6 Tips to Break in Your New Basketball Shoes Fast

I’ll never forget my first new pair of basketball shoes… 

Unfortunately, nobody taught me the importance of breaking in the shoes before wearing them in a game. My new kicks may have looked good during the game but my feet were incredibly sore afterward.

Having a hard time breaking in new basketball shoes? Follow these tips for a fast and easy break-in that will help your new shoes become your fast favorites. They should help you avoid those painful blisters on your feet.

How Long it Typically Takes to Break in New Basketball Shoes

To properly break in your basketball shoes, be sure to buy them about 3 weeks before your season starts. 

Some basketball players may be able to break in their shoes more quickly but allocate a full 3 weeks just to be on the safe side. Never buy a new pair of basketball shoes just a few days before the season starts!

We know it’s tempting to wear your new basketball sneakers all the time when you first get them. However, it’s best to only wear them around the house for a few minutes of light activity each day for the first week. Make sure to wear a pair of thick socks to help expand the shoe material.

For week 2, you want to graduate to some light jogging while wearing your new basketball shoes. You don’t want to take your kicks on any long runs yet. Keep your light jog to half an hour or less to avoid blisters on your feet.

By week 3, your new basketball shoes should be ready to make their practice debut. Wear them to practice each day and pay special attention to how your feet feel after practice. 

If you don’t feel any foot pain while playing in the new shoes, then they are ready for game action.

How to Break in Basketball Shoes: 6 Tips

1. Use Your Fingers

This method may sound a bit strange, but it may help you break in your new basketball shoes in less time. Hold a sneaker at the bottom with your left hand. Next, take your right hand and stick it into the shoe where your toes sit.

Push up and down with your fingers to loosen up the toe area of the shoe. Turn your right hand around, and with your palms facing toward you make the same curling motion. 

Repeat this process with the other sneaker. This will help the new shoes not feel so tight on your feet. You can also do the same process with the heel part of the shoe to help loosen up that area.

2. Make Sure You Buy the Right Size

Buying the right size basketball shoe is crucial to your performance on the court. A new pair of shoes should fit tight but they shouldn’t cause any type of discomfort. If there is no room between your big toe and the end of the shoe, you probably need a bigger size.

Taking the time to properly break in your new basketball shoes is pointless if you don’t have the right size. Always try your new shoes on in the store before buying them to make sure they are the right size. Never assume that basketball shoes will fit you the same way other types of shoes do.

3. Wear a Thick Pair of Socks

We already mentioned earlier in the article to wear a thick pair of socks while breaking in your new basketball shoes. However, this tip is so important that we think it’s worth mentioning twice! If you don’t own any thick socks, simply wear two pairs of your normal socks.

Thick socks have two important purposes. One, they protect your feet from blisters and give them more stability. Two, they help break in your new basketball shoes by stretching the different materials.

4. Do Some Drills in Your New Shoes

Before wearing your new basketball shoes to practice, you should wear them while performing a few basketball drills on your own. Jogging in the new shoes is fine, but you need to simulate some game movements like making some quick cuts toward the basket or jumping high in the air to block a shot.

If the new shoes feel too tight or too loose during any portion of the basketball drills, you may just need to adjust the laces. Some folks are amazed at how big of a difference a simple lace adjustment makes.

5. When in Doubt, Choose Comfort

Everyone loves to wear the snazziest new pair of basketball shoes that they can find just to look good on the court. While looking good is important, always choose a shoe based on comfort and functionality. In other words, don’t just buy the Nike brand because that’s what your favorite player wears!

What type of shoe is right for you? Well, it depends on a variety of factors like what type of player you are and how much ankle support you need. Other factors like shock absorption and whether you play on outdoor courts or indoor courts should also come into play.

Post players often need more ankle support, so they are usually better off going with high-top basketball shoes. However, a point guard may need more quickness so he may be better served by choosing low-top basketball shoes.

6. As a Last Resort, Use a Shoe Stretcher

Shoe stretchers may look weird but they may work wonders for basketball players that are in a pinch. For example, let’s say someone surprised you with a new pair of basketball shoes as a gift just before the season starts. A shoe stretcher may help you break in your new shoes in only a couple of days.

Basketball players with wide feet may like to try a shoe stretcher if they feel like their new shoes are too narrow. Keep in mind, though, that shoe stretchers can’t work miracles. They can only provide you with an extra half-inch of length or width.

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Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with basketball for over 30 years as a player, coach, and bettor. He has a degree in Sports Psychology and enjoys following both the NBA and College Basketball on a nightly basis.