make basketball shoes grippy

How Can I Make My Basketball Shoes Grippy Again?

Traction is a critical factor in basketball, as it directly impacts a player’s ability to make quick cuts, change directions, and maintain balance on the court. Over time, the grip on basketball shoes can diminish due to wear and tear. In this informative article, we’ll explore various methods to make your basketball shoes more grippy, helping you elevate your performance and maintain peak agility during intense games.

Today I’m going to show you how to make basketball shoes grippy again.

So if you have a match around the corner, or your shoes are just less grippy and you can’t afford to get a new pair of sneakers at the moment, you’ll love the tips shared in this guide.

To be clear:

None of the tips I’ve shared below is better than the other is.

So if you prefer to clean the outsoles, you find using a sandpaper easier, or you prefer to work with a sticky get, what really matters is ending up with a pair of sports shoes with better traction. 

How to Make Basketball Shoes Grippy: 9 Ways to Restore Traction on the Sneakers

Below are 9 ways to make your basketball shoes grippy and ready for an upcoming training or championship match.

1. Clean the Soles of the Shoes

Dirt and dust stuck on the outsole can make your basketball shoes slide like a car on a wet road.


Because the accumulation of foreign particles prevents the optimal sole to floor contact, leading to shoes being slippery and hard to use during training or an actual game.

The solution is simple.

You have to remove all the dirt and debris stick on the outsole to restore the grip of the shoes ready for the next big game.

  • Use a hard bristle brush to remove debris on the bottom of the shoes. You can also use toothpicks if you don’t have the brush.
  • Dip a towel in a mixture of clean water and a liquid detergent and wipe the outsole of the shoes.
  • Then, use a toothbrush or a soft brush to scrub the remaining dirt off the outsole.
  • If you’ve cleaned only the outsole of the basketball shoes, you can use a towel to dry the pair. If you’ve deep cleaned the sneakers, air-dry them. 

You could clean the shoes in a washing machine, but you’re more than likely to compromise the quality of the fabric.

So hand washing is the only way to go. 

2. Use a Sticky Mat

Often placed at the corners of a court, sticky mats can easily pull out dirt from the soles of your basketball shoes.

And they’re very easy to use.

Simply get off the court, step on the mat, and that’s it. The process should help to restore the grip of your basketball shoes.

3. Clean the Court Thoroughly

Assuming your basketball shoes are clean from the inside out, but you still get the slippery effect as you run and practice or play, there’s a high chance the court needs thorough cleaning.

By cleaning the court, you’ll do away with dirt and dust that would have otherwise stick on your shoes and make them slippery.

And cleaning the court shouldn’t be difficult, as there’s no unique procedure to follow.

Just use the same mop and water that you use to clean your house.

4. Use a Sandpaper to Increase the Grip of Your Basketball Shoes

If you can’t afford expensive traction products, use a sandpaper. You’ll love this technique because it’s very easy to use.

Remove your shoes and rub the heavy grit sandpaper against your sole until they feel rough enough. This should increase the gripping of the shoes and give you more stability as you run in the court.

If your shoes smoothen after a while, just re-use the sandpaper to restore the grip.

A nail file is a good option to use in the place of a sandpaper. It works pretty much the same way and therefore the results should be the same.

5. Use of a Sticky Gel

Sticky gels are great for increasing the gripping power of basketball shoes.

Easy to apply and quite effective, the gel is easy to apply and takes effect almost immediately.

Take off your basketball shoes and apply the gel on the sole. Let the content stick on the sole unit and then wear the shoes for your next practice or match.

Although sticky gels are good at increasing the grip of your basketball shoes, its effect is only temporary.

Even then, a single application should give you a good grip for a full match.

6. Use of Sweat and Saliva

When desperate moments call for desperate measures, even your sweat and saliva can go a long way to give your basketball shoes some grip.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:

Spitting saliva and smearing sweat on the sole of the shoes is unhygienic and disgusting.

And you’re right.

But if your sneakers become slippery in the middle of a game and you can’t make your best moves, what options do you have?

Probably none!

So wipe your hand over your face, collect some sweat, and apply it on the sole of your sneakers. You can also spit some saliva on the sole to make the shoes wet.

And what’s the benefit?

Sweat and saliva will moisten the soles, reduce the thin layer of dust, and add some grip so you can keep playing your game.

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7. Use Hair Spray to Add Traction to Your Basketball Shoes

Hair spray is a quick and temporary solution to improve the grip of your basketball sneakers.

And it’s very easy to use.

Simply clean and spray the soles for about 20 seconds. Then, let the spray settle.

While it’s only a temporary solution, hair spray will go a long way to improve the stickiness of the sneakers.

After applying the hair spray, you won’t have to worry about shoes being slippery maybe until after the first quarter of the game.

That’s because hair spray helps to improve the stickiness of the sole, therefore giving you a little grip that can keep you from slipping.

8. Use Vaseline to Improve Your Shoes’ Traction

Vaseline enhances the grip of the shoes by keeping it moist for a long period.

To use this solution, first clean the sole of your basketball shoes thoroughly and dry them completely.

Then, smear Vaseline coating over the sole. Use a toothbrush to spread the oil well.

9. Replace the Sole for Better Grip in the Court

Sometimes your basketball shoes are less grippy because the sole unit gave up its function.

If you think about it, worn out soles don’t have the kind of grip that your body deserves.

Instead of replacing the whole pair, simply replace the sole and you’ll be good to go.

FAQs About Enhancing Basketball Shoe Grip

Can I use household cleaning products to clean my shoes?

While some household products may work, it’s recommended to use products specifically designed for shoe maintenance to ensure the longevity of your shoes.

How often should I clean my basketball shoes?

Cleaning frequency depends on usage. Regularly inspect your shoes and clean them whenever you notice a decrease in traction.

Will sanding the outsole damage my shoes?

Gentle sanding should not cause significant damage, but avoid excessive pressure to prevent altering the shoe’s structure.

Are traction compounds safe for shoes?

Traction compounds formulated for sports shoes are generally safe to use. However, it’s a good practice to test a small area before applying it to the entire outsole.

Can I use grip-enhancing products on indoor and outdoor shoes?

Yes, these products can be used on both indoor and outdoor basketball shoes to enhance grip.

How long does the improved grip last?

The duration of improved grip depends on factors such as usage, court conditions, and maintenance. Reapply traction compounds as needed.

Final Thoughts

What do you do when your basketball shoes become less grippy? Do you put them aside for a new pair? Or do you have a little secret of your own to improve their grip and traction?

If you had no idea how to make your pair less slippery, the tips we’ve shared in this guide should be handy.

Remember, basketball shoes with good grip will give your leg the support you need for every game. Not to mention protect you from getting injuries.

From gripping the curt to enhancing swift movements as you dribble and dunk, shoes with solid grip and traction lets you get the most out of the four quarter of every game.

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