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Can You Wear Basketball Shoes for Volleyball?

Can You Wear Basketball Shoes for Volleyball?

Jerico John Bucasas |


Let's face it, selecting the right footwear is vital for any sport, especially in a game like volleyball, which demands agility, speed, and precision.

Many athletes make the mistake of wearing basketball shoes for volleyball games. However, what they fail to realize is the fact that even though both basketball and volleyball are court sports, they have distinct characteristics. Basketball requires continuous running, abrupt directional changes, and frequent jumping. Conversely, volleyball demands swift lateral movements, constant jumping for spikes and blocks, and rapid diving to make saves.

While basketball shoes are good for volleyball, they may not ensure the same level of performance as volleyball-specific shoes.

Not to mention, when it comes to agility and flexibility, volleyball shoes are better than basketball shoes due to their lightweight design.

Even though basketball shoes can solve some of the requirements of volleyball players, can they double as volleyball footwear? Let’s dive into the world of basketball and volleyball footwear to explore this question.

Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes: How Are They Different?

While there's no denying that basketball shoes can be used for volleyball, they may not ensure the most optimal performance or protection for volleyball’s unique movements and demands.

Even though both sports demand a great level of lateral movement, jumping, as well as quick direction changes, the specific movements and stresses on the feet and ankles can vary. Volleyball demands a lot of jumping and landing, that can put a strain on the heels and  necessitate more cushioning as well as support in that area.

On the other hand, basketball shoes may have more heel support as well as cushioning for jumping and landing, but they might not have as much as required support or traction for lateral movements. Let's explore the key differences between volleyball shoes and basketball shoes.

  • Manufacturing Processes and Techniques: While basketball shoes and volleyball shoes are not designed differently, they are manufactured in ways that are poles apart. Unlike basketball shoes, which support a lot of vertical jumping, volleyball shoes have to support sharp lateral movements and provide more flexibility, which leads to a difference in how they are manufactured.
  • Bottom Soles: While the soles of the basketball shoes are made of traditional rubber, those of volleyball shoes are made of gum rubber. Volleyball shoes are easily compatible with any surface, while basketball shoes suit track and court surfaces. Gum rubber used in volleyball shoes is non marking, leaving no scuff mark on the court, though the regular rubber soles used in basketball shoes can harm volleyball court surfaces, which can be dangerous for players.
  • Traction and Stability: Considering the fact that basketball shoes are not as grippy as volleyball shoes, they can impair a player’s capability to stop and start quickly. The volleyball shoes have a robust and flexible design that clamps your feet during side-to-side actions.
  • Stiffness vs. Agility: One of the major differences between basketball shoes and volleyball shoes is basketball shoes are manufactured using thick, leathery materials that make them more stiff compared to volleyball shoes. Besides, stiffness reduces agility and flexibility, which does not work in volleyball.

Why are volleyball shoes better than basketball shoes for volleyball?

It goes without saying, that wearing basketball shoes for volleyball could compromise grip and stability, making it an unwise choice for volleyball players. Besides, playing in the wrong shoes will not only reduce your performance, but will likely lead to some sort of injury. Read on to find out five reasons why volleyball shoes are better than basketball for volleyball.

  • Lightweight and Faster Movement: Unlike basketball shoes, which are made for one-foot jumpers for heavy jumps, volleyball footwear soles are less weightier, move faster, and can accomplish a much higher jump.
  • Less Impact on Forefoot: In addition to being lightweight and offering swift movement, volleyball shoes also have a lesser impact on the forefoot, while basketball has a higher influence on the ankles. Furthermore, Basketball soles are made for better ankle support, while volleyball soles cushion the forefoot for jumps.
  • Better Cushioning: When compared to volleyball shoes, basketball shoes generally have more cushioning in the heel. Furthermore, the cushioning in basketball reduces flexibility and agility, making such shoes unsuitable for volleyball matches.
  • Improved Ankle Support: The right ankle support can make or break a volleyball player’s performance. While volleyball shoes do not have high ankle support like some basketball shoes, they have a mid-cut design. This ensures a balance between ankle stability and flexibility, which is excellent for lunging and digging. Lunging and digging in volleyball require explosive movements with quick direction changes, and balance between ankle stability and flexibility is a must. It is not so in basketball.
  • Breathability: Ventilation is an essential component of volleyball shoes which contributes significantly to the shoes' comfort, performance, and durability. The mesh or the vent in the upper portion of the volleyball shoes prevents foot discomfort  and overheating by ensuring better breathability.


At the end of the day, choosing the right footwear is crucial for any sport. Basketball shoes for volleyball may offer a temporary solution for casual players, but they need specific design features for volleyball courts. Investing in the right pair of shoes for the right sport isn’t just about following the norm. It’s an issue of functionality, safety, and getting the edge you need in volleyball. Whether you're a seasoned player or just getting started, making sure you’re lacing up the right pair of shoes can take your volleyball game to the next level.