How to Improve Traction of Basketball Shoes

How to Improve Traction of Basketball Shoes

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In basketball, players use sudden, quick moves to outmaneuver their opponents. For abrupt changes of direction, solid traction on the court can give players speed and help them avoid injury -- such as turning an ankle -- from slipping. The dust on a smooth basketball court is the primary cause of low traction. Therefore, improving the traction of a player's basketball shoes involves removing accumulated dust and making the shoe soles sticky. Aside from the down-and-dirty method of swiping a hand wet with sweat or saliva across shoe soles, players can use rosin, a sticky mat or a sticky liquid compound to improve traction.

Rosin Powder

Step 1

Shake a small amount of rosin powder into your palm from a shaker bottle, or pinch a small amount from a larger open container, whichever is available.

Step 2

Rub the bottom of one basketball shoe with the rosin powder to form a thin coating over the entire sole. Repeat for the other basketball shoe. Rub your hands together to coat your palms with the remaining rosin powder to improve grip.

Step 3

Re-coat the soles as needed throughout play at breaks and halftime.

Traction Mat System

Step 1

On the sidelines, place a traction mat system such as Slipp-Nott designed for improving the traction of basketball shoes. Affix a fresh set of sticky mat sheets to the base.

Step 2

Step onto the sticky mat with both feet flat so the whole soles of the basketball shoes come into contact with the sticky part of the system. Step back onto the sticky mat as needed during play to remove more dust and renew the improved traction.

Step 3

Peel off the top sticky mat sheet to expose a fresh one on the base when one becomes dirty and no longer improves traction. Discard or recycle the used sheet.

Sticky Liquid Compound

Step 1

Soak a towel in sticky liquid compound designed for improving traction of basketball shoes.

Step 2

Wipe the bottom of both basketball shoes with the towel to remove dust from the soles and improve traction by making the bottoms sticky. Repeat as necessary during the game to keep dust off the soles.

Step 3

Use a fresh towel when a towel becomes too dirty to remove dust from the shoes. Wash the towels in the regular laundry to remove both the sticky liquid compound and the dirt.


  • Rosin powder is also used in other sports to improve traction and grip.
  • Sporting-good stores carry the products to help you improve traction on basketball shoes.
  • In addition to the players, anyone else such as coaches, cheerleaders and band members should clean their shoes before stepping onto a basketball court.


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