Why Basketball Players Wipe Their Shoe Soles | 6 Reasons Revealed

  • By: Christopher
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Do you ever wonder why basketball players wipe their shoes’ soles so often? It’s something that you might not think about, but it plays a major role in the success of each player. This action is seen on courts worldwide and goes far beyond basic hygiene – it has become an essential part of every athlete’s pre-game routine.

In this post, we’ll take a look at why wiping your shoe soles before entering the court is such an important practice and how it plays into helping you reach peak performance. Keep reading to find out what makes this seemingly simple act so powerful!

We’ll discuss how it affects performance and safety on the court for the individual player and all others involved. With insight from experts within and outside professional basketball leagues, we can get to the bottom of this question: Why do basketball players wipe their shoes’ soles?

Why Basketball Players Wipe their Shoe Soles

The following are the six main reasons why basketball players give their shoes a thorough wipe down all so often:

1. To Increase Traction 

One of the major reasons basketball players wipe their shoes’ soles is to increase traction. Hardwood and concrete floors may have some dirt and dust present. This dirt may get into the shoe groove, resulting in poor traction.

It is, therefore, common for basketball players to wipe their soles with their palms or on a damp rag during the course of the game. Improved traction helps players move faster and be the difference between winning and losing the game.

2. To Run Faster and Safely

Another reason why basketball players wipe their shoe soles is to help them run faster. Running faster allows them to evade opponents, make quicker counterattacks, and score goals faster. Running faster is an important aspect to consider if you are planning to win a game.

This is achieved by increasing traction by wiping the soles to relieve the grooves of basketball shoes off dirt and dust, which helps to reduce grip, especially on hardwood courts used in the NBA. It is, thus, common to see basketball players wiping their shoe soles on sticky rags or using their hands to wipe their soles.

3. To Jump Higher

Wiping shoe soles also helps basketball players jump higher. This is possible because of increased traction or grip between the shoe and the basketball court. Wiping shoe soles helps remove any dirt or dust in the front area of the shoe that is used to initiate jumps on the floor.

Clean soles increase the contact with the floor, allowing basketball players to jump even higher to score mind-blowing touchdowns during the game. You may not win the game, but people will remember you for spectacular jumps used to score or defend opponents from scoring.

4. To Prevent Sustaining Injuries

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, basketball players wipe their shoe soles to help prevent sustaining injuries. Common injuries caused by poor traction include ankle sprains, muscle strains, and fractured bones.

To prevent such injuries, basketball players wipe their shoe soles on a sticky mat or use sweaty palms to remove dust and dirt to increase traction. Increased traction helps prevent players from slipping and falling on the hardwood courts, which might result in fractured bones and other severe injuries.

Wiping shoe soles is, therefore, a preventive measure for sustaining injuries that may render them unfit for the season.

5. To Increase Hand Traction

Another major reason why basketball players wipe their shoe soles is to increase traction or grip in their hands. How is this possible? Basketball players who suffer from sweaty palms wipe their soles using their hands to increase the number of rough particles, such as dust, on their hands.

These rough particles stick to their hands courtesy of the sweat and thus help them increase the traction in the hands, which is necessary for handling the ball during the game.

Your grip on the ball can be the difference between embarrassment, winning, or losing the game since you need a grip to show your skills and pass the ball to other teammates.

6. To Increase Passing and Shooting Accuracy 

Finally, another reason why basketball players wipe the soles of their shoes is to increase their accuracy. Because it has become a subconscious action for the player, wiping their shoe soles also brings a hint of extra confidence and determination when passing the ball or taking a shot at the basket.

This accuracy is enhanced in several ways, including turning or changing direction easily because of increased traction, running faster as a result of increased grip, passing the ball accurately because of increased hand traction, as we have discussed above, and shooting an accurate pointer into the net because of better hand and feet traction and coordination.


Basketball players often need every edge they can get to win the game, and one way they gain an advantage is by wiping their soles. Wiping the soles of a basketball player’s shoes gives them more control over how slides, sprints, and pivots are executed on the court.

It also allows them to get better traction while defending the other team. Additionally, some players may even use it to give themselves a better jump-off when trying to make a shot.

By having all this control over their movements, basketball players can become faster, stronger, and more agile athletes, which helps give them that extra edge when playing in competition.

Not only does wiping your shoes help improve performance on the court, but it also helps keep you safe from potential slipping and falling accidents.

So if you ever find yourself watching a game of basketball, make sure to pay close attention – you might see a player or two discreetly wiping their soles before making that all-important move toward victory!