How Long Do Basketball Shoes Last Outdoors

For a person who loves basketball, aside from your skills and form, a big concern is on footwear. As far as sports go, basketball is known for its fancy kicks and all of the ways that they are designed to improve your process.

This is why some of the nicest shoes around are made to be used on the court. When it comes to basketball, a good pair of shoes is crucial unless you want to end up sliding all over.

You and your shoes have to work as a team to get the most out of your success. This is why it is completely normal to grow an attachment to your shoes and to find yourself worrying about their health.

After all, your shoes are your buddy, and let’s be honest, after a few rough games on an outdoor court, your buddy can start to look a bit rough.

Knowing how long your shoes will last when you are joining pickup games every day of summer is something you’ll want to know for your convenience and your wallet. Unfortunately, the truth is a little grim for your shoes.

Why does playing basketball outside matter for shoes?

When it comes to the game, you might feel like the only difference between playing indoor and outdoor basketball is the temperature of the area. However, your shoes know the difference between playing inside versus outside because they feel it.

While your shoes might only suffer general wear as you run, jump, and slide around an indoor court, playing outside tends to do a number on the longevity of your shoe life.

Since concrete and other outdoor materials have a tendency to be much more rough than the glassy finish of an indoor court, it should come as no surprise that the bottoms of your shoes are distinctly more likely to get torn up. This is why shoes that are used outdoors tend to get chewed up more quickly than an indoor only pair.

Most people tend to have an indoor and an outdoor pair when possible because of the damage that can be done to the bottom of the shoe, which can make bigger problems when you are trying to play indoors on a nice court.

A common trick is even to use shoes for indoor only, then as they start to breakdown, you can move them to be outdoor shoes instead.

What kind of damage does playing outdoors do?

The primary form of damage that comes with playing outdoors in basketball shoes is the compromising of the sole’s structural integrity. When you are running and sliding across a rough surface, the rubber on the bottom of the shoe faces some serious damage.

Abrasive materials like concrete or broken down basketball courts can result in a grinding on the bottom of the shoe that can force it to lose traction and can even alter the overall shape of the shoe itself.

Your shoes will wear down in relation to your play style, so using basketball shoes outdoors will show you every spot that you frequently do damage to.

The soles will wear down where you put the most pressure and motion, and over time the design boosts built into your shoes based off of the shape of the sole will likely be ground down to a point where they no longer offer the same benefits that they originally did.

If you wear the same shoes indoors as you do outdoors, you will notice very quickly how the grip on the bottom of the shoe is impacted by frequent outdoor use.

How long do they truly last?

Playing on a rough outdoor surface can be damaging to your shoes in a lot of ways.

The general consensus is that you never want to wear indoor basketball shoes outside unless you want them to get torn up and discolored because they simply are not designed to walk on that kind of surface or withstand the elements.

Outdoor basketball shoes are designed to be more adept at withstanding the textures presented by outdoor courts as well as the whole burning hot ground and sun thing.

They tend to be heavier and more durable overall so that they can last you a little longer. Considering the price of basketball shoes, it is always best to consider your needs and purchase accordingly.

When it comes to use and breaking down the shoes, indoor basketball shoes being used for frequent outdoor play can cut the lifespan down to as little as a few months.

This does not mean that the shoes will spontaneously combust, but it does mean that the general structure and design of the shoes that help you grip and jump so effectively will likely be worn down, and some of the benefits of the initial shoe design will no longer be true.

This can increase your risk of injury and alter your play style depending on how it all plays out.

For outdoor basketball shoes, with rigorous play they can last generally from six to nine months (with medium to heavy use).

Again, this does not mean that you won’t be able to wear them, but it does mean that they might feel a little different in a way that could impact you. Outdoor shoes tend to be made from thicker and more durable materials, which are better designed to help you last.

If you only use your outdoor shoes during a few summer months, the lifespan might very well extend into years. 


Wearing basketball shoes outdoors can be incredibly rough on the shoes themselves.

While it is always fun to join a game and get some sunshine with friends, you will want to consider the potential for impact on your shoes if you are worried about how it might effect performance or when you might need a new pair.

Choosing shoes that were made to be used outdoors is a great way to increase the time between when you buy a pair and when you will need a new one.

Depending on how frequently you play outdoors and how aggressive of a player you are, your shoes may last shorter or longer amounts of time compared to your friend’s.

Food for thought: when you play, keep an eye out for obvious breakdown in order to avoid injury or looking like a fool because you fell over mid-game.