How Many Basketball Shoes Do You Need [An Expert Answer]

Basketball is a sport that doesn’t require much equipment. Once you have a ball and a hoop, the only thing left to get is a great pair of basketball shoes. 

But how many basketball shoes do you need? Your frequency of play, where you play, and how hard you play will all determine how many pairs of basketball shoes you need. 

As a shoe tester, I know the value of having shoes that will maximize your performance. You always want to play your best, and let’s face it, you also want to look good out there. Having an assortment of shoes will help you play better, look better, and prevent injury.

Read on!   


How Many Basketball Shoes Do You Need, Anyway?

You need two pairs of shoes to get the most out of them and play your best no matter where you are. One pair should strictly be for indoors, as you don’t want to wear down the intricately designed traction pattern of indoor shoes. Use your second pair of basketball sneakers for outdoor games and when you’re practicing on your driveway. 

When Should You Buy A New Pair Of Basketball Shoes?

There are a few instances when you need to buy a new pair of basketball kicks. This needs to be done to ensure you’re playing your best and also to prevent injury. 

new basketball shoes

Worn Out

If your traction is dulled or your upper mesh frays, it’s time for a new pair. Traction is the number one concern when you’re on any court. You must be able to trust that your shoes will stop you on hard cuts and when you’re running at full speed. 

New Court

If your weekly game has switched from indoors to outdoors, then you want a pair of shoes that will be able to handle the shift. Different shoes perform differently on each surface, and you want to optimize your footwear when you can. 

For many who live in Northern regions, making the switch from indoors to outdoors is an annual event. If that’s you, then be sure you’re prepared for the change in season. 

On Sale

Not all basketball shoes are cheap, and it can be tough to find a pair that you really love, and that fits your budget. If you see a pair you like, and they’re on sale, scoop them up immediately.

You never know when you might get that price again, so take advantage when you see it. Many sellers on Amazon will adjust prices as new models come out.

Limited Editions

Similar to shoes that go on sale, limited edition shoes are also rare finds, and you should cop them immediately. Although this can be a marketing scheme to sell more shoes, it often works, especially if the shoes are sick.

Limited edition shoes also have the outside chance of actually appreciating in value over time so that you can justify this purchase as an investment instead of an expense.

Related resource: “Which LA Laker Wore Fortnite Inspired Sneakers?”

How Many Basketball Shoes Should You Have?

If you play any amount of basketball, you need at least one pair of basketball shoes. That’s what they’re designed for, and just like any other sport with specific footwear, basketball is no different when you’re always trying to perform your best. 

kyrie basketball shoes

Due to the nature of the game, wearing proper kicks also helps you prevent injury. Ankle injuries run rampant in the game and can sideline you for weeks or even months.

NBA players have lost their careers over a nasty ankle injury, and it cost them millions. While not quite as dramatic for you, a bad injury could cost you a whole season. 

You Need Basketball Shoes For Different Courts

NFL players use different shoes for grass and artificial turf, and tennis players use different footwear for hard vs. clay vs. grass, so it makes perfect sense for you to have different basketball shoes for different courts. 

basketball court


Great hardwood shoes will be light and have a tight traction pattern on the outsole. The most popular and helpful pattern is herringbone. You will see this used throughout the best shoes for hardwood. This will maximize your traction and make cleaning easy if you pick up dust from lesser maintained courts. 


Commonly found in Southern regions and more affluent neighborhoods, an acrylic court resembles that of a tennis court. It’s usually outdoors and provides an excellent alternative to booking time to play at a busy indoor hardwood court. 

Optimal basketball shoes for this surface will be ones with a firm cushion system. The court tends to be more forgiving, so you don’t need a lot of impact protection.  


As the most popular court to play on, it’s essential to have a good outdoor pair of shoes. Traction is the top priority here, and you should look for something with deep treads that are thick.

This will prevent the inevitable wear and tear that they’ll incur. Try to keep these shoes on outdoor courts only, as they will be less effective on the hardwood. 

How To Tell When You Need A New Pair Of Basketball Sneakers

Anyone reading this who doesn’t have a pair of basketball shoes definitely needs them, for sure. 

But if you already have a pair or two, it can be hard to admit when you need to replace them. They become a part of you, and the sentimental value can cloud your better judgment when replacement time comes to call. 

Use these clues to determine if you need to buy new basketball shoes.  

Traction Worn Down

In basketball, traction is everything. You can’t play your best if you’re slipping and sliding all over the place. Poor traction also invites injuries that can bench you for up to an entire season. 

traction on converse shoes

Prevent this from happening by always having a pair of basketball shoes with sharp treads. 

Similar to your car’s tires, you want plenty of height on the nubs of your shoes. Extended use will wear these down, even on hardwood courts. Monitor the high-wear areas and don’t wait for an accident to get new basketball shoes. 

Flat Or Deflated Cushioning

So much technology goes into developing and implementing advanced cushioning systems. These are designed to keep you mobile and comfortable at the same time. 

Throughout a season, this cushion bed can lose its integrity, making it seem like you’re playing barefoot. You may notice this if you start to get aching feet after each game. Keep a spring in your step by having shoes that do what they should. 

Damage To The Lateral Support

Playing intense games will put stress on your shoes. The lightweight mesh that is commonly used tends to wear down and start to fray or even rip.

This will compromise the lateral support you originally had and make you more susceptible to ankle sprains. The minute you notice a breakdown in your lateral support, it’s time to get a new pair of basketball shoes. 

How Many Shoes Do NBA Players Have?

As you can imagine, NBA players have hundreds of shoes. They routinely change them out every 5-7 games to ensure they always get the highest performance possible.

nba players paly basketball

It seems a bit excessive to me; I mean, how many basketball shoes do you need, for real? In any given season, a player may go through 50 pairs! That’s a lot of shoes for someone who plays in the league for 15+ years. 


How Many Shoes Do Basketball Players Go Through?

Basketball players go through one pair a year on average. This is for a recreational player who plays once a week on outdoor courts. If you play indoors and keep your shoes only indoors, they may last a bit longer. Having a dedicated pair for indoors and outdoors is recommended. 

Do You Need Specific Shoes For Basketball? 

Yes, you need specific shoes for basketball because you play on specific surfaces and need optimal traction. To play your best, you need to be fast and able to change direction quickly. Having basketball-specific shoes will give you the edge you need to perform your best and also avoid injury, given that you tie your basketball shoes the right way.

How Long Should A Pair Of Basketball Shoes Last?

A pair of basketball shoes should last for a whole basketball season. If you play once a week on hardwood, then your shoes will still be in good shape for the playoffs.

If you play more frequently and practice a lot outdoors, then your shoes won’t last as long. Plan on getting a new pair halfway through the season, so you have time to get used to them before your playoff run.  

Do Basketball Players Wear New Shoes Every Game?

No, basketball players do not wear new shoes every game. It may seem like that since they always look brand new, but most players will exchange their shoes for new ones every 5-7 games. This allows them time to get comfortable with them, reap the benefits, then get new ones before too much wear and tear occurs. 


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