Indoor vs Outdoor basketball | Rubber ball vs Leather ball

Are you a beginner in basketball sport and want to know the difference between indoor vs. outdoor basketballs? Indoor basketball players may never know the harsh conditions of the outdoors. Similarly, outdoor basketball players also never see the smoothness of hardwood courts. There are different scenarios on both surfaces, and hence we decided to do in-depth research on both types of basketballs and combine them in 1 post.


Wondering if you can play indoor basketball outdoors, the question arises: will the indoor basketball withstand harsh outdoor environments? We’re going to discuss the factors of both basketballs and suggest to you which basketballs are best for both surfaces and which are best according to their courts.

The Main Differences between Indoor leather VS Outdoor Rubber Basketballs

Both indoor and outdoor basketballs don’t look different from each other. But they are manufactured from different materials. These features will help you select your ideal basketballs, but they will also increase the lifespan of the basketballs if you choose them wisely.


The first significant difference between them is the material. The materials of both types of basketballs are different. The indoor basketballs are made with soft Horween leather. They perform optimally on hardwood surfaces, and when you use they release a sweet aroma. They are soft enough to dribble and grippy as well. Their lifespan may last for years as compared to outdoor basketballs.

 For outdoors

Whereas outdoor basketball is made with rubber composite leather material. They withstand the harshness of concrete and rough surfaces. Outdoor courts and streets either have concrete or have asphalt surfaces. Therefore, outdoor basketballs must be durable enough to withstand these court conditions. Outdoor basketballs may feel you a little bit hard. This happens due to its cover material, which is durable for longevity.

Therefore, if you use indoor basketballs outdoors, these courts conditions could ruin the indoor soft basketballs. That is why it’s essential to choose the right basketball.


Whether you’re an indoor player or an outdoor player, you are never willing to buy a basketball after a month. If you want to play outdoor basketball on indoor courts, your basketball is safe to use, but the problem will happen that you won’t get the optimal grip and bounce of the outdoor basketball on a hardwood surface. Similarly, if you want to use indoor basketball on outdoor asphalt streets and courts, your indoor basketball will wear out though indoor basketballs are expensive.

So for outdoors, rubber material basketball is more durable than composite, but the composite is exceptional.

Grip and Performance

Indoor games mostly have challenging tournaments. Therefore, you need more grippy and soft basketball to shoot into the hoop. An excellent indoor basketball may have 35000 pebbles all over the surface. These pebbles help to provide a superior grip on the palms. Moreover, these pebbles will help prevent sweat from your palms; hence the basketball will have a consistent grip while shooting.

For outdoors

On the other hand, outdoor basketballs are designed with large pebbles for picking up less dirt. Their stones are more durable than indoor balls. But they are less grippy when they get dirty.


Even if there is a difference in their manufacturing material, their prices will be different. For example, indoor basketballs are more luxurious and expensive than outdoor basketball because of their significant material difference. Usually, indoor basketballs are more than $50 plus, even though some cross $100.

For outdoors

On the other hand, outdoor basketballs are cheap. They start from $15 to $50 maximum. However, there will always be a difference between their quality and performance. The more you spend, the more quality you will get.

How to Choose the Right Basketball if You Are a Beginner

If you’re a beginner going to step into the basketball sport, we will suggest first practice and polishing your skills with a cheap outdoor basketball. There are 100 different outdoor basketballs, but you will get your choice in our below article. We suggest going with Spalding street phantom and Spalding street outdoor basketball. These basketballs are suitable for beginners to improve their shooting, passing, and dribbling the ball.

Secondly, if you’re going to choose basketball for your kid or your younger siblings, we suggest going with Spalding rookie gear basketball. There are different sizes of basketball out there. For kids and youngers, the suitable size is 5, with a circumference of 26.5.

Rather than spending more dollars on basketball, first, improve your skills if you’re a beginner. And if you’re going to play indoors with your friends, then there is also a variety of cheap indoor basketball available. But, again, we suggest going with a composite leather basketball.

Some Best Brands of Basketballs Today

1. Spalding

Spalding manufactures basketball for the NBA tournaments, and it is also considered the best basketball brand.

2. Wilson

Wilson is also making immersive basketballs for NCAA. They have premium basketballs. Also, Wilson will replace the Spalding NBA official basketball from 2022 in the NBA tournaments.

3. Molten

Molten is also famous for making some FIBA approved basketballs for international games.

4. Nike

Nike is also making some basketballs, but they are less popular. However, their basketball shoes and t-shirts are more famous than basketballs.

Some Best Basketballs for Outdoor Concrete Courts

All outdoor basketballs are durable and sticky because of their cover that withstands outdoor conditions. Below, we have listed some of the best products for the outdoors.

1. Wilson NCAA USA Replica Game Basketball

2: Spalding NBA Zio indoor outdoor basketball “Best foam-backed technology”

3: Spalding NBA Indoor/Outdoor Replica Game Ball “Play like NBA basketball”

4: Spalding NBA Street Phantom Official Outdoor Basketball “Best features with an affordable price”

Check out our detailed review on these basketballs here Best Outdoor Basketball

What is the Best Basketball for Indoor Courts?

Meanwhile, indoor basketballs are more luxurious and soft than outdoor basketballs. Their performance is exceptional on hardwood courts. Spalding NBA official basketball is also an indoor basketball and is one of the most expensive. There are also a variety of basketballs out there. You can check some of them below:

Wilson Evo NXT Indoor Game Basketball “one of the best basketball

Wilson Evolution Game Basketball “high valued professional”

Spalding NBA Official Game Basketball “Original NBA Basketball”

Spalding Precision Indoor Basketball

Check out our detailed review on these basketballs here Best indoor Basketballs

What Is The Best Basketball for indoor and Outdoor Courts?

If you’re not interested in spending on both basketballs, there are also basketballs available that can be used on both courts. However, we used Wilson NCAA replica indoor/outdoor basketball. We didn’t feel much difference in both courts. So you can use it in both courts without any worry.

Wilson Replica NCAA Game Basketball 

Spalding NBA Zi/O Indoor-Outdoor Basketball

Spalding NBA Replica Indoor/Outdoor Game Ball

Molten X-Series Indoor/Outdoor Basketball

Spalding Rookie Gear Indoor/Outdoor Composite

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Can you use outdoor basketball shoes indoors?

You can use an outdoor basketball indoors, but that will not provide superior performance, but still, you can. However, you can’t use an indoor basketball outdoors because soft leather basketball may wear out quickly due to the harshness of asphalt surfaces.

Prepare yourself for outdoor courts by wearing the best outdoor basketball shoes.

Should I get an indoor or outdoor basketball?

Well, this depends upon what type of player you’re. Indoor basketball will be long lasting for years with spending more on it. An outdoor basketball is tacky and complex and will not last for years without spending less on them.

Is there a difference between indoor and outdoor basketball?

Yes, there is a visible difference in both basketballs in their material. Both are crafted with different materials. Outdoor basketball is crafted with durable leather, and indoor basketballs are crafted with composite or full-grain soft leather.

Wrapping up

We hope you have now understood the difference between indoor vs. outdoor basketballs. You can choose the right basketball depending on what type of player. We also recommended you some of the best basketballs and their reviews. You can select them from the beginning to the professional level and enjoy spending less. Happy shooting!

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