What is the Best Material for Indoor Basketballs?

Basketballs can be made for specific types of courts and are usually classified into indoor and outdoor basketballs with some being designated for both types of courts. They’re manufactured in the same way but the exterior materials used are usually different. Each type of exterior material is used for specific purposes and has their own benefits and drawbacks. In general, the best material for an indoor basketball is something that will offer a consistent bounce, withstand frequent use, and be easy to grip during a game.

What is the Best Material for Indoor Basketballs

Material Options for Indoor Basketballs

Unlike outdoor basketballs, indoor basketballs don’t need to be extremely hard and durable since they will only be used on indoor courts instead of rough outdoor courts. They also won’t be exposed to the elements as much as outdoor balls so they won’t wear out easily as long as they’re used solely on indoor courts.

Every basketball follows a standard structural design but different dimensions are used depending on the division of play or the age of the players for which the ball is being designed. Similarly, the exterior design including the number of panels used, the colors used, and the way the panels are situated can be different depending on the manufacturer. The most popular choices for the exterior materials of a basketball are leather, synthetic leather, and rubber.


This is the preferred material for the basketballs used in the professional leagues like the NBA and the WNBA as well as in the Olympics and the NCAA. This is because of the quality of the material as well as its superior feel. The leather used for basketballs is full-grain vegetable tanned cowhide featuring a rounded pebble surface. Sometimes a lower quality split leather material is used instead of the more expensive full-grain leather but this doesn’t feel quite the same.

Leather is softer than the other exterior materials used for basketballs. This means that it can scuff or tear easier if improperly used or mistreated. For example, if you own a leather basketball and play with it on an outdoor court, it will quickly fall apart as the rough court will scuff the leather easily which will lead to tears that will ruin the ball. This is why these balls should only be used on indoor courts.

Synthetic Leather

This is a man-made leather composite material that is usually made from polyurethane. The material is made in a way that duplicates the way leather fibers look and feel so the basketballs can mimic the more expensive genuine leather balls. Synthetic leather is a more durable material that can withstand both indoor and outdoor play without deteriorating quickly. It is also a little harder than real leather so its bounce is a little stronger on indoor courts.

Since it is meant to be used outdoors as well, these basketballs won’t absorb as much water as the genuine leather balls can.  Similarly, they won’t scuff and tear as easily as leather basketballs making them a better value overall.

These types of basketballs are the best choice if you plan on playing basketball on both indoor and outdoor courts. By choosing this type of material you can save yourself some money by not needing to purchase one ball for an indoor court and another ball for an outdoor setting.


While mainly thought of for outdoor basketballs, rubber can be used for indoor balls too. This is the most durable exterior material making it more suitable for outdoor courts like asphalt and concrete. Since these balls are harder by nature of the material, they have a stronger bounce when used indoors and can be a little harder to handle than the other options. It is, however, the most affordable making it a great option for beginners who aren’t ready to pay the hefty asking prices for leather balls.

Best Material for Indoor Basketballs

Different Basketball Sizes for Different Groups

As mentioned earlier, there are different designs and dimensions for basketballs that depend on how they’ll be used. There are three main sizes manufactured for standard play: a youth size, a women’s size, and the standard regulation size. There are also smaller sizes that are used for specific age groups.

  • Size 7 basketball: the standard size used by most professional leagues and the recommended size for boys over the age of 15. It measures 29.5 inches in circumference and weighs around 22 ounces.
  • Size 6 basketball: the official standard size of the WNBA and recommended for boys between the ages of 12 and 14, this basketball measures anywhere from 28.5 inches to 29 inches in circumference and weighs around 20 ounces.
  • Size 5: recommended for players under the age of 12 (usually between the ages of 9 and 11), these basketballs measure around 27.25 inches in circumference and weighs around 17 ounces.
  • Size 4: while not a popular option, this size is ideal for players ranging from 5 to 8 years old. It measures 25.5 inches in circumference and weighs about 14 ounces.
  • Size 3: known as the “mini basketball” this is best for children between 4 and 8 years old. It measures 22 inches in circumference and weighs about 10 ounces.
  • Size 1: sometimes called the “micro-mini basketball” this is recommended for young children between the ages of 2 and 4. It measures 16 inches in circumference and weighs around 8 ounces.


The Manufacturing Process

The exteriors of basketballs are created as the third step in the manufacturing process (after the bladder and carcass of the ball are made). The given material is unrolled on a long table from one continuous roll before a silk screen moves along the length of the material with metal markers acting as guides to measure out the proper length of material for each individual ball. The outlines for the panels of the exterior are imprinted by hand using the silkscreen. From there, a punch press cuts out the outlines leaving six individual panels.

Those panels are collected and carried to a vulcanizer where channels will be created between the panels. Here, embossed information on the exterior will also be added. The panels are then assembled by hand in the vulcanizer before they’re applied to the bladder and carcass of the ball. After the ball comes out as smooth as possible, decals or similar design elements are added by hand with the help of heat presses. Any flaws can be fixed after going through an initial inspection.


Out of the three exterior materials used to make basketballs, the subtle winner is the synthetic leather material. This is simply because it’s durable enough for frequent use and can also withstand the abuse from an outdoor court better than genuine leather. That being said, some players prefer the way a genuine leather basketball feels during a game making it difficult to choose which one is the better option. Overall, the material of your indoor basketball is mainly subjective and should fit your personal needs and preferences.

How to Buy the Right Kid’s Basketball Shoes

Kid’s basketball shoes or youth basketball shoes come in many colors, styles, brands and designs. In most cases, your child may want may want you to purchase their basketball shoes for them because of the way they look, their friends think they are the best basket ball shoes or because their favorite basketball player may be wearing them. While this may seem like a valid reason for them to believe that is the reason that you should be buying “that pair” of basketball shoes for them, it is not the most important one. The most important criteria you should use when buying kid’s basketball shoes are how well it supports your child’s ankle and how do they fit.

This reason is extremely important as your child is still growing and because of this they have a greater chance of being injured. Therefore, it suggested that when buying a basketball shoe for your child that you purchase ones that are high-tops. The reason for this is the high-tops provide additional support to the ankle. This additional support will provide stability to your child’s ankle and can reduce the likelihood of your child twisting their ankle; therefore, reducing injury.

Kids Basketball Shoes

Another import element in addition to the basketball shoe being a high-top shoe is that the shoe fit properly. The basketball shoe should fit your child’s foot snug; however, not be too tight. If the shoe is too loose, your child could develop:

  • Blisters
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Knee, ankle and or hip injuries

Why Tying Your Basketball Shoes Correctly Matters

It is also important to make sure your child’s basketball shoes are tied correctly. If they are tied loosely they will not provide the stability that is needed to protect their ankles and can lead to one of the issues listed above. Additionally, if they come undone they can cause your child or someone they are playing with to trip and fall. Therefore, possibly leading to other injuries such as a broken hand and or finger.

Treads Matter

The grip of your child’s basketball shoe is another aspect to consider when buying their shoes. They will be running up and down the court and cutting back and forth; therefore, they need to be able to stop and cut without slipping. This will be true for any playing surface such; however, it is extremely important if they will be playing on a wood court – as wood courts can be slippery due to sweat or dirt.

Where Should You Buy Your Basketball Shoes?

Many of the same basketball shoe stores and websites that sell basketball shoes for adults also sell kid’s basketball shoes. However, you should make sure that the store or website can answer any questions that you may have about the shoes you are looking to buy. They should also be able to provide suggestions and point out the key features and construction of the shoes. If they cannot, we suggest you move onto another store or website that can. You should be ready to spend anywhere between $50 and $125 dollars for your child’s basketball shoes. The price will vary based on brand, popularity and if endorsed by a professional basketball player – such as Lebron James shoes.

Best Basketball Insoles

Basketball is a high-demanding game with lots of physical action, contact and high jumps. In order for the NBA players to avoid injuries or at least to decrease the amount and severity of them, the players use insoles in their shoes. Let’s examine which the best basketball insoles are. Those insoles are used by several professional athletes but also from amateur players. The use of insoles is a must for any professional basketball player, especially in the NBA, where the load on the athlete’s body is huge.

Best Basketball Insole

Benefits of Insoles

Below, I’ve nicely summarized the benefits of insoles for basketball shoes, benefits that also ring true for running shoes and other sports.

  • Feet are less likely to feel sore after a workout or a game.
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved arch support for your feet.
  • Shoes will last longer, feeling like a new pair for much more time.
  • Helps with running on numerous different surfaces, such as those of a basketball court, whether indoors or outdoors.


Mega Sole Insoles

One of the most recommended insoles for professional athletes and basketball players. Megasole has an ergonomic design and it can greatly reduce the shock the player’s body absorbs when jumping and landing. They have special design and they include a dual layer of memory foam. They also allow the player’s foot temperature to remain at good levels and their cushion is designed so the vibration is reduced.


Sof Sole Insoles

Sofsole is a high quality insole for men and women who play basketball. They help the athlete stabilize his or her foot and that can greatly help them reduce injuries. When you get that feeling a few weeks into a new pair of shoes that they just don’t feel the same as when you bought them, it is probably because of the insoles, and buying new ones can help to tackle this. It also helps the athlete reduce the impact of a strong contact and reduce the stress that a jump invokes. The lightweight polymer gel they include helps towards that direction. The Sofsole also include an arch plate that helps in the conversion of shocks into speed when an athlete is running in the game.

Classic Insole

Classic Insole

This is a classic option when it comes to insoles. They are made of 100% Sorbothane and they provide protection and comfort as they absorb 94.7% of the shock. They also have a great arch support, which helps decreasing the stress of the joints and the tendons in the knee. Those insoles can greatly help an athlete protect his ankles and reduce the possibility of a severe injury in any part of the leg.

Ultra Work / Sport Insole
These insoles are made of molded polyurethane foam, which offer great foot support, but they also have Sorbothane to help absorbing the shock. These insoles can greatly reduce the stress and the load in the lower parts of the body and are custom-made for many professional athletes.