The biggest size of basketball shoe (according to the NBA) is that of Shaquille O’Neal at a size 22.
The most compelling reason for this has been that Nike has had an exclusive contract with the NBA from 1984 until 2016, they have been providing shoes to all players who wear a size 22 and above. On April 10th, 2016 it was announced that Adidas would take over as the official supplier of uniforms and footwear starting in 2017 with a four-year contract worth $1 billion, which means any player over a US size 14 can now receive shoes from Adidas. Nike however will continue producing shoes for players who wear smaller sizes, stating “we’ve always requested special order sizes for athletes… Going forward, we’ll start with special orders for athletes who wear smaller sizes of our shoes and then scale up to the new sizes.”
The reasoning behind this has been that Shaq’s feet are too large for standard manufacturing equipment, of which the shoes are produced. On top of this, his size 22 foot creates problems for not only players on the court but also every NBA team’s locker room, especially when it comes to the team’s uniforms.
The shoe that Shaq wears for basketball is called the Nike Air Max Diesel. It was designed by Bruce Kilgore and Stacy Daeschner who were working on a “design study” under Tinker Hatfield in 1993. The shoe has an all-black upper part with a red sole. As of today, there are only 5 pairs on the market, however, they have been spotted to go for around $3 000 on eBay.
The shoes are said to be extremely comfortable with a cushioned sole but are still durable enough due to their rubber forefoot and heel stabilizers. Shaq has also stated that the shoe fits his wide feet perfectly, as it has a roomy toe box. He also states that the sole of the shoe is incredibly light, and it feels as if they are not there at all.