Difference Between Volleyball and Basketball Shoes

Just like we buy different outfits for different occasions, events, and daily tasks, we need different shoes for different purposes. The decision on the kind of shoe we wear depends on the activity or task at hand. Different shoes serve different purposes. When it comes to sports, shoes play an immensely important part in our performance as well as physical comfort.

When it comes to volleyball, the footwear trends have changed considerably over the years. In the past, running shoes were worn during the early days of the game. Later research showed how traction and stability were critical for good performance in the sport. As a result, volleyball shoes were introduced in the market.

Difference between Volleyball & Basketball Shoes

Basketball and volleyball are both played on courts, require foot stabilization, and involve lateral movements. However, both these sports have different biomechanical effects on an athlete’s body. Let us dive in and understand how volleyball shoes are different from Basketball shoes.

1. Traction

Both shoes have great traction, to keep the player safe when playing on smooth flooring of the courts. Basketball shoes are typically made of rubber. This allows you to jump and run during this game.

However, volleyball shoes are made using gum rubber, allowing you to move in all directions. Volleyball players have to move in the following directions: laterally, backward, and forward. Gum rubber is a great material for these situations.

2. Ankle protection

It is common knowledge that a lot of basketball players need a lot of ankle support. This happens because most of their movements take place between the foot and the ankle. Due to this, most basketball shoes are taller and offer added ankle support. This coverage provides shock absorption and support to the ankle, reducing the impact.

Volleyball players, on the other hand, do not require too much speed involving the ankle when playing. Due to this, there are fewer chances of issues with the ankles. Volleyball shoes, for this reason, are often lower than basketball shoes.

3. Shoe Cushioning

Both volleyball and basketball shoes require enough cushioning to help absorb the impact of frequent jumps. However, volleyball shoes require cushioning at the middle of the foot, whereas in basketball shoes, cushioning extends to the ankle region as well.

4. Lateral Support     

Both these sports require sidewise movement while playing. However, in basketball, this movement is short-term and does not require much support. In volleyball, on the contrary, lateral movement is an extremely important part of playing as you need to get your feet close to the ball and find the right position on the court. So volleyball shoes need to provide maximum support for this.

5. Impact

While playing volleyball, the forefoot of the shoes takes the impact of as much as 9 times our body weight. Basketball involves a lot of jumping as well, but much less in comparison to the former. Due to this, volleyball shoes require both structures as well as cushions. Basketball midsoles, on the other hand, focus more on the cushion, just like running shoes.

6. Weight

The weight of the shoes is something we don’t think about till we are actually playing on the court and trip over the shoes. Volleyball players need to be able to swiftly move laterally, backward, and forward. Overall, they need to make several abrupt stops and starts. Due to this, they require shoes that are not so heavy that hinders easy movement. Basketball shoes, on the contrary, come with a lot of padding and this makes them heavier. With the thick rubber outsole, they are much heavier in comparison to volleyball shoes.

Similarities between Basketball and Volleyball Shoes?

Of course, there are similarities between the two kinds of shoes as well. Some of the requirements of both sports match, due to which there are bound to be similarities.

1. Breathability

Both basketball and volleyball shoes come with breathable materials. This cools down your shoes and feet and drains the sweat. Shoes with breathable upper material allow air to circulate, minimizing heat build-up inside the shoe. Not only that, breathable materials are also absorbing the sweat. Playing with wet feet is really annoying so shoe manufacturers spend a lot of time making sure that this doesn’t happen.

2. Lightweight

Both basketball and volleyball shoes are lightweight as advanced materials are being used. Both shoes come with a maximum weight of 2.5 pounds. Lightweight shoes also prevent ankle and feet pain caused due to heavy shoes.


Q. Can we wear volleyball shoes for playing basketball and vice-versa?

Some people do choose to do so, but it is not advisable. Basketball shoes come with more ankle protection, which is not available in volleyball shoes. So there is an increased risk of an issue with your ankles. On the other hand, volleyball shoes have more cushioning which is important for constant jumping and lateral movements.

Q. Do volleyball shoes help players in jumping higher?

You have to check the rules of your competition as some have limitations on what is allowed. Volleyball shoes do not help you jump higher. However, they are so lightweight that they do not hinder your jumps. They also come with enough cushioning for shock absorption while landing.

Q. Can I wear basketball and volleyball shoes outdoors for daily use?

It is not advisable to use specialized volleyball and basketball shoes for day-to-day activities outdoor if you also plan on using them during matches. This is because they would lose their grip when used on the outdoor ground and hard gravel.


Now you must have understood the major differences between basketball shoes and volleyball shoes. Primarily, they differ in their functionality as well as their construction. Volleyball shoes do not come with ankle support, which is a must in basketball shoes. Volleyball shoes, on the other hand, facilitate vertical and lateral movement, whereas basketball shoes focus more on vertical movement and maximizing speed. So, it is advisable to always choose the shoes that are meant specifically for the sport you are playing to avoid injuries and ensure optimal performance.