Game on the line, ten seconds left, you sprint off a screen and slip and fall as the pass heads your way.
The ball sails over your head.
The game is over.
It turns out, my young basketball friend, you were wearing a pair of slippery basketball shoes at the wrong time. You’re also not alone. I’ve been there as well.
There are so many little things in the game of basketball to account for.
The little things include doing the necessary things to protect your ankles, working on basketball skills, and keeping laser focus in a close game.
The last thing on your mind when in the heat of battle should be whether you have enough traction and the necessary grip on basketball shoes to do what needs to be done on the court to help your team.
It’s really pretty easy to restore grip. All you need to do is clean the soles of your basketball shoes! If you need a quick fix in the middle of a game, use a sticky mat or use sweat/saliva to wipe the soles of your basketball shoes and restore your basketball shoe grip!
Luckily, there are lots of ways to have your basketball shoes have the grip of a silverback gorilla. And if you’re feet are moving too much in your shoes, consider checking out some of the best basketball shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Of course, if you’re going to be playing outdoors, you’ll need a pair of the best outdoor basketball shoes. These basketball shoes have special traction and rubber soles for outdoor courts above and beyond the rest.
Read on to learn how to make basketball shoes more grippy!
What Is Shoe Grip?
Basketball shoe grip is another name for having traction on the court.
Do you want to write the post?
That’s what I thought.
A way to tell if your shoes have good grip at any time is to stomp your feet on the court and see if you can hear a squeak. Like stepping on a mouse. (No mice were harmed in the writing of this post.)
That squeak is a fantastic sound that tells you you’re ready to go get buckets.
It allows for more explosion in and out of cuts, helps you to slide on defense to keep your opponent from scoring, and keeps you free from injury.
This last point is obviously important, which is why I want to write this post so you can be safe out there on the court and have the confidence to play hard and win games.
Reasons You Need To Know
Short answer: to prevent injuries.
It’s a reality of the sport that if you don’t take care of your shoes then you do put yourself at risk.
Slipping is one of the most frustrating things that can happen in basketball.
It completely takes away your momentum and causes you to fall out of rhythm.
It also doesn’t help anyone when you feel like you’re trying to play basketball on an ice rink.
To become a better player, you need to take care of the little details. This is another little detail that plays an important role in your success.
Step-by-Step Instructions On How To Make Basketball Shoes More Grippy
Shall we get to the tips?
That’s what you came here for, right?
Let’s get to the tips.
Here we go.
I can’t help but annoy you a little bit. (Smiling emoji.)
1. Clean the Soles
Remember how your mom would yell at you to clean your room?
Well, I’m not yelling.
I can’t exactly yell through a computer.
I would if I could.
CLEAN YOUR SHOES!!!
The more you play, the higher the chance there is of dust accumulation on the soles of your shoes, whether they’re rubber soles or foam or whatever.
This layer of dust can clog up the grooves on your shoes.
These grooves are the things that give your shoes their grip. See why it’s important to know how to clean basketball shoes?
Make sure to keep your basketball shoes clean. This will help get more grip on basketball shoes and is an easy process that you can do once every few weeks or as needed.
Water and a soft cloth or a soft brush will do the trick for your basketball sneakers and their shoe soles. No need to get fancy here.
2. Use a Sticky Mat
Back in the day, wide receivers would use stick’em for their hands.
Fun fact: you can do the same for your shoes. (Maybe not that fun of a fact, but whatever.)
Sticky mats can be seen on NBA and college courts often. Sometimes they sit nearer the scorer’s table, and players step on them before entering the game, using the sticky sheet to add traction.
On these mats is an adhesive to improve grip and create better traction on basketball shoes.
You can find these online pretty cheaply. (Pretty cheap? Pretty inexpensive? Not sure what works best. Choose whatever suits your fancy.)
These are great for coaches who want to get the most out of their players and help prevent injuries and keep their basketball shoes sticky.
You can even use a damp rag and put it on the floor for your players to stomp on to remove dust quickly and easily for a consistently superior shoe grip.
3. Sweat and Saliva
Sometimes you just don’t have time for the options above.
When the point guard is coming down the court, I don’t recommend leaving the game to use a sticky mat.
If you feel your basketball shoe’s grip becoming a bit dusty and slippery, you can simply wipe the bottom of your shoes with your hand to maintain traction and a good grip and remove that thin layer of dust that is giving you trouble.
For an even better clean, lick your hand and then the bottom of your shoes. The traction that comes as a result of this is fantastic.
Bing, bang, boom. Nice, quick, and easy.
4. Invest in High-Quality Shoes
In some cases, the solution to slippery shoes is simply to invest in a high-quality pair of basketball shoes.
Look for shoes that are specifically designed for basketball, with durable, non-slip rubber soles and good support.
Newer shoes have better grip since their grooves aren’t worn down.
Once a pair of shoes are old and worn out there’s not much you can do in terms of bringing back traction.
(And if you’re one of those guys who puts duct tape on your shoe when the sole is detached, I’m not judging, but there lies your problem.)
Once the grooves have become worn down there is no amount of cleaning, sticky mats, or saliva that can restore the lost traction.
5. Do Not Wear Your Shoes Outside
This one is pretty simple.
Your basketball shoes belong on the basketball court.
To keep a better grip on the court, get a pair of basketball shoes for playing in and another pair of casual shoes when you’re not on the court.
See? Pretty simple.
When you walk outside with basketball shoes on then you’re gonna have little tiny pebbles and rocks stuck between the grooves of the outsole.
Plus concrete and gravel will scrape down and wear down the bottoms extremely fast.
To keep a long story short, do not wear them outside.
If you do for some reason, make sure to clean them as soon as possible.
Key Considerations For Successfully Making Your Basketball Shoes More Grippy
There isn’t much to improve shoe grip do if the court isn’t clean.
Playing basketball on a dusty basketball court is a killer for your shoe’s grip and you’ll find yourself needing a hose to keep the bottom of your shoes from getting dusty.
In this situation, try to get a dust broom or let the gym maintenance people or coach know about the shape the court is in.
Sometimes it is something that is simply overlooked.
It’s an easy fix that just takes a once-over with a broom and about five to ten minutes of your time.
Taking it to the Next Level: How to Know When Your Shoes Are Beyond Saving
Whatever the reason might be, maybe you wore your shoes outside one too many times or they’re just plain old and on their last legs, you need to know when to throw your shoes out to avoid injury.
If the bottom of your shoes are flat because they’re so worn down, get rid of them.
If you have holes in the outsole, making it dangerous to cut, get rid of them.
If you’re contemplating the use of duct tape to give them more life, buy a new pair of shoes and get rid of those things immediately.
Again, the name of the game is avoiding injury.
Old shoes can be dangerous and a sprained ankle or worse is not worth the savings from trying to milk as much as possible out of your current pair of shoes.
So get a new pair of basketball shoes and become more effective on the court.
Alternatives to The Method Above
There are a few different ways to gain extra grip.
You can try hair spray, vaseline, and shoe grips.
I will issue a fair warning of caution and implore you to do research on these alternatives. They are things I have not used myself and don’t know anyone who I’ve played with that does.
I recommend the steps outlined in this article because they are methods other basketball players and I use and have used throughout our careers if we have slippery basketball shoes.
They’re staples to help improve traction.
Through research, these other methods have come to light, but with a lack of expertise in their use, I will not at this time endorse these methods because I’m not sure of their results.
I may try these methods in the future and update this article with what I find.
Wrap It Up!
Ok, ok, geez.
Let’s wrap things up.
I’ve played basketball for the majority of my life and these are the methods that have never steered me wrong.
Of course, there are alternatives out there that you can try out for yourself as well if you find the methods that I mentioned not working for you.
These tips are to help you play your best and prevent injuries.
In my experience, a twisted ankle because of slips on the court is disheartening and frustrating.
So keep those shoes clean, use a traction mat, and throw them out when they’re no longer usable.
Most importantly, have fun out there on the court.
Does A Sticky Traction Mat Instantly Make Shoes More Grippy?
Of course, make sure to rip off a sheet once it has become too dusty. Other than that, you’ll be good to go!
Is There A Grip Enhancing Spray?
There is! You can try out a grip enhancing spray here.
What can you put on basketball shoes for better traction?
When it comes to improving traction on basketball shoes, there are a few methods you can try. Here are a few suggestions:
- Moisten the soles: Dampening the soles of your basketball shoes can increase their stopping power and improve traction.
- Rub Vaseline: Applying a thin layer of Vaseline on the soles of your shoes can help keep them moist and provide extra grip.
- Hair spray: Spraying a small amount of hair spray on the soles can improve stickiness and prevent slipping.
- Grip lotions or sprays: There are specific lotions and sprays available that can be applied to the soles of your basketball shoes to add tackiness and enhance traction.
These methods may have varying degrees of success depending on the shoe type and playing surface. It’s always a good idea to test these techniques out before using them during a game.