All players in the NBA are tall, especially compared to the general population. However, they don’t just have a ton of height, they have a lot of size too. They are heavy, muscular, and, following that trend, they also have big feet.
To look at shoe size in the NBA, the following guide will discuss Yao Ming’s sneakers. The Rockets center is one of the largest players to ever step on the court, and his shoes most definitely followed that trend.
NBA players tower over the general population, but just because someone is tall doesn’t mean their feet automatically follow suit. Yao Ming was one of the largest NBA players ever, but his feet weren’t at the same level. He wore a size 18. Big, but not as unbelievable as his height.
Yao’s feet measure the same as many other centers. That includes Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, and Kevin Durant. Andre Iguodala, who stands just 6’6, has size 17 shoes, while Shaq wears a size 20. Tacko Fall, another massive player who stands at Yao’s height, wears size 22.
Taking all of that into account, it’s easy to see that the foreign-born star had relatively small feet. His shoes were much, much bigger than most humans, but they didn’t match up to his body. Though, he did have bigger feet than other tall phenoms Shawn Bradley and Manute Bol.
A Harsh Tradeoff
Foot size is not a huge marker for whether or not a player will develop into a star, but it can be good or bad depending on body size. Yao stood 7’6 and weighed 311 pounds. Most players that tall or heavy tend to have lower body issues, especially in their feet. Yao was no exception.
The Rockets center put a lot of pressure on his bottom half, and that led to many issues over time. In fact, it was a big reason for his early retirement. His feet didn’t have a wide surface area compared to his body, which then affected his base.
The smaller the point of impact, the more pressure on the bones. Eventually, the stress became too much. He also had other ankle and knee problems, but his feet issues likely came about as a result of his sneaker size.
The Benefits of Agility
As much as Yao’s shoe-to-body size hurt him from an injury standpoint, they also enabled him to play the game he wanted. Yao stood out from so many other gigantic centers due to his ability to move and operate down on the block. His feet played a key part in that equation.
The big man had a ton of maneuverability, especially when it came to scoring on other strong centers and forwards, and could move through traffic in a way seven footers normally can’t. That’s what made him so special, and that would not have been possible if his feet were too big.
It’s not that Yao’s game came about due to his smaller feet, it’s that his sneaker size directly complemented the way he liked to play. Other players with much bigger shoes simply can’t operate in tight spaces like Yao could. They couldn’t slip past defenders as easily either.
Yao Ming is quite literally larger than life. Even so, his shoe size is much smaller than many might think. His feet are quite large, but they aren’t that big when compared to his giant frame. That came with benefits, but they led to a lot of issues as well.
It was a trade-off, and one that he was more than willing to make for a shot in the NBA.