Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Basketball

Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Basketball – Guide

Are you a basketball fan curious about knowing the difference between indoor and outdoor basketball? If yes, kudos because you have arrived at the right place. We heard a lot of arguments from professionals about indoor vs outdoor basketballs. That’s why we have decided to give you guys a piece of in-depth and authentic information on both types.

Have you ever thought if you can use an indoor basketball on outdoor courts? If yes, then for how long and is it reliable? We will discuss the best factors and in-depth professional reviews to discover why an indoor basketball cannot be used on outdoor courts. If you want the ball to be used for a longer time and have precision in shooting, it is vital to use the appropriate basketball for designated courts.

Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Basketball – Features Guide

One of the main differences between the two basketballs is that the outer layer of the indoor basketball has a softer surface. On the other hand, the feel of the surface of an outdoor basketball is harder on the outside. Outdoor basketball is played on a hard surface (like concrete) whereas the indoor game is played on a hardwood surface (like a wooden floor).

Visually, if seen from a distance, both the basketballs look identical but still, there are many compelling factors you should consider. These factors affect the longevity of the basketball as well as the performance on the field. Some of the main differences are discussed below.


The obvious difference is in the outer layer of the ball. Indoor basketballs are made from genuine full-grain leather. Using Leather has many advantages over other materials. Leather ball lasts longer, performs well on the hard wooden courts, and gives a good bounce while dribbling. Furthermore, the leather on the outside gives a firm controlled grip to the player.

In the case of Outdoor Basketballs, they are made of composite material or rubber to cope with the outdoor harsh surfaces. Outdoor courts and streets are mainly of concrete; therefore, the ball should be reliable. Due to the hard outer surface of the ball, it may feel a bit hard to the palm.

The harshness of the concrete surface can ruin a high-quality basketball; therefore, you should not use an indoor basketball on an asphalt concrete surface.


No one wants to spend hard-earned money on purchasing a basketball every month. Durability matters a lot whether it is indoor or outdoor basketball. You can use the outdoor basketball on hard wooden indoor courts without harming the ball but it may feel hard on the palm and might not perform well according to expectations. In the case of indoor basketball, it will not last more than an hour on the concrete surface. The leather surface will split and start to have cracks and holes in it. Rubber balls are more reliable on concrete surfaces if compared with composite basketballs.

Performance and Grip

Indoor games are mostly state tournaments and professional competitions, therefore the balls used in these games are designed to deliver the best performance. A good quality indoor basketball has approximately 35000 small pebbles on its surface for better grip. These pebbles help in gripping, shooting, passing the ball, and delivering the best performance even if the hands or the ball is wet with sweat.

In the case of outdoor basketball has big pebbles. These balls are designed to pick up less dirt but once it is dirty or wet the ball gets less grippy eventually resulting in bad performance.


Indoor Balls are more expensive than Outdoor Basketballs thanks to the material used. Some of the good quality indoor basketballs cost more than $100, whereas you can buy a good outdoor basketball for half the price of $50. Price can cause a massive difference in terms of the quality of the ball – more the money you spend on the ball; the better the quality will be!

How to choose the Right Basketball?

If you are a newbie in this sport or you are buying it for your child, you will possibly get confused while choosing the right basketball. There are hundreds of different basketballs available in the market and each of them claims to be the right one for you – so the question is how to decide then?

I made a few mistakes while buying basketballs for my elder son and due to that experience I will advise you not to follow them. If you are a beginner don’t fall for the expensive leather ball (professional basketball players can pick it up according to their needs). You should save money and buy an outdoor basketball to practice shooting, passing, and dribbling.

Don’t forget you are new to this game and there’s the probability of damaging the ball, so spend less, learn some tricks and skills on the streets or in the backyard, get to know the rules of the game, and then go for a good quality ball. In such a scenario go for a composite basketball. They are budget-friendly, reliable, and perform magnificently in both fields.

What is the Best Basketball Brand? Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Basketball

One of the most popular basketball brands is Spalding, and it is considered to be the best basketball brand. Spalding was the provider of basketballs for the NBA Games until last year. Wilson took over in 2021 for the balls used in NBA Games. Wilson is also very popular among High school tournaments in the USA. Some of the best-known basketball brands are as follows

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

Which is the Best Basketball for Outdoor Games?

Outdoor basketballs are reliable and in the beginning, may feel hard on the palm due to their strong cover. Spalding NBA Street is the basketball for you If you are to play on outdoor concrete courts. As the name says “Street” this ball is designed to cope with the harshness of the concrete floor. The top 5 Best Outdoor Basketballs are;

  1. Spalding NBA Street
  2. Spalding NBA Zi/O
  3. Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball
  4. Spalding NBA Street Phantom
  5. Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketballs

Which is the Best Basketball for Indoor Games?

Indoor basketballs are soft and are designed to deliver a gentle grip on hard wooden floors. For indoor games, Spalding NBA Official Game Ball is the best option. This Company used to manufacture the basketballs for NBA Games before it was taken over by Wilson. The top 5 indoor Basketballs are as follows;

  1. Spalding NBA Official Game Ball
  2. Wilson Evolution Game Basketball
  3. Wilson Evo NXT
  4. Nike Elite Championship Official Basketball.
  5. Baden Elite Indoor Game Basketball.

What are the best Indoor Outdoor Basketballs?

Most Amateur players do not want to spend their money on both balls instead they will go for a hybrid ball. There are a few balls that perform well on both outdoor and indoor courts. Spalding NBA Zi/O is the ball you can play with on both courts. We didn’t experience any compelling difference in the performance of the ball. The top 5 Best Indoor Outdoor Basketballs are as follows;

  1. Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor Basketball
  2. Spalding NBA Replica Indoor-Outdoor Basketball
  3. Molten X-Series Indoor-Outdoor Basketball
  4. Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor-Outdoor Composite
  5. Wilson Replica NCCA Game Basketball

Final Verdict

It is essential to know the difference between both balls before buying. If you are not going to play on the wooden floor, there’s no need to spend money on expensive leather basketballs. And, if you want to play both the fields indoors and the outdoor, we recommend buying a composite ball in the beginning.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the difference between Outdoor and Indoor Balls?

The main difference between both basketballs is the outer layer material. Full-grain genuine leather is used on indoor basketballs. Whereas, the outdoor basketballs are made of reliable rubber that can resist the harshness of concrete and provide durability.

Can outdoor basketball shoes be used indoors?

It is not recommended to wear outdoor basketball shoes indoors because of the tough feel. Outdoor basketball shoes have a strong outsole because they are to be used on concrete courts. Although the indoor courts will not affect the longevity, they might be less grippy on the wooden floors. Thus, the focus will be on balancing yourself while playing basketball.

Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Which Basketballs are best for Outdoors?

  • Spalding NBA Street is the best outdoor basketball you can use. Some of the best outdoor basketballs of 2002 are
  • Spalding NBA Street Outdoor Basketball
  • Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor Basketball
  • Wilson Evolution Game Basketball
  • Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball
  • Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketball
  • Spalding NBA Varsity Multi-Color Outdoor Basketball
  • Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor/Outdoor Composite Basketball
  • Molten X-Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball
  • Mikasa BX1000 Premium Rubber Basketball
  • Spalding NBA Street Phantom

Is it dangerous to play basketball outside?

Yes, it can be dangerous for your knees and ankles to play basketball outside. This game requires a lot of jumping and outdoor courts are mostly concrete floors. Hard landings on concrete can cause serious knee injuries like a “jumper’s knee”. Therefore, it is advised to play less basketball on the outdoor courts.

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