leather at the back.

A great combo of support & comfort that worked very well for me. Traction is as deadly as on other Kyrie models, plus it’s durable enough for some outdoor play.

Something I noticed is the forefoot cables attached to the laces kept getting loose for me. Re-lacing the shoe completely helped fix that though. Make sure you don’t lace these up extremely tight and you’ll be fine.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.3
RETAIL PRICE: $130
CUSHION: forefoot Zoom Air Turbo + injected Phylon midsole
UPPER: textile forefoot + leather back
SIZING: true to size (very snug) | 1/2 size up for wide footers

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: CE 2017 PKPin

ADIDAS CRAZY EXPLOSIVE 2017

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best Cushioned #1

Aahhh, the Crazy Explosive 2017. The 2016-2018 period was when I think adidas was on their roll – banger after banger, and this one, just like the Dame 3, is among the handful of shoes I’m still actively wearing that are older than a couple of years. And for good reason.

A near-perfect shoe for those high-octane guards that jump out of the gym and tend to have a more explosive/athletic playstyle.

Being one of those myself, the Boost cushion on these is still among my favorite setups of all time.

It’s bouncy and the spring back you get is hard to compete with when Boost is in the game. LOADS of impact protection too, and you’re not sitting too high off the ground as you would on a classic LeBron for example.

All that Boost is caged in a TPU carrier which prevents the foam from over-compressing and keeps you both stable and fast. An amazing setup for those looking for top-of-the-game cushion.

The rest of the shoe is also very well-made to complement Boost and provide everything you need: deadly traction that’s outdoor-ready, killer all-around support that doesn’t slow you down, and a Primeknit upper that’s light, breathable, feels super nice to the feet and breaks in almost instantly.

The shoe comes in several different versions: there is a low top and a mid-top version of the Primeknit shoe and there are also low top & mid-top shoes of a mesh variant.

Both are very similar in terms of feel and performance but if you can find the Primeknit version, I’d go with that.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 9
RETAIL PRICE: $150
CUSHION: full-length Boost
UPPER: option 1: mesh | option 2: Primeknit
SIZING: true to size

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: LeBron 18 LowPin

NIKE LEBRON 18 LOW

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best Cushioned #2

If you need cushion – you need to try at least one LeBron shoe, seriously. While the original LeBron 18 offered some of the craziest cushion tech on the market, it had some flaws that wouldn’t suit a guard very much.

However, the low-top version that came after it fixed several problems and made some important changes. The end result? A shoe that works for a guard, but excels in supplementing those who require profound cushioning for one reason or another.

A heel Max Air unit along with a React midsole was utilized in the LeBron 18 Low. It’s still mad bouncy, plushy, and the foot rides fairly high off the ground. However, the forefoot portion was slightly tweaked to be thinner and more responsive.

While the overall ride definitely isn’t the fastest, I can see a lot of Westbrook/Wall/Dame type of players enjoy these a lot. It’s cushion-orientated but you won’t lose all your speed.

As for other components, traction worked just fine (keep outdoor games spaced out though), support underwent heavy improvements from the original version, and while this synthetic upper is noticeably cheaper than the $200 counterpart, it still provided everything I needed performance-wise.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 7.8
RETAIL PRICE: $160
CUSHION: heel Max Air + React midsole
UPPER: dual-layer ripstop w. Fuse overlays
SIZING: true to size (fits slightly long & slightly wide toebox)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Cosmic UnityPin

NIKE COSMIC UNITY

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Best Cushioned #3

Another super solid all-around package that could definitely fit into the overall category but just so happens to have one of the most profound cushion setups to date.

If cushion is your #1 priority – this is all you need in one high-performance package. Zoom Air can do A LOT of things and the Cosmic Unity shows us that.

Made up of 25% recycled materials, the Nike Cosmic Unity features a full-length Zoom Air Strobel going from heel to toe. Yes, the stuff you see on a KD 12 and a KD 13 but this time, the ride feels even more refined.

There’s a ton of bounce & impact protection even for the heaviest out there but since this Strobel is so thin, the shoe rides low to the ground.

Something you usually don’t see on a full-length Zoom setup. It’s quick, it’s comfy, and it’s everything you’d need from a performance standpoint. I loved every bit of it.

The rest of the shoe is no slouch either – herringbone traction pattern slapped on the outsoles for fantastic grip, moderate outdoor durability that should get the job done for a while as well.

Plenty of support from that beefy build as well paired with a comfy knit upper that wraps around your foot like a glove.

The beefy midsole barriers coming up to the upper felt a bit stiff at first but 1-2 weeks of action were enough to break these in for me. I’ve also had some heel slippage initially but that also went away fairly quickly.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.4
RETAIL PRICE: $150
CUSHION: full-length Air Zoom Strobel + EVA midsole
UPPER: knitted textile (25% recycled materials)
SIZING: true to size (snug fit)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: WoW 8Pin

LI-NING WAY OF WADE 8

REVIEW πŸ›’ GOAT πŸ›’ STOCKX
Most Supportive #1

Dwayne Wayde’s signature line from the Chinese brand Li-Ning has been low-key killing it with almost every release and if you’ve never heard of it – the 8th shoe is a good one to start.

Cordura’s Nylon is used for the shoe’s upper – it’s thin and light but it only stretches to a point, keeping you contained and comfortable.

There’s additional stitching laterally all throughout the upper which helps the upper hold your foot during lateral strides, and the external outriggers also help catch your foot in case it rolls out laterally.

And then there are heel counters for heel & ankle lockdown, a massive carbon fiber shank that goes from heel to toe for torsional rigidity, Li-Ning’s BOOM cushion is very well-rounded & stable, and the midsole comes up and hugs your foot giving you that secure feel.

There’s a traditional lacing system implemented with a twist to allow for more customization and the forefoot strap further locks down the front.

There’s EVERYTHING you can think of here and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t work on the court. This is truly the definition of maximum security done right.

Make sure to give these some patience – the upper, and especially the carbon fiber shank plate can take a while to soften up and break in.

Lastly, the outsole isn’t too impressive durability-wise, so keeping outdoor games spaced out is recommended if you want to save cash.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.5
RETAIL PRICE: $225
CUSHION: full-length BOOM (Pebax-based foam)
UPPER: Cordura’s Nylon w. TPU panels
SIZING: regular/narrow footers: 1/2 size down | wide footers: true to size

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: AJ 34Pin

AIR JORDAN 34

REVIEW πŸ›’ AMAZON πŸ›’ GOAT
Most Supportive #2

This one was crowned as the #1 shoe of 2020 for A LOT of people, including myself. Apart from being a very versatile shoe for just about anyone, it’s also a great fit for jumpers out there.

Forefoot & heel Zoom Air and a Phylon midsole might not sound like much but it’s all about how it’s done and how dense of a foam they’re using for the midsole. And this one’s no short of fantastic.

Buttery smooth heel-to-toe transitions (also due to the Eclipse plate underfoot), great impact protection, and that nice and soft energy return upon impact (a.k.a. bounce).

This is a slightly softer and “mushier” feeling setup when compared to the Crazy Explosive.

So if you’d like to have top-tier cushion that’s on the softer side rather than a quick & springy type of bounce, the AJ 34 will be a better fit for you.

Along with top-of-the-line cushion, we also have solid grip for just about any floor, they’re comfortable AND wide feet-friendly, and support has always been improving while keeping things fairly light and unrestrictive.

The upper is a synthetic along with Jordan’s awesome Performance Woven underneath. 

This is not an outdoor model and you can tell by looking at the rubber of the outsole. I’ve still been playing in the park with these but not regularly – probably best to keep it that way if you don’t want your $175 blown sooner rather than later.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.4
RETAIL PRICE: $174
CUSHION: forefoot + heel Zoom Air + Phylon midsole
UPPER: top layer: synthetic textiles | bottom layer: Performance Woven
SIZING: true to size

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: AJ 36Pin

AIR JORDAN 36

REVIEW πŸ›’ NIKE πŸ›’ GOAT 

Most Supportive #3

Take the above-mentioned Air Jordan 34 and slap on a slightly more tailored cushioning system, a beefed-up midfoot plate, and sew on an ultra-strong (but light) jacquard upper. That’s the Air Jordan 36 for ya.

If we’re talking security, we’re talking straight business with the AJ 36.

A pair of strong TPU midfoot plates that Jordan calls the Eclipse Plate 2.0; internal heel counters for ankle & heel lockdown; widened toebox portions for lateral stability; midsole sidewalls coming up to the upper; 2-loop band systems for further lockdown upon lace pressure, and that deadly Leno-Weave upper. Yeah, there’s a lot.

Your foot is not going anywhere with this upper. I’m talkin’ guards all the way to 220-pound frontcourt beasts.

Make no mistake though, this one could easily be in the overall category as the AJ 36 is a very versatile package.

It’s got great Zoom Strobel cushioning with a forefoot Zoom unit, reliable traction that worked everywhere I played, and while I would crown the older AJ 34 for more comfort, the 36 is still a comfortable shoe once you break in all the components.

I should mention that quite a few people experienced a particular annoyance with these, including myself. The extra forefoot Zoom unit is slightly protruded out of the outsole, meaning it’s not sitting even with the rest of the outsole.

This caused occasional tippyness during movements, especially linearly. It wasn’t anything crazy but I could feel the shoe wanting to roll over the foot at times. While heavier guys likely won’t notice this, a light guard might feel its presence more.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8
RETAIL PRICE: $185
CUSHION: full-length Zoom Strobel + forefoot Zoom Air + Phylon midsole
UPPER: Leno-Weave (leno jacquard weave)
SIZING: true to size (snug & narrow fit)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Curry Flow 9Pin

CURRY FLOW 9

REVIEW πŸ›’ UA πŸ›’ GOAT
Most Comfortable #1

In my opinion, there’s absolutely no rivalry in the comfort department when it comes to basketball shoes.

Curry’s last two offerings (the Curry Flow 8 & 9) are absolutely phenomenal. They’re not only great overall shoes for a guard but they excel in providing minimalistic comfort like never before.

Everything starts with the unique Flow design. The entire sole portion of the Curry Flow 9 is a one-piece foam compound that both provides traction and cushion. The end result is unrivaled traction and some of the smoothest heel-to-toe transitions EVER.

But that’s not all. The upper is ridiculously light, consisting of mesh with nylon reinforcements. Support and foot containment improved which is why I recommend the 9th model over the 8.

The tooling of the shoe is built like a running sneaker. A noticeable heel drop and a TPU midfoot plate act as a propulsion system, so each movement feels efficient and explosive.

It’s one of the lightest, most pleasant, and most comfortable basketball shoes to wear of all time. No exaggeration.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8.6
RETAIL PRICE: $160
CUSHION: full-length Flow
UPPER: multi-layered mesh w. nylon + synthetic suede heel
SIZING: true to size (snug fit)

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: RR5Pin

ANTA RAJON RONDO RR5

Most Comfortable #2

DO NOT sleep on what Anta has to offer. Rajon Rondo’s 5th signature sneaker shows how much this brand can do with a limited budget, as the shoe originally retailed for just $85.

The RR5 sports a full-on knit upper that’s thicker and stronger than today’s average knit-based setups you’d see on a Nikey or an adidas.

It’s also reinforced with Fuse overlays at key areas for additional structure. This knit feels really damn comfy but despite what you might’ve heard about knits in basketball – this one busts the myth, as this upper wraps around the foot really nicely and since it’s thick, there are no containment issues at all.

And then we’ve got the TPU lockdown wings holding your heel in place, as well as extending the frame all the way to the midfoot area to also add some torsional rigidity.

Once again – this doesn’t feel overly stiff, yet it does its job providing support and supreme comfort.

The wide & flat base along with a standard lacing system tops it all off. If you’re looking for a great all-around performer that emphasizes security AND cozy comfort, the RR5 is among the best for the job, even by today’s standards.

And you can take these outdoors too! The rubber used looks and feels durable.

Lastly, just like the rest of Anta’s lineup – you won’t get these above size 11 due to these being made for Chinese consumers. Sorry, big guys!

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: N/A
PRICE: $100-$150
CUSHION: A-Shock
UPPER: knitted textile w. Fuse panels
SIZING: true to size

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: Trae Young 1Pin

ADIDAS TRAE YOUNG 1

REVIEW πŸ›’ ADIDAS πŸ›’ AMAZON
Best For Wide Feet

While quite a bit of shoes that I included here could fit a wide foot (I personally had a good time with each shoe after all) but the one that stands out the most is adidas’s Trae Young 1.

It’s not a shoe that’s compatible with wide footers. It’s a shoe that works BETTER for those with wide feet.

A spacious toebox is there to cradle even the widest of feet in there. It’s also a fairly tall shoe in the midfoot, so those with beefy bones shouldn’t feel any suffocation.

Now, putting the shoe on is a different story. The one-bootie upper construction won’t do a wide foot any favors. It’s a pain every time. I hate it, but I know what comes after. Performance.

And performance these have: solid multi-directional traction thanks to two best outsole patterns (herringbone and radial), a fantastic Lightstrike midsole supplemented by a Boost puck in the heel, great support, and a basic but functional mesh upper with some genuine suede touches. Always welcome.

Just get ready to frequently wipe the outsoles down if you’ll be playing indoors. This rubber is a dust magnet, so if your gym of choice is anything than a pristine floor, you’ll be doing some chores with these.

But provided you regularly clean out your outsoles, you should be fine for a long time. The outsoles feature thick rubber, so handling outdoor conditions won’t be a problem.

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QUICK SPECS

MY RATING: 8
RETAIL PRICE: $140
CUSHION: full-length Lightsrike midsole + Boost heel puck
UPPER: mesh w. suede panels
SIZING: true to size (fits slightly long & wide toebox)


V. WHERE TO BUY THE SHOES

A quick cheat sheet of how to land the best deals when shopping for kicks

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: How To BuyPin

Whether you’re getting a shoe from my list or doing some shopping on your own, it’s vital to understand how the market works and where to snatch the best deals.

Sneakers can get extremely expensive if you’re not aware of certain principles or you buy into the hype. Here are some entry-level tips on buying various basketball shoes for good prices.

FOR LATEST RELEASES

For current sneakers (up to 1-year-old), there aren’t many tactics to land good deals, so don’t overthink this one.

You’ll be doing most of the shopping for such shoes on the manufacturer’s website (Nike.com, adidas.com, etc.) or you’ll be visiting one of the popular shoe retailers like DICK’s, Finish Line, Eastbay, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Shoe Palace or any other you like.

Both the manufacturers’ and sports retailers’ offerings will be very similar in terms of availability, pricing, sizes, and colorways.

Expect regular retail prices here with occasional discounts during holidays, summertime, back to school period, or when the seller is importing new product and needs to push out the old stock.

These retailers will keep shoes for 1-2 years (a year is a more common scenario though) before they go out of stock.

FOR SLIGHTLY OLDER RELEASES

For kicks that are 2+ years old, the chances of you finding that model on a popular sports retailer or the manufacturer’s site are slim to none.

Some shoes that are very popular and demanded will still be found in certain retailers but not for long.

This is where Amazon comes in. The trick is to check Amazon roughly 6-12 months after the manufacturer has sold out that particular shoe. Pricing on Amazon can get inconsistent, as you can both find deals over retail and greatly under retail.

That’s why you need to check them out frequently so you don’t miss a good offering.

Also, if most shoe stores or Nikey/adidas/Under Armour, etc. have sold their stock, visiting DICK’s Sporting Goods is a good idea.

Why? I noticed that those guys in particular tend to keep their stock noticeably longer than others. It’s possible to track down shoes that are a couple of years old at DICK’s while the same shoe is long gone in other places.

FOR DEADSTOCK SNEAKERS

Lastly, let’s talk about shoes that are older than 2-3 years and can’t be found virtually anywhere. Deadstock sneaker marketplaces like eBay, StockX, or GOAT will be your best friends in those cases.

Those companies specialize in providing authentic sneakers that are sold out among regular retailers. Users place bids and the winner gets the shoe, or you can buy certain shoes immediately.

A lot of basketball shoes aren’t really considered “hypebeast” sneakers, so you’re very much in luck when it comes to pricing. Below retail for hoop shoes is a very common scenario.

My favorite platform for the job is GOAT. Never once have I had an issue with shipping or authenticity. Other people might’ve had problems, so it’s always best to read up on a multitude of opinions before buying for the first time.

For more in-depth information on tracking down the best deals all year round, I put together a comprehensive budget buyer’s guide for basketball shoes. Check it out below!

BUDGET BUYER'S GUIDE

A lot of thought went into the process – it’s important for you to be aware of it!

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: How I ChosePin
I. EVERY SHOE TESTED FOR 2+ MONTHS

I won’t recommend stuff I haven’t personally tried and thoroughly tested. All shoes you see on the list have their dedicated reviews that’ll be linked.

Most game time was outdoors due to the pandemic but certain shoes I’ve played in the past were also tested indoors.

2+ months is the minimum time I dedicated to properly evaluate a shoe and put out a review.

If you don’t see a review for a particular shoe on the list – this means I’m in the process of putting that review out but have a solid enough opinion on the shoe already.

II. RELEVANT ONLY

I’m only including shoes released in the last few years. This is simply due to practical reasons – good luck finding an old-school retro for its retail price today.

You’ll be able to purchase all the mentioned shoes at the most popular sports retailers for their actual retail prices.

And don’t forget that shoe technology is constantly improving – like all tech, keeping up with the latest & greatest has its benefits for your efficiency, comfort, and security.

III. DIVIDED INTO 6 CATEGORIES

Not all of you like the same things and you’ve all got different preferences. I’ll do my best to cater to most of those preferences.

I’m a 6’1 at 175 lbs guard myself. I like to play explosively, I drive to the hoop a lot and play above the rim when I can.

This means I often really push the limits of certain shoes but I also have a good idea of what other types of guards prefer due to experience, so you should have a pretty good idea of what each shoe offers!

IV. REGULARLY IMPROVING

I encourage you to come back to this list (and most other shoe lists as well) as I’m constantly on the hunt for new shoes to play in. Perhaps the list will look entirely different by the end of the year!

But for now, there should be plenty of options for you to choose from, even if you want to mix things up.


Your hoop shoe knowledge is just scratching the surface!

Best Basketball Shoes For Guards: ConclusionPin

This concludes the guide on today’s best basketball shoes for guards! I’ve put my heart and soul into this (maybe not literally) and I hope you found it informative! As I’ve mentioned earlier, be sure to come back here as the list might change as I keep testing new shoes.

But there’s always more where that came from! For the big guys of basketball, I’ve got a shoe list for you as well, along with several others. Check it out!

And lastly, if there’s anything else you’d like to add, or you’ve got a question, or just want to chat,

Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can!

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2 thoughts on “Best Basketball Shoes For GUARDS + Detailed Hooper’s GUIDE

  1. This is definitely an interesting guide, especially for my little brother. He’s not that much in with me it’s just a year and a half younger than me but he really likes shoes, and he plays hoops! I think that if I sent this article he will definitely be getting something from here. Thank you so much for this!!

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