Why Do Basketball Players Wipe Their Shoes? (The Truth)

If you’ve watched any basketball game, you may have noticed some players like to wipe their shoes. Specifically, the bottom of their shoes with their hands.

Why do they do this? Is it just a gimmick? Or is there something else?

Basketball players wipe the bottom of their shoe with their hands so they can get the debris out for better traction. The dust from the shoe can also help take the sweat out of their hands so they can better grip the ball.

But that’s not all to it is there? If you’re interested in learning more about this, check out what we found out below.

Why do basketball players wipe the bottom of their shoes?

You’ve probably seen basketball players wipe their shoes from time to time. Whether in the NBA, college or even from pickup games.

They do this so that they can remove the debris that gets to their shoes. This is because basketball shoes have a particular design and material at the sole that improves traction.

The sole is what prevents the player from sliding out or breaking his ankle. So, when there are debris and dust on the bottom of the shoes, it lessens the traction.

So, naturally, players just use their hands to get rid of the debris on their shoes. But to non-basketball players, this makes it seem like a bad habit.

Another reason for doing this is to quickly get rid of their sweaty hand. Players want some of the dust on their hand so they can grip the ball.

Why do basketball players wipe their shoes using their hands?

Player wiping his shoe with hand

As we learned above, players do this for two main reasons: to improve the traction of the shoes and get rid of sweaty hands.

But why use their hands when there are better ways to do it?

That’s because when you’re in a game such as in an official one, there’s no time to do it any other way.

You can’t call a timeout just because of this.

So, they end up just wiping the bottom of their shoes and then rubbing their hands afterwards.

Should you wipe your shoes using your hands?

It might be obvious for the people watching that this practice is unsanitary. But for players, sometimes they don’t care at all.

But you have to realize that there are many dirty things that are on a basketball floor.

First, there are a lot of people walking and running in it. Then, there are also dirt that accumulates and not to mention food.

So, the best alternative to doing this is just using a towel to wipe your shoes or hands. Or you can bring a special product for your shoes that does this well.


Now you know that there’s a reason to why basketball players wipe their shoes.

The answer isn’t exactly surprising but at least we can sleep well at night now knowing this fact.

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