Can Basketball Shoes Be Used for the Gym?

Having to keep multiple pairs of shoes around for different activities can be a bit of pain and sometimes you have only one pair of shoes clean and available. So, can basketball shoes be used for the gym?

Yes, basketball shoes can be used for the gym. Basketball shoes can be quite useful for bodybuilding and powerlifting workouts but are not recommended when it comes to running on the treadmill or running long distances due to how heavy they are.

Throughout this article, we will find out why basketball shoes are perfect for some gym activities and not suitable for others. Continue reading so that you can avoid an unnecessary injury or setback while you are in the gym. 

Can Basketball Shoes Be Used for the Gym?

Basketball shoes are a common type of shoes that people wear even if they do not play basketball. When it comes to doing other types of physical activity with them, there are some things you should know first. So, can basketball shoes be used in the gym? 

Basketball shoes can be used in the gym. Most power builders and bodybuilders go for a flat shoe with excellent ankle and heel support for their workouts, which are similarities that basketball shoes have. 

The reason basketball shoes have this ankle and heel support is to help prevent ankle injuries in basketball players while they are sliding and constantly changes directions during games. They also have a thin cushion to keep basketball players’ feet low to the ground.

Another reason why basketball shoes can be used in the gym is because of the bottoms of the shoes. When benching in the gym, it is important that your feet stay planted firmly in position without sliding. Basketball shoes have a rubber bottom with a specific tread pattern that offers maximum traction. Not only does this help you lift more confidently, but it’s also a good safety measure.

Are There Gym Activities to Avoid While Wearing Basketball Shoes?

If basketball shoes are the only option you have, then it is a good idea to understand activities to avoid and why you should avoid them. Having a good shoe to workout in will help to prevent injuries and can also aid in performance while lifting weights.

The one main gym activity you should avoid wearing basketball shoes for is running.

Why You Should Not Use Basketball Shoes for Running

This may seem strange since basketball players are mostly running up and down the court for hours, but basketball shoes do not make the best running shoes.

Basketball shoes are okay for games because running is not a constant like it is when you set a certain amount of time to run. Basketball players have many times during a game where they are completely stopped.

Here are the reasons why basketball shoes are not ideal for running:

  • They are too heavy. Basketball shoes are a little on the heavier side, especially compared to typical running shoes. This design is to help protect basketball players’ joints during games. Basketball shoes are also usually made with heavy material as running shoes are made with breathable materials. The heaviness of the shoe may cause you to get too tired during your run very early on. 
  • The ankle cut is too high for running. The high-cut for basketball shoes is, again, to protect their joints while doing so much movement, but this can be a problem for long-distance running. The high ankle cut can limit the movement in your feet and ankles during runs, which can cause a lot of soreness. 
  • Basketball shoes are not as flexible as running shoes. There is not much need for extra support when a person is simply just running because a running movement is more natural than what basketball players do, so running shoes are more flexible than basketball shoes, which will also be better for a person’s gait. 
  • Basketball shoes do not have much padding in the sole. In basketball shoes, there is padding mainly in the middle of the sole to help protect basketball player’s feet when they are landing or stomping. The rest of the sole will have a little cushion. Running shoes will have a little more padding because running can put tons of extra force on your feet. 

Some people say that if you have no other choice to wear basketball shoes on a day that you need to run that you will likely be fine, but if there is any pain during the run, then you need to stop and go find or purchase some running shoes. 

Do Basketball Shoes Affect Gym Performance?

As mentioned earlier, basketball shoes are made differently with a different design than a typical running shoe. The purpose of the design is to help basketball players on the court during games, but do basketball shoes affect gym performance? 

Basketball shoes certainly can affect performance. It will help you during lifting exercises due to all the characteristics we explained before. As for aerobic exercises such as running, it will most likely reduce your performance, because of the heavier weight of the shoe and its composition.

So, if you are going to the gym only to lift some weights, bringing your basketball shoes is a great option. If you are going to do also aerobic exercises or only aerobic exercises, it is better to bring other type of shoes, such as running shoes.

Can You Wear Running Shoes to Play Basketball?

Now that we know that wearing basketball shoes for running should be avoided, can you wear running shoes to play basketball?

The answer is, technically, yes. Running shoes are okay to play basketball in, but they are not the best option. 

As mentioned above, basketball shoes are designed to protect the ankles and feet, prevent sliding on the court, and protect the soles of the feet from explosive impacts. All of these are design elements that were made to prevent injuries.

Running shoes are simply not made to do any of these things, so using running shoes to play basketball regularly could result in injuries. 

With that being said, a quick game with your running shoes is not likely to cause you any harm. Again, if there is any pain or discomfort, it is best to stop and find some basketball shoes if you wish to continue playing. 


In conclusion, if you a person who enjoys participating in several different physical activities it can be important to remember to pack the appropriate shoes for each activity. If that is simply too much for you, then it is recommended to go with cross-training shoes. 

Basketball shoes can be used in the gym, and they are a common type of shoe for many weightlifters due to their extra support, excellent traction, and a flat sole. These things are what makes basketball shoes unfit to use for running.

Basketball shoes can affect a person’s gait while they are running, which can cause soreness and extra strain on the joints. The flat sole will also not help to protect the feet from constantly hitting the ground. Similarly, running shoes are not the best shoes to wear while playing basketball, since they offer little support and traction.

Either way, as long as you are comfortable, you can certainly wear your basketball shoes to the gym 


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