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What is Traveling in Basketball?

Last Updated June 17, 2024 Last Updated October 18, 2023 by Edward Pullen

Basketball is a sport that combines athleticism, strategy, and finesse, where players move fluidly across the court, showcasing their skills in dribbling, passing, and shooting.

But within this dynamic game, there’s a fine line between dazzling footwork and committing a “travel,” a violation that halts the ball and awards the opposing team possession.

Let’s break down the concept of traveling in basketball, explore its nuances, and address some common misconceptions.

What is a Travel in Basketball?

What is Traveling in Basketball?

Imagine this: a player gains possession of the basketball, takes a step, then another, and suddenly, it seems they’ve teleported across the court. That, dear readers, is a travel – a fundamental violation in basketball.

A travel occurs when a player holding the ball takes too many steps without dribbling. The basic rule of thumb is that a player can take one step after gathering the ball and then pivot on one foot, but subsequent steps without dribbling are a no-go.

What is Traveling in Sports?

Traveling isn’t unique to basketball; it’s a violation in various sports. Essentially, traveling moves illegally with the ball, exceeding the allowed number of steps or strides.

Whether it’s soccer, football, or basketball, the core principle remains the same: players must adhere to certain movement limitations to maintain fairness and uphold the integrity of the game.

Is Dragging Your Feet a Travel?

Ah, the age-old question: Does dragging your feet constitute a travel? The answer is both yes and no, depending on the context. In basketball, dragging your pivot foot (the foot you keep planted while pivoting) before starting your dribble is not considered travel.

However, lifting that pivot foot before dribbling commences is a travel. So, while dragging your feet might not be travel, it could set the stage for one if not executed correctly.

Unisex Basketball Shoes: A Trio of Court-Ready Kicks For a Travel-Free Play

Having the right pair of shoes is a slam-dunk necessity when dominating the basketball court. Unisex options provide an inclusive solution, catering to players of all genders.

Check out these three prominent brands—Under Armour, adidas, and Nike—each offering their unique take on the ultimate basketball shoe. From cutting-edge technology to standout designs, these shoes have covered you from tip-off to final buzzer.

1. Under Armour Unisex-Adult Jet ’23 Basketball Shoe: Elevated Performance

“Best in Durability and Explosive Takeoffs”

Under Armour Unisex-Adult Jet '23 Basketball Shoe

Key Features:

  • Mixed-material upper for durability, breathability, and support
  • Plush foam sockliner for enhanced comfort
  • Full-length Micro G midsole for explosive takeoffs
  • Anatomical traction pattern on the durable rubber outsole
  • Standard lace-up design


  • Exceptional durability, ideal for intense play
  • Comfortable fit with the foam sockliner
  • Provides explosive takeoffs, thanks to the Micro G midsole
  • Reliable grip and flexibility with the traction pattern
  • Stylish design with various color options


  • Some users found the sizing to be slightly off
  • Limited availability in some sizes and colors

2. adidas Unisex-Adult Dame 7 Extply Basketball Shoe: Speed Redefined

“Match Your Quick Movement and Lightweight Agility”

adidas Unisex-Adult Dame 7 Extply Basketball Shoe

Key Features:

  • Lightweight textile upper for flexibility
  • Regular fit with lace closure
  • adidas Lightstrike midsole for dynamic, lightweight movement
  • Rubber outsole for traction
  • Unisex sizing (women should size down 1 to 1.5 sizes)


  • Swift movement enabled by lightweight construction
  • Optimal fit and secure closure with lace design
  • Dynamic movement facilitated by Lightstrike midsole
  • Reliable traction with the rubber outsole
  • Unisex sizing ensures inclusivity


  • Sizing adjustment might be necessary for women
  • Limited color options compared to other brands

3. Nike Jordan Unisex-Adult Basketball Shoes: Control and Style Combined

“Level Up Your Controlled Movement and Iconic Style”

Nike Jordan Unisex-Adult Basketball Shoes

Key Features:

  • True-to-size fit for accuracy
  • Synthetic upper with computer-generated outsole pattern
  • Rubber sole for enhanced control
  • Variety of stylish color options
  • Iconic Jordan brand


  • Accurate sizing for consistent fit
  • Unique computer-generated outsole pattern for versatile movement
  • Enhanced control on the court with the rubber sole
  • Stylish and iconic design with Jordan branding
  • Array of color options for personalization


  • Few users experienced minor discomfort during the break-in period
  • Limited availability in certain sizes

Choosing Your Perfect Pair to Upgrade Your Next Play!

Unisex basketball shoes are the embodiment of versatility and inclusivity on the court. Under Armour’s Jet ’23 stands out with its durability and explosive takeoffs, making it a reliable choice for intense play. adidas’ Dame 7 Extply redefines speed with its lightweight construction and dynamic midsole, catering to those seeking quick movement. Nike’s Jordan Basketball Shoes offer controlled movement and iconic style, perfect for players who want both performance and aesthetics.

Remember, the best basketball shoe for you depends on your playing style, preferences, and priorities. Whether you’re chasing after rebounds, making swift crossovers, or showing off your style, these unisex shoes have something to offer for everyone. So, lace up, hit the court, and let your feet do the talking!

What are the Examples of Traveling?

To better grasp the concept, let’s dive into some common scenarios that often result in travels:

  • The Extra Shuffle: Picture a player catching the ball and shuffling their feet like they’re doing the electric slide. If those shuffles exceed the permitted steps, it’s a travel.
  • The Hesitation Hustle: Sometimes, players attempt a quick hesitation move, hoping to outwit their defender. However, it’s a clear travel if this maneuver leads to extra steps without dribbling.
  • The Leaping Leap: A player jumps to make a pass or shot but lands on both feet simultaneously or one foot after another. If those steps post-jump are more than one, it’s a travel.

What is the Difference Between Carrying and Traveling in Basketball?

Another point of confusion in basketball is distinguishing between carrying and traveling. Carrying, often called “palming,” occurs when a player’s hand is under the ball while dribbling, giving them an unfair advantage. On the other hand, traveling pertains to the player’s movement with the ball. While both infractions are violations, they address different aspects of ball handling.

What Do NBA Players Do When Traveling?

Even the pros aren’t immune to the occasional travel call. Despite their exceptional skills, NBA players sometimes push the boundaries of footwork. However, the top players also exhibit remarkable control over their movements, often performing fancy footwork well within the rules.

Why is Traveling Sometimes Overlooked?

You might wonder why some travels seemingly go unnoticed by referees. In fast-paced games like basketball, it can be challenging for referees to catch every infraction, especially when players move swiftly.

Additionally, the “gather step” concept contributes to this perception. The gather step allows players to establish their pivot foot, often leading to a slight delay before they start their actual move. This momentary pause can sometimes create confusion about whether a travel has occurred. Here’s a short clip of tips on how to never travel again.

Bottom Line

In a basketball game, traveling is a critical violation that underscores the importance of fair play. While it might seem like a complex rule, grasping the essence of traveling enhances your appreciation for the sport.

Next time you watch a game, pay attention to those nimble steps and quick pivots – you’ll likely spot the travels and gain a new understanding of this fundamental aspect of basketball.