The Top 10 Best Basketball Shoes for Centers

Finding a great pair of basketball shoes as a big man is not as easy as it used to be. The NBA game is shifting away from slow and heavy big guys, towards smaller and more versatile players, and the same is happening to basketball sneakers.

Signature shoes these days are almost exclusively reserved for guards like Kyrie Irving, Paul George, or James Harden. The only big guy that has a signature sneaker with one of the big brands is Joel Embiid.

But fortunately, there are still some sneakers that work well for traditional centers, and in this article, I am going to show you how to find them!

How to find your perfect pair of basketball shoes as a center:

  • Most centers prefer high-top sneakers
  • The cushioning should provide a lot of impact protection
  • The shoe should be very supportive

Let’s see why that is:

Why most Centers chose High-Tops​

Traditionally, basketball sneakers were cut higher than regular sneakers, ending above the ankles. While that is no longer the case, with light and flexible low-tops becoming more and more popular, most big guys still prefer high-tops.

These shoes provide additional support and a sense of security which is important for the battle under the basket. ​The ankle collar also helps to protect against other players stepping on your feet, and the additional weight doesn’t matter for most big men because they don’t rely on their quickness anyways.

Why Cushioning is so important

Guards like Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving don’t need a lot of cushioning, and this shows in their signature sneakers which come with very firm and low mid-soles. Obviously, that won’t work for heavier basketball players!

The additional pounds of centers put a lot more stress on the joints and which means they need softer and more comfortable shoes to reduce the amount of pressure they put on their feet. Cushioning systems like Nike’s Zoom or Adidas’s Boost, which offer a lot of impact protection and comfort, are a great choice for centers.

The following list includes 10 shoes that work well for centers and heavy forwards.

They all fulfill following criteria:

  • They are High Tops
  • Cushioning was rated better than 8.0/10 on average
  • Support was rated better than 8.0/10 on average
  • 8.8 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The tech-loaded Nike GT Jump's performance is outstanding.
  • Best for players with an explosive play style looking for good cushioning.
  • 9.1 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The latest Air Jordan mainline signature model is, once again, a top-performing shoe.
  • Great for players that are looking for a top-tier performance basketball shoe.
  • 8.3 rating based on 8 expert reviews
  • The Nike LeBron 19 is better in almost every way compared to last year's model.
  • Perfect if you enjoy extra cushion and impact protection.
  • 8.5 rating based on 7 expert reviews
  • The Nike Kyrie 8 is a welcome improvement in the Kyrie lineup.
  • Best for players looking for a shoe with no real weaknesses.
  • 8.0 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The Adidas D Rose Son of Chi features good traction and solid support.
  • Players with quick playstyles and don't need lots of impact protection.
  • 8.5 rating based on 3 expert reviews
  • The Li-Ning Way of Wade 9 Infinity provides plenty of traction and plays very springy.
  • Players that like to take advantage of their straight-line speed.
  • 7.9 rating based on 2 expert reviews
  • A very affordable Nike budget model with good overall performance
  • A good choice for outdoor courts
It's Quiz Time!
Answer 6 easy questions and find
your perfect basketball shoes!
Let's Get Started!

Best Basketball Shoes for Centers

1. Nike Air Zoom GT Jump

Performance Rating:
8.8
The tech-loaded Nike GT Jump's performance is outstanding.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
The tech works well together for performance
Jump frame is as good as advertised
Cons:
A bit on the heavier side
What do the experts think?
The final release in Nike's GT series, the GT Jump, manages to find a way to make all of the tech Nike threw in it work well together. The traction gripped all the different surfaces that reviewers tested it on while still keeping up with the cushioning. When it comes to cushioning, if you're a fan of Nike Zoom, you're going to love these. It's bouncy, provides ample impact protection, and is very fast to play in. Nike uses Jumpwire combined with synthetics and meshes to keep the shoe breathable without compromising performance. Most reviewers also agree that the Jumpframe is a standout aspect of the shoe. It helps secure the foot so that the player doesn't feel unstable on top of the cushioning. Although the wait was long, the Nike Air Zoom GT Jump delivers, and it's one of the best shoes to come out this year.

2. Air Jordan 36

Performance Rating:
9.1
The latest Air Jordan mainline signature model is, once again, a top-performing shoe.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
Absolutely no issues at all with the traction
Cushion feels amazing
Cons:
The outsole can be a tiny bit unsteady
They fit narrow and snug
What do the experts think?
The Air Jordan 36 continues the recent trend from Jordan brand and picks up right where the last two models left off. The traction is phenomenal. It performs well on both clean and dusty courts. All reviewers agree that the cushioning used in the 36 performs amazingly, but they also agree that the Air unit protruding from the outsole is unnecessary. The fit is snug and narrow, so if that's not your cup of tea, consider sizing up. Materials are slimmed way down this year. They make the shoe lightweight without sacrificing much in terms of comfort and durability. The surprisingly strong upper and the outsole materials wrapping upward towards the midsole make the support in this shoe solid. Being the latest signature shoe in the lineup, the Air Jordan 36 delivers and is yet another high-quality performance basketball shoe.

3. Nike Lebron 19

Performance Rating:
8.3
The Nike LeBron 19 is better in almost every way compared to last year's model.
Overall rating based on 8 reviews
Pros:
They provide good support and stability
The cushion feels incredible
Cons:
Traction can be inconsistent at times
They fit a bit snug
What do the experts think?
The latest entry in LeBron's signature shoe line gets off to a shaky start with reviewers mentioning that the traction performs inconsistently. As always with the LeBron line, the cushioning is the standout performance aspect. The shoe has ample impact protection while still finding a way to feel bouncy due to the forefoot Zoom Air. The fit can be snug. However, the materials do loosen up once broken in. Speaking of materials, they are much improved this year. The upper feels light and is comfortable straight out of the box. There are no issues with support and lockdown. In fact, the lateral containment is even a highlight for the LeBron 19. Overall, the Nike LeBron 19 is a fun shoe to play in with its crazy cushion setup, improved materials, and solid support. The only downside is the traction.

4. Nike Kyrie 8

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Nike Kyrie 8 is a welcome improvement in the Kyrie lineup.
Overall rating based on 7 reviews
Pros:
Consistent traction
Amazing forefoot Zoom Strobel
Cons:
Materials could feel more premium
What do the experts think?
As controversial as Kyrie Irving is, his signature basketball shoe continues to be a quality performer. The traction is what you come to expect from the Kyrie lineup. It performs well, similarly to the previous models. For the Kyrie 8, Nike implemented a forefoot Zoom Strobel that adds a new dimension of bounce while still remaining low to the ground. The materials used feel comfortable while providing quality performance. They're also thin and breathable. The lacing system helps to provide a fit that won't cause issues for most people. Reviewers also agree that the lateral containment and lockdown provided are excellent. When it comes down to it, the Nike Kyrie 8 is an excellent shoe that caters to many different playstyles.

5. Adidas D Rose Son Of Chi

Performance Rating:
8.0
The Adidas D Rose Son of Chi features good traction and solid support.
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Traction is consistent on all surfaces
Supportive and low to the ground
Cons:
Materials aren't the best
What do the experts think?
Adidas's latest D Rose shoe, the D Rose Son of Chi, Is a solid performing shoe at a great price of just $100. The shoe has traction that performs surprisingly well on all surface materials. It feels great to play in. Adidas uses Bounce cushioning in this model, and reviewers agree that it feels responsive. The impact protection is adequate but could be better. It doesn't use the best materials, but they get the job done. The fit feels snug since the materials don't stretch much. The lateral support in the shoe is very sturdy. There are no issues with stability either. One reviewer did note that this may not be the best shoe for those preferring mobility over stability. Overall, the Adidas D Rose Son of Chi is a good option in the budget-friendly price range.

6. Li-Ning Way of Wade 9 Infinity

Performance Rating:
8.5
The Li-Ning Way of Wade 9 Infinity provides plenty of traction and plays very springy.
Overall rating based on 3 reviews
Pros:
Strong, grippy traction
Boa system helps keep you secure
Cons:
The price is expensive
Feels high off the ground
What do the experts think?
Reviewers agree that the grippy traction is the best part of the Li-Ning Way of Wade 9 Infinity. The cushioning setup feels springy, but the impact protection could be better. It's great at propelling players forward. The materials are thin and breathable, and the lacing system is well done. None of the reviewers mentioned any glaring issues with support, which is a positive sign for a shoe that's so high off the ground. With excellent traction, and a strong, durable outsole, the Way of Wade 9 Infinity offers the tech and performance to warrant its high price tag.

7. Nike Renew Elevate

Performance Rating:
7.9
A very affordable Nike budget model with good overall performance
Overall rating based on 2 reviews
Pros:
The traction pattern is durable and performs
Supportive upper materials
Cons:
Materials feel and look cheap
What do the experts think?
The Renew Elevate is one of Nikes cheapest budget models, does it show in its performance? The traction pattern works well on outdoor courts and clean indoor courts. On dirty courts, you will need to wipe off the dust from time to time. The cushioning setup is divisive: one reviewer thought the Renew foam was soft and bouncy while another thought that it was too firm and didn't provide enough impact protection. The Mesh materials look and feel cheap but provide enough support and feel comfortable on-foot. Overall, for only $80 you get a decent performer, comparable to the KD Trey 5 VIII, but a little more supportive and with lower material quality.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.