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The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

Buying Guide

Guards need lightweight, responsive basketball shoes to maximize agility on the court. Here are the top picks from Nike.

Last updated: June 21, 2022
5 min read
The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

When playing a game of basketball, your shoes are your foundation. The best basketball shoes should provide stability and cushion as you’re dribbling, pivoting and jumping on the court.

Because point guards act as the leader on the floor, they need a responsive, supportive shoe that can move with them as they shift directions and control the ball. Read on for key features in the right basketball shoe, plus the top five Nike shoe picks for point guards.

How to Choose Shoes for Point Guards

“Point guards are the most active on the floor, so they need to have support but also not restrict the range of motion,” said Jeni Hopkins, executive board member of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. “Having a shoe that is comfortable and lightweight is important.”

Here are five key qualities to look for in a basketball shoe for guards:

  1. Controlled Fit: One aspect of a basketball shoe that can be easily overlooked is the lacing system and uppers. For ultimate precision and responsiveness, look for shoes that have a well-designed lace system with bands along the side of the shoe to secure the foot. Design features, like the midfoot strap of the KD14, can also help achieve a snug and comfortable fit.
  2. Low-Profile Cushioning: As a point guard, you’ll be running, shifting and jumping, so high-quality cushioning is important to help protect the knees and ankles from impact. However, too much foam cushioning can reduce stability, so look for that low-profile cushioning sweet spot, like the Nike Air Dot Weld Strobel. Seen in the Nike PG 5 shoes, this low-profile footbed is sewn directly into the upper and features a full-length Nike Air unit in a dotted pattern. This technology uses pressurized air to provide spring and cushion while keeping the weight of the shoe low.
  3. Weight: Find a lightweight shoe that doesn’t sacrifice stability. A solid outsole paired with lightweight cushioning (like the Nike Air Dot Weld Strobel) and breathable upper materials will allow you to move fluidly without too much stress on the joints.
  4. Low- or Mid-Top: As a point guard, you’ll want support to move multi-directionally, but you also need to maintain range of motion. A high-top design can limit the movement needed to run the court, so a low- or mid-top design is optimal for guards.
  5. Durability: “Basketball is a hard sport on shoes,” Hopkins said. “And the best shoes need to be replaced when showing signs of wear and tear.” One of the first elements to show wear is the outsole, so make sure to invest in a durable pair of basketball shoes made with high-quality materials. Look for a pair with a dense rubber outsole, like the one found in the Giannis Immortality. In this shoe, the outsole rubber is partially split by grooves and wraps up the inner side near the front, which allows the rubber to flex and maintain traction during lateral movements.

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The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Point Guards

  1. 1.Lebron 19 Low

    The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

    This low-top shoe is a lightweight alternative to the classic Lebron James signature Nike shoe. Returning to his point-guard roots, James designed this shoe for dominant players, like point guards, who need to quickly and efficiently move on the court. Nike React foam lines the full length of the foot to help reduce impact on the joints, and the visible Max Air unit adds extra cushion to the heel. The upper is designed from a woven material to keep the shoe lightweight, breathable and secure.

  2. 2.Giannis Immortality

    The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

    Versatile and agile – just like their namesake Giannis Antetokounmpo – these basketball shoes have great traction so guards can shuffle, pivot and defend in both indoor and outdoor game play. The structured ankle cuff provides support, and the upper features extra cushioning around the heel for a locked-in feel. They’re light and flexible on the court but still have the design flair and aesthetic Antetokounmpo is known for.

  3. 3.KD14

    The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

    These vibrant basketball sneakers are a high-performance option for all players, but they’re ideal for point guards because of their innovative design. The midfoot, hook-and-loop strap enhances security, so you can shift and pivot without worrying about too much foot movement in the shoe.

    The full-length Air Zoom Strobel unit provides ultimate responsiveness, and a stiff piece under the arch adds stability as you move. As you can expect in a shoe from Kevin Durant, the lightweight cushion provides energy return when you’re taking a jump shot. The KD14 comes in several colorways and patterns to show off your style on the court.

  4. 4.PG 5 (Team)

    The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

    “As for a team shoe, I like the PG 5,” Hopkins said. This shoe is a versatile and agile low-top basketball shoe that appeals to guards for several reasons.

    “It is lightweight, and players like how it feels on the balls of their feet when they jump,” she explained. The full-length Nike Air unit provides comfort and bounce as you move about the court, so you can achieve the seemingly effortless, flowing movements of Paul George.

    “The traction is great, too,” Hopkins added, because of the multidirectional tread pattern on the outsole.

  5. 5.Kyrie 5 Low

    The Best Nike Basketball Shoes for Guards

    Kyrie Irving is known for his exceptional ball-handling skills and footwork on the court, and his low-top basketball shoes live up to his reputation. Their shining quality is the traction on the sole of the shoe that grips in any conditions on the court. The shoes also feature foam in the midsole and a Zoom Air unit under the ball of the foot for maximum energy return with each step.

    You’ll feel snappy and quick as you dribble and pass thanks to the interlocking bands in the forefoot that ensure a secure fit when you cinch down the laces. Finally, the colorblocked design stands out on game day.

Words by Hannah Singleton

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