Why Do Basketball Shoes Squeak?

By Alex Mercer

November 7, 2021

During basketball games, you must have heard a squeaking sound when players are running back and forth on the hardwood court. We all accepted the noise with open arms without raising any questions. But that only makes us curious about the reason behind the noise. So this leads us to ask, why do basketball shoes squeak?

The squeak you hear turns out to be the contact of two similar surfaces when they stick and unstick. The rubber-soled shoes are smooth yet sticky enough for players to move quickly without falling. If you want to reduce the noise, there are ways like sprinkling baby powder underneath the soles, rubbing dryer sheets, or fine sandpaper on the bottoms of the shoes.

Apart from the tips mentioned above, there are several tips and tricks to stop this annoying noise. Today, we will be looking over all the reasons and solutions behind squeaking basketball shoes. Let us not beat around the bush and start hooping!

Why Do Basketball Shoes Squeak?

The background sound we consistently hear during the basketball games is the rubber-soled shoes squeaking on the hardwood floor. It is the squeaky noise that usually annoys us when the players are competitively running on the court.

Compared to other sports shoes, basketball shoes are designed to be soft enough yet thick and flexible. It is mainly for players to have a smooth landing whenever they make repeated running jumps and move at higher lengths.

Moreover, the shoes keep the players from slipping away. Since most of these athletes tower at least over six feet, it helps them swiftly change directions without much effort. The shoes are pretty solid with cushion soles, sticky and slippery enough to avoid players from tripping.

Basketball shoes

As a result, it allows slipping a little or flexing while players try to maintain a solid hold on the floor. This causes vibration from the patterned groove hardwood floor.

So, whenever it vibrates, you will hear those squeaky noises. Usually, the thinner groove patterns of the hardwood floor produce the louder squeaky noise. Some players even use this to their advantage to make higher jumps, speed up their pace, drive more rapidly, and fool their opponents.

You might also be familiar with similar noises from running shoes. Any shoes with flexible cushioning bottoms make a similar noise when in touch with relatively flat hardwood surfaces. But, as they have thicker groove patterns, they tend to make less noise.

Furthermore, a brand new shoe can also cause them to squeak. It can be pretty stiff with the new leather and smooth rubber soles, which produces a lot of noise. Not to mention if the shoes are soaking with water and possible leakage. This can take a long time, but it will squeak until they completely dry out.

With basketball shoes squeaking, players can indicate that their pair of shoes are working in order. So, even to the players, the squeaking noise is a piece of music to their ears.

For A Complete Basketball Equipment Guide, Read Here.

5 Tips To Stop Your Basketball Shoes From Squeaking

The squeaky noise from basketball shoes can be annoying after a certain point. As mentioned above, the outer material, the bottoms, or the insides of the shoes (insoles) can cause noise.

Luckily, it turns out that you can solve these problems by yourself in the comfort of your home. It doesn’t matter where the squeaks are coming from because we will cover all the tips and tricks to get rid of them! So, without further ado, let us check out some tips on how you can stop basketball shoes from squeaking.

Sprinkle Some Baby Powder

Though it might seem like a bit of reach, sprinkling some baby powder inside the shoes could do the trick. Take out your insoles if they are moving around during games, and throw some baby powder inside. After that, put them back in, and you would be good to go.

The baby powder reduces the shoe and the insole. It will reduce the squeaks without a doubt. No need to worry if you don’t have any baby powder, go for cornstarch or talcum powder instead. Any of these alternatives will do the work.

You can’t sprinkle the baby powder underneath the shoes with insoles attached to them. Instead, you can consider sprinkling some baby powder along the seams of the insoles.

Place Paper Towels In The Shoe

Another way to get rid of the squeaking noise is by placing paper towels inside your shoes. First, fold two units of paper towels, and make them small enough to fit inside your shoes. Next, make sure the towels have slipped underneath the insoles.

The paper towels underneath will reduce the squeaking and help the insoles to stay in place, allowing you to run and dribble freely. A pair of dryer sheets or napkins can be the next best thing to paper towels. Remember to change and place a new couple of paper towels. If you use the same one a few times, it may start to smell funny.

Rough Up The Bottoms With Sandpaper

If you are not into doing much work, you can focus on roughing up the bottoms of your shoes. Take a piece of sandpaper with a fine surface, gently touch and slide the bottom of the shoe. Repeat this step until your basketball shoe is less polished and smooth. The less smooth they are, the better they are, and the less likely they will squeak when you run wearing them.

If there is no sandpaper around at your place, you can purchase it at your local hardware store nearby or find it online. Use fine sandpapers of about 120 to 220 grit. Using any more than that could leave scratches all over your shoes and ruin them.

Use Dryer Sheet To Rub The Bottoms

Have you ever heard the squeaks whenever you run on a smooth surface, either hardwood or tiles? If so, this usually happens when the bottoms of your shoes are too slick. But, you can avoid this by brushing the bottom with a piece of dryer sheet. It will make the shoes less slippery and prevent them from squeaking. 

This method will only work if you repeat it every few times you wear them. Frequently brush the dryer sheets on the bottoms of your shoes to keep the squeaking in check.

Try Using Conditioning Oil

In other cases, the material on the outside of shoes tends to be the reason behind the noise. If you can sense the outer parts of your basketball shoes squeak every time you dribble, rub some conditioning oil. They will stay lubricated while making less noise this way.

Do not forget to use a conditioning oil explicitly made for shoes only. Leather shoes need different oils, unlike the ones for basketball. The oil will wear off after some time. So, once it starts squeaking again, do not shy from applying the oil again. If you do not know which oil to get, ask your local shoe store manager for assistance.


So, now you know why basketball shoes squeak. When the basketball game is on, the squeaking noise is a sign of comfort. As you can see, shoe squeaks have been a part of the game for a long time, and they don’t seem to be causing any problems.

I hope this article helped you gather everything you needed to know about these noises. Thank you so much for making it to the end!

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

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