Tips for Selecting Outdoor Basketball Shoes

A pair of basketball shoes is considered by many to be one of the most important pieces of basketball gear for many players, as it provides comfort, support, and protection for a player’s feet. However, basketball shoes from different brands would have varying materials on the upper, midsole, and outsole, and some of these shoes are built for specific basketball courts.

In this article, we will talk about basketball shoes that are made for outdoor courts, which have cemented floors that usually have a rough texture. Because outdoor courts can sometimes be unforgiving when it comes to the outsole of basketball shoes, you would need a pair that can last much longer than the common basketball shoes you can find in sporting goods stores. 

Outdoor basketball shoes are becoming more popular today, so you will have plenty of choices on what to buy. But knowing which outdoor basketball shoes are the best would require you to learn more about these shoes, from their upper to their outsole. Here are some tips for selecting outdoor basketball shoes.

Durable Outsole

One of the most important features that a pair of outdoor basketball shoes should have is a durable outsole, which is primarily made of more durable materials compared to the ones used on indoor basketball shoes. A lot of outdoor basketball shoes have rubber outsoles that are specially formulated or designed for outdoor courts, which means that these outsoles can last longer and are very resistant to abrasions on rough floors.

Furthermore, outdoor basketball shoes tend to have thicker and denser outsoles, so it would be harder to wear away all areas of the outsole if you are using the shoes regularly. [1] Indoor basketball shoes tend to have softer and thinner outsoles, and while these outsoles can help increase flexibility on the shoes, they won’t really last a day or two on outdoor courts, especially the ones that are not well-maintained.

Suitable Traction Pattern

In addition to the materials used on the outsole, you should also check the traction pattern of the outsole to ensure that it grips the floor well. There are specific traction patterns that work best for outdoor basketball courts, and they would usually help your feet have a better grip on the floor, even if the floor is wet. 

The most effective traction pattern for outdoor courts is herringbone traction, which consists of different debossed and embossed lines and zigzags. But there are also other traction patterns that brands designed specifically for outdoor use, while there are patterns that can be used for both indoor and outdoor courts.

Durable Upper Materials


The materials used on the upper of outdoor basketball shoes should also be very durable, much like the outsole. Synthetic leather is the material that can usually last the longest on outdoor basketball courts, although reinforced textile or mesh is also fairly durable since they have an extra layer of plastic on different areas for extra protection. For the heel section of the upper, it should have a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethanes), which is a type of plastic that is not only durable but also rigid enough to provide support for your ankles.

In outdoor basketball courts, where the temperature can get too warm, you may need an upper that has breathable materials like mesh. The breathable materials would allow your feet to cool down and prevent overheating, which can cause foot soreness, stiffness, and pain. But, if the temperature is cold on the basketball court, it would be best to stick with shoes that are primarily made of synthetic leather and other thick materials.

Effective Midsole for Impact Protection

Because of the tough and rough surface of outdoor basketball courts, it is basically essential for your feet to have proper impact protection to avoid injuries. There are a lot of outdoor basketball shoes that provide cushioning, and this cushioning would make your feet feel more comfortable and less strained when you’re playing on a basketball court. 

However, cushioning isn’t really enough for outdoor courts, as your feet will need impact protection since it is more prone to get injured on rough courts. Some of the injuries that may happen to your feet include ankle sprains and bone fractures, and these injuries would require you to be sidelined or unavailable for weeks or months if you are playing in an outdoor basketball league. So, to improve or maintain your longevity on the basketball court, you should get a pair of basketball shoes that gives your feet ample cushioning and impact protection.

Good Reviews

basketball player with his feet on the black court and an orange ball next to him. he is stepping on a white line. ready for the game.

The best way for you to know if a pair of outdoor basketball shoes is considered great by many basketball players is by reading or watching reviews through shoe review websites, video streaming channels, blogs, and forums. Reviews offer you detailed descriptions of every feature found on different outdoor basketball shoes, and they will also tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of each shoe. 

Reading or watching reviews is also a fast way for you to decide the pair of basketball shoes to buy, as it will only take you a few minutes to read multiple reviews, while it may take you hours or even days to check out shoes one by one in sporting goods stores.

Outdoor basketball shoes are must-haves if you regularly play on outdoor courts, so you should already get a pair if you haven’t already. Make sure to inspect or read about every detail of the basketball shoes you will be buying so that you will know how durable and effective the pair is on the basketball court and make your purchase worth it. 


[1] Nightwing2303. (2013, August 25). Top 5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Outdoor Basketball Shoe. WearTesters. Retrieved December 14, 2022, from