NBA players change sneakers

Do NBA Players Change Sneakers Every Game?

Do NBA players change sneakers every game? NBA players are famous for their love of shoes. Some NBA players have customized sneakers. And some NBA players even wear the same shoe in different colors to match their team’s colors. But how often do NBA players change sneakers? Well, a lot! But rarely is it every game.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what NBA players do with their old sneakers after they’ve finished playing in them. We’ll also look at both sides of the argument. Wearing new sneakers versus using worn-out ones. So you can decide for yourself whether it’s better to go with new or used when it comes time to buy your next pair of basketball shoes!

How Often do Players Change Sneakers?

Nike took over NBA uniform deals in 2017 and is releasing new uniforms for teams. This means that some players will be wearing Nike shoes while others wear Adidas, Under Armour, or something else entirely.

NBA players often change sneakers throughout a game or practice session, depending on their personal preference and the condition of their shoes. Some players may switch out their sneakers every quarter or even more frequently, while others may go for longer periods without changing. It’s important for players to have comfortable and supportive footwear to perform at their best, and many top NBA players have endorsement deals with major sneaker brands, which means they have access to a wide variety of shoes to choose from.

Why do NBA Players Change Sneakers in Between Games?

NBA players frequently switch out their shoes in between games to make sure they are donning footwear that is comfortable for their feet and in good condition. Particularly for players who are very energetic and frequently cut, leap, and move around the court, the wear and tear on a player’s shoes throughout a game can be significant.

Players can switch to a different style of shoe that would be better suited for the particular playing circumstances of their next game by changing their shoes. For instance, a player may decide to wear shoes with a different sort of sole if they will be playing on a court with a slick surface in order to help them maintain their footing.

To take advantage of new technology or features in the newest sneaker models, athletes may switch their shoes between games. Since many NBA players have endorsement agreements with well-known shoe companies, they have access to the newest and best sneakers available. They can keep up with the newest footwear trends and technologies by often switching up their shoes. This is also a marketing strategy!

Player Exclusives

Most NBA players receive a pair of customized sneakers from their sponsors every couple of weeks to suit the colors of their team. Although not all NBA players get this treatment. A player might only play in one type of shoe per season.

Player exclusive shoes, or “PE” shoes, are specially created sneakers created only for specific NBA players. The player that has an endorsement arrangement with the sneaker brand receives a restricted supply of these shoes, which are not sold to the general public.

PE shoes frequently include distinctive color schemes, design features, and individualized accents that express the player’s character, sense of style, or team loyalty. Certain performance requirements or preferences may be taken into account throughout the customisation process for these shoes with input from the athlete, his team, or even the supporters.

Fans of the player and the sneaker company as well as sneaker collectors greatly prize PE footwear. They are frequently distributed in limited quantities through exclusive campaigns, auctions, or drawings, and can fetch significant amounts on the secondary market.

NBA Players Change Sneakers

Rest of the League

But most NBA players don’t have exclusive deals with any sneaker companies; instead, they just buy a bunch from various brands and rotate through whichever ones look good at the time. NBA players also have a lot of extra pairs in case they need to change them throughout the season.

So NBA players don’t wear new sneakers every game. But most NBA players do have at least two or three on hand during each basketball season.

New and Worn Sneakers: Comparisons

Whether NBA players should wear new or worn sneakers is a question that has been asked for decades. We’ll look at the pros and cons of both. As well as some other factors to consider when buying basketball shoes!

New Sneakers

The Grip

Wearing new sneakers gives NBA players the best possible grip on the court. As they haven’t been worn down by anyone else’s feet. NBA shoes are designed to be super grippy. And wearing them for the first time is a big advantage in games where points matter! This is especially important if you’re playing against an opponent who plays with old sneakers. Nothing worse than having your shoe slip every time you try to pivot or turn around!

Colour Combining

Nike made a huge change recently when it comes to NBA uniforms. Not only will NBA teams wear different colors of jerseys depending on whether their opponents have white or dark-colored “home” uniforms. But now NBA players can’t wear all black socks anymore.

Because NBA teams will now have white socks with their NBA uniforms. This means NBA players can’t wear black shoes anymore. They need to be dark blue, red, or some other color that contrasts well against the team’s sock/uniform combination!

New is New

NBA players change sneakers because they are used to wearing brand new sneakers right out of the box; this is what they’re most comfortable with and there isn’t anything different about them compared to regular people buying a pair for everyday use.

NBA players don’t usually like experimenting with worn-down shoes (more on why later), so wearing these makes sense from an emotional standpoint as well as everything else we’ve mentioned before.

New Shoes on Repeat can be Harmful

NBA players wear sneakers for around an hour per game on average, but it’s more like two hours if you count timeouts and halftime. And that’s not to mention the weight training NBA do before games! Wearing new shoes all of these times is super bad for them; NBA doesn’t have any support or cushioning left by the end of the season because they’ve been worn down so much.

The Financial Costs

Even though NBA players buy their sneakers (and get reimbursed later), there are still financial costs associated with having this many pairs. Not only does each pair cost about $100-200 dollars – depending on where you shop – but another hidden expense is how often NBA players need to replace them throughout a single basketball season.

NBA players have to be careful about how much they spend on sneakers, so wearing new ones is a good way for NBA to save money.

new vs worn out sneakers; NBA players change sneakers

Worn Sneakers

Negligible Performance Difference

NBA players already wear new sneakers for a limited time, so wearing worn-down ones isn’t very different from their current routine. The NBA players are used to the feeling of slipping on the court when they’ve accidentally stepped in some sweat or water, and playing with old shoes is no biggie if it’s only going to be temporary! NBA players should not play entire games using worn-out sneakers –

but there’s nothing wrong with wearing them during shootarounds before game day. It all depends on what you’re more comfortable with!

Breaking the New Shoes In

You might think that NBA would prefer worn-down sneakers because they can get away without buying too many pairs. But while this saves money in the short term, NBA spends far more money in the long run. NBA players will keep wearing new sneakers because it’s not worth their time and effort to go through a shoe-breaking-in process, especially since they’re already used to brand new shoes!

Personal Style

NBA players don’t like playing with worn-down sneakers for another reason: NBA games are all about personal style! If you watch any NBA game, you’ll see that almost every single player tries to create an image of themselves on the court during games – everything from what types of shots they take, which moves they use against opponents, how hard they play defense and so much more is designed make them look good in front of fans and other viewers.

You can even argue whether or not NBA tries too hard when creating this image, but NBA players don’t want to wear worn-down shoes because it won’t look good on camera!

All About the Image

NBA players already have a lot of pressure from fans and media about how they play – imagine if an NBA player wore old sneakers that looked like garbage on TV every time he took a step? That would be a disaster for NBA, who are trying their best to create the most amazing images possible during games.

It makes sense why NBA wouldn’t want to wear old sneakers: not only is it physically uncomfortable, but wearing them can seriously hurt your image. If you were an NBA fan watching at home as LeBron James was slipping around in his worn-out shoes, how might you feel?

Brand New vs Old worn Shoe | a Head-to-head matchup!

Here is a table showing some of the key differences between brand new shoes and old worn shoes:

FeatureBrand new shoesOld worn shoes
AppearanceClean, bright, and shinyScuffed, faded, and worn
FitMay feel stiff or tightMay feel stretched or loose
CushioningFirm and supportiveMay be compressed or worn
TractionTread pattern intactMay be worn or smooth
DurabilityHighMay be decreased
ScentFresh or slightly chemically smellMay have an odor or be musky
Break-in periodRequiredAlready broken-in

It’s important to keep in mind that depending on the person’s preferences and the intended use of the shoes, some of these variances can be beneficial or unpleasant. For instance, although some athletes may value the support and durability of a fresh pair of shoes, others may favor the worn-in feel of an old pair of shoes.

What do NBA Players do with Old Sneakers?

While some NBA players like to keep their oldest shoes for practice, or collection, there are still NBA stars that get rid of worn-out pairs – even if it means giving them away! A few NBA teams/players will donate old shoes, either back to local communities or to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program where they’ll be recycled into gym floors and running tracks around the world.

NBA players may have different practices when it comes to what they do with their old shoes or sneakers. Here are some common options:

  1. Keep them: Some players may choose to keep their old shoes as a souvenir or for sentimental reasons. They may display them in their home, give them to friends or family members, or donate them to charity.
  2. Donate them: Many NBA players donate their old shoes to charity organizations or foundations. These organizations may then auction off the shoes to raise funds for various causes or give them to people in need.
  3. Give them away: Some players may give their old shoes to fans as a gesture of appreciation or as a promotional item. They may sign the shoes or even personalize them with a message.
  4. Recycle them: Some sneaker brands have recycling programs that allow customers, including NBA players, to send in their old shoes to be recycled or repurposed. This helps to reduce waste and promote sustainability.

Overall, what a player does with their old shoes is a personal decision that may depend on their own preferences, values, and relationships with their footwear.

Players might also sell their old sneakers; sneakerheads love getting their hands on NBA-worn shoes, and NBA players are always giving away pairs to fans. Most of the time, NBA players will also donate their proceeds from selling shoes to charity. NBA player Gilbert Arenas once auctioned, and sold a pair of worn sneakers for $50,000!

what happens to old NBA sneakers

Customized Sneakers for NBA Players

Some customized sneaker lines that we love here at Field Insider are:

  • Stephen Curry with Under Armour called the “Curry One”, the “Curry Two” and the “Curry Three”.
  • Kobe Bryant‘s sneakers with Nike are called the Kobe IX, X, XI, etc., which have all been inspired by NBA players’ success in previous games.
  • LeBron James has collaborated on several special edition shoes with Nike Sportswear including Air Max 90s, LeBrons, Zoom Soldier VIIIs, Air Greedy Rs, and more.
  • Dwyane Wade had a lot of impacts when he wore his first signature shoe from Li-Ning during NBA All-Stars 2010.

NBA player LeBron James has his line of shoes with Nike called the “LeBron 15”, and NBA player Kyrie Irving even designed a new version of NBA’s classic Converse All-Star sneakers!

PJ Tucker – NBA’s Sneaker King

Due to his extensive collection of expensive and unusual sneakers, 76ers forward PJ Tucker is known as the NBA’s Sneaker King. For years, Tucker has been a mainstay in the sneaker scene, and his love of shoes has attracted adoration and attention from both fans and other athletes.

Tucker’s talent at obtaining some of the most sought-after and difficult-to-find sneakers on the market is one of the reasons he is so admired in the sneaker community. He is renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of sneakers, brands, and styles and for having a thorough awareness of sneaker culture and history. Moreover, Tucker frequently works with sneaker makers to develop his own line of signature sneakers.

Tucker estimated that he has over 4,000 pairs of sneakers in his collection during a 2017 interview with Sole Collector. He agreed that the amount fluctuated frequently because he was continually purchasing and selling shoes.

Since then, Tucker has continued to grow his collection, and he has developed a reputation for frequently sporting brand-new and uncommon sneakers during NBA games. He reportedly carried more than 200 pairs of shoes to the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, where he participated in the playoffs, in the year 2020.

When it comes to sneakers, Tucker is renowned for his daring and eclectic sense of style. He frequently sports shoes with odd color schemes or patterns and is not averse to taking chances while selecting footwear. He has been featured in numerous fashion and sneaker magazines because of his ability to unexpectedly match sneakers with clothing.

Together with his own collection, Tucker has made use of his platform to support sneaker culture and give back to the neighborhood. In order to promote charitable initiatives, such as auctions or donations to support impoverished youngsters or social justice issues, he has collaborated with sneaker brands.


In conclusion, NBA players do change sneakers frequently. NBA players will keep wearing new sneakers because it’s not worth their time and effort to go through a shoe-breaking-in process, especially since they’re already used to brand new shoes! NBA games are all about personal style so NBA won’t want worn-down sneakers as this would be a bad image for them.

Remember, newer isn’t always better, but sometimes having a fresh pair of basketball shoes is necessary. It all comes down to personal preference – why don’t you let us know your thoughts in the comments?


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