The Top 5 Basketball Shoes For Centers + Big Men (2020)

Being a big man can be a blessing and a curse. You’re always wanted in a pickup game to play center and you can guard the middle like nobody else. At the same time, the strain on your knees and back can lead to debilitating pain and may even keep you off the court. If you’re tall and you want to stay in the game, you need to figure out how to avoid the pain of the center.

The key for big men is to find a shoe with high levels of cushioning. When you’re tall, you often weigh more than average (even if you’re skinny), leading to excessive forces being placed on your knees and back. To minimize the damage, you want to wear shoes that soften the impact you are placing every time you plant your feet.

The shoes below are those that have been reviewed and rated as the best basketball shoes for centers who need to protect their body.

1. Under Armour Embiid One

Under Armour Embiid One
  • Solid traction, particularly outdoors, where the thick rubber outsole seizes the court whichever way you play.
  • The Micro G is among the better cushioning that Under Armour offers, and is perfect for big men while still being suitable for smaller players.
  • Wide base and lockdown wings provide good all-round support.
Under Armour Embiid One

Fan Average

3.87
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Review Average

4.3

2. Nike LeBron 17

  • Remarkable traction that works outdoors almost as well as it does indoors. The LeBron 17 features a wave herringbone pattern and whisks away dirt and dust easily.
  • Impact protection is out of this world, with an Air setup that makes it feel like you're running on a could.
  • Perfect fit, with great lockdown, and just enough stability to feel good moving around the court.

Fan Average

3.78
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Review Average

4.6

3. Adidas Pro Bounce 2019

  • Traction on the Pro Bounce 2019 is made of a new herringbone layout on the forefoot, morphing into a tighter-patterned tread in the rear, performing well overall.
  • The Bounce cushioning does a solid job, and feels similar to the outstanding DON Issue #1 from Adidas.
  • The Pro Bounce tends to feel on the narrower side, and provides good stability overall despite some minor heel slippage.

Fan Average

4.36
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Review Average

4.8

4. Nike PG 3

  • The traction takes a while to work in, but once it gets going the PG3 grips the floor well with its circular traction pattern, both indoors and outdoors.
  • The cushion system also takes some time to break in, but once it does the PG3 feels like a slightly bouncier version than its predecessor, the PG2.
  • The PG3 fits true to size after the break-in process, and the support is great (though it may not work for those with wider feet).

Fan Average

3.59
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Review Average

4.7

5. Air Jordan 35

  • Outstanding herringbone traction, similar to the traction in the 34, which grips like a beast, but also may wear down quickly if playing outdoors.
  • Zoom in the forefoot and the heel provides superior cushioning and amazing heel-to-toe transitioning.
  • A big step up in support from the 34, with a heavy-duty frame and great lateral and torsional stability.

Fan Average

3.69
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Review Average

4.6
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