How to Get Better Grip on Basketball Shoes

How Do You Get Good Traction / Grip on Athletic Shoes for Basketball, Volleyball & All Sports on Indoor Courts?

Google ‘how do you get better grip with basketball shoes,’ and you’ll find these common tips:

      1. Keep shoe soles clean.*
      2. Keep court floors clean.
      3. Use a traction mat, gel mat, or grip lotion.*

* Countless articles online advise wiping your shoes with a damp towel throughout the game. Some may even recommend a gel mat or grip lotion for shoes. Don’t believe them! 

We’ll explain the problems with these common tips and why Slipp-Nott Sports Traction System is truly the best solution for instant and consistently superior shoe grip.

More NBA & NCAA players use Slipp-Nott

There’s a reason why more pro and college basketball teams rely on Slipp-Nott than any other product to boost performance and safety on the court. One step on the sticky mat instantly removes dirt from the soles of athletic footwear.

Traction solutions for shoes – basketball, volleyball, badminton, racquetball and, fencing

If you play any sport on an indoor court, you know how important good shoe grip is for making quick and safe stops and turns. But when shoes pick up dust and wax off smooth gym floors, that buildup causes soles to lose their ‘grippy-ness.’ The result: Players can’t maneuver with precision, and the risk of injury due to slipping increases.

It’s no wonder that a question like ‘How do you get better grip with basketball shoes’ is often searched for online. Solutions range from simple hacks to products designed to improve traction on sports footwear.

In this post, we look at some common recommendations:

1. Keep shoe soles clean for better grip

Constant Wiping:  You’ve probably seen basketball players wipe the bottoms of their shoes with a damp towel…or lick their hands to wipe their shoes.

Why this is NOT the best solution:  While we completely agree that removing dirt buildup is the best way to improve traction, wiping shoes several times during a game is just plain tedious. In addition:

    • Using a towel can be hit or miss:
      • If you use too much water, your rubber soles become a wet slip hazard.
      • If the towel isn’t wet enough, it won’t do a good job of cleaning your soles.
      • If some areas of the sole’s surface are wetter than others, some areas may be cleaned while others may just get slick from all the water.
    • Wetting your towels will always yield inconsistent results because there is NO WAY to guarantee the material will have uniform water coverage.
    • Even if you could guarantee uniform coverage, it’s impossible to know exactly how much water is the right amount every time!
    • While you can (and many players still do) lick your hands to wipe the bottoms of your shoes, it’s unsightly. More importantly, though, this technique would work only if you have perfectly flat, large hands. Think about it: With your palms’ contours, it’s impossible to make contact with the entire surface of the sole.
Basketball player wiping shoe sole with hand to get better grip
Some basketball players try to improve shoe grip by licking their hands and wiping.

2. Mop the court regularly to minimize dust

A clean floor definitely makes a big difference, but dry mopping can’t and won’t guarantee a clean court. Wet mopping is the best way to keep the floors clean, but that takes a dedicated maintenance staff which is both costly and time consuming. Dry mopping is helpful in “moving” the dust and dirt but it does not REMOVE the dirt. Dry mopping is really only good for drying liquid spills or absorbing perspiration after players fall.

Broom on hardwood court floor
Sweeping or dry mopping court floors only moves around (not remove) dirt

3. Apply a grip gel/lotion on your soles

Of all the methods out there to get better basketball shoe grip, this is the worst choice! To illustrate why, take a look at how these products work:

    1. You have to sit down to apply the gel/lotion on one shoe and wait for it to dry. THEN, you repeat the process on the other shoe and must wait again for the gel to dry before you can even put your foot down on the floor.
    2. Grip is improved…but for only for a few minutes because the gel on your shoe ends up removing the dust on the floor – and soon you’re back to sliding. So, the product designed to improve traction actually does the opposite!
    3. To regain traction, you have to reapply the gel…but minutes later, you need to do it again! During a game, that’s a lot of reapplication – and you’ll have to wait for the gel to dry every time you reapply. When you’re in the middle of intense action on the court, do you really want to stop and go through this hassle every few minutes?
    4. Because the product is a magnet for dirt, each reapplication continues a vicious cycle of building layer upon layer of dirt and gel on your shoes. Eventually you’re left with a buildup of hard-packed gunk and slippery soles.

Do your shoes and yourself a favor. Avoid grip gels and lotions in all forms.

Ditch the two-bit hacks and…

4. Get a Slipp-Nott traction mat – instantly clean shoe soles

Do what the pros do. Get a Slipp-Nott. Used by more NBA and NCAA teams than any other brand, Slipp-Nott provides the best traction for basketball and all sports footwear designed for smooth, indoor floors.

cleaning basketball shoes on Slipp-Nott traction mat

Our sticky traction mat instantly and effectively grabs dirt off rubbery soles as you step on and off the adhesive surface. The result: Dirt-free soles with superior grip in less than 3 seconds.

Sometimes referred to as a ‘traction board’ or ‘sticky mat,’ a Slipp-Nott Traction Set consists of disposable adhesive sheets, secured on a sturdy base. Guaranteed for life, our bases are made with modified, high-impact, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Terpolymer (A.B.S) for durability. We then bond a ribbed, rubbery backing to the underside of the base to keep it from sliding and damaging floors.

Keep using the top sheet until all the adhesive is covered with dust and dirt. Then remove the top sheet of the mat to expose a new, clean sheet.

Removing a used sticky traction sheet
Keep using the sticky sheet until it’s covered with dirt. Peel off top layer to expose a new, clean sheet on your traction mat.

Traction sets include your choice of a mat with 30, 60 or 75 sheets. Additional replacement mats are sold separately:slipp-nott base and replacement sheets

When it comes to quality in sports traction, Slipp-Nott sets the standard

Slipp-Nott is the original traction mat for basketball, volleyball, badminton, fencing, handball, racquetball, or any sport played indoor on smooth floors. As the leading provider of sports traction for professional (NBA) and amateur (NCAA, High School and Middle School) athletes, we set the industry standard for quality and reliability, backed with a lifetime warranty.

There might be cheaper, low quality options out there, but if you want a traction base built to last, just do yourself and your team a favor and get a Slipp-Nott.

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