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How do you break in basketball shoes without damaging them?
This is a question that every aspiring basketball player faces, and it can be a tricky one to answer.
Breaking in new basketball shoes is a hallowed ritual for basketball players – softening them up, making them supple and ready to take on the rigors of competition.
If you’re like us – you eat, breathe, and sleep all things basketball – you probably want to know:
How to break in basketball shoes? There are 6 methods we recommend:
- Use your hand to pre-stretch up the toebox and midfoot
- Casual wear around the house
- Performing basketball drills
- Wear thick socks and add heat (blow dry)
- Using a shoe stretcher
- Selecting the correct size and shoe beforehand
Follow these methods, and your kicks will be soft as butter.
Read on for the juicy details!
How To Break In Basketball Shoes Fast: 6 Methods
Breaking in new kicks doesn’t have to be a painful or time-consuming process. Simply using these basic methods:
#1 The Finger Method
- Begin by flexing the toe box of your shoes to loosen up the materials. You can do this by squeezing the front part of your shoe between your thumb and forefinger or using your thumb or finger to gently push in on the toe box in various directions.
- Next, move to the midfoot of your shoes and apply pressure to the areas where they flex while walking. Gently push inward with your thumbs and fingers to help mold the midsoles over time, breaking in the material in key spots where you will most likely be placing pressure when playing.
- Finally, pay extra attention to any areas that might need help with tightness or friction caused by rubbing against skin or socks. This could be the ankle support area or around the tongue or laces, depending on the design of your shoes.
#2 Purchasing the Correct Size Beforehand
When buying a pair of basketball shoes, you must get the right size. A brand-new pair of shoes that are too large or too tight can significantly affect your performance on the court.
Ideally, a basketball shoe should fit snugly but not be uncomfortable. You should never attempt to “break in” a new pair of basketball shoes by using them right away.
Immediate high-intensity play can do more harm than good, leading to blisters on your feet or other injuries if the shoes are not properly fitted for your foot.
As a related read, check out the best basketball shoes for dusty courts this year.
#3 Wear Thick Socks And Add Heat (Blow Dry)
Any new shoe, especially a new basketball sneaker, will feel stiff and unyielding. One way to help break them in is to wear a pair of thick socks.
The socks will help to soften the material and make it more pliable. As you walk around in the shoes, the socks will help to mold the shoes to your feet, giving you a more comfortable fit.
Next, as you’re wearing your sneakers, you will want to blow dry your kicks on high heat for 20-30 seconds. This will help soften up the material, so they conform to your feet.
I’ve used this method to break-in even shoes not designed for basketball.
Here’s a video that explains the process:
#4 Pre-use Them at Home
To break in your new basketball shoes, you simply need to spend some time wearing them around the house or outside in your yard.
This can be done casually with any light activity, including playing sports, running around, or lounging on the couch.
As you go about your day, the material of your shoes naturally stretches and loosens up, making them more comfortable to wear over time.
It’s important to take this process slowly, though – if you try to force your shoes to stretch too much too quickly, they may get damaged or worn out faster than they otherwise would have.
So next time you get yourself a pair of fresh basketball kicks, remember that breaking them in takes time and patience – but with a little effort and TLC from you, those shoes will surely be ready for action in no time!
This method is recommended if you suffer from plantar fasciitis too. You can find some shoes related to this condition here.
#5 Performing Basketball Drills
To break in your new basketball sneakers, the first step is to start with light jogging and stretching. This will help loosen up your shoes and prepare your body for more strenuous activity.
Once you feel limber, you can begin doing basketball drills that simulate in-game movements. For example, try running up and down the court a few times while dribbling or doing crossover drills.
The key here is to focus on movements you are likely to perform during a game, such as quick lateral shuffles and pivots.
Additionally, it will help prepare your body for the rigors of an actual game.
Another great way to break in new basketball shoes is to perform some short sprints, followed by short rests between each sprint. Start by sprinting for 10-15 seconds at about 75% of your maximum speed, then take a brief rest before repeating.
You can even wear your basketball sneakers in the gym and train in them.
#6 Choosing Comfort Over Style
When choosing basketball shoes, the most important factor is comfort and functionality. Especially if you’re a big man or woman.
While brand-name shoes or stylish, good-looking shoes may seem like a tempting choice, these attributes alone are not enough to ensure that you perform at your best on the court, no matter if it’s a basketball court or a netball court.
How Do You Select A New Pair Of Basketball Shoes?
The first step in choosing the right shoe is to decide whether you want a low-top or high-top shoe. Low-top shoes are generally lighter and more comfortable, but they offer less support and stability.
On the other hand, high-top basketball shoes provide better ankle support but can be bulkier and less comfortable.
Studies confirm that guards and small forwards perform better in low-top basketball shoes, allowing them to move quickly and change direction easily.
On the other hand, big men should choose high-top shoes for extra support and stability. That especially matters for supinators.
How To Break In Basketball Sneakers Overnight: Use a Shoe Stretcher
One effective way to break in kicks is by using a shoe stretcher. Since it can take a long time to break in new basketball shoes naturally, a shoe stretcher can be a great alternative that helps speed up the process.
A shoe stretcher consists of two opposite-angled partitions with a threaded screw or rod that can be turned to open or close the device.
By fitting your shoe into the stretcher and turning the screw, you can gently stretch and expand your kicks from the heel area to the toe box.
Depending on if you have enough time, you can leave the stretcher in overnight or for several hours at a time. Your fresh kicks should be broken in and ready for playing basketball within a few days.
As a suggested read, check out “How To Make Basketball Shoes More Grippy“.
How Long Does It Take To Break in New Basketball Shoes?
It takes approximately three weeks to break in a new pair of basketball shoes.
The break-in process is important because it allows the kicks to mold to the shape of your feet, which provides better support and helps prevent injuries.
You should only wear your new shoes during the first week for short periods. This will help to avoid blisters and other problems.
You can start to wear them for longer periods in the second week, but you should still avoid extended use.
Your sneaks should be broken in and ready for gameplay by the third week. Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline – if your kicks are still not comfortable after three weeks, give them a little more time.
Related resource: “How Many Pairs Of Basketball Kicks Do You Need?”
Do Basketball Shoes Hurt at First?
No, they shouldn’t hurt. Any new pair of shoes will feel a little strange at first. This is especially true for new shoes. Even if you feel foot pain at first, they may feel stiff or slightly uncomfortable.
However, this is usually just a result of the sneakers being new. The break-in process will help to alleviate any discomfort and ensure that the kicks fit properly.
Basketball players should expect to undergo a brief adjustment period when they first start wearing new shoes. After a few games, the shoes should feel like an extension of their feet.
Do Basketball Shoes Loosen Up (Stretch Out?)
Basketball shoes will inevitably stretch out over time; however, the amount they do so will depend on:
- Frequency of use
New basketball shoes often feel constricting and tight, so many players will choose to stretch them out to achieve more comfort and better support while playing.
Why Do My Feet Hurt in Basketball Shoes?
For one, basketball shoes tend to be fairly stiff and inflexible, putting excessive pressure on certain areas of your feet. Additionally, these types of shoes often feature high and rigid heels, which can cause discomfort along the backs of your feet.
In addition, basketball sneakers often have large toe boxes, leading to cramped toes or sore arches.
Another possible factor is that the fast-paced nature of basketball means that you will be required to jump and land more frequently than you would in other sports.
As a result, increased strain on your legs and feet may increase your risk of experiencing discomfort.
Finally, it may simply be that you need to break in your new basketball shoes or adjust the fit to better suit your needs.