What To Wear When Playing Basketball? (An Ultimate Guide)

There’s nothing more important to a basketball player than having the right clothes to wear when playing. It can make all the difference in the world. 

Take my game, for example. When I played, I always wore baggy clothes, and it didn’t work well. I was always called for traveling or offensive fouls because my clothes were too bulky and interfered with my movement. 

One day, I decided to switch things up to the correct clothes. And you know what? My game improved dramatically, and people started calling me “The Magician” because of how effortlessly I scored buckets.

So you might be wondering: what to wear when playing basketball?

The answer is pretty simple! To play basketball, you should wear:

  • Clothes that don’t interfere with your movement.
  • Sleeveless Jersey
  • Shorts
  • Protective footwear
  • Compression gear
  • Ankle/Knee support


What To Wear When Playing Basketball?

Since there are many movements in basketball, it is essential to wear clothes that will not restrict your activities.

Wearing loose-fitting clothes will give you a competitive edge on the court and help you play your best game.

two basketball players

The tightness of your clothing can affect your mobility, which will make you less agile and more clumsy on the court, hence, why you should avoid wearing restrictive gear.

Loose-fitting clothes allow for a full range of motion and give you the freedom to be active without restrictions. They also help absorb sweat so that it doesn’t affect your grip on the ball.

For example, here are some in-game scenarios which show how loose-fitting clothes can improve your performance.

  1. The key to shooting is extending your arm and releasing the ball at the top of the jump.
  2. The same goes for a layup, where you’ll want to jump up high before quickly outstretching your body towards the basket.

What To Wear When Playing in the Cold

When playing basketball in cold weather, it is essential to dress in layers. The first layer should be a wicking material, such as polyester or wool, to keep sweat away from the skin.

The second layer should be a warm fabric, such as a fleece sweatsuit or down, to keep the body warm.

If you don’t have access to layers, you can wear a warmup suit or a sweatshirt and sweatpants.

Finally, wearing warm socks (even double socks) or a beanie hat can help. By dressing in layers, basketball players can stay warm and comfortable while playing in the cold.

Jerseys And T-shirts (Must-Haves To Play Basketball)


When you’re playing basketball, the most crucial piece of clothing you can wear is a jersey. Jerseys are made of polyester, nylon, or cotton fabric, so they can absorb sweat and keep you cool. 

In addition, the number on the back of the jersey helps audience members, players, and referees identify the player. 

Basketball player

Most jerseys also have a team logo or name on the front. Basketball jerseys feature a sleeveless design, which doesn’t hinder shooting or dribbling. In addition, the V-neck allows you to move your head without obstruction.

Another vital function of sleeveless jerseys is that they help distinguish one team from another. If you’re playing in an outdoor pickup game, it’s a lot harder to tell who’s on which team.

But if everyone is wearing the same color jersey, it’s easier to keep track of the players.

Jerseys are also crucial for fans. When you go to a basketball game, you want to show your support for your team. What better way to do that than to wear the team’s jersey?

Players often wear Jerseys even while working out during the season.

What type of basketball jerseys are there?

There are three basketball jerseys: replica, swingman, and authentic.

Replica Jersey

A replica jersey is a copy of the authentic jersey, but it’s made from a less expensive material, and the quality is not as good.

Replica jerseys are mostly great for people who want to look like their favorite basketball player but don’t want to spend much money. 

However, in terms of composition, replica jerseys are usually made from polyester or nylon, and they are not as durable as authentic jerseys.

The material used to make replica jerseys is not as thick as the material used for authentic jerseys, so the logos and letters on replica jerseys may not be as crisp.

Swingman Jersey

A swingman jersey is a type of basketball jersey which uses a lighter and more breathable material than traditional jerseys. 

They are also less expensive to produce, making them a popular choice for teams at all levels of competition.

Swingman jerseys also offer a maximum range of motion, and they feature a comfortable ribbed neckline that helps keep the jersey in place during play.

At this time, all 30 NBA teams offer swingman jerseys. You can find a wide variety of different styles and designs to choose from, so you’re sure to find a jersey of your favorite basketball player.

If you want to learn more about the difference between swingman and authentic jerseys, watch this video:

Authentic Jersey

An authentic basketball Jersey is the “Ferrari” of basketball jerseys. The letters and numbers on an authentic jersey are also sewn on rather than being screen-printed.

Because they are made from such high-quality materials, they often come with a higher price tag than other jerseys.


When playing basketball, it is essential to wear a shirt that will allow you to move freely. A tight shirt can restrict your movement and make it difficult to play the game (unless it’s a compression t-shirt).

It would be best if you chose lightweight and breathable shirts, such as cotton or compression. Not only does cotton help you stay cool, but it can also protect you from the sun’s rays.

Excess sweat can make you feel uncomfortable and cause your shirt to become heavy and wet.

The Gatorade Sports Science Institute concluded that trapped sweat increased basketball players’ overall sweat loss during exercise.

Cotton T-shirts can wick away sweat, which means that the sweat will draw away from your skin, and the shirt will remain lightweight and dry.


Basketball shorts are made of a light and airy material that allows the player to move around without feeling constricted.

Technical sketch black sport shorts pants design template.

Currently, shorts are knee-length, which allows for better movement and less restriction. Some players wear longer shorts or short shorts, but this is not the norm anymore.

Finally, some basketball shorts have a built-in supporter to help keep the player’s “equipment” in place. This is especially important when playing at a high level and making quick movements.

Compression (For Recovery And Protection)

Compression garments improve performance in many sports, including basketball. Compression is made of tight fabric that squeezes the body. This increases blood flow and reduces muscle vibration.

The structure of compression garments helps basketball players and other athletes prevent fatigue, improve circulation, and reduce the risk of injury.

Compression also helps to keep the muscles warm, which can improve performance. For these reasons, basketball players often wear compression garments during games and practices.

Examples of compression garments include tights, shirts, and socks. Compression garments are made of a variety of materials, including cotton, nylon, and spandex.

Compressions sleeves are a type of compression garment worn on the arm.

While the traditional use is protection for the muscles and joints from injury, the main functionality of compression sleeves is to protect the skin from contact with the hardwood floor.

This is especially important for basketball players who frequently fall to the ground.

They also function as a fashion statement. Players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant often wear brightly colored sleeves on the court. Allen “The Answer” Iverson was the pioneer of this trend.


Socks are another critical part of a basketball player’s equipment and help players perform at their best.

Socks provide cushioning for the feet, which helps reduce the amount of shock that is absorbed when playing. They also help to keep the feet dry and comfortable. 

Legs of a Basketball player with shoes and Socks

They also protect players’ feet from blisters and injuries.

Basketball players often wear two pairs of socks – a thin pair under their basketball shoes and a thicker pair over the top.

Usually, socks are made of a mix of cotton and synthetic materials. This combination helps keep the feet cool and dry and helps protect them from moisture and bacteria.

Socks also come in various colors and designs, so players can choose the ones they like best.

Ankle Support (Braces and Sleeves)

Ankle support braces play an essential role in the game of basketball. Basketball is a physical game, and the most common injuries are to the ankle.

Your ankles carry your weight for hours at a time which places an enormous amount of stress on the joint. 

You might think that all you need to do is wear some good, supportive shoes with arch support–but even then, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you’ll avoid an ankle injury.

That’s why ankle support braces are so important – they help stabilize the ankle, which in turn helps prevent injuries. Ankle support braces are made from a lightweight material that compresses the ankle. 

Without ankle support, the ankle is more likely to roll or twist, leading to a serious ankle injury.

Knee Support For Basketball Players

Knee support comes in two main forms: protective braces and sleeves.

Basketball players shaking hand

Protective braces are made of hard plastic and are worn around the knee (these offer the most support but sacrifice flexibility). 

On the other hand, sleeves provide less support than braces but are better for preventing injuries than no support at all.

Knee support is essential for basketball players because they face many risks. In some cases, basketball players can receive severe season-ending injuries such as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. 

Knee support helps prevent these injuries and can also help speed up the healing process if an injury occurs. Many players choose to wear rubber bands too.

Footwear (Basketball Shoes)

Basketball shoes provide traction, stability, and cushioning for the foot. Basketball shoes give you power on the court!

They aren’t just any ordinary shoes-these are basketball shoes. They’re designed for players to have better grip and movement on the court.

adidas basketball shoe

Choosing the right basketball shoes is very important. If you don’t have the right shoes, you could be at risk for ankle and foot injuries. Make sure to pick a pair of shoes that fit well and offer good support.

When choosing a basketball shoe, it is crucial to consider the height of the shoe’s ankle collar. 

It’s also crucial to make your choice based on the width of your feet. For example, most Jordans are designed for wide feet. In addition, check out the most appropriate shoes for basketball referees.

What’s the difference between high top, mid-top, and low top?

Basketball shoes are also designed to help players grip the floor and improve their traction. This is important because it allows them to make quick, agile movements without slipping or losing their balance in a game.

Finally, basketball shoes are made from materials that help absorb shock. This is important because it helps protect the player’s feet and ankles from injuries caused by jumping and landing.

Check out some affordable basketball shoes under $50 and below $150.

What accessories do you wear in basketball to protect against sweat?

One of the most prominent challenges players face is dealing with sweat. Not only does sweat make it challenging to grip the ball and stay in control, but it can also lead to skin irritation and other health problems.

Angled shot of man with basketball and kit bag

To combat this, basketball players often wear accessories that protect them from sweat. These accessories include headbands (these are related to hair loss), wristbands, and arm sleeves.

Headbands are often made of absorbent materials, such as terry cloth, which help to soak up sweat. They are worn around the head to protect the forehead and hair from becoming wet.

Wristbands are made of similar materials and are worn around the wrist to absorb sweat. Arm sleeves are made of fabric that wicks sweat away from the skin. 

All of these accessories help to keep the player’s hands and arms from getting slippery, which can lead to a loss of control over the ball. Curiously, some players wear sports goggles to prevent the sweat from entering in their eyes.

What do girls wear playing basketball?

For girls, this typically includes a jersey, shorts, sports bra, and sneakers. But why do they need these specific items?

Sketch of girl basketball player

Jersey is important because it identifies the player as a member of the team. It also helps keep players cool and dry during games. Underneath the jersey women typically wear a sports bra an additional undershirt. 

A good sports bra is important for two reasons: First, it helps keep players comfortable and supported during games. Second, it can prevent pain and discomfort during and after playing.

Shorts are worn for comfort and to allow for freedom of movement.

The sneakers are also incredibly important. They provide cushioning and support for the feet, which is crucial when playing basketball.

How to look good when playing basketball?

When playing basketball, it’s important to look good. This means wearing the right clothes and using the right equipment (but also looking cool).

Basketball player with his bag

Emulate the pros

Professional basketball players have developed their own style of playing the game. Aspiring basketball players can learn from these players and emulate their style. This will help them look good when playing basketball.

The coolest-looking professional NBA players are those who have a unique style. They often dress in a way that stands out from the other players.

Some players wear clothes that are very flashy, while others wear more understated styles. 

For example, Allen Iverson often wore clothes that were very flashy and had a lot of bling. Dwyane Wade often wears more subdued clothing, with simple patterns and muted colors.

No matter what style you choose to emulate, make sure that the clothes fit well. And use a mouthguard for protection and style.

Leverage brands

Make sure to wear high-quality clothes from a reputable brand, as this will help you look good when playing basketball. The same matters when wearing basketball headphones, for example.

Here are three of the top basketball brands to wear when trying to look your best on the court: Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. You can find great deals on these and other cool brands courtesy of Mainline Menswear here.

All of these brands have a wide selection of clothes to choose from, so you can find something that fits your style.

They also make clothes for a variety of different weather conditions, so you can stay comfortable no matter what the conditions are.


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