Are Basketball Shoes Non Marking?

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Basketball is usually played indoors. It uses hardwood court surfaces and sometimes a rubberized court. Shoes that aren’t non-marking can cause damage to these types of courts. That’s why it’s important to use non-marking basketball shoes. 

Are Basketball Shoes Non-Marking?

There are different types of basketball shoes and not all of them are non-marking. Indoor basketball shoes are made as non-marking basketball shoes as they’re intended for indoor court use. 

Outdoor basketball shoes, on the other hand, usually aren’t made non-marking. They’re made for hard concrete and asphalt so the rubber is hard. This can leave a mark on the smooth hardwood floors. 

A pair of basketball shoes in an indoor court

To sum it up:

  • Indoor basketball shoes are non-marking shoes. They’re designed to be used for indoor hardwood courts
  • Outdoor basketball shoes usually aren’t non-marking. The outsoles need to be sturdy for outdoor use which is why it will often leave marks on a smooth hardwood court

What Are Non-Marking Shoes?

Non-marking shoes are specifically designed for indoor sports such as basketball, badminton, volleyball, handball, and even tennis. They’re not meant for outdoor use as it’s easily susceptible to damage. 

They use a unique rubber sole usually made of gum rubber for excellent traction and grip on a smooth and shiny indoor court surface. These rubbers are usually soft and flexible for indoor use. 

Basketball players in the middle of a game

Non-marking shoes are called as such because they leave no permanent skid or shoe marks on traditional indoor court surfaces. Indoor court surfaces are usually made of wooden or tiled floors. These floors offer great traction but are susceptible to damage from inappropriate gear. 

How Can You Tell if a Shoe is Non-Marking?

Non-marking shoeMarking shoe
Soft and flat soleHarder sole
Soft textureGrainy texture
Leaves no markLeaves mark on a paper sheet

You’re probably now wondering if your basketball shoes are non-marking or not. Testing them out on the court isn’t a great idea as you can damage the wooden floor. There’s actually a simple test to identify non-marking basketball shoes. 

Try making a dent on the outsole. If the dent recovers fast, then the basketball shoes is a non-marking one. Non-marking basketball shoes have soft outsole in order to not put too much friction on the court. 

There’s another way to identify non-marking basketball shoes. Rub the outsole of your basketball shoes on a clean white piece of paper. If the piece of paper doesn’t have any scuff marks on it then it’s a non-marking basketball shoe. If the paper keeps tearing, you can rub the basketball shoe as if you’re writing with the outsole. 

How Do Non-Marking Shoes Affect Basketball?

Non-marking basketball shoes when played on indoor court surfaces provide excellent grip and traction. Yes, outdoor basketball shoes also have great traction. Not as good as non-marking basketball shoes for indoors. Plus, outdoor basketball shoes have a chance of damaging the court you’re playing on. 

Non-marking basketball shoes are better overall for indoor use. The soft rubber goes well against the smooth wooden flooring. These give your feet the traction they need for a killer crossover. 

As a rule of thumb, only use non-marking basketball shoes for indoor court and use outdoor basketball shoes for outdoor play. You’ll help your basketball shoes last longer and keep them in good working condition. 

Basketball players wearing their non marking shoes in an indoor court

Are Non-Marking Shoes Slip Resistant?

Non-marking shoes aren’t slip-resistant at all. The outsoles of non-marking shoes are made of rubber or synthetic rubber. They’re made to prevent leaving black marks on polished hardwood courts. 

Slip-resistant shoes are often called non-slip shoes. Non-slip shoes are shoes that have outsole treads built and designed to give better traction on slippery surfaces compared to normal shoes. 

Non-slip shoes are often used for jogging or walking, especially if you don’t know if the surface is going to be dry or wet. Non-slip shoes come in handy in these situations. Non-marking shoes are preferred for playing indoor sports. You don’t want to damage the court and it’s also always dry. 

Non-Marking Shoes in Other Sports

While you might think that all non-marking shoes are the same, they’re a lot different than you think. Non-marking shoes are made mainly to prevent scratches and marks on indoor court surfaces. Non-marking shoes have different designs for every indoor sport. 

Every indoor sport demands different things from the body. For example, basketball requires you to run a lot and jump as much as you can. Volleyball requires you to dive for balls and jump high for an attack. Badminton requires great footwork and agility. 

Non-marking shoes are designed to enhance your movement that’s important for their intended sports. Therefore, you can’t just nonchalantly use non-marking basketball shoes for any other sports. 

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about non-marking basketball shoes.

How Can You Tell if Shoes Are Non-marking?

To know whether your shoes are non-marking or not, you can rub them against a sheet of white paper. If you do this, the shoes could leave a mark on the paper, meaning they are marking shoes. If not, they are simply not.

Are Running Shoes the Same as Non-marking Shoes?

No. Although running shoes are mostly non-marking, they are not the same as non-marking shoes. In fact, it is not recommended to wear non-marking shoes outdoors as it could easily damage their sole.

If you want to go running, just wear running shoes.

What Is the Difference Between a Non-marking Basketball Shoe and a Normal Shoe?

A normal shoe has a harder sole with a lot of texture, so it can leave a black mark on the floor. On the other hand, a non-marking basketball shoe has softer and flatter soles, preventing them from leaving a mark.

On top of that, basketball shoes have characteristics that improve the player’s mobility, sprint speed, and traction.


Basketball shoes can be non-marking. However, not all of them. Indoor basketball shoes specifically are non-marking since they’re designed for indoor court play. Non-marking basketball shoes prevent marks and scratches on the court so you’ll be able to play confidently. 

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.