The Best Basketball Shoes for Guards

Whether your a point guard, shooting guard or a combo guard you have got a lot of power to direct your team. And as they say “With great power comes great responsibility”. Don’t let your team down by not picking the best basketball shoes for guards.

 

Being a guard is one of the more demanding positions on a basketball team. As a point guard you facilitate the plays in an effort to line up shooting opportunities. You have to do whatever it takes to keep your team running like a machine. You have to make important defensive and offensive plays based on the guidance from the coach. It’s not easy. Hopefully we can take some of the challenge out of the position by helping you pick the best basketball shoes for your position.

#1 PICK
MOST RELIABLE
BEST PERFORMING
BEST SUPPORT
BEST STYLE
AIR JORDAN XXXI
CRAZY EXPLOSIVE
KYRIE 4
CRAZYLIGHT BOOST 2016
ZOOM KD 9
Our top pick for guards
Stays put and has serious durability to it
Will give the player confidence to outperform the competition
Supportive and properly cushioned to protect the players feet
Great looks mixed with great performance
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Shooting guards must be extremely quick on their feet. They are tasked with making the majority of the points during the game as well as forcing turnovers. Cutting and jumping play an important role which is why a decent pair of shoes for guards are a must.

A combo guard simply plays both positions based on the needs of the coach.

Guarding is considered both a flexible and difficult position on the court. A good pair of shoes that match both your agility and performance will make or break you. One of the more challenging parts of holding this position really is determining which are the best basketball shoes for guards.  They need to handle the strain while still lasting a good long time.

As a guard trying to make the best decision for your on-court footwear, there are certain considerations to be made to ensure that no matter how tough the match is, you can always give your best play. When your putting everything you’ve got into your game, the last thing you want to be worrying about are your shoes, so I’ve created this guide to help you identify and purchase the best basketball shoes for guards.

What Makes the Best Basketball Shoe for a Guard?

There are three main features that you should be looking for when hunting for a new pair of basketball shoes. These are traction, responsive cushioning and support.

The best basketball shoes for a guard would feature excellent traction that enables you to move with ease. It has this tight grip on the floor allowing you to quickly cut and change directions as fast as you need.

Responsive cushioning does not only give you the comfort that your foot needs but it can drastically affects your speed and endurance. As for the support, the part of you that gets a lot beating from chasing the ball here and there is the ankle. The cut of the shoe is important in that it will be where the majority of ankle support comes from. A player who has a weak ankle or who has been in an injury would likely use mid to high-cut basketball shoes to protect the ankle and to give additional support.

How to Know if Your Shoe Has Enough Traction?

To know whether the shoes have excellent traction or not, you have to look at two things: the traction pattern and the rubber compound. Since guards do a lot of quick moves and crossovers, you have to be certain you have a good traction pattern that’s right for your situation.

Most basketball shoes used by guards are those with the “herringbone” pattern or the zig-zag lines. These lines provide a grip in every direction you move while the empty gaps in between ensure that no dust sticks to the surface of the rubber sole, causing you to slip. Compared to other traction patterns, “herringbone” is low maintenance so it doesn’t require an endless amount of wiping. The Kyrie 4 shoes do an amazing job incorporating the herringbone pattern without giving up their good looks.

The type of rubber used on the outsole of the shoe is another key detail that deserves consideration. If your playing indoors than it may be best to choose a softer rubber. Softer compounds grip better on freshly shined hardwood courts. Hard rubber soles are more durable but they don’t give you the kind of grip you need indoors.

For outdoor use, you can go with a harder rubber sole type. They perform well on dirt and dust without the need for a whole lot of extra wiping.

How Will I Know if the Shoes Have Responsive Cushioning?

Part of this equation depends on your weight to a certain extent. If you weigh in at 150 lbs soak and wet then you probably don’t need to a whole lot of extra cushioning. You might look for a pair that is firm and responsive. Some bigger and heavier players rely on softer and more forgiving cushioning to protect their joints.

But to be honest, cushioning depends on the preference of the wearer. If you are a quick and light guard, you would probably look for basketball shoes that have firm cushioning so your feet stay fixed in place during hard cuts.

What Gives a Basketball Shoe Great Support?

Support is important but the last thing you want is a bulky shoe that weighs on you like bricks around your ankles pulling you to the ground. So where does good support come from? Let’s look at the sole of the shoe for a moment. The outrigger (or the outside of the tread) gently protrudes out providing a more stable platform that will help prevent your feet from rolling and  injuring your foot.

Aside from traction, cushioning and support, what other features should I be looking for to ensure that what I am buying the best basketball shoe for guards position?

Fit, material, pricing, lacing system and quality are also factors you don’t want to overlook.

Fit

The fit is essential during intense gameplay. The fit ensures that you will not slide side-to-side, forward or back when moving and shuffling your feet. A good fit will firmly lock your feet solidly in place. Trying shoes on before you buy will always be the best way to shop I imagine however if shopping in a physical stores is not possible you can try buying two different sizes. If you found one a good fit, just use the return policy for the other one.

If you think that the shoes are a bit tight in the beginning, that’s okay. Most basketball shoes will widen and become more comfortable the more you use them.

Materials

Traditionally, shoes are made from Nubuck leather and this is probably still a decent choice however hoe scientists have now switched to synthetic mesh and high-tech textiles to get the perfect feel and support. Basketball shoes for guards have definitely come along way in a very short time.

If you opt to buy budget-friendly basketball shoes, the kind of materials you will usually see used are Mesh or synthetic uppers. These start out rather stiff and need time to break in. While the likes of material used in AirJordan’s for example are made from high-tech materials that are soft and comfortable from the first fitting, however, also a bit pricey.

Pricing and Quality

Understand that quality comes at a price. Most high-quality basketball shoes range dramatically in price, but what’s a couple hundred bucks if it means having a leg up on your competition.

What are the Parts of a Basketball Shoe?

The three main parts of a shoe

Basketball shoes have three main parts to them: the upper sole, the midsole, and the outsole.

Upper Sole

The upper sole is the portion of shoe that encompases the top of your foot and down either side. The mesh or fabric material that holds your foot in place. Basketballs shoes are readily available in high, mid and low cuts of upper sole. High cut basketball shoes provide an extra layer of support and stability around the ankle; the middle cuts offer some ankle support without rubbing while the low cuts are specifically built for speed and agility.

Midsole

The midsole is the cushioning part of the basketball shoes, that absorbs the impact when you come down out of a jump. It also holds your foot in place when you are cutting and running during a game.

Outsole

The outsole is where the rubber meets the road. It’s this part that’s responsible for gripping the floor and provides balance and stability as you move around. This is where all the traction is found. It’s essentially the bottom of the shoe.

Fit Over Fad

When you are looking for basketball shoes for shooting at a distance, the first thing that you should consider is the level of comfort those shoes provide. A lot of non-professional and professional basketball players alike neglect their feet just for the sake of being able to wear a good-looking shoe. Shoes that don’t properly fit your feet can cause a lot of stress on your feet, which can result in:

  • Injury
  • Blister
  • Bruises
  • Calluses
  • Pains

Do I Really Need Shoes Designed for Guards?

When you buy shoes specifically designed to cater to the needs of guards, you:

  • Enhance your game performance, speed and endurance
  • Absorb more impact when you hit the floor after jumping
  • Protect and support your ankle and feet while playing
  • Increase the potential for explosive response and your shoes ability to enhance each movement you make

Keep in mind that you can’t give your best if you are experiencing discomfort. What’s worse is that if you start to feel pain from improper footwear and you ignore the symptoms, it could result in long-term injuries which may prevent you from playing basketball at all?

When you wear shoes that are too tight, the frequent rubbing will lead to blisters. If they can’t handle the hard cutting you may begin to experience pain when your toes rub on the top of your shoe or when someone accidentally steps on you? Better to be prepared than sorry.

How Can I Find Shoes With All These Features?

It may be difficult to find basketball shoes for guards that have all these essential features and that’s why we have reviewed a number of shoes in our guide bellow to help you decide and to help you find the kind of basketball shoes that you can use to improve your play and look good doing it. It’s not just about comfort but style too!

Nike
Kyrie 4

The Nike Kyrie 4 is considered one of Nike’s best basketball shoes. It outperforms the competition on nearly every feature making it a bargain in its price range.

As mentioned earlier, the herringbone pattern allows the player to get a good grip when making quick moves on the court and Nike Kyrie 4 traction patterns build upon that by using herringbone in a unique design. This design gives the outsole an amazing look. It has a modern twist in it wherein the herringbone pattern goes in multiple directions, which should allow you to move safer and quicker. Best of all, the solid colorway traction only requires minimal wiping.

The Kyrie 4 features the Zoom Air unit. The design team for this shoe also included “Cushlon” into this design, where it makes up almost the entire midsole. The full-length Cushlon, provides extra comfort and impact protection without sacrificing the responsiveness.

Nike Kyrie 4 uses a lightweight-engineered mesh; nylon and suede to give basketball shoes an overall decent look for its price.

Don’t freak out when you remove the Kyrie 4 fresh out of the box. To some they look a bit narrow but try them anyway as they seem to stretch and form to your foot as they break in.  

The suede and leather back greatly help the Nike Kyrie by giving it some additional structure within the upper part of the shoe. The area that holds the heel seems to hold the heel tightly in place which is exactly what you want as a guard. The forefoot area secures the feet with its Flywire cables to avoid unnecessary side to side movements cutting hard or crossing over.

PROS

  • Nike Kyrie 4 is overall very pleasing as far as looks go.
  • This signature basketball shoe is lightweight and comfortable.
  • The materials used don’t crease easily.
  • It only requires minimal wiping on the soles.
  • It does not get dirty quickly.
  • It provides good ankle and heel support.
  • This basketball shoe is durable and breathable
  • Some of the best basketball shoes for quick guards as well
  • There is an ample amount of cushioning to protect the feet from possible injuries.

CONS

  • There are some concerns about this shoe taking a little while to break in sometimes.
  • Some find the traction can be a bit slippery in the first use until it gets a few uses under its belt.

Nike
Air Jordan XXXI

Air Jordan XXXI is another hoop shoe designed with guards in mind from the Jordan Brand that has continuously delivered high performing basketball sneakers over the years. The Flight Speed technology used in designing this shoe enables the user to have a balanced step through the full-length of the insole. The Nike Zoom Air unit helps in maximizing the spring-back response of the foot after jumping.

The traction for this Jordan Brand series is good but should be limited to cleaner, indoor floors in my opinion. The traction seems to work best in that area. However, updated versions of Air Jordan XXXI have improved traction that solves some of those issues.

The cushion has an unlocked full-length Zoom Air. The low profile cushion helps in maintaining the court feel without sacrificing the impact protection.

The materials used in Air Jordan XXXI (Air Jordan 31)are pretty much the same as the earlier Jordan Brand series. The Flyweave feature is still present in the forefoot and midfoot. The transition from performance woven to synthetic leather can be found at the heel, which makes it an ideal setup because there are no restrictions on the hot spots.

What you see in the size chart is what you get. The updated version of Air Jordan XXXI are a bit narrower compared to the original mens Air Jordan XXXI according to some players. There’s a solid lockdown on the midfoot, and the fit of the heel is really good with the sculpted padding placed within the rear of the shoe.

A few tweaks were made to the updated Air Jordan XXXI. The forefoot has become more snug and secure without the support becoming overly restrictive. It allows quick on-court maneuvers without any issues at all. I can’t begin to stress just how important these changes have been. 

PROS

  • Air Jordan XXXI (Air Jordan 31) high tops and low tops are comfortable to wear.
  • The full-length Zoom Air unit feels incredible.
  • Among the many Jordan Brand releases, the Air Jordan XXXI is by far the most comfortable of all in I feel.
  • It has excellent ankle support, thanks to the ankle pillows placed inside.
  • The shoes are quick to break in.
  • The boots fit right to its size.
  • The lock down is perfect for quick maneuver in-court.
  • The boots are durable, breathable and lightweight.
  • Traditional lacing system that works well

CONS

  • The traction of the shoes seem inconsistent.
  • Air Jordan XXXI (Air Jordan 31) gets dirty quickly.
  • The Zoom Air unit is a bit wobbly according to some.

Air Jordan XXXI low seem to run a bit small, so you may want to up one size to get a better fit.

Adidas
Crazy Explosive

Many dedicated ball players rave at the fit the Adidas Crazy Explosive shoes provide and their ability to breathe as needed. Sizing is important. Getting one size larger with the hopes of growing into them may not be the best idea here. If your playing guard you don’t want any excess room in your shoe that may cause slippage. These shoes were big in the NBA for a while as players liked both the fit and the style.

Pros

  • These shoes have a great fit, are comfortable and look good on and off the court.
  • Sizing is true-to-size
  • One of the best basketball shoes for quick guards on the market
  • These offer fantastic ankle support and good traction to keep you feeling safe.
  • The Adidas Crazy Explosive is made of lightweight and breathable materials.

Cons

  • Some players feel these shoes run a little narrow and may not be suitable for wide-foot players.
  • I had a hard time finding a large variety of colors and difficulty finding Adidas Crazy Explosive low tops at the price point I wanted.

Nike
Zoom KD 9

The Nike Zoom KD 9 is from Kevin Durants Nike Zoom KD lineup and it can really handle a lot of pounding. Although Kevin normally plays power forward or small forward, depending on the night, I felt that the sheer punishment that these shoes can take while remaining comfortable would easily translate to a good shoe for guards as well. This comes with one catch (and it’s kind of a big one). A number of players have complained about faulty Zoom units where the bag will all of a sudden pop. There are tons of people who have not had this problem also so it may just be a fluke in some of the units. Just beware that there is a small gamble there.

Pros

  • Great looks, great feel, extremely durable, what more could you ask for in a shoe!
  • These are suitable for wider feet.
  • The Nike Zoom KD 9 offers a great selection of colors to choose from.
  • Great traction and full length Zoom.
  • Secure lacing system

Cons

  • I find the oversized tongue a little weird when they are just sitting in the box but they do look good on.
  • Some players have popped one or more of their Zoom units rendering the shoe unusable.

Adidas
Crazylight Boost 2016

The Adidas Crazylight Boost 2016 is a great shoe with a great looking footprint. They have managed to take it slightly away from the chevron tread to a sleeker looking mix without sacrificing any traction.

I think the big selling feature here is its ability to transition between courts. Indoor, outdoor, dusty, dirty, you name it and these shoes seem to grip to it. Definitely in the top running for one of my favorite shoes. I can’t say that I’m totally impressed with the looks but the flexibility and traction more than make up for it.

Adidas really upped their game with this shoe. When comparing the Adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 to the Adidas Crazylight Boost 2016, there is no competition. Boost 2016 dominates the looks game. Just an overall cleaner and more modern look to them.

Pros

  • Great traction in all situations.
  • Zero break-in time.
  • Comfortable feel when really pushing it hard on the court.
  • The Adidas Crazylight Boost 2016 have a great overall look to them.

Cons

  • Some players complain that it seems a bit narrow.
  • I’m not 100% sold on the looks.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a shooting guard or a point guard, it is imperative to wear the right shoes to avoid injury. Basketball is a fast-paced team sport that requires gear that can endure high-intensity movements with a fit that’s just right. Finding the best basketball shoes for guards is no small feat but hopefully this guide has made things a little easier for you. Weather your a point guard or a shooting guard or even a mix of both, the punishment you’ll put on your shoes can be extreme. Having comfortable shoes that can handle that punishment is definitely a must.

There are some honorable mentions that didn’t make our list but should certainly be considered. The Harden Vol 3 is a really nice shoe for example. The Harden Vol 3 however doesn’t have the ankle support we would like to see in a shoe designed for guarding. Just our opinion. 

In the end, my preference for the best basketball shoes for shooting and guarding would have to be the Air Jordan XXXI (Air Jordan XXXI). Although one of the pricier of the bunch, in this case, you really do get what you pay for and there is no doubt that this is a great shoe that will hold up during hardcore games.

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