From sole design and cushioning materials to complicated lacing systems, basketball shoe technologies have come a long way from the low-tech Chuck Taylors popular in the 1920s basketball scene. However, one thing that hasn’t changed in basketball shoes is that players are still asking the age-old question of how to add grip to basketball shoes.
Can You Put More Grip on Basketball Shoes?
Grip, also known as traction, is crucial in good basketball shoes. They’re needed primarily for mobility. It’s what causes friction between the court’s surface and the soles, which, in turn, propels each player’s stride. Usually, the better the traction on basketball shoes, the quicker a player can move. In a game that requires quick changes of direction and sudden stops, the additional grip can translate to a quickness advantage on the court.
But the question has to be asked. Can you put more grip on basketball shoes?
Luckily, basketball players are not only physically fit individuals; we’re pretty resourceful too. Some players were able to figure out how to add grip to basketball shoes beyond its sole’s original traction.
From wiping saliva or vaseline to applying specially formulated concoctions to the bottom of the soles, there are plenty of ways that players swear by that could add grip to basketball shoes. We rounded up some of the most popular ways for you in this article.
How to Add Grip to Basketball Shoes: 5 Ways
Over the years, the quest to improve traction basketball shoes has resulted in various innovations and techniques that players are promoting. In this list, we’ll start from the most basic to the most complicated:
1. Moisten the Soles to Give Your Shoes More Stopping Power
You may start to feel your shoes losing their original traction in the middle of the game as compared to when you initially stepped onto the court. This may be due to the shoes accumulating dust from the basketball court.
Some players try to rub the dust off their shoes by wiping their soles with a damp cloth. The cloth retains some of the dust while the moisture adds a bit more grip to the rubber soles.
However, it may be challenging to get a damp cloth when you’re in the middle of a game. Players caught in such a predicament often find themselves having to use saliva or sweat as the moistening ingredient to their shoes.
So, if you’re wondering why some players lick their hands then rub their shoes in the middle of the game, then this might be the answer – They’re moistening the soles of the shoes so they can move quickly around the basketball court. This can also help increase ball handling as the moisture left in the palm can add a bit more grip to the basketball.
2. Rub Vaseline to Keep Your Soles Moist
At first, you may find that rubbing vaseline on basketball shoes to be counterintuitive for the purpose of adding traction. It is, after all, often used as a lubricant in our day-to-day activities.
However, it has the valuable property of moisture retention. Therefore, applying a thin enough layer of vaseline on your basketball shoes can help you keep the traction for extended periods.
3. Use Sand Paper to Add Traction
Much like the tread on car tires, the rubber soles of basketball shoes are physically designed to maximize traction on the court. However, the soles get so worn that it loses their grooves.
For these occasions, rubbing sandpaper on your soles can give your old shoes some renewed grooves. However, this may be a temporary fix. The grooves’ rough surface can easily smoothen out again with use. This method, therefore, might last you one or two games before you have to do it again.
4. Apply Specially Formulated Gels and Lotions
Enterprising companies saw a demand for products aimed at improving traction on basketball shoes and decided to develop specially crafted products for this purpose. And there have been many iterations of these products.
There are from traction mats that aim to get rid of dust quickly and efficiently, chemical shoe grip sprays that react with rubber soles, to grip lotions for basketball shoes; we have plenty of products to choose from that promises to answer the age-old question of how to give your shoes more grip.
5. Thorough Cleaning
If these methods no longer work for you, then maybe it’s time to get your shoes some TLC and give them a good cleaning session. Accumulated dirt in between the grooves, dust, and other factors may be causing your shoes to slide on the surface of the court.
If this is the case, a thorough brushing may go a long way in adding some much-needed grip back to basketball shoes.
Can You Resole Basketball Shoes?
But, if you really need to get traction back on your shoes as if you just unboxed it, then you may want to resolve them. It’s a drastic measure, but it’s sure much less expensive than buying a new pair.
There are a lot of shoe repair shops and services that specialize in resoling shoes meant for use in sport. Suppose you can find soles with better groove designs; this might make traction even better than its original state. However, it’s important to note that since resoling involves taking the shoes apart and putting them back together, the integrity of your shoes depends mainly on the skills of the craftsman doing the resoling of your shoes.
How to Maintain Basketball Shoes Grip: 3 Tips
As the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” The same is true for your basketball shoes. In this case, to prevent your shoes from becoming too slippery, it’s crucial to be proactive.
Here’s a couple of interesting tips:
1. Keep Your Shoes Clean
One of the main culprits of slippery basketball shoes is dust accumulated on the soles. A build-up of dust reduces the friction between your soles and the court.
While dust can often be easily cleaned off with a damp cloth, there are times when especially fine dust can get so embedded this method can no longer get it off. In this case, a good rub with a stiff brush is the only way to get rid of persistent dust particles.
2. Clean the Surface of the Playing Court
Sometimes, the floor gets so dusty that it makes players slide across the court no matter how clean their shoes are. So, if you’re worried about traction, it may be worth investing some extra time sweeping and mopping the floor before tip-off.
Doing so can prevent injuries and make everyone more effective on the court, making the game more enjoyable for both spectators and players.
3. Don’t Use Your Basketball Shoes for Non-Basketball-Related Activities
There will come a time when your basketball shoes will lose their grooves. When this time comes, it’s probably time to retire them because no amount of vaseline, shoe grip sprays, or lotions can restore their original traction.
However, simply not using your basketball shoes for non-basketball activities can help you prolong your shoes’ lifespan. Basketball-specific shoes, after all, are quite a bit more expensive than regular walking shoes, so maybe saving them for the activity that it was intended for might be the intelligent thing to do.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Add Grip to Basketball Shoes?
Traction is an essential feature for basketball shoes. It does not only help athletes move quicker and faster on the court, but it also helps them slow down quickly to avoid collisions and prevent injuries. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor your shoe’s grip each time you play.
Once you find that the traction isn’t to your liking, there are a couple of ways to add more grip to their basketball shoes. Some players like to moisten the soles, and others like to spray special chemicals and compounds.
Of course, you can also try to prevent your shoes from becoming slippery in the first place by thorough cleaning, preventing overuse, and dusting off the basketball court.