This is my review of the best basketball shoes for big guys in 2021.
As a big guy, you will the big man position, that’s just how it goes. Sometimes referred to as the frontcourt, but better known as the Small Forward (SF), Power Forward (PF), and Center (C) positions.
I, myself, dabble in the big man position, playing off the ball, looking to facilitate on offense through an extra pass or a screen.
In the NBA, you can see a shift of big men playing a guard hybrid style of play.
Which differs from the straight bruiser style popularized in the 90s by stars like Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Big men need big men shoes, the added weight requires extra support and durability.
Since a lot of the time you will find yourself under the basket (a.k.a the paint), you will need a shoe that provides proper leverage to keep your position against your match-up.
As well as impact resistance for when you go up for rebounds.
- Sometimes the best big guy shoe is just the best shoe on the market. The Adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit is revered by all ballers. Top to bottom this shoe gets high marks. Reliable performance on any court, everyday, whatever position. Personally, a top 5 shoe for any category.
- The Cadillac of big man sneakers, Nike Kobe 1 Protro is not only cool but also built for big men. This shoe is durable and low to the ground, great for battling under the basket. Also cool, very cool.
- Personally, out of all of Lebron’s shoes the Nike LeBron Soldier IX (9) is his best shoe. This shoe is a work horse and its main job is support, support, and support. A strong shoe that fits tight and willing to take a beating. A loyal soldier to the King.
Who Should Get This?
As the name suggests, big guy or big men shoes are for the big bruiser ballers of the court. Typically forwards and centers who do most of their work under the basket or inside the three-point line.
The guys that need to crash the boards and box out every play.
Being so close to your match up, you will be receiving a lot of body contact when fighting for position for the rebound. So these shoes are designed for high impact play and strong mountainlike foundation.
Big men shoes will differ from their more guard focused counterparts in a number of ways. Big men shoes are always, always high top, the additional support and protection are a must.
Usually, big men shoes are not too worried about weightlessness like guard shoes, since the extra weight is beneficial in holding your position down low.
While guard shoes are designed to help you fly across the court, big man shoes are built for battle and war.
Best Basketball Shoes for Big Guys: What to Consider?
A propper big man shoe needs to be able to handle the heavy impact of physical play in the paint.
There is a very high chance you will be stepped on, landed on, or ran directly into. Thus your shoes need to be able to protect you from bumps and bruises.
Support and Stability
Gaining position down low requires a lot of balance and strength, which is found right where your feet meet the ground.
The reason why I require a high top for any self-proclaimed big man shoe is that your ankle needs the extra support to hold your stance.
You will hear the term “lock-down” often when referring to basketball shoes, this is how well the shoe holds to your foot, making your foot and your shoe as one.
Traction and Grip
Your shoe needs to be able to hold your place, where you stand. Which means you can’t lose your footing when you’re trying to hold your position.
The point where your shoe meets the ground is extremely important to your safety and power.
Best Basketball Shoes for Big Guys: Our Picks
Just because the Adidas Crazy Explosive doesn’t have an NBA all-star backing doesn’t mean it is not an all-star level basketball shoe. In fact, some would consider this shoe the best pair out of 2017, making it on everyone’s best shoe list that year. Any player, no matter the position can do a lot of good work in this shoe. If you are the kind of big man that wants to play a more versatile role, the Adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit is the way to go.
What we like:
- A versatile shoe, light enough for guards while being durable enough for forwards, the ideal shoe for all you guard-forward hybrids.
- The high-quality material makes for a comfortable and stable shoe with proper support and good traction on the court, you won’t have a problem holding your position in the paint in these shoes.
- Great impact cushion at the sole, exactly what you want for when you go up for rebounds.
What we don’t like:
- Even though the boot looks like it would be breathable, the shoe will get hot after a while.
- The shape of the shoe is noticeably narrow, so if you have a wide foot get your true size shoe (since Adidas typically tends to be a little bigger).
- Not a great out-door shoe, keep these shoes for in-door courts just to be safe.
If basketball shoes were cars, the Nike Kobe 1 Protos are top of the line luxury vehicle. A remake of Kobe’s first shoe, “Proto” a shorthand for performance-retro. Made from high-quality leather, this is definitely a break it in kind of shoe, you would not want to go directly out of the box into a game with these. My favorite thing about the Kobe 1 Protos is the weight and how low to the ground it is, the extra stability will give you just a little more leverage when you’re boxing-out for rebounds.
What we like:
- Style, you pull up with these on the court and I guarantee you no other shoe will look at fresh as these.
- After some breaking in, the traction on the sole is second to none, along with the tight lock down, the Kobe 1 is a very secure shoe.
- The weight of this shoe mixed with its low to the ground build gives you some much welcome added leverage for playing in the paint.
- Very durable shoes, play in these on any court, in-door and out-door.
What we don’t like:
- Takes some breaking in, out of the box the leather is stiff and the sole can is still kind of raw with some chance of slipping, but after 2 or 3 days these shoes will form to your foot.
- An all leather and suede body makes for a hot and steamy shoe.
Compared to Lebron’s signature shoe, I 100% prefer the soldier line, especially for big men. Even though the line has reached its 13th iteration, I still feel the Lebron Soldier IX  is the best of them all. Dual straps, one at the ankle, and another that holds down the mid and front boot, this might be the most secure shoe ever.
What we like:
- Best lockdown on a shoe I’ve ever seen, period. If ankle support and foot security is a concern of yours, get these shoes.
- Great shoe out of the box, needs next to no time to break it, all materials used are high quality and fit comfortably.
- Multi-directional grip pattern on the sole gives ideal traction for movement in all directions.
What we don’t like:
- The stiff material results in some difficulty when taking them on and off.
Useful Tips and Resources
Big man play is highlighted by strength and power, which derives directly at your feet. So you need to make sure your shoes are secure and your grip is uncompromised.
After some wear and tear your shoes might start to lose some grip, meaning you will also lose some power.
If you feel like your shoe is losing some grip, putting you in danger of losing your footing. Don’t worry though, with a little bit of vaseline you can restore the grip of any basketball shoes.
Then once you get yourself your big man shoes, you will need some big man moves.
After taking a once over at the video, bring some of your buddies to a nearby court and give them the business. Like the big man you are.
To put it simply, big men need big shoes. In fact, your shoes should reflect the way you play the game. Just like you, you want your shoes to be strong, durable, and impact resilient while also providing security and support.
Invest in a good high-quality pair of shoes so you can get the best performance out of yourself on the court.