Do Basketball Shoes Cause Blisters? [A Complete Answer]

Getting a blister sucks! 

It hurts and hinders your ability to walk, let alone play basketball. This isn’t just because of new shoes; blisters can happen anytime for various reasons. But do basketball shoes cause blisters specifically? 

Since I play in basketball shoes so often, I wanted to clear the air about this to help you prevent it from happening or treat it when it does.

Basketball is very demanding on all body parts, so if we can reduce one condition with a few minor adjustments, then it’s worth it to play the game we love so much.

What you’ll learn in this article is everything you need to know about blisters and how to cope. Prevention is our best weapon against them, but that’s not guaranteed. Always be prepared in life, just like in basketball, so you can deal with any blister that ‘pops’ up.   

Let’s dive in!


Do Basketball Shoes Cause Blisters?

Yes, basketball shoes cause blisters. Due to the strenuous nature of the game and the different types of surfaces we play on; basketball shoes can create friction on your skin, which wears it down and causes a blister. 

This is your body’s reaction when you have strained a certain area of skin, either on your feet or hands. 

Where Do Blisters Come From?

Blisters are created when there is friction applied to your skin. Although these can happen anywhere on your body, they are most commonly found on your hands and feet. Specifically, your forefoot, since this is such a high-wear area. 

Man with a blister on his heel

A blister is formed when a pocket of fluid appears on the skin. This can be very uncomfortable, especially for basketball players who put a lot of strain on their feet. This liquid is deployed by your body to protect the agitating area and prevent it from worsening. 

If you play enough basketball, there is a good chance that you will experience one or more in your lifetime. In 2009, 100% of runners in the Gobi Challenge (Mongolia), a 240 km 7-stage desert ultramarathon, experienced blisters. 

Common Causes

Here are the top causes of blisters amongst basketball players and athletes.

Moisture Build-Up

Sometimes, moisture can create a slick surface that causes you to slide off the footbed of your shoe. Other times it can be damp and cause your skin to rub against the grains of your sock. Your foot can create stressful friction at just the right moisture, resulting in a blister. 

Wrong Socks

basketball players sitting on the court

There are no right or wrong socks, just the right ones for you. Some will prefer a thick sock, and some will choose a thin one. In any case, they should be tight with no wrinkles.

Your feet will get hot, so start with a thin sock that allows for good breathability and has moisture-wicking properties. 

New Shoes

Unfortunately, new shoes are a massive contributor to blisters worldwide. Not just for basketball, you may have got a blister from any kind of shoe.

new basketball shoes

The best way to avoid this is to wear them around the house for a bit at first. If you slowly break them in, you won’t give your skin a chance to rub in any areas. Just make sure to lace them up the right way.

Which Basketball Shoes Are Best At Preventing Blisters?

The best shoes to prevent blisters will be the most comfortable basketball shoes. Here are a few of my top picks that have the least chance of giving you a blister. 

#1 Adidas Marquee Boost 

I love the amount of support these give from all angles. Your entire foot is taken care of; that’s what makes them so comfortable. The high-top design and knit mesh upper keep your foot secured to the footbed and prevent any kind of rubbing. 

You can read a full review of the shoes in this article

adidas marquee boost low
The “Adidas Marquee Boost Low”.

#2 Under Armour HOVR Havoc 2

While I’m still not sold on the look of these shoes, I can’t deny the comfort.

ua hovr havoc 2

The midsole is impressive at supporting your foot with a solid foundation. The EVA sockliner provides encompassing support, so the shoe feels like an extension of your foot. 

#3 Nike Lebron 17

The quality of material used in these shoes is what sets them apart. The knit mesh upper is great for preventing blisters because it can wrap around your entire foot and keep you locked down.

nike lebron 17 low

With these shoes, you’ll be locked down into a thick cushioning system that provides a lot of impact protection as well. If you are a Nike fan, I’d also recommend the old but gold Air Force 1 model.

In addition, check out the video below that provides great insights on how to increase lockdown on your basketball shoes to prevent blisters:

History of Basketball And Blisters

Although very common in basketball, blisters aren’t exclusive to one sport. Here are some other activities that can cause blisters; 

  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Baseballs
  • Weightlifting
  • Track and Field

Why Don’t NBA Players Get Blisters All The Time?

If new shoes cause blisters, and NBA players wear new shoes all the time, why don’t they get blisters? Those aren’t always new shoes you’re seeing.

kobe bryant and james harden
Image via Alexandra Walt, Flickr.

They have a locker full of shoes they have practiced with and can wear whenever.

Most shoes are custom-made for the player, so even if they are brand new, they come pre-broken-in. Plus, they don’t play in inappropriate for the sport shoes such as Vans, for instance.

How To Prevent Blisters

The best way to deal with blisters is not to get them in the first place. Preventing them is not an exact science, but there are things you can do to lower friction and keep your foot locked down in your basketball shoe. 

Right Socks 

You may have to experiment here until you find the right pair, but having the right socks is your first line of defense. You want them to be tight and absorbent. Keeping your feet dry is the top priority that will prevent friction. 

Right Shoes

Some shoes just won’t work for you, despite your efforts to break them in.

basketball shoes and a basketball

If this happens, you have to suck it up and get another pair. There’s no sense in suffering through the game you love just to save a few bucks. Once you find a good pair, maybe cop a few pairs


Extra protection in your most prone areas is a great idea when wearing new shoes. You can also employ this tactic if you think you’ll be sweating a lot, like on an outdoor court on a hot summer day. Cover your high-wear areas and, as always, keep your feet dry. 


You can get specialized pads that adhere to the insole of your shoe. You can apply them to your most susceptible area, encouraging more protection against friction.

If you are prone to blisters, keep a few of these in your gym bag and use them all the time. They are inexpensive and could save you a lot of grief. 

What To Do If You Get A Blister

If you get a blister, your options are limited. It will suck for a few days no matter what, and depending on how big your blister is, it could take even longer to heal. Stick to these remedies to help accelerate the healing process. 

Foot Powder

Close-up Of Woman Applying Powder To Her Foot

As we know, moisture is a cause of blisters, so we want to eliminate as much of it as possible. While your blister is healing, you can sprinkle some foot powder in the affected area to help it dry out faster. This won’t provide instant relief, but will ensure that it heals properly. 

Nitrofurazone For Damaged Blisters

If you’re dealing with a burst blister or one that has deroofed, then it’s very susceptible to infection and slower healing times. Use this topical ointment at the recommendation of your doctor to prevent infection on fragile skin.  

How To Play Basketball With Blisters 

If you’re still asking yourself, do basketball shoes cause blisters and how to deal with them, just ask your team. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for them, which might mean playing an important game with a blister. 

How To Play Basketball With Blisters 

Protecting your blister is your first concern, as you don’t want it to pop while you play. Add some bandage or an extra padding layer around your blister area. This will hopefully take some pressure off it and allow you to play pain-free. 

I also recommend keeping your feet as dry as possible. Change your socks at halftime to ensure this happens, so you can give it your all out there. If there’s anything worse than a blister, it’s losing with a blister.  


Is It Normal For New Basketball Shoes To Cause Blisters?

Yes, it is normal for new basketball shoes to cause blisters. This is because your shoes aren’t used to the unique shape of your foot, and it causes rubbing. Since you want your basketball shoes to be snug, they are more susceptible to producing blisters. Try wearing your shoes around the house for a few days before your first game. 

Should I Pop My Blister?

No, do not pop your blister as this could cause infection. At the very least, it will slow the healing process and leave a mark for a long time. If your blister does pop, then be sure to drain it and then bandage it to prevent infection of bacteria. 

You want to do everything you can to let it heal naturally, protect your blister until it has fully repaired, so you can get back out there comfortably.  

What Are The Best Basketball Shoes To Prevent Blisters?

The best basketball shoes to prevent blisters are the Adidas Men’s Marquee Boost. They provide optimal support, which is essential to reducing friction. The material used in the upper is durable but flexible, so it conforms to your unique foot shape quickly. This basketball shoe has a very short break-in time. 

Can I Still Play Basketball With Blisters?

Yes, you can still play basketball with blisters. It will be uncomfortable and may even hurt at times, but if your team needs you, then you can definitely lace ‘em up if you have to. Be sure to protect your blister from popping, so you don’t slow the healing process. Use a bandage or extra sock to reduce friction on your infected area and also keep it as dry as possible. 


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