Best Basketball Shoes for Guards

The 5 Best Basketball Shoes for Guards

If you are a quick guard that likes to beat opponents off the dribble with deadly crossovers and smooth pull-up jumpers you need shoes that can keep up with your style of play. There is nothing more annoying than a pair of shoes that keep you from reaching your potential!

In this article, I am going to show you how you can find the perfect basketball sneakers that are tailored towards guard play.  

What makes great guard shoes?


As a quick guard, traction is by far the most important aspect of a shoe's performance. Sticky traction will allow you to blow by your defender with an explosive first step, help you to stop on a dime when attacking the basket, and give you the necessary grip to pester your opponent on defense. Shoes with bad traction will rob you of all your quickness, negate all your strengths and might even make you slip on an opponent's crossover - nobody wants that!

So, the most important thing as a guard is to get shoes with amazing traction.

Herringbone is the most popular traction pattern


Shoes with comfortable cushioning that make you feel like you're walking on clouds are great for big heavy guys, but not for shifty guards. As a guard, you probably weigh a lot less than the Shaqs of this world, and therefore you need a lot less impact protection. In fact, mushy and soft cushioning often has a negative effect on your speed and quickness as it takes away from your court feel and makes cuts and first steps a split second slower.

As a guard, you want to have a responsive cushioning setup with excellent court feel that doesn't take away from your quickness.

Style of Shoe​

In today's game, most guards are playing in low or mid-top basketball shoes. These shoes are cut a lot lower around the ankles compared to traditional basketball "boots" which reduces the weight and allows a greater amount of flexibility and freedom of movement. The lost ankle support is made up for with other support features like extended outriggers and sturdy heel counters. If you still don't feel comfortable playing in low-tops, or you are recovering from an ankle sprain take a look at ankle braces. Other than that, low or mid-tops are the way to go for guards.

The Nike Kobe line popularized low-tops

So, if we are looking for good basketball shoes for guards, we want to look for low-tops with amazing traction and responsive cushioning.

Best Low- or Mid Top Shoes for Traction

Top current basketball shoes that are made specifically for quick guards: (as of Dec 16, 2017)

Let's take a closer look at the top picks:

Average Expert Rating: 8.8 (see all reviews)
The Kobe AD NXT is a big upgrade over the disappointing Kobe AD. The biggest change is the completely new lacing system. Critics are split on whether it works or not. Some love it, some hate it. Overall, the Kobe AD NXT is a very good overall performer for quick guards. The only downside is the very expensive retail price of $200.
Average Expert Rating: 8.6 (see all reviews)
Under Armour is still relatively new to the basketball sneaker game but the Curry 3 is already seen as one of the most consistent and well-performing signature lines on the market. This shoe is optimized for Steph Curry's style of play and gives you amazing traction and court feel for quick crossovers and cuts to the hoop. As Steph is rather light and doesn't play above the rim, the cushioning is really firm and impact protection is minimal.
Average Expert Rating: 8.6 (see all reviews)
The Adidas Dame 3 is uniformly praised for its Bounce cushioning and blade traction setup. The unique setup of the upper with many lacing holes to choose from allows you to customize the fit to your liking. Unfortunately, most critics had a hard time finding a comfortable fit. Complaints about heel slippage were common as well. Overall, this shoe is a great fit for players with a slightly wider foot (to prevent heel slippage) who look for a good overall performer at a fair price.
Average Expert Rating: 8.4 (see all reviews)
The Curry 3Zero is part of a slightly downgraded and more affordable line of Steph Curry shoes. The traction has remained the same and performs very well on clean courts but many reviewers complained about inconsistency on (mildly) dusty courts. The reduced price shows in the materials which are less premium than in the original Curry 3 but still do a good job. Universally liked by shoe critics is the innovative adjustable heel which provides great lockdown and works especially great for ankle brace wearers. Overall, the Curry 3Zero is a solid performer at a fair price.
Average Expert Rating: 8.3 (see all reviews)
The narrow (and very squeaky) traction pattern of the Kobe AD Mid performs amazingly on clean courts but has slight issues on dust courts. Outdoor use is not recommended as the rubber is very soft and will wear off quickly. The full-length lunarlon cushioning setup with an Air Zoom unit in the heel is universally liked by reviewers. The colorways with synthetic suede upper have very poor ventilation and the material needs a little while to lose its initial stiffness. Overall, the Kobe AD Mid is a solid performer, but at $150, there are better performance options out there.

These are my top picks. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!

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