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Can indoor basketballs be used outside?

Indoor basketballs are made from softer materials than basketball made for outdoor use. Therefore, indoor basketballs will wear and tear quicker and are therefore not suited for use outdoors.

Outdoor basketball courts are mostly made of concrete flooring. Indoor basketballs are called such because their materials are suited for smoother surfaces like the wooden parquet floor.

Once you play with indoor basketballs outside, its materials will most likely tear or crack from the rough concrete surface.

Therefore, it’s better to let indoor basketballs remain on the hardwood.

Is there a difference between Indoor and Outdoor Basketballs?

The main difference between an indoor and outdoor basketball is the exterior material used for the ball. Primarily, indoor basketballs are made of full-grain leather. Outdoor basketballs are made from either rubber or composite leather.

indoor basketballs outside

The surface of indoor basketballs is smoother and more slippery than outdoor basketballs(2).

To determine in a shop if the basketball is for indoors or outdoors, an outdoor basketball usually has a better grip than its indoor counterparts.

Normally, it also says on the ball what type of context it’s meant to be played in.

And you can also find balls that are made for both – however, these are not as good as their specialised alternatives.

What is the Best Basketball for Outdoor use?

The most popular brand of outdoor basketball is Spalding, which is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

There are numerous variants of Spalding outdoor basketballs(1). Here are the top three tried and tested basketballs on the streets:

1. Spalding NBA Street
2. Spalding NBA ZI/O
3. Spalding HexaGrip

Can Composite Leather Basketballs be used Outside?

There are two types of materials used for outdoor basketballs. One of them is composite leather. Therefore, composite leather basketballs can definitely be used outside.

However, composite leather basketballs are also the more expensive option, compared to rubber(3).

They are more versatile, as you can use them both indoors and outdoors. If we factor that in, maybe composite leather basketballs are better in quality.

You can use them at any type of basketball court.

Is it Okay to play Basketball in the Rain?

In general, it is okay to play basketball in the rain. It’s not recommended, if you’re looking to keep your ball longer or if you don’t want to get injured.

Playing basketball in the rain increases the risk of getting your knee or ankle hurt because the ground is more slippery than normal.

Therefore, you will lack stability when you jump or land on your feet.

Wet surfaces could also wear your ball faster because of the moisture and temperature.

However, if you insist on playing basketball in the rain, I suggest you use a composite leather basketball. When wet, rubber basketballs tend to become more slippery than leather.

Which Brand is Best for Basketball?

Spalding is still the most popular brand in basketball. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best.

Thanks to the popularity of the NBA, people tend to think of Spalding first when it comes to the brand of basketball.

On a global scale, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) uses Molten as the official basketball for international tournaments.

That includes the Olympics and the World Cup of Basketball.

The top 5 basketballs being recommended by most players are as follows:

  1. Spalding
  2. Molten
  3. Wilson
  4. Mikasa
  5. Adidas

User-generated reviews are great at pointing you in the direction of the very best basketballs.

Check out the best rated basketballs on Amazon with 4 stars or more.

Is playing Basketball on Concrete bad?

People frequently play on outdoor basketball courts. They are more accessible to the many than indoor courts, and you can see them at every park down the street.

Outdoor floors are made of concrete, therefore playing basketball on concrete is very common.

It is not bad, but it does pose a greater risk for the player and the basketball itself.

Due to the rough surface, outdoor basketballs get replaced more often than indoor basketballs.

Choose basketballs specifically made for street basket and outdoor use to make it last longer and be more fun to play with.

Your basketball shoes will also bear the brunt of their wear and tear because of higher friction.

As far as the players are concerned, you cannot dive for the loose ball on a concrete floor. The result would be a huge gash on your skin or other injuries.

Because concrete is solid, your knees take a harder impact each time you land, compared to the hardwood.

Expect your knees to hurt if you play more often outdoors and make sure to leave time for proper rest in between matches.

Best Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

While composite leather basketballs can be used both indoors and outdoors, not all brands have the same consistency when you play on both types of floors.

Some brands suddenly change their quality when taken outdoors, while others remain as efficient when used on wood or on concrete.

We mentioned a while ago that Spalding NBA Street is the best outdoor basketball.

But if you intend to use it for both indoors and outdoors, would you still be satisfied?

Could there be a brand or type of basketball that you can use on any terrain, and enjoy equally?

This is where outdoor basketballs have an advantage. You will have the same longevity with outdoor basketballs when used indoors.

However, the same cannot be said for indoor basketballs.

Rubber basketballs also don’t have the same bounce on wood. That’s why indoor/outdoor basketballs are your best option.

According to a survey, here are the best basketballs that can be used both indoors and outdoors, using the same ball(4):

  1. Wilson Evolution Game
  2. Spalding NBA ZI/O
  3. Wilson NCAA Replica Game
  4. Baden Crossover Flex Composite
  5. Under Armour 395 Indoor/Outdoor
  6. Molten X Series FIBA Approved
  7. Mikasa BX 1000 Premium
  8. Under Armour 495 Indoor/Outdoor

Learn more about the best outdoor/indoor basketballs by browsing the highest rated ones right here.

Can you wear Outdoor Basketball shoes Indoors?

Definitely. The design and dynamics for outdoor basketball shoes can also be applied indoors.

In fact, the traction for the sole is the only difference in terms of design. And it can withstand any type of surface.

There are no compromises when using outdoor basketball shoes indoors. Although, make sure they’re clean and free from stones that can damage the vinyl flooring.

How about indoor shoes outside?

Like indoor basketballs, indoor basketball shoes will not last long if used outside.

The rough surface of the concrete will cause a higher friction rate.

Therefore, the soles of your shoes will wear out approximately 50% faster.

Playing basketball Indoor vs. Outdoor

There are distinct differences between the two types of basketball courts. First, the floor surface is very different.

Second, you will need to use a specific basketball suited for your venue.

Lastly, the basketball rims are also different from each other.

If you’ve played on both types of basketball courts, you may not feel the difference.

Floor surface

Indoor basketball floors are typically made of hardwood. In other countries, some gym owners replace hardwood with vinyl on top of the concrete instead as a cheaper alternative.

Vinyl-coated floors are thin, so it’s almost as hard as concrete. But the surface is as smooth as the wooden parquets.

Outdoor basketball floors are made of concrete. Its surface is rougher, as it also intends to keep the traction in case of a wet spot due to rain.

Some outdoor basketball courts are furnished with rubberized paint to make the texture less rough while keeping the traction.

Compared to hardwood or vinyl, concrete presents more potential injuries with the risk of getting cut.

Your ball and shoes will have a shorter life span as well if you consistently play on concrete.

Basketball Gear and Equipment

When playing outdoors, the first thing you want to do is to avoid scratches on your skin,

Especially on your knees or elbows. You may opt to wear knee or elbow pads on the playground. Although, it’s not needed if you’re on a budget.

As mentioned earlier, there’s also a huge difference in the grip for both the ball and the shoes.

For the ball, it’s best to purchase an indoor/outdoor basketball and try to get used to it.

Changing from one type of ball to another might affect your game. An outdoor basketball is usually more slippery than an indoor basketball.

As for the shoes, get an outdoor-friendly basketball shoe. There won’t be any different if you use it indoors.

Basketball Rim and Backboard

Because of the constant change in weather, basketball rims outdoors tend to wear faster than indoor basketball hoops.

The weaker a rim gets over time, the more forgiving result in every shot. Unlike a strong rim, if you miss, there’s less chance you get a lucky bounce. Hit the iron, and it will only take one bounce before it goes back out.

As far as backboards are concerned, indoor backboards are made from see-through plexiglass.

On the other hand, most outdoor backboards are either made from wood or steel. You won’t get distracted when you’re pulling up from the center spot outdoors because of the plain sight of the backboard.

Unlike in indoor gymnasiums, people can go behind the backboard to distract you from your free throws.

In short, it’s easier to score when playing outdoor basketball. Unless, of course, it’s raining or snowing.


  1. The Best Outdoor Basketballs:
  2. The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Basketballs:
  3. Advantages of Composite Basketballs:
  4. Best Indoor/Outdoor Basketballs:
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