How to Make Basketball Shoes More Grippy? [8 Proven Tips]

It’s that time of year again.

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper, and basketball season is in full swing.

As you take the court for your first game of the season, you notice something’s not quite right.

Your shoes aren’t as grippy as they used to be. You used to be able to make sharp cuts with ease, but now you’re slipping and sliding like you’re on ice. What’s going on?

So, do you want to know how to make your basketball shoes more grippy?

Here are a few easy methods to make basketball shoes more grippy (and less slippery):

  • Clean the sole
  • Wipe your shoes
  • Apply grip-enhancers
  • Sandpaper
  • Clean the court
  • Use traction mats (sticky mats)
  • Apply moisture (water or saliva)
  • Replace your basketball shoes at the right time


How To Make Basketball Shoes More Grippy And Less Slippery?

#1 Clean The Sole

Unfortunately, over time, the grooves in your sole can become filled with dust and dirt, making them less grippy.

The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to clean your sole and restore its traction.

Boy cleaning the sole of shoe

First, start by wiping down the sole of your shoes with a damp towel. This will help remove any built-up dirt and grime.

Then, take a dry cloth and rub it vigorously back and forth over each sole. This will help to loosen any stuck-on dirt and help restore the grooves in your shoes.

Once you’ve removed the surface dirt, you’ll need to clean the grooves themselves. To do this, you can use a small brush or toothpick to remove any build-up.

Once the grooves are clear, your shoes should be much grippier!

This method is very effective at improving traction, but can only be done before or after gameplay. Finally, no more slipping!

As you know, traction is a vital component of basketball because it enables you to perform all of the athletic movements in basketball: sprinting, stopping, shuffling, jumping, and changing speed/direction.

Now, you’ll be stopping on a dime to a high-pitched squeak in no time. This method works for pretty much every shoe, even those not made for basketball.

Related resource: Top B-ball Shoes Below $150.

#2 Wipe with your hands during gameplay

Another effective way to maintain traction is by wiping your basketball shoe with your hand during the game.

Do this periodically to remove built-up dirt and sweat from the surface of the shoes. Additionally, wiping regularly will help spread out any oils that accumulate on each sole, ensuring that they stay as grippy as possible throughout the game.

There are, however, some drawbacks to using this technique. The most obvious is that it requires you to take a few minutes away from the game to wipe down your shoes.

Additionally, some basketball players find that having their hands directly in contact with the surface of their shoes can lead to sweaty or bacteria-ridden hands.

Ultimately, whether or not you choose to use this shoe cleaning method will depend on your personal preferences and grip needs on the court.

But for those who are interested in maintaining reliable grip and traction at all times, wiping your basketball shoes may be just what you need during the heat of battle. In fact, badminton players and netball players also do that to maintain proper grip.

Here’s a video that goes into 5 methods to improve grip on the basketball court:

#3 Apply Grip Enhancing Gel/Spray

If you want to know how to make basketball shoes more grippy, you should invest in a grip-enhancing gel or spray. These products restore the factory-level grip and traction that your shoes had when they were brand new.

According to the Nike research laboratory, the outsole tread pattern is what makes or breaks a basketball player’s performance. Grip-enhancers go above and beyond simply cleaning your shoes and restoring the factory grip.

The grip-enhancing spray is made from a chemical compound that works by increasing the surface area of your shoes and making them more adhesive.

To apply it, simply spray a thin layer over the surface of your shoes, focusing especially on areas where there is heavy wear and tear, such as the toes and sides. For best results, allow the grip enhancer to fully dry before using your shoes.

Another option for improving the grip on your basketball shoes is to use a grip-enhancing gel instead of spray. This gel is typically made from rubber particles suspended in water, which allows it to adhere easily to your shoes without leaving a sticky residue behind.

Man spraying deodorant over pair of shoes

It works in much the same way as the spray – by increasing friction between your feet and the ground, allowing you to maintain better traction during play.

To apply it, simply rub a small amount of gel over your shoe’s surface until it is evenly distributed. And that’s all there is to giving your shoes a boost of grip-power! You can use this technique on shoes for casual wear too.

#4 Use Sandpaper

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to slipping feet, you may want to consider using sandpaper on each sole.


This will roughen up the surface of your shoes and provide extra grip each time you step on the court. It’s important to note that you should only use sandpaper on the rubber outsoles – never on the leather or fabric upper, as this can damage your shoes.

To use sandpaper, start by cutting a small piece that will fit comfortably in your hand. Then, rub the sandpaper back and forth over the surface of your shoe until you’ve achieved your desired level of grip.

It’s important to always use light pressure when sanding – you shouldn’t be rubbing hard or trying to remove large chunks of material from your shoe. Instead, focus on creating a fine, slightly uneven texture that will help maximize traction on the court. Now, some speculate that wearing double socks somehow improves traction, but I find that to be wrong.

#5 Clean The Court

Dust is a basketball player’s biggest enemy. Just as you should keep your shoes dust-free, it’s equally important to make sure the basketball courts (indoor or outdoor) you’re playing on are clean.

When it comes to cleaning a hardwood basketball court, a floor mop with a clean super corp microfiber dusting head will do the trick.

Floor mops are designed to trap and remove dirt, dust, and hair from hardwood floors. For best results, dust the court on a weekly basis.

Start in the corner of the floor and go back and forth until all area is covered. In addition to removing dust, this will also help provide better grip and traction for basketball shoes. If you use your basketball sneakers to train in the gym, then you should do the same with the gym floor.

As a related resource, don’t miss my guide on the top shoes for high arches.

#6 Use a Traction Mat

A traction mat is a must-have item for any basketball player looking to get an edge on the court. Especially if he or she is a supinator. This sticky mat helps to grab dirt and debris, providing a stronger grip for your shoes. The mat consists of disposable adhesive sheets.

traction mat
Image via

To use, simply keep the top sheet in place until all the adhesive is covered with dust and dirt. Then remove the top sheet to expose a new sheet.

This will help to make your basketball shoes more grippy, giving you better traction and control when playing. Of course, tying them tightly enough would help too.

#7 Use Moisture

One option to make your shoes less slippery is to wipe down each shoe sole with a damp rag. This will help to wick away moisture from the surface of your shoes, giving them good grip on the floor and reducing slippage.

washing of a shoe

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can also use saliva or rinse your hand in a drinking fountain and then use that moisture to improve traction on your shoes.

Simply cup your hand and run it along the bottom of your shoe, being sure to work into all of the crevices and grooves for maximum effect.

With either of these methods, you will notice an instant improvement in traction in your next game.

So if you’re looking for that extra shoe grip, using moisture (water or saliva) to make basketball shoes sticky is a great option!

#8 Know The Right Time To Replace Your Basketball Shoes

Basketball shoes are a big investment, so it’s important to make them last. Fortunately, it’s easy to tell when it’s time for a new pair.

Over time, the sole of your basketball shoes will begin to wear down. This is especially true if you play on concrete or asphalt surfaces, which can be quite abrasive.

There are a few different ways to tell if your rubber soles are worn out and in need of replacement. First, take a look at the bottom of the shoes.

nike hyperdunk 2016 low

If you see any bare spots or bald patches, that’s a good indicator that it’s time for a new pair of basketball shoes.

Second, try doing the “penny test.” Place a penny upside down in the grooves of the rubber sole. If you can see Abe Lincoln’s entire head, that means the sole is too thin and needs to be replaced.

Finally, pay attention to how your shoes feel when you’re playing basketball. If they feel slippery or unstable, that’s a sign that the soles are no longer providing adequate traction.

Remember, the best way to prolong the life of your shoes is to rotate them regularly so that one pair isn’t getting too much wear and tear. Ideally, you should have a pair for outdoor and indoor use.

But even with proper care, eventually, the rubber soles will start to show signs of wear and tear. And for players with plantar fasciitis, bad knees or inflamed splints, it’s crucial to make the change as soon as possible.


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