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 Kevin Durant? 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. Anta KT2
Sneakerheads are typically wary of Chinese brands mostly because the market has been dominated by western shoe giants like Nike and Adidas. Anta KT2 changes that landscape by being a shoe that performs across multiple categories while giving you a bang for your buck.
What sets the second line of Klay Thompson’s signature kicks apart are the improved materials, cushion and support compared to the previous KT1. The amazing TPU support in the midfoot allows painless torsion while the TPU at the heel gives you a way to prevent sliding. Though there are minor issues with the lengthwise fit of the shoes being super snug to a T, their fit is something you’ll fall in love with and the superior lockdown is nothing short of great.
The Fuse material is crazy strong – enough to last multiple thrashings on-court and still come out looking fresh out of the box. Anta’s EVE cushioning that uses EVA midsoles and two different density foams that, though not a breakthrough, works like clockwork. Anta KT2 are workhorse sneakers and are made to be utilized by one of the most hardworking on-court players in Klay Thompson.
The best player in the world needs the best shoes in the world and these are one of the hyper performance shoes that you would love to have. The 14’s are built for maximum cushion and fit in mind to make sure that they don’t die every time LeBron does a power move inside. Armed with three Hex Zooms, it allows you to have your weight distributed evenly across all Zooms, which remind me of the cushion level of Jordan Melo M8. You’ll be able to move quickly under your feet with little impact from falls.
Though the entire pair is made of foam and mesh material that does not justify the price tag, this combination is for maximum flexibility and movement without experiencing extensive restrictions. The Lebron 14 may feel too soft or flimsy for your tastes, but don’t let that fool you: they’re performers. The Flywires make sure you are secured laterally and the straps fit your heels well.
These shoes are designed for fast movement with their lightweight, mobile design. Smaller players who want speed and mobility will fall in love with these shoes and anybody bigger would still enjoy the improved mobility at the cost of minor traction loss against the other models. The price can still go lower and you’ll definitely love having this on your collection.
Dennis Rodman’s game is not something that you would want to adapt. Though the master of rebounds made sure that every board was his during the three-peat with the Bulls, his Ndestrukt shoes are back with a vengeance and are must buys for any baller who wants top level performer kicks each time, every time.
These OG shoes are nothing to scoff at. These shoes are the evidence of Nike’s crazy 90’s leather technology. The “leather upper with high top collar” makes sure that the fit is secure while the combination of synthetic rands and toe boxes with ballistic mesh overlay base gives the wearer stability and flexibility. What makes the Ndestrukt unbelievably good even with its dated design is the traction. These shoes work in any surface, in any place at any time – rough and smooth outdoor concrete, hardwood courts, dusty gym courts or rubber surfaces; you name it, these shoes will stick and will not wear out.
Though its cushion is much to be desired because of the 90s polyurethane that makes shock absorption nonexistent, the support is unbelievable. Lateral stability can be attributed to the original design that wraps up perfectly and preventing you from rolling up your foot. The Nike Air Shake Ndestrukt are the OG sneakers of 2017 and can outperform many newer shoes of the modern generation.
7. Nike KD 9
Kevin Durant’s play revolves around jump shooting from virtually every area of the court and killing the opposing players’ chances around the rim with his high precision blocking and elite rim protection. The KD 9 shoes revolve around making sure that The Slim Reaper gets his lion’s share of killing on the court with the best impact protection and responsiveness from his kicks.
The KD 9 gets its ultimate cushion from the Zoom technology laid out in full, with the stretched fibers providing smooth transition with every step while providing unparalleled mobility. Unlike other shoes with the full Zoom, these newer iterations are neither inflexible nor too firm, letting any player of any height, position or play style enjoy playing ball wearing them. The Flyknit material in the KD 9 is among the best presents Nike has given us in recent memory, with textile mesh and foam making up the rear of the shoe that works. It simply works.
Fit for these shoes have much to be improved upon, so make sure to fit them immediately when you get them, otherwise these shoes will provide unbelievable support with the best mobility you can ever have for mid-priced shoes. Each dollar you spend on the KD 9 is a dollar well spent, and you’ll be very happy because these shoes are 100% fly in the court.
Adidas has been killing it the past couple of years and you really can’t blame them: their shoes’ performance has gone above and beyond what was needed from them. The Adidas Harden Vol. 1 are designed specifically for James Harden, who plays physical, hard nose game with quick lateral movements and explosive momentum to pressure opponents into trying to contest his shots. Adidas had this in mind and made sure The Beard has shoes that are super strong all around.
What makes the Harden Vol. 1 unbelievable is the overall protection that it gives from cushion to materials construction to actual support. These shoes are a beautiful combination of all things people love about basketball shoes – low Boost cushion that gives superb impact protection well and above many things around in the market, toe caps constructed out of prime leather for an extreme range of motion that gives superior laterals similar to Nike Soldiers and support that gives you top of the line protection like an internal heel counter and a TPU cage and plate for high level torsion support and stability similar to the Kobe 8 or CrazyLight 2016.
Even with the traction of the Adidas Harden Vol. 1, which is considered one of the weaker points of these kicks, the shoe is still hands down good. If you’re looking for shoes you’ll enjoy moving in, Harden’s signature kicks are the well-balanced type that you would love to play in with mobility in mind.
If there’s one thing that Under Armour has been doing very well, that’s making sure that their superstar signature endorser Steph Curry gets the best shoe technology that UA can offer; and that is very obvious with how they have constructed the Curry 3.
Curry 3’s are one of the best, if not the best, out there when it comes to traction. Under Armour is using the full herringbone pattern traction combined with the sticky rubber compound that just works on any indoor surface and is very decent outdoors. These shoes are perfect for anyone who likes to do feints, crossovers and advanced dribbling moves as they are extremely responsive to user movements and lightweight enough to let you play for hours on end. The support is unparalleled with external heel cups and carbon fiber shanks that give the utmost protection without killing your midfoot as you move.
It’s not a secret that the two-time MVP had ankle injuries early in his career and the technology around his signature shoes revolves around the best torsion support and a smooth way to move without impeding the speed and mobility needed when he performs his acrobatic crossovers and top level traction to prevent slippage that may cause injuries. The Curry 3 are the guard shoes that will guard you every step that you take, and you’ll be glad to wear them for that important game so you can perform at your peak with every step you take.
For someone as explosive as Damian Lillard on the offense, his signature Dame 3 shoes are everything that a baller would want to be able to beast and feast on-court. These kicks have big checks across all categories and many other sneaker testers put this at the pedestal and you can’t blame them: these shoes are easy to wear without having to break-in, will support any type of playstyle and feet shape and size and are ultimate in value for their price.
What makes the Dame 3 beast is the combination of traction, cushion and materials seamlessly working together to create a shoe that everyone will enjoy wearing. The blade traction provides multidirectional coverage and is very tacky on hardwood, requiring only minimal wiping when dust accumulates but nothing that needs constant attention. Bounce covers the cushion for that beautiful protection that gives you the extra oompf you need for your jumps. The Fuse and TPU coating gives the Dame 3 a significant weight and layer reduction without giving up any structural integrity and ensuring a lockdown with any feet type.
It sounds too good to be true but for one of the cheaper signature shoes that Adidas has, this is one that takes the cake with the performance. You’ll be missing out if you don’t have this in your collection. It might even become your favorite once you wear it. Dame 3 is performance in shoe form.
One of the biggest what-ifs in the modern NBA is Derrick Rose, who easily was the most explosive player in his prime. His signature shoes though? They’re straight up fire. The D Rose 7 are a sneakerhead’s wet dream rolled into a pair of performance shoes. The traction and cushion are GOAT-worthy and there’s barely anything wrong about these kicks. Barely.
The herringbone pattern traction is topnotch and do not need any wiping. It works. Inside, outside, wood, concrete, rubber. Wear it, forget about it. They’re the best. The full-length Boost gives you top marks in impact protection. They’re still the best. Engineered mesh with padded collar material? Good enough. The fit is 100% true and lockdown is tight. The support is nothing short of mindblowing – from the stable base, a springplate for torsion, wings for strong lockdown and the 1:1 fit? Go crazy.
Forget about anything else. There’s only two other shoes in this list that we believe can best this monstrous pair of signature shoes. The D Rose 7 are everything that you want and the reason why Adidas has been killing it the past year.
The top two in this list are the ultimates in their own respect – the ultimate low top and the ultimate high top shoes, and ironically enough they’re not signature shoes but both from the king of the last couple of years in basketball shoes – Adidas. The first of the two is the Crazylight Boost 2016 – the best low top we’ve seen.
The Crazylight’s traction works on everything because of the dual density rubber, where one of the colorway is dense, durable and works even with dust while the majority area of the outsole is made with soft, pliable rubber that’s tacky on any surface. It grips like a gorilla and durable enough to be used in any condition. A full-length Boost eats impact like nothing in this world and movement is smooth and seamless. It allows your feet to always be stable while the materials, either Primeknit or Jacquard, are monsters in the lockdown and fit department without much break-in. The support works with the Boost’s impact protection while allowing your heel and midfoot to stay on the footbed whenever, wherever.
The Adidas Crazylight Boost 2016 are prime examples of what low tops should be. Adidas claims that these are the best low tops? They’re damn right. Three Stripes has been dominating and it isn’t close.
Monsters aren’t the best-looking things in the world but they are a powerhouse – these are the exact words that I use for the Crazy Explosive Primeknit. They aren’t the best-looking shoes in the world but I’ll be damned if they aren’t performance monsters. Be it the unbelievable traction, the ultimate cushions put in shoes or the best use of Primeknit in baller shoes, Three Stripes kills it with this pair.
The traction is flat out bonkers. The unique design similar to fingerprints or friction ridges works literally on any surface. These shoes are the definition of wear and forget. All you need is mad skills to ball and these shoes will take care of the rest on-court. The Boost though? Give me this Boost or give me death by ball. They’re comfortable, responsive and have the best impact protection you’ll ever have in your life. The soft TPU works and the Primeknit allows for comfort and lockdown on every major area of the foot with strategic positioning. Everything works together and stays together.
The Crazy Explosive Primeknit works and there’s no word that can define these shoes other than effing amazing. Quick, explosive, large, slow, high motor… nothing will be better. It works with any playstyle, with any fitness level in any place you think of playing. These shoes are monsters and they don’t need to apologize for being the best of the best.
Check out last years top 10 basketball shoes for big men 2016 below…
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.