10 Best Basketball Shoes for Centers to Dominate The Paint

best basketball shoes for centers

In the modern-day NBA, there are a lot of jokes made about how the traditional center has been made obsolete by the change in style of play. Some might advise you to go to a basketball museum to learn more about how centers can impact the game, because you’ll seldom see their worth on the hardwood these days.

While that might be amusing in some circles, the fact of the matter is that centers can still have a lot of influence towards the outcome of a game. Fans can look no further than the NBA MVP voting the last couple of seasons, which has featured Denver Nuggets pillar Nikola Jokic, and Philadelphia 76ers five-man Joel Embiid.

There’s something to be said for a player who’s an automatic bucket down on the low block, who commands double-teams and puts the opposition into foul trouble. Additionally, who wouldn’t want a shot-altering presence in front of the rim?

Their importance may now be overlooked, but not in this part of town. To that end, here is a 10-pack of the best basketball shoes for centers.


How We Created This List

At the end of the day, the primary goal of the list was to highlight basketball sneakers that will help big men leave their imprint on the game. Each shoe included below will have redeeming qualities that bring the type of support players operating the pivot should have.

While this piece serves as a guide as to how to spend your money if you’re a low post player looking for new kicks, we still believe that the price should be justified in relation to the reward. We put a lot of thought into recommending shoes for all types of budgets, and calling out what each product does well.

Additionally, the best basketball shoes will bring a certain level of comfort and support to those who don them on the court. The footwear selected here will complement players who need to play heavy minutes to bring home the victory, while also enhancing their ability to stay on the floor.


Top 10 Basketball Shoes For Centers

1. Nike Air Zoom GT Jump

It’s the premier product on the market that checks off a ton of boxes for centers looking to control the paint. The Nike Air Zoom GT Jump sneakers give players a much-needed boost from a cushion perspective, but also doesn’t compromise on safety.

The GT Jump’s devote a lot of attention to the midsole, which contains a Zoom Strobel that makes each landing soft but responsive. While many high-top basketball shoes advertise significant ankle support, this product also takes steps to keep players’ Achilles from stretching in unnatural ways.

These sneakers work well for players who can torch their defenders with their back to the basket, but also those centers who have a perimeter game. The grip these shoes possess holds up very well, which will allow confident ball-handling big guys to take their defender off the dribble.


2. Nike Air Jordan 36

When people think back to the type of game Michael Jordan played, fans will recall that he usually made the life of opposing centers pretty miserable by dunking over them. However, many centers of the present day will forgive MJ for what he did to their progenitors, as his Air Jordan 36’s are an excellent option for five-men today.

If your games exclusively take place on indoor courts, this might be the ideal product for you. It’s known as having sensational traction, which means your already impeccable footwork will be that much more lethal with these kicks on.

When some judge the Air Jordan 36’s by its cover, they might question how durable they are due to exterior appearance. That would be a mistake, as the fashionable yet sturdy leno jacquard material does a great job of keeping your foot and everything else in place.


3. Nike Kyrie 8

Seeing Kyrie Irving’s name affiliated with any product meant to cater to centers might seem like a misprint, but we promise that it isn’t. The Kyrie 8’s don’t take any shortcuts with regards to protection of your foot, which is why it should strongly be considered for your list of next basketball sneakers.

The ability of the shoe to provide lockdown(in a good way) support of your foot with two straps inside the shoe will lead you to believe you’re indestructible. Your heel and forefoot are secured in place, which prevents awkward landings where the brunt of the impact is absorbed by one part of your foot.

Basketball players love to wear the Kyrie 8’s because they’re lightweight, and this is also a plus for a center sporting them as well. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your feet are stuck in quicksand, but this product’s breathable material allows you to make moves with conviction.


4. Nike Giannis Immortality

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo overcame some difficult personal circumstances to achieve his place in the pantheon of NBA greats, so it’s no surprise that he would co-sign a signature shoe that is affordable for the masses. His Giannis Immortality sneakers won’t break the bank, and does a nice job of complementing players who go to work in the paint.

It receives solid marks with regards to its traction, as it will latch on to the floor even if you take long strides like Antetokounmpo does in the lane. It’s also super comfortable, thanks to phylon foam construction that gives your foot a really enjoyable landing area.

However, be prepared to give the Giannis Immortality shoes some time to break-in, as it likely won’t be ideal to deploy for your immediate high-intensity tilt. The sneaker will need to adjust to the contour of your foot, but should be a preferred option once that getting-to-know-you period is over.


5. Nike LeBron 20

The Nike LeBron 20’s do a lot of things extremely well, but can be considered a luxury purchase if you have some disposable funds to use after a holiday, work bonus or special occasion. With that said, you’ll notice that this product gives you a little extra bounce when it comes to getting up quickly for that rebound or putback.

What’s pretty cool about the LeBron 20’s is that it fits in with both high-tops and low-tops. The product comes in either variety, while also giving you that extra leaping ability on your vertical.

Even though the pricing is not cheap, the sneaker does a tremendous job of maintaining durability for a long time, while featuring a heel counter that protects players’ ankles. It also doesn’t limit centers who do have the athleticism to slide laterally on defense.


6. Under Armour Embiid One

It seemed like only a matter of time before we would land upon a sneaker named after one of the top centers in the NBA today. It seems like there isn’t anything Joel Embiid can’t do these days, which makes a product endorsed by him something that all big guys should consider snagging a pair of.

The Under Armour Embiid One’s do a bunch of things well, including keeping your feet comforted by cushioning technology that the company has pushed for the last few years. They also do a good job of rolling with your weight transfer, which is a different type of responsiveness that allows players to spring to action when planting on their heel before jumping from their toes.

Another benefit is the fact that they run pretty true to size. You won’t need to guess around to buy something that might take a few tries to fit perfectly.


7. Adidas Marquee Boost Low

Another strong option at a reasonable price is the Adidas Marquee Boost Low, which has a rubber outsole that will keep this product in the rotation for a long time.

It’s also a very attractive shoe from the standpoint of its exterior design, which sometimes does serve as a conversation-starter for teammates and opponents.

Another aspect working in its favor is that it’s pretty flexible, thanks to the elastic lace material it comes with. This is much appreciated for basketball players, who often times find sneakers who are one-trick ponies when it comes to malleability.

One potential downside of this product is its performance on outdoor surfaces. The Marquee Boost Low’s tend to pick up a lot of dust and dirt, which requires a lot of maintenance to avoid slipping on the floor.


8. Adidas Harden Volume 6

Even though he’s bounced around a few NBA teams in the last few years, James Harden’s Volume 6 sneakers should remain firmly entrenched as your go to shoes for a long time. That’s because it’s known to have a flexible yet sturdy midsole, which allows centers to run the floor for easy buckets without hesitation.

Many basketball sneakers have herringbone patterns in their outsole, which help bolster the stability of athletes as they put their physical talents on display. The Harden Volume 6’s are no exception, as they provide ample protection for your ankles.

Its upper also allows air to enter into the shoe to keep your foot feeling cool well into the fourth quarter. This sneaker will allow your game to do the talking for you.


9. Nike Zoom Freak 4

Giannis’ footwear makes yet another appearance on this list, which makes a lot of sense considering that many fans consider him to be a modern-day center. He may not start many offensive possessions in the post, but he always seems to end up there due to his superior size and strength.

The Nike Zoom Freak 4’s can support a center who can take his man off of the dribble from the three-point line, but also take contact close to the hoop. Regardless of the center’s style of play, the Zoom Freak’s are incredibly comfortable, thanks to a thin Phylon that buoys feet without feeling bulky.

Also not surprisingly, this product is known for the extra hops that it can give a player. Even if getting off of the ground isn’t a huge part of your game, it can still make a difference as you attempt to corral a rebound at a crucial time of the game.


10. Puma Men’s Clyde Court Reform

There are few NBA legends more known for their impeccable style than New York Knicks legend and current commentator Walt “Clyde” Frazier. His verbiage is just as smooth as his wardrobe, and the Clyde Court Reform sneakers fit right in with this brand.

Puma makes its first appearance on this list with a water-resistant shoe, which may come in handy in a few situations. It’s not uncommon for basketball sneakers to come in contact with moisture due to perspiration or water on the court, so this is actually a pretty clutch feature to have.

Some have remarked that this sneaker tends to feel a little bit heavy, which is something to keep in mind. Players who tend to remain close to the basket at all times might be more inclined to buy the Puma Clyde’s than a perimeter oriented player.


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