Why Puma’s New NBA Rookie Is Still Wearing Nike on the Court

Puma‘s triumphant return to the basketball market is well underway — but the brand has run into one fairly sizable issue (well, two, actually): rookie Deandre Ayton’s size 18 feet.

The rising star, who was signed in the first round of the NBA Draft to the Phoenix Suns shortly after inking an ambassadorship deal with Puma, told reporters at the MGM Summer League tournament that he’s waiting on the company to develop shoes that fit before he makes the switch on the court. (Most of Puma’s men’s footwear offerings are produced up to size 14.)

“I love Puma shoes, but I wear size 18, so we’re working on putting a lot of technology into the shoe,” said Ayton, who, at 7-foot-1 is also the tallest 2018 rookie. “They want me to perform the best way I can … Puma’s making the adjustments to the shoes now.”

In the meantime, during the offseason, he’s sticking with Nike, a brand with plenty of experience producing size 18 basketball sneakers, thanks to Kevin Durant’s habit of sizing up on the court in order to trip up his competition — even if it means his signature Nike KD 10’s seem to fall off his feet more than usual.

Of course, neither player comes close to the legendary size 22 shoe worn by Shaquille O’Neal, whose Reebok Shaq Attaq sneaker Drake called a “registered weapon.” The average NBA shoe size is said to be around a size 13 to 14.

FN has reached out to Puma for more information on the custom sneakers, including whether the larger sizes will be available to the public. Last month, the brand announced that Jay Z will come on board as president of basketball operations; it also signed rookies Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr. and Zhaire Smith, all of whom were selected in the first round, and unveiled its newest basketball sneaker, the Clyde Court Disrupt.

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