Today the big boys of basketball take on a whole new persona. No longer are we expected to bash with our backs against the basket and using our size and bulk. Nowadays we see power forwards and even centres stretching the floor out the the 3-pt line to get buckets and beating their man 1on1 to the basket. When it comes to choosing the best basketball shoes for the upcoming season, or if you’re just looking to expand the collection, there are certainly a lot of factors that come into play.
The fact you’re reading this already suggests height and size, and when looking at these points perhaps you want solid impact protection as well as adequate support. You also need to look at how you play, are you an Andre Drummond or are you more of a Chris Bosh? When factoring in this as well as how a shoe performs and price, here is a list of the top ten basketball sneakers for big men on the market.
10. Jordan Melo M11
The Melo M11 can be compared to the Jordan XX9, with the differences being in the materials, weight and of course price. Like the previous few Melo’s we see the significant features that are the unlocked zoom as well as the flight plate system. Together they provide a bouncy cushioning system that gives a propelling sensation when playing on your toes. There is no cushion setup in the heel but there is a cored out centre which helps with compression, giving you adequate impact protection. Support is great on the M11 with a variety of features in play including a built in heel-counter, lateral outrigger and Flight Web system all keeping you upright. This Melo model is such lighter than it’s predecessors and we also see an improved traction pattern. Priced reasonably as well Carmelo’s 11th signature is one big men will love.
The Hyperrev is a great option for a big man who is looking for something light that is still adequately cushioned and supportive. The shoe features Full length Zoom wrapped in a soft phylon midsole, giving you a responsive ride where the Zoom can be definitely felt. The soft materials in the Hyperrev give it a great heel to toe transition and this would be great for a bigger player who likes to still stay light on his feet. Security and lockdown is solid on the shoe although it isn’t great. It wont let you down with the lacing with added Flywire keeping you locked in. As a high cut shoe the Hyperrev does have a collar that is effective in also keeping you locked down. The shoe’s out rigger also does a solid job of keeping you from teetering over, so support overall is solid. The 2014 Hyperrev is still a shoe that can be found in abundance today, with prices that are rather gentle as well. If comfort and cushioning is what you value in your choice of weapon then there can be no going wrong here.
8. Ektio Alexio
Ektio’s Alexio model is guaranteed to look after you in one area: support. The shoes unique design features an intricate yet effective strapping system that keeps your feet/ankles secured, reducing the any chance of ankle sprains or injuries. Cushion on the Alexio is solid but simple with an ortholite insole in play that sits over a foam midsole. Although cushioning isn’t amazing it does the job when protecting against impact. A soft yet strong fuse is featured on the upper keeps it comfortable and supportive, working well with the lockdown system. Ektio didn’t muck around with the traction on this model and we see full length herringbone giving you great grip whilst making any moves and cuts. If you want to stand out a little bit and wear something different that still delivers quality the Ektio models are definitely worth a shot. Also keep in mind that this is hands down the best support you can get on a basketball shoe, so great for players who are prone to sprains.
7. Nike KD 7
Kevin Durant’s 7th signature presents a great compromise for taller players. Durant himself is 6’9 but the way he plays is more like a guard. The shoes materials provide you with the best of both worlds as we see mesh implemented in the front and Hyperposite from the mid-foot down. This enables your heel to be adequately contained whilst still allowing a comfortable and form fitting material to do its job up front. In the cushioning department we see an EVA midsole and encapsulated Zoom unit in the forefoot, plus a 180 degree visible Zoom unit in the heel. The shoes traction certainly doesn’t disappoint and is perhaps even the standout feature. A mid-foot strap provides added lockdown which is great in keeping your foot extra secure in the footbed. Although not a current model the KD7 is a great shoe for a bigger player who is considering a low top shoe that still provides great cushioning and support.
Lockdown and support is perhaps this shoes best feature as we see a brace-like strapping system locking you in. One strap is seen over the mid-foot whilst another connects the ankle to the heel, keeping you locked in at all times. Like the Ektio Alexio a system like this reduces the chance of sprains and ankle/foot injuries. A hexagonal traction pattern with multi directional cuts provides solid traction that will keep you locked to most surfaces. A mesh, booty upper is comfortable and also lightweight giving you a pleasant yet supportive ride. This shoe was built with sturdiness and dependability in mind. If you’re a power type player who excerpts a lot of force in jumping and landing, this would be a great shoe for you.
As Kobe has aged his signatures have began becoming more and more supportive for his ageing (breaking) body. This is there making his shoes a more and more viable option for larger players. The cushioning may not be as plush as the other shoes on this list as a TPU cage on the mid-foot stiffens the ride up somewhat. Zoom is found in the heel and does solid job on impact protection, there is also Lunarlon that gives responsive cushioning for those players who are staying light on their feet. The Kobe Ten’s innovative traction plays well on clean courts, but outside or in dust it can sometimes struggle. Support is where the elite version steps up from the regular 10. There is still a clip in the forefoot and the outriggers as well as TPU cage provide for a stable ride underfoot. The collar goes to serve a purpose as it adds extra lockdown and also works in the way of a placebo effect giving you the feeling of being secure. A great shoe for a driving, cutting big man the Kobe X is one of the top models on the market.
5 separate zoom units in the forefoot act in tandem to give responsive ride when playing on your toes. A 13mm zoom bag in the heel can certainly be felt when making heel strike upon impact. The upper itself is primarily a bootie that features Hyperposite in areas to provide support and stability. The 13 is by no means revolutionary and in fact steps away from being a big man shoe as it becomes less bulky and more streamline. The translucent outsole does a solid job of keeping you on the court, although they can’t be taken on outdoor courts. Support is aided by the lockdown and solid implementation of the flawier system as well as the strategically placed Posite overlays and where they sit to add more support.
Although designed with a guard like Rose in mind, his sixth signature still delivers for the big man. With Boost in play you already know the impact protection will be more than good, and this definitely is the case with the Boost providing a plush yet responsive ride. The seat belt looking extension on the heel of the shoes does a great job of securing your foot and locking it in place. Combing this with an almost too-wide sole wrapped in herringbone traction, the shoe feels secure for anyone, of any size. A thing to be careful with in the D Rose 6 is what materials you have, with each shoe having a different material on the upper. If you can pick up one with a mesh upper you know you’ll be ready to go and it definitely will bring out the best in the shoes other features. A great performer the D Rose 6 and its game changing Boost cushioning offer plenty for a larger player.
2. Jordan XX9
The best performance shoe on the market, but is it the best for bigger players? The Jordan XX9 is perhaps the most technically advanced basketball shoe to date with its Unlocked Zoom, Flightplate system and Performance Woven upper which are all game changers. With the upper being woven you’d expect support to take a hit, but this isn’t the case. Woven strategically in places to provide targeted support where you need it most, the upper doesn’t bring the shoe down at all in the area of support. A TPU plate, outrigger and heel counter all do their job and contribute to a supportive ride also. The unlocked zoom is great and gives you the best of both worlds: responsive and bouncy cushioning when making moves on the perimeter and great impact protection when banging under the basket. Nothing fancy is seen in the heel which is a shame, especially for big men, but overall cushioning is still great. The XX9’s traction is great with large grooves gripping the court well in most conditions, dust though is a problem for this shoe. The 29 is all round the best performance shoe on the market and you can’t go wrong copping a pair. If you are a big man who is after perhaps a softer cushioning setup though, look towards the number one spot.
The Nike Hyperposite was made with one thing in mind, big men. The shoe is specifically built to accommodate the game of a player who requires support and plush cushioning for a large frame.
The Hyperposite offers maximum impact protection with a Full length 360 Zoom setup in play. This really is as much cushioning as you can get on a shoe, so for big guys it’s great. When looking at what’s below the cushioning the traction is solid, not groundbreaking, but it will get the job done certainly. The shoe is constructed with a mesh upper paired with Posite overlays. This setup offers great support whilst the mesh bootie keeps the shoe comfortable. The lacing system on the shoe as well as the caging gives it great lockdown that adds to stability, where also a wide base and outrigger keep you stable. Perhaps too much support for a smaller player but for 4&5 men it really is great.The Hyperposite is the ideal set up for larger player, think Anthony Davis, a player who is up and down getting after rebounds, dunking and chasing blocks.
Have some different thoughts on what the best basketball shoes for power forwards and centres are? Let us know in the comments section below. Also if you’re a tall person yourself – be sure to check out our range of longer length clothing that’s specifically made with the vertically gifted in mind. We’ve also recently put together a list of our top 15 forgotten or rare basketball shoes that you might be interested in checking out.