5 Sneaky Tips To Break In Your New Basketball Shoes Quickly

Avoid Pain and Missed Games with Our Break-In Guide

Basketball shoes are a crucial part of your basketball gear. You need to know how to break in your new shoes quickly so you can get the most out of them.

Modern performance basketball shoes are built to break in quickly with synthetic textile materials and plenty of cushioning everywhere.

It’s a great time for hoopers because the leather shoes I wore coming up took weeks to break in and too many blisters. Don’t let your NBA dreams get derailed by injury from new footwear.

Jordan 1 leather basketball shoes
These old-school shoes are a pain to break in. Literally!

1: Carefully Measure Your Feet

This tip goes for any performance shoe that you may purchase, but especially for basketball shoes. The hard lateral cuts, constant jumping, and full sprints required for playing basketball mean that your shoes need to become one with your feet.

This is called the break-in process, when the heat from your feet and the weight you put onto the footbed of the shoe, cause the shoe to “mold” to your feet.

Every shoe is different, but if you measure your feet correctly, you are already crushing the break-in process.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to measure your feet for width as well, performance basketball shoes can be notoriously narrow. 

foot measurement tool for shoes
Don’t skip this step!

2: Choose The Right Shoes

You probably already have your eye on a pair of shoes, but you’re doing a little research to see if you need to break those bad boys in. Luckily, modern basketball shoes don’t require a long break-in time, provided you buy the right shoes.

Shoes made with genuine leather, synthetic leather, or heavier textiles will resist molding to your feet for a lot longer than other lighter materials. 

Most modern basketball shoes offer a woven textile upper that conforms and stretches to give you a lot of comfort on day 1. This doesn’t mean they will be perfect right out of the box, but they are closer to game ready than the heavier and bulkier shoes of old. 

Find a shoe that is lightweight, has a woven textile upper, and provides a ton of padding in the achilles/heel area and your break-in time should be minimal.

Pro tip: Some basketball shoe brands fit differently even if they are your correct measured size. Read some reviews online to adjust for this.

Check out our performance shoe guide for how to pick the right shoe—>How To Find The Perfect Performance Basketball Shoe

3: Wear Them Around The House For A Day Or Two

Let’s face it, ordering shoes online is a very popular thing these days. This doesn’t allow you to try the shoes on at a store before making a purchasing decision. However, it does have advantages.

Once your new kicks arrive, you’ll be excited to try them on and give them a test run on the kitchen floor. This is a good thing!

Even short bursts of wearing the new shoes around the house will help break them in. Feel for pain points and where the shoes may be rubbing or pinching. If they feel tight, that is perfectly normal. If you are feeling actual pain in areas, it might be time for a return.

Online shopping has led to amazing warranties and return policies that make purchasing shoes this way risk-free. If pain crops up right away, or even within a few months, you may be able to return them. 

Use a day around the house to make an informed decision on whether to move on to the next step. 

wear new shoes around the house
Maybe carpet isn’t the best basketball surface…

4. Try Before You Buy

If you measured your feet, picked your new babies, and still don’t feel comfortable buying your new shoes online, time to head to an actual shoe store. Yes, they still exist.

While a simple try-on doesn’t ensure that you are getting a perfect fit, it does give you an idea of how your dream shoes feel. Sometimes, they just aren’t as comfy as the pictures online suggest. 

The great thing about shoe stores is the ability to measure your feet and try different sizes immediately. Having the right size shoe will drastically decrease the break-in time. 

If you have the time and a store near you, shop around for the perfect kicks.

Pro tip: It’ll do you some good to get out of the house and shop. Get some fresh air!

5: How To Break-in Your Basketball Shoes Quickly

Here are the best suggestions we have for breaking in those shoes in as fast as possible:

  • Wear an extra pair of socks. This will help protect you from blisters and stretch the shoes out just enough for your first few runs.
  • Expand and contract the laces. When you first acquire the shoes, try lacing them in different ways until they feel comfortable. 
  • Start slow and work your way up. Don’t play in the state championship with your brand new shoes, you’re asking to be distracted by pain or discomfort. Start with light drills(for example shooting) before getting to the rough stuff.
  • Use a shoe stretcher. As a last resort, if everything else about your shoes is perfect, but they are too tight, stretch them out with a tool. I wouldn’t recommend this with modern basketball shoes because once they are stretched too far, they aren’t coming back.
  • Use your new shoes for practice. If your old shoes are still usable for game situations, use the new basketball shoes during practice and drills. This will get the shoes accustomed to your feet and give you the time needed to make them game ready. 

basketball shoes


Ultimately, breaking in a new pair of shoes isn’t particularly complicated. However, it is important to do it correctly to save your feet from the pain of blisters or injury.

The keys to breaking in basketball shoes quickly are getting the right size, perfecting the fit, and then using the shoe lightly. This should have you breaking ankles within days instead of weeks or months. 

Breaking in your new basketball shoes is key to getting the most out of them. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to ending up with a comfortable pair of great basketball shoes!