Improve basketball shoe grip: 6 quick tips to get most grip from your shoes


The basketball court can be quite slippery. If you are playing on a dusty court, the dust affects the traction of basketball shoes. Sometimes, even a clean surface results in bad traction due to poor shoe grip. To prevent slipping and to maintain traction, basketball players make sure that their shoes have enough grip. This is important to stay safe from injuries. In this article, we will look at 6 quick tips to improve basketball shoe grip to give you the upper hand on the court.

While some of the tips below for improving basketball shoe grip will take a little while some others can be done in a matter of seconds, even during a game.

Following are some handy tips to improve your basketball shoe grip:

Tip 1. Add Saliva to Soles or using a wet towel

You might often have seen basketball players licking their hands and rubbing it on their shoes.  Yes, the saliva offers an extra boost to your shoe grip, if you need it and can’t take a minute or two for a more thorough approach. Even though it is not the most hygienic practice, it is one of the easiest and quickest. It temporarily helps you with better shoe grip right when you need it.

If you’ve got a couple more seconds and can quickly get back to the bench then you could try having a wet towel on standby to quickly get the soles of your basketball shoes damp.

Tip 2: Use a Grip Gel

If using your saliva to improve the grip on your basketball shoes doesn’t do it for you then you can look at a grip gel. A grip gel works in the same way that

One problem you’ll find with a grip gel is that it not only helps grip the court but also any dirt or dust it comes into contact, which can quickly decrease the amount of grip that you have somewhat defeating the purpose of applying it in the first place.

Tip 3. Wash your Shoes

Wash your basketball shoes

Over time, dust and dirt accumulate in the sole of your shoe and reduces the friction. This is why washing your basketball shoes between games is a good idea. This, obviously, only works until dust and dirt build-up again and takes a little bit of time, so not something that you could do easily in the middle of a game.

While it doesn’t change how much grip you have on the court giving your basketball shoes a good clean can help ensure they last longer and let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like their basketball shoes looking brand new?

Tip 4. Sweeping the Basketball Court from Time to Time

Clean the basketball courtIf you haven’t guessed already, dust and dirt are the enemies of you getting the best grip for your basketball shoes. Minimizing the amount you pick up during a game will help ensure that you have as much grip as possible throughout.

Depending on where you are playing it may not be something you personally have to do but if you’re playing in a sports hall with some friends you can always give the court a quick once over.

Tip 5. Use Traction Boards

You may have seen traction boards (sometimes called traction mats) on the side of the court and wondered what these are. Traction boards have sticky sheets, which you can rub your shoes on the surface, to remove dust and oils from grip on the bottom of your shoes.

Traction Board

As traction boards come with multiple sheets, you can tear away the upper layer to get a new and clean sheet below. Usually, one to two sheets are good enough for a single basketball match.

Some traction boards also come with scuff patches that allow you to scuff off some of the rubber on the bottom of your shoes, usually on the ball of your foot, to get to fresh rubber. This also helps improve the traction that you’ll get from your basketball shoes but be aware that over time you’ll run out of rubber if you do this too often.

Tip 6. Get New Shoes When its Sole Starts Wearing Off

New basketball shoesThe amount of grip a pair of shoes provides depends heavily on the rubber that is used for creating the sole. If the rubber is too hard then while it will be long-lasting it won’t provide the softness and flexibility required to give you traction.

Because manufacturers use this softer and more flexible rubber the amount of grip your shoes will provide will naturally decrease over time due to wear and tear. So while the other tips on this list will help you temporarily increase your basketball shoes’ grip, the longest term solution is actually to purchase a new pair of basketball shoes.

If you want to have a look at getting new shoes then you can have a look at our article on the best basketball shoes for traction.

The Verdict

Hopefully, the tips above will help you improve the grip of your basketball shoes and also know when it is time to get a new pair. In short, anything you can do to prevent or remove dust and dirt that your basketball shoes pick up will help to improve the grip available to you when you’re playing. This is why it is a good reason if you’re able to have a completely separate pair of basketball shoes from what you might use for other activities, like outdoor running. As they say for a lot of things, prevention is much better than a cure.

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