Why do Basketball Players Wipe the Bottom of their Shoes

Gathering all Adidas and Jordans and Nikes, they wipe the bottoms to gleam with their hankies. Nice rhyme right?

I do not watch basketball regularly but from what I have seen from watching on television and watching my friends play, players wipe their shoes a lot.

Why? A bad habit? Some sort of basketball ritual?

The most disgusting act in the sports world has been seen?

Major reasons why basketball players wipe the soles of their shoes

  1. To get a good grip
  2. To prevent slipping
  3. To remove all debris and dirt

Let’s get into the details.

To get a good grip

A good grip is very important to a basketball player.

If it was football you will only want the grass to be dry but in basketball, on those gleaming wood floors, you will need a good grip alongside all other skills.


You see, damp shoes stop them from carrying out some important techniques. Things like defense, a good layup, jumping, and maintaining balance depend on the strong grip of the shoes.

Damp shoes also limit the way they move around the court. Speed is a good thing to have on your side and not being able to move from one end of the court to another fast enough is not good.

This in turn reduces performance and can make them lose the game. Shoes with excellent grip however help them move faster and allow swift flexible motions with their feet.

After all that practice, you don’t want to lose because of some pair of shoes with poor grip

To prevent slipping

I think this goes hand in hand with the first point. It is important that they have a good grip so they don’t slip.

Most basketball players wear either Nike, Adidas, or Jordan shoes. They are good for playing but they sometimes don’t have that non-slip or good traction feature. And why does traction matter?

Well think of this, you are a great player, you have worked so hard and trained well, you know all the techniques and mastered the skills. And then on that day, the big game, you keep falling.

You have missed some good goals, you look like a sweaty clown now rather than the star player. You don’t want that do you?

Well, that traction is all about keeping you firmly to the ground so you don’t slip. You can’t look good in bad shoes.

You can’t play well in bad unwiped shoes. Even if the shoes are slip-resistant or have good traction, they are painstakingly wiped dry so they do not fall and sustain injuries.

To remove all debris and dirt

When I was researching this, it didn’t make much sense to me at first. Why would the dust on your shoes affect your movements so much that they had to be wiped so frequently?

Let me explain.

Basketball players play on wooden floors and there is a lot of sand and dust. Soon they get stuck to the shoes and restrict movement because they don’t allow sliding and other movements.

The dust also reduces the grip on the floor and we have discussed that above so we know the consequences.

That is why they have to be wiped off. At first, it feels like no big deal but soon you are being pulled back and at that point anything quick is dangerous.

How basketball players wipe the bottom of their shoes

Aside from that, So how do they wipe the bottom of their shoes?

Nothing too special. Some players do it using their hands.

Unhygienic, I know, but effective. They can use their sweat or spittle or water, anything to moisten the bottom, and then wipe with their palms.

Or, better still some use Slipp-Nott. It is a sports traction pad used to wipe shoes.

Wiping their shoes not only gives them a good grip but removes all the dirt and debris stuck on the bottom.

Why do basketball players walk weirdly?

Don’t they just like ducks or penguins waddling about rather than walking? The poor things and I don’t mock them when I say what I have said. It is the plain truth.

There is a real reason they walk awkwardly. Those heroes of the addictive game spend most of their time and energy playing basketball.

The professionals with tougher schedules and higher standards and achievements push themselves even harder.

With time, their bodies are accustomed to the stress that the game requires. They get used to jumping really, running fast and moving the ball from one hand to the other quickly.

Their lower bodies are used the most. With long hours of practice daily they don’t fall back into the normal walking step easily.

Their feet, knees, and leg muscles will start to change slowly to fit the faster energy and pace. It is like a dimensional transmission.

Besides that, the game is not injury-proof. There are high and low chances of getting injured both light or severe. Those injuries will affect their bodies and can mar them if they are severe.

The light ones will also have great effects over time. All these contribute to the funny way that basketball players walk.

How do basketball players not crease their shoes?

Like I stated earlier, the three most dominant pairs of shoes that basketball players use are Nike, Jordan, and Adidas, and they use them a lot starting from the training to the big games.

How don’t they get creased? What is the secret? How do they do it? Here are a few ways:

Using a shoe tree

Why do Basketball Players Wipe the Bottom of their Shoes

I first thought that mini trees are planted and then when they are grown are stuffed inside the shoes. I was way off. Shoe trees are made to retain the proper shape of your shoes to prevent creases.

They look like this:

They come in various sizes and you just slip into the shoes you want to prevent from creasing and leave them there for at least 24 hours.

Now there are a few rules about them that you must follow. The first is, you put shoe trees in your shoes (no matter the type) immediately after wearing them.

With the moisture and being freshly worn the shoe trees can do their work well.

The wood will absorb the moisture and dry the shoes so they don’t start to smell (after this you don’t have to worry about air-drying your shoes).

Then the shoes still worn will conform to the shape of the shoe tree. Then they can’t fold or bend or get creased.

You must also, the next rule, make sure that the size of the shoe tree you are getting is the same size and shape as the shoes unless you will ruin your shoes.

Shoe trees can be used for any brand or type of shoe regardless of the material.

Try a sneaker shield

Why do Basketball Players Wipe the Bottom of their Shoes

Just as effective as the shoe tree, these are worn together with the shoes. They are not a leave-in like the shoe trees.

You fix them in the toe box of the shoes and put your shoes on. They prevent creasing around the toe box.

If the ones you have are too big, you can trim them to size with a pair of scissors, cutting a little at a time.

When you take off your shoes, you can take them out too. Make sure they are clean and do not smell so you don’t solve one problem and cause many more. Here is what they look like:

Is it okay to wear Jordan with Nike for basketball?

Of course, you can!  If you have a pair of Jordan shoes, can you pair them with some Nike shorts? Yes, you can.

However, you will have to make sure that what you wear with your Jordans is not too flashy so you don’t look weird.

Jordans come with great designs so something flashy on top will make you look like a clown.

Jordans also come in neutral colors and they are best paired with shorts that are neutral colors too.

The toning down of colors will highlight your Jordans. Just remember that the less color, the more attractive you look. The type of shorts also matter.

If you are skinny, wide and long shorts won’t look good with your Jordans. That style, though old but timeless, is best suited for people with wide-body frames.

Short shorts will be better for people with small frames. You can wear them with or without knee-length socks.

You will have to be careful when it comes to socks. In knee-length socks, some people look sporty and athletic, ready to hit the court.

Some on the other hand look like kids, small and vulnerable (sorry). That’s why you check before you step out of the house. The color of your socks also whatever the length should not be loud.

I am sure you have learned a thing or two about basketball today. Maybe not the techniques, but I have answered your questions and thrown in some fashion tips that I really hope will be useful.

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