Why Do Basketball Shoes Squeak? (True Reason)

The squeaking sound from basketball shoes have become the signature sound of basketball.

We hear them all the time and wonder why exactly basketball shoes do that.

The simple answer as to why basketball shoes squeak is because of the sticky sole of the shoe meeting the smooth surface of the hardwood. It produces a vibration and the sound that we hear is the product of that.

But are squeaky shoes good for basketball? How do you make them squeak?

We’re sure you have so many questions about this which is why we’ll cover them all in this guide.

Why do Basketball Shoes Squeak?

We all hear that squeak all the time in basketball courts. They’ve become part of basketball, so they become just a natural background noise.

But you may have question yourself at least one time why exactly do shoes squeak.

Well, it turns out, it’s as simple as you might thought. According to our research, it all has to do with the structure of the outsole of the shoe and the floor.

When the rubber hits the floor, it creates a vibration which is where the squeaky sound comes from. It’s called the stick-slip phenomenon but for simplicity, we like to call it the squeak.

In basketball, the squeak noise from the shoes has become synonymous with great traction. If the shoes make a squeak sound, then they can assure you that they have great grip.

If not, they may let the player slide and potentially injure themselves. So, it has become a tradition for basketball players to check if their shoes make a squeaking sound.  

Plus, shoe manufacturers nowadays always make sure that their shoes squeak. It’s like an unofficial quality test that proves to people that they have quality shoes.

Can You Squeak Basketball Shoes in any Floor?

No. They usually squeak in flat hardwood surfaces which is what most basketball courts are made of.

If you try to produce the squeak sound in concrete or any other dry surface, you’ll just get a rough thud sound.

That’s because there’s no friction between the shoes and the floor. The shoes may have grip, but the floor isn’t smooth. It’s littered with small dust so it will make the shoes dry.

So, this is why you can’t hear the distinct squeak noise when you play basketball in the backyard.  

How to Make Your Basketball Shoes Squeak?

Not all the time your basketball shoe will make the squeaky sound. But in the NBA or other professional leagues, they always make this sound.

That’s because the floor is always cleaned of any debris. So, the first step is to make sure to wipe your floors bottom clean.

Then, you lift your feet up backward and quickly bring it down. You must let it collide with the floor so it will produce the squeaky sound. Then, do the same to your other feet.

If all conditions are perfect (your shoes and the floor are grippy), then you should hear the squeaky sound even when you’re just running around.

The sound is more pronounced when you’re doing quick movements such as when doing crossovers or defending closely.

How do I stop my Basketball Shoes from Squeaking?

If you’re annoyed by the sound of your basketball shoes squeaking, then there’s a simple solution. Here are some quick home remedies:

  • Put some baby powder under the soles as it will absorb the moisture
  • Add paper towels under the sole for the same effect
  • You can also try rubbing the bottom of your shoe with sandpaper. This will make them rougher

Basically, the trick is to not let your basketball to have too much moisture and grip. But be careful not to overly do it such that your shoes lose their grip!

If you’re not going to play basketball with those shoes, then this is fine to do. But if you’re doing this in a basketball shoe that you’re playing, then leave it be. It’s better to have the squeaking sound since it lets you know that its traction control is working.

Best Squeaky Basketball Shoes

Most modern basketball shoe that you can buy today are squeaky especially in the right conditions.

But if you want to know which shoes are the squeakiest, then check out our recommendations below.

1. Under Armour Curry 10
2. Under Armour Curry 4 FloTro
3. Nike Lebron 20
4. Nike KD 15
5. Air Jordan 36 Low
6. New Balance TWO WXY V2
7. Puma MB.01 Lo
8. Jordan Luka 1


Is a basketball shoe bad if it doesn’t make the squeak sound?

No, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. But it may mean that traction isn’t its greatest strength.

Most modern basketball shoes are made with the best materials especially branded ones. So, it should make a squeaking sound.

But if not, a better test than the squeaking sound is to run and quickly stop your feet sideways. If your feet don’t slide, then you’re good to go. If not, then it means your shoes will be dangerous to play on.

Why do players make their shoes squeak before a game?

Basketball players make the squeaking sound with their shoes before a game to test their shoes grip and to check if the floor is dusty.

This has become sort of a tradition with basketball players worldwide playing on hardwood courts.

Are all basketball shoes squeaky?

Not all basketball shoes can be squeaky. But this doesn’t mean that they aren’t good for basketball. It might be because there’s dust underneath the shoes or on the floor.

Or they just don’t make that sound at all. A better test of the shoe’s traction is to try to run and stop with it.

Can you play basketball in other shoes that squeak?

A running shoe may squeak in a basketball court. But it doesn’t mean that you should play in it. They’re not designed for basketball.

They’re not very comfortable and safe when you’re playing basketball. It can actually cause sprains and injuries.

They don’t have the same cushion, support, traction, and other features that basketball shoes provide. As such, you should only use basketball shoes for basketball.

Final Thoughts

Basketball shoes squeak sounds are a phenomenon caused by the shoes encountering a smooth surface. It’s also an unofficial test of your shoe’s traction as well as the court’s surface.

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