NBA Roundtable: How Many Times Do You Play in the Same Shoe?

Find out how often NBA players go through their game sneakers.


NBA athletes enjoy quite a few luxuries that most people don’t. On top of the fact that they actually get paid to play basketball; they also have world class training facilities, get to travel the world, and, of course, access to a seemingly limitless supply of game shoes. But just because they can wear a new pair every game, doesn’t mean they actually want to. As you’ll see below, there’s a number of different factors involved. Check out what these NBA players had to say on the topic.

Player: Matt Barnes

Team: Los Angeles Clippers

“I probably go two games or three at the most. They start slipping. We kinda get spoiled. Growing up, you have to wear the same pair all season. Once you become a pro, they’re almost endless. Being around so long, you really kinda feel that you start loosing the grip after two or three games, and that’s when I change.”


Player: Norris Cole

Team: New Orleans Pelicans

“Maybe two games. I like the tight fit of a new shoe. I go through about 50 pairs in a season.”


Player: Justin Holiday

Team: Golden State Warriors

“It depends. I’m the type of person that can play in a new shoe every day, but it just depends on if we’re on the road for a while and how many we might have in stock. But I guess I go a week for sure. The shoe loosens up and gets too much space in it. I like my shoes tighter. When they’re new, they feel a little tighter. And my black ones get really scuffed in the toe too, so I don’t like how that looks. [laughs]”


Player: Isaiah Thomas

Team: Boston Celtics

“I play two or three games. My shoes always rip on the side. Maybe four at the most. But around two or three games, depending on how many minutes I play.”


Player: Jarrett Jack

Team: Brooklyn Nets

“Probably four or five, then I’ll sign them and maybe throw them in the crowd. I like the shoe to fit really, really snug on my foot. So, you know, after you’ve played in a couple games and did a number of cuts and ran up and down so many times, the shoe starts to loosen a little bit. And then they start to get some scuffs on them too. I’ve always gotta keep them fresh. You know how that goes.:


Player: Klay Thompson

Team: Golden State Warriors

“I switch shoes about every 12 games. They just wear out.”


Player: C.J. Miles

Team: Indiana Pacers

“I actually play a few times. I like to feel like I can get a groove in them. Llike when I feel I really get them broken in. I play in them until they get soft. That’s my biggest thing. When they get soft is when I have to change. I play a few games in them. I don’t change every game because I hate the brand new and stiff feel. A lot of them just sit in my locker. Throughout the year there might be a kid that asks for a pair of shoes, and sometimes I’ll come back and get them.”


Player: Rodney Stuckey

Team: Indiana Pacers

“I probably play in my sneakers about 10 times and then I’ll switch them out. They get too loose and too stretchy, so it’s time to switch them out. About halfway through through those games [they feel] the best. I wish they could be that way all the time. And then I wouldn’t have to switch them out. I keep them for a while, then I’ll pass them out, or give them to some kids.”


Player: Anderson Varajao

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

“I play until they break out. I don’t change shoes like that. I could go 20 or 25 games. Maybe more if they don’t break. I don’t know if it’s because of the way I grew up, and had to wear the same pair for a long time. Sometimes I had to repair it. I don’t see why not wear the shoes for as long as they hold up. We saved a lot of the first Hyperdunk because I liked it. We didn’t do it right away, but like a year later we got in touch with Nike and tried to get as many as we could.”