NBA players are much larger than normal people. They have longer arms, bigger hands, and much larger feet. However, as players like Michael Jordan show, foot size does not always correlate skill. In fact, sometimes it directly fights against it.
Michael Jordan’s feet, while large, were not particularly big for the NBA. Even so, he managed to play at a level nobody could ever match. I will look at how, and take a deep dive into sneaker size around the league, throughout the following sections.
A Wide Range
NBA players are greatly diverse in terms of size, length, and weight. Guards can be as small as 5’10 and weigh as little as 180 pounds, while big men can stand up to 7 feet tall and clock in at nearly 300 pounds. Their shoe size follows that trend as well.
Generally, the taller or bigger a player is, the larger their feet. However, that’s far from a set rule. There are plenty of big men with smaller feet for their size, and there are plenty of guards or wings who have particularly large sneakers. It shifts from player to player.
Currently, the average NBA shoe size sits at 14.81. That’s incredibly big, and it sits at that level because guards tend to size up (even if some big men size down). Chances are, if someone plays professional basketball, they have massive feet.
Smaller Than Average
Looking at the above information, it may be surprising that Jordan wore a size 13 sneaker. Not only is that more on the normal side of things, but it sits well below the league average. It gets even more interesting when looking at the G.O.A.T’s dimensions.
The Bulls guard stood 6’6 and weighed an impressive 215 pounds. Many players with those measurements (James Harden, Zion Williamson) have feet that are at least a few sizes bigger. That doesn’t mean his shoes were small for his frame, they were just below the competition.
In that way, it’s shocking that Jordan could jump as well as he could. His athleticism overcame his smaller base and enabled him to get up without any issue. That’s how he, and similar players, thrived despite having more normal feet.
Skill, Not Size
Jordan is widely considered to be the best player of all time. His greatness is undeniable, and his playstyle was largely unmatched. He could run, jump, hustle, score, and defend with the best of the best, and did so all while taking home multiple MVPs and numerous championships.
Taking that into account, it’s easy to see that having smaller feet didn’t impact his game. Jordan was one of the most athletic players of all time, showing that foot size has no direct correlation to someone’s skill. Particularly large or small may be a problem, but that’s rare.
Bigger feet, in fact, can lead to certain issues over time. While a wide base can give guards extra explosiveness, the larger surface area also makes them more prone to injuries and more likely to suffer ankle issues.
Jordan never had to worry about those ailments during his prime. He largely stayed healthy, despite his tendency to drive to the lane or take off for mind-blowing dunks. His foot size largely impacted that, and gave him a small edge in terms of staying on the court.
Shoe size can mean a lot in the NBA, but it’s not everything. Jordan showed that. He won awards, took home multiple trophies, and largely dominated; all with size 13 sneakers. That shows that any player, regardless of shoe size, can reach the NBA and be great.