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How to Increase Grip on Basketball Shoes: Tips and Tricks

If you've ever played an indoor game, you know how important it is to have good shoe grip. Whether you're playing basketball, volleyball, badminton, racquetball, or fencing, staying steady on the floor is crucial for sudden stops and sharp cuts. But what do you do when your shoes just aren't providing the grip you need?

New players often ask how to increase the grip or traction on their basketball shoes or other sports shoes. While solutions like wiping the bottom of your shoes with your hands or applying gel or hairspray may work for a short time, they quickly lose their effectiveness. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about how to increase grip or traction on basketball shoes, including the do's and don'ts of keeping your shoes grippy for the long haul.

First, Why Are Your Basketball Shoes Losing Their Grip?

If you have been playing basketball regularly, you might have noticed that your basketball shoes are losing their grip. This can be due to several factors, including constant friction, dirt, and debris, intense movements, and court surfaces. These factors can be grouped into three categories that may cause your basketball shoes to become more slippery over time.

The first category is impactful and shoe-stressing factors that damage the texture of the outer sole. This happens when your shoes receive constant friction on rough court surfaces or during intense player movements. The second category is poor cleaning and lack of maintenance. Dirt, debris, bacteria, moisture, and humidity can affect the grip, leading to a slippery shoe. The third category includes other factors like natural aging or different types of materials used in the outsole of the shoe.

Once you identify the factors that are causing your basketball shoes to lose their grip, you can take appropriate measures to increase their traction. Proper cleaning and maintenance, selecting the right type of shoe for the court surface, and replacing worn-out shoes can help improve your shoe's grip and prevent slips and falls on the court.

How to Increase Grip or Traction on Basketball Shoes?

In the Game: What NOT to do!

When you are playing basketball, there are a few things you should avoid doing to increase the grip or traction of your basketball shoes. You should not wipe your shoes with your hands or use a grip gel/lotion/hair spray/hand sanitizer on your soles. All of these methods are only temporarily effective and do not provide any long-term benefits.

Wiping the sole of your shoes with your hands is a common practice among basketball players to increase grip and traction. However, this practice is not encouraged due to various risks, including skin irritation, dehydration, and an increased risk of slipping and falling. Using a towel instead of your hands is also not wise because it can make rubber soles slippery or leave some areas of the shoes dirty.

Applying a grip gel/lotion on your soles is another popular solution to increase traction on the court. However, this solution is also not effective and practical. The gel needs some time to dry, and it is a temporary solution that attracts dirt, creating a problem where the shoes end up with a lot of hard-packed dirt, making the soles slippery. Using hand sanitizer or hair spray on basketball shoes is also not recommended because they can make the outsoles slippery instead of grippy, contain ingredients that are not suitable for shoe materials, and provide a brief boost in grip that wears off quickly.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Get a Traction Mat!

Experienced players know how important it is to stay on their feet during a game, so they invest in a traction mat. A traction mat, also known as a traction board or sticky mat, is made of disposable adhesive sheets secured on a sturdy base. When in the middle of a game your shoes become less grippy, you just need to step on and off on a traction mat repetitively. The sticky surface will catch all the dirt on your shoes, restoring their gripping power within seconds. When the top surface is covered with dirt, you can simply peel it off to get a new, clean adhesive sheet on your traction mat.

Moreover, these mats come with a number of sheets, like 30, 60, or 75 sheets. Also, these mats are made of sturdy material (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Terpolymer) to absorb high impacts, so you can confidently place your feet on them with force during a game without any concerns. In comparison to gels or hairspray/hand sanitizer or wiping the bottom of the shoes during a game, these mats are far more effective. You don't have to keep redoing them after every few minutes, which can be frustrating. Instead, the strong materials in the mats give a good grip, helping you stay steady and preventing any slips.

Or, Get a Grip Spritz Spray!

For folks who find it hard to keep up with cleaning the adhesive mess on the outsole after every game or just don’t like their shoes covered in a sticky material, we have another solution for you! Grip Spritz is a spray that makes your basketball shoes have better traction on the court. You don't need to keep applying it, and it doesn't have sticky sheets. This means, it cleans and refreshes the rubber soles of your shoes without leaving a mess at the end.

Even if your shoes are old, Grip Spritz can remove dirt and dust from the soles without damaging the material. It doesn't include alcohol or any other harsh chemical that might dry the outsole (as in the case with hair spray/hair sanitizer). You can use the Spritz Mitt, a cotton towel that comes with it, as a pouch to dry your shoes. Spray directly on the bottom of your shoes and wipe with the cloth, and you'll have grippy shoes for the game.

After the Game: Clean and Maintain Your Shoes Properly!

Once you are done with the game, you should clean your shoes properly and store them in a cool, dry place until the next use. This is how you can easily clean your basketball shoes to increase their grippiness after a game:

  1. Get a soft brush or toothbrush, mild soap, and warm water.
  2. Remove the laces and insoles from your shoes.
  3. Dip the brush in the soapy water and gently scrub the outsoles of the shoes.
  4. Rinse the shoes with warm water and dry them with a clean towel.
  5. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or a shoe tree to help them maintain their shape while drying.
  6. Once the shoes are dry, put the insoles and laces back in and store them in a cool, dry place.

Final Words

In conclusion, proper maintenance of your basketball shoes is crucial for their longevity. Avoid using harmful substances like gel, hairspray, or hand sanitizer as they can damage the shoes in the long run. Similarly, using a wet towel or sweat to wipe your shoes is not recommended. Instead, invest in a traction mat or a Grip Spritz spray to increase the traction of your shoes. Both options are effective, so choose the one that suits your comfort and budget. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your basketball shoes remain in top condition and provide optimal performance on the court.

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