This article covers a range of lighter, more flexible basketball shoes that are perfect for guards of all types.
I have used many, many shoes in my twenty-plus years of playing basketball at the guard position. It is that experience, backed by heaps of research, that enabled me to properly review each item outlined throughout the following sections.
The Curry 8 gets my pick for the best guard basketball shoe due to its versatility, protection, and top-of-the-line design.
Unlike other models, the shoe manages to be both lightweight and supportive. You can cut, jump, dribble, and run with ease without worrying about coming down wrong. There’s plenty of impact protection, as well as an array of fun colors so you can easily match your personal style.
If you’re interested in finding more about the Curry, or if you want to look at other excellent shoes for guards, read into the following sections.
- Who Should Get This
- Best Basketball Shoes for Guards: Top Picks
- How to Choose Basketball Shoes for Point Guards or Shooting Guards
- How to Maintain Your Basketball Shoes’ Traction
- My Verdict
Who Should Get This
The shoes in this article are best for guards or players who need to handle the ball a lot. Guards shoes allow for more mobility than their larger counterparts, which then leads to more dynamic cuts. If you need to change direction quickly, especially on offense, this guide is for you.
Going off that, the below footwear also has ample shock absorption, support, and traction. Any player, regardless of their position, looking for those aspects will find them here. If you need explosiveness from your shoes or value responsiveness, these picks have you covered.
Best Basketball Shoes for Guards: Top Picks
In this section, you’ll find extensive reviews that cover all of the best guard shoes and break down the attributes that make them special.
1. Curry 8
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Excellent ankle protection and stability. Soft feel. Cushioned design. Carbon fiber shank. Attractive look. Available in multiple color options.
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Fit: True to Size
Steph Curry is one of the best guards to ever play the game, and his 8’s reflect that high-level performance. They are well-made, have exceptional traction, and are stable thanks to the knit construction and carbon fine shank. That trifecta makes them perfect for layups or hard drives.
They also have incredible amounts of protection and foot support. Everything cushions your foot in a way that gives you plenty of shock absorption for hard landings. That then works with great ankle protection to ensure you won’t suffer any injuries after an acrobatic or flashy finish.
As great as these shoes are from a cushion and support standpoint, they aren’t the softest right out of the box. You will have to use these in practice, or even just walk around in them, before taking them out into a serious run. Once they break in, however, they’ll keep you going.
2. PG 5
- Best for: Versatility
- Key Features: Flexible materials. Tough outsole. Lace bands for improved lockdown. Durable. Comfortable on and off the court. Zoom Air Strobel with multi-directional traction.
- Upper: Mesh
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 15 ounces
Guards who like to constantly mix up their game will value the PG 5. This shoe has a more open design that actively promotes both cuts and quick moves. As such, it allows you to dribble or make moves without risking injury. These put a high emphasis on lateral movement.
Backing that reliability is an incredibly supportive base, multi-directional traction, and a full cushion system for an extra layer of support. They feel great no matter how hard you push yourself. Everything about these shoes helps protect your feet and enables you to play hard.
Just know that they aren’t the best outside. The shoes work wonders when you’re in a gym, but they don’t have the durability to withstand use on the blacktop or driveway. As long as you keep them inside, however, you’ll get excellent, long-lasting footwear with unmatched versatility.
3. Dame 7
- Best for: Comfort
- Key Features: Balanced and well responsive. Attractive look. Comfortable. Cushioned sole. Extreme impact protection. Extended ankle support.
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Sole: Rubber
- Upper: Textile
Guards need to make a lot of sharp turns and quick cuts. That can put a lot of stress on your feet, and it’s why comfort is so important. The Dame 7’s are well-rounded, reliable shoes that also happen to have some of the best padding and cushion on the current market.
Not only do they come with excellent ankle support, they have a snug fit and padded sole. The lockdown is incredibly useful, especially in conjunction with the tighter design, because it actively cuts down on injuries. The pair has an eye-catching appearance as well.
As with the PG 5’s, these are great shoes that don’t do well in the elements. The cushion, shock absorption, padding, and outsole are all better suited for gyms than outside on wet or uneven ground. If you want these to last a while, it’s best to save them for inside games or practices.
4. Adidas CrazyLight Boost
- Best for: Responsiveness
- Key Features: Tough sole with Jacquard upper. Molded TPU eyestay piece and heel cup. Excellent lockdown and stability. Soft textile lining.
- Sole: Rubber
- Weight: 15.5 ounces
- Fit: True to Size
There are many ways good shoes can enhance a guard’s game. The CrazyLight Boost does it through responsiveness. This pair gets high marks for the springy rubber sole, as well as the excellent energy return. Every part of the design adds extra momentum to your moves.
Adding onto that is the Jacquard upper and molded TPU eyestay piece. The heel cup and midfoot stability also work together to give you extreme lockdown. Your foot won’t go anywhere with these on. You even get premium comfort through the back collar insert and textile lining.
If these shoes have a downside, especially for guards who like to attack in the triple threat, it’s that they run a bit large. Getting your normal size might leave wiggle room, which can then cause unnecessary rubbing. Go with a half-size down when picking up this model.
5. Mamba Focus
- Best for: Style
- Key Features: Sleek, eye-catching appearance. Lightweight heel cage. Air Zoom unit for improved cushion. Unique tread pattern. Molded framework. TPU eyelets.
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: Narrow
- Weight: 16.6 ounces
Most modern shoes look good, but the Mamba Focus is a striking, attractive shoe with a clean design. It also works great for guards. The low top sneaker has a light, unobtrusive profile with a focus on comfort, power, and speed. It lets you take off or stop with a high level of confidence.
This shoe comes with TPU eyelets, as well as an embossed upper and Air Zoom unit. That makes it sturdy in a way most lighter shoes can’t match. Such traits also provide an extremely comfortable fit throughout the design that makes it perfect for just about any situation.
The only downside to this shoe is that it has a more rigid bottom. That limits flexibility at times and can hinder agility when you get into traffic or are trying to navigate through the paint. Also note that you need to take time to break them in, as they are a bit on the stiff side out of the box.
6. Puma Clyde Hardwood
- Best for: Mobility
- Key Features: ProFoam midsole. Premium energy return. Knitted upper. Comfortable and supportive. Forefoot webbing. Stable and tough.
- Sole: Rubber
- Upper: Knitted
- Weight: 3 pounds
If you want a mobile shoe with an old-school flair, it’s hard to do better than the Puma Clyde Hardwood. This model enhances your mobility when playing the point or wing by putting a focus on energy transfer. The low style is responsive and the forefoot webbing provides control.
All of that is then backed by the sleek design that allows you to pivot on a dime. You’ll have ample stability with these on, and they give you a lot of speed. Despite their more minimalized look, the shoes are quite strong too. They’ll last a long time, even with heavy use.
If mobility is all that matters, the Hardwoods excel. However, those who want a more modern shoe may not like the old-school look. The minimal design, while handy in a lot of ways, also doesn’t have a ton of cushion or energy absorption compared to similar models.
7. Kyrie Flytrap IV
- Best for: High top
- Key Features: Zoom Air. Interior band and special laces. Advanced lockdown. Lightweight and supportive. Impact protection. Eye-catching design.
- Sole: Rubber
- Fit: True to size
- Weight: 1.9 pounds
Though many people associate guard shoes with low tops, the Flytrap IVs show it’s possible to break from that mold. These high top models do a great job of supporting your ankle without sacrificing any quickness or lateral mobility. The knit upper is also comfortable and breathable.
A big reason these work so well for guards is their interior band that provides an extra layer of protection for when you’re making a quick cut or landing after a high jump. They have a snug fit that manages to feel secure without being too tight, restrictive, or uncomfortable.
If there’s one knock against these shoes it’s that they don’t have the best impact protection out there. They are undoubtedly comfortable, but you might feel a bit of extra stress if you come down after a high jump. Of course, certain guards may not want a true high top.
How to Choose Basketball Shoes for Point Guards or Shooting Guards
Each of the characteristics in this section is important to keep in mind when picking out a lighter, more mobile shoe.
Guards do a lot of cutting and jumping during play. That’s why you need a comfortable shoe. Extra padding or cushion doesn’t just help absorb impacts when you land, it also cuts down on blisters. The less discomfort you have in a game, the more you can focus on your play.
There are many ways to protect your foot, but guards should look for EVA foam midsoles when possible. That material is one of the lightest on the market, but it still ensures you have a good base to push off from. Anytime you can get comfort without adding weight is a definite plus.
As with cushion, guards need a good amount of support. Running quickly, dribbling through traffic, and stopping on a dime are all essential parts of playing the 1 (point guard), 2 (shooting guard), or 3 (small forward) positions. However, they also put your feet and ankles at risk for injury. That is why you need a shoe you trust.
Guards should look for models that have both solid support around the ankle, as well as down near the base. Ones with good lockdown go a long way too. Get something that actively holds your foot in place and keeps it from slipping around. Straps or strong laces are an extra bonus.
Something else guards need to be aware of when picking out footwear is the weight. As covered, playing guard is a quick position that requires timing, speed, and agility. Shoes that are heavy or bulky directly go against that. As a quick guard, you want something that’s lightweight and helps you cut.
However, lighter is not always better. Though shedding ounces is important, you don’t want to get something too flimsy either. It’s about finding a balance between finding footwear you can trust and something that still lets you move around freely. Middle ground shoes are the best.
Basketball is an extreme sport that causes you to push your body. While that’s part of the fun, it also means a lot of sweat. Rather than getting drenched each time you play, which causes extra friction and leads to blisters, you want a shoe with a breathable, moisture-wicking upper.
This is part of a lighter design, and it goes a long way towards keeping you comfortable. Such models are especially important for players who find themselves running hot or who always have wet socks mid game. Either way, all guards can benefit from extra breathability.
Even if you know a lot about guard shoes, you still might have some extra questions. This section answers some of the most common.
What are the Best Shoes for Shooting Guards?
Shoes that have a more open design, as well as low top models with strong bases and lighter cushion, tend to be best for guards. Such models are perfect for cutting or dribbling because they offer a lot of mobility and tend to stay out of your way during a game.
Is KD 13 Good for Guards?
Yes. Due to their strong traction, powerful base, and sleek design, the KD 13’s are a great shoe for people playing on the wing or running the point.
Are Lebron Shoes Good for Guards?
There are many Lebron shoes on the market, and all of them can work for guards. However, it’s best to get one in the line that’s lighter and less intrusive when possible.
Should I Buy Basketball Shoes a Half-Size Bigger?
It depends on what shoe you get. Some shoes run large, and some run small. If you get a small or narrow option, it’s typically best to get a half size up. Just be sure to do your research beforehand.
How to Maintain Your Basketball Shoes’ Traction
Here are a few useful tips that will ensure your shoes will keep their grip for a long time:
Before each practice or game, step on a traction board. The board has an adhesive surface that clings to the bottom of your shoe. By stepping on it, you pull away both dust and oil to give yourself better traction on the court.
Use traction fluid on the bottom of your shoes. That will make your shoes extra grippy.
Use a damp cloth to clean dirt, dust, and debris from the bottom of your shoes before every game and during any time-outs.
Once a player finishes with practice or a game, they should wash the soles of their shoes after every use. The best way to do that is with a soft towel and soapy water.
If your shoe’s traction doesn’t impress you anymore, it might be time for a new sneaker. Get one that’s durable and has tough, grippy soles.
In my opinion, the Curry 8 is the best guard shoe on the market. They not only come with tons of ankle protection, but they also have a lot of stability thanks to the carbon fiber shank. That’s key for guards because it allows you to stop and move quickly without losing your balance.
Few shoes have the traits guards need on both offense and defense like the Curry’s. It doesn’t matter what guard position you play or how you like to play, they will give you the support and performance enhancement you need to succeed out on the court.