If you are a quick guard and you like to beat your opponent off the dribble with deadly crossovers and smooth pull-up jumpers you need shoes that can keep up with your style of play.
But what does the perfect guard shoe look like?
It features great traction that will grip the floor and allow you to change directions very quickly
The cushioning is responsive and doesn’t lag
It is a low- (or mid-cut) shoe that doesn’t unneccessarily restrict your range of motion
So how do you find a shoe that fulfils these three criteria?
Easy! You check all shoe releases of the last year, pick all low- or mid-tops, read all the reviews and choose the one with amazing traction and responsive cushioning!
Sounds like a lot of work? Luckily I did it for you! I have checked out the 220 most popular basketball shoe releases since the end of 2016, read (or watched) all 1037 reviews I could find and summed up the expert findings here.
The following list shows all low- or mid-tops (as of Aug 14, 2022) that received great scores for their traction and feature responsive cushioning:
Not much changed between the original Puma MB.01 and the low-top version. The traction is still reliable on all surfaces.
Puma's Nitro foam is a balanced cushioning setup offering both impact protection and responsiveness.
The fit can be narrow, but the materials are comfortable and get the job done performance-wise.
The shoe also has solid support features to keep your foot secure and contained.
Overall, the Puma MB.01 Low continues the trend of Puma releasing quality performance basketball shoes.
The traction on the Puma Clyde All-Pro is outstanding and was compared to the Kobe 9 by reviewers. The durability is solid and should be fine for occasional outdoor use.
The cushion setup features the improved ProFoam+ which is softer and has more compression. This cushioning is still more on the responsive side though.
Another highlight of this shoe is the upper material which is super minimal, lightweight, and very comfortable after breaking in.
Going true to size will give you a snug fit that wraps around your foot really well.
Reviewers had no issues with the support as it comes with all the standard features we've come to expect from basketball shoes: a wide base, outrigger, and a solid internal heel counter.
Overall the Puma Clyde All-Pro is a fantastic all-around performer and a steal at $130!
The Curry Flow 9 continues to build on the performance that the 8 provided last year.
The traction pattern and material are identical, but that's not a bad thing. Reviewers agree that the performance is phenomenal in this regard.
For cushioning, the responsive and court feel are fantastic. The only thing the cushion lacks is impact protection which is just adequate.
The materials are much improved from last year and feel premium for performance. It's lightweight, thin, and comfortable.
The fit starts out snug and narrow, but the materials conform to your foot over time.
Support and lockdown continue to be fantastic just like the rest of the Curry line.
Reviewers agree that the Curry Flow 9 is one of the best shoes available on the market right now, and the shoe is a pleasure to play in.
For some reviewers, the traction of the KD14 took a little to break-in, but they all agreed that it provides a ton of grip on clean courts and doesn't have much trouble with dusty courts either.
The Zoom Strobel and Cushlon midsole provide a perfect mix of comfort, impact protection, and responsiveness. One reviewer coined it the softest KD to date.
Materials are a little cheap to the touch but they are comfortable on foot and combined with the wide base and plastic enforcement on the sides provide a lot of lockdown and support.
The fit is less narrow than previous KD's and should work for most players unless you have super wide feet.
Overall, reviewers agree that the KD14 is a slight improvement over the KD13 and a great overall performer that is absolutely worth the $150 price tag.
The traction on the New Balance TWO WXY is one of the best aspects of the shoe and has an awesome bite. The durability is okay for outdoor use.
The cushion setup features Fuel Cell foam and is very low to the ground here. You get good court feel and responsiveness with okay impact protection.
The materials are mostly thin knits and textiles that are comfortable and perform well.
These fit a little long and pretty narrow, so it is recommended to try them on before buying. They do come in wide sizes.
The support and lockdown are great and have you covered on explosive moves and crossovers.
Overall the New Balance TWO WXY is a great performer in pretty much every area and comes in at a fair $140 price tag.
The Curry "Flow" 8 is the first signature shoe released under the new "Curry" brand and they get off to a good start!
The traction is the best aspect of the shoe and features an all-foam outsole that is crazy grippy.
The cushion is also nice and comfortable while providing great court feel and responsiveness. Reviewers considered it the best cushion of the Curry lineup.
The materials consist of a flexible knit upper that is comfortable with synthetic overlays for structure.
These fit short and a little wide - going up half a size should work for most people.
The support and lockdown are what you come to expect from a Curry and will give you no issues.
Overall the Curry 8 is a great hoop shoe that most players will enjoy. These are definitely worth the $20 increase to $160!
Reviewers describe the cushioning on the Way of Wade 10 as incredibly bouncy. It's easily the most raved-about feature of the shoe.
Its outsole traction is soft and grippy, perfect for indoor play.
The materials are lightweight and perform well, but reviewers mention they could be more premium based on the shoe's price.
Support and lockdown aren't an issue. There were no reported problems from any reviewers.
Li-Ning and Dwyane Wade's latest signature model, the Way of Wade 10, is an excellent basketball shoe that can contend for performance shoe of the year.
The traction pattern of the PG 5 is very similar to the Kobe 9 pattern and provides top-tier traction indoors. Unfortunately, the outsole isn't durable enough for outdoor use.
The cushion tech is similar to last year but feels pretty different. The PG 5 isn't as plush but provides a better court feel and more responsiveness.
The materials are what you've come to expect from the PG line: They feel pretty cheap but they perform well and are comfortable on foot.
The PG 5 fits like most PG models slightly narrow and snug. True to size works well.
The support and lockdown are very good thanks to a wide base and large outrigger - reviewers had no issues here.
Overall the PG 5 is a great all-around performer and a real bargain at a list price of only $110.
The traction on the Lebron Witness 5 performs well on clean courts but picks up dust easily. It won't last on outdoor courts as the outsole isn't very durable.
The cushion setup is subtle but gets the job done with full-length Phylon and two forefoot Zoom pods.
The materials are an improvement over the Witness 4 and provide good comfort and performance.
The Witness 5 fits well and reviewers found it to be true to size, but slightly narrow. The half booty construction provides a snug overall fit.
The stability and lockdown don't disappoint and provide consistent lateral stability, containment, and decent ankle support.
Overall, the Lebron Witness 5 is a great hoop shoe for any player and budget.
The traction on the Dame 7 performs well - significantly better than the 6. Good news if you play outdoors a lot: the outsole is made of very durable rubber and performs well on the blacktop.
The Lightstrike foam cushion setup is also an upgrade over the 6 and is a good balance of impact protection, court feel, and responsiveness.
The materials are of decent quality, well ventilated, and get the job done performance-wise.
The support offers good lateral stability and containment but the low cut doesn't provide any additional ankle support.
Overall, the Dame 7 is a great all-around performer - especially for the price!
What makes a great shoe for point guards and shooting guards?
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.
Shoes with comfortable cushioning that make you feel like you’re walking on clouds are great for heavy big 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 Silhouette
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”. This style 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. Steph Curry is wearing an ankle brace every game, and he’s doing okay! Low or mid-tops are the way to go for guards.