Volleyball shoes: how they improve your training (and 5 unknown facts).

If you want to play volleyball, you will need shoes as it is a sport that requires you to move a lot. Is it necessary to buy specific volleyball shoes though? In this article, we will discuss what I have learned over the years of playing volleyball and coaching several players. Let’s dive in and see what you can learn about volleyball shoes and how they affect your playing style. 

As you can see in the image above, shoes have several parts. What makes volleyball shoes unique is that each part is adjusted for this sport. The eyelets are reinforced and special soles are used to provide support and handle the wear-and-tear.

There are several types of foams that are used in the mid- and outsoles of sporting shoes. Some foams bounce well and are great for jumping higher. Other shoes boost well as the foam contains a lot of air bubbles and is great for running as they provide a lot of grip. In volleyball, you need to jump but also run so it is necessary that your shoes are able to do both.

This makes them unique as a lot of other sporting shoes focus on one of those as sports are often focused on running fast or jumping high. Therefore volleyball shoes often contain rubber and gel instead of foam as you need to be able to both jump and run. However, picking the best shoe can also depend on your playing style as some players prefer to run a lot and therefore pick foam shoes.

Volleyball is a high-intensity sport. Therefore you have to be able to jump, run and be nimble. Good shoes will help you with this. You can focus on a specific role on the field. Some players want to focus on catching a ball in a difficult area, other players want to focus on smashing. You can adjust the shoes you buy based on the role that you want to take on. For example, if you want to smash it can help to focus on shoes that have a lot of padding and help you to jump higher. On the other hand, if you want to pass and catch balls, you should focus on shoes that help you to move fast and light-footed. 

Are volleyball shoes worth it and do they make a difference?

You will sweat a lot while playing volleyball. The shoes should be able to deal with this and remove the moisture or you will get smelly shoes very soon. Volleyball shoes often use special fabric for the upper part and tongue that absorbs moisture and keeps your feet dry.

This is another good reason to buy shoes that are designed for volleyball as normal shoes are not able to deal with all this sweat and moisture. Maintaining your shoes, it can help to ventilate them well. Some shoes can also be washed in the washing machine. Read the instructions before you do so as some shoes are not able to deal with this. 

If you are unsure if volleyball shoes will help you, it is possible to order them online and try them for training. If you think after the training that they are not worth it, you can always return them. 

I would recommend that you try several shoes in the store and see what type of shoes works best for you. A lot of people make the mistake of just trying one or two sets of shoes. You should try several shoes and see what works best for you. This will allow you to discover how each type of shoe can benefit you. 

 Are volleyball shoes supposed to be tight?

Volleyball shoes should fit quite tight as you have to make small movements and be able to change directions quite fast. However, make sure that they fit well and that you don’t have shoes that are too small. It shouldn’t be too hard to put them on or take them off.

Your volleyball shoes will expand after you have used them for a while so it is possible that your new shoes are slightly too small.

They shouldn’t be too tight as this can be uncomfortable to wear. You have to run and jump a lot during volleyball training or game so the shoes should be comfortable.

When in doubt, you can try different sizes to see what works for you. There are also differences between brands and you can try several brands to see what works for you. It is hard to describe all the nuances of the shoes in words, you just have to try them and see what works.

Often small differences can make a shoe just right for you or not a perfect fit at all. Be patient and try several shoes. You will probably play volleyball for several years so it is worth it to invest a lot of time in finding the pair that fits just right.

Once you have found the shoes that fit your liking, you can keep buying them for several years. Don’t be shy in the store and keep asking to try new volleyball shoes until you find the ones that fit just right. In the store you can run and jump to check how the shoes perform while you play. 

The most popular volleyball shoe brands are Asics, Adidas, Under armour, Nike, and Mizuno. Asics are really popular volleyball shoes and are best sellers on Amazon at this point in time. The reviews for these shoes are really great and people remark that they are designed well.

Asics mainly uses rubber in their shoes whereas Adidas mainly uses foams in their shoes. There are no big price differences between the two so it depends on personal preferences. Most people prefer to use rubber soles for volleyball but you can try foam soles and see what works for your situation.  

Are volleyball shoes worth it for new players?

The main advantage of volleyball shoes is that they add dampening. During training or game, you have to jump a lot. You also move in a small area and this means that you have to change directions quite fast. This can add a lot of strain to the shoes.

Therefore shoes that have been designed for volleyball have a benefit in that they are able to handle this pressure and won’t break after you have played for a while.

This can justify the price premium that they ask for this type of shoe. Overall, I would say that volleyball shoes are worth it. They might be more expensive than regular shoes but they have features (such as soft soles and strong stitching) that normal shoes don’t have.

These shoes should last longer as well as they have been designed with the specific target of playing volleyball and all the movements that are included with that.

Running shoes on the left, shoes designed for indoor sports on the right. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlufBzgsw1M

Basketball shoes can be used to play volleyball as you make a lot of the same movements with your feet. Volleyball shoes tend to be lighter and they have more padding but there is a big overlap between volleyball shoes and basketball shoes.

Some volleyball players wear basketball shoes as they like a specific model. Professional players often have to wear the shoes that are mandated by the team so they don’t have much choice and have to wear the volleyball shoes that are chosen for them.

However, volleyball shoes don’t last forever. On average you should be able to play with volleyball shoes for 6-12 months (depending on how often you play). Check the soles and the shoes themselves after 6 months of usage to see if there are parts that are breaking down.

You might start to see small tears or even holes in your shoes after a while. These can indicate that it is time to replace the shoes as they are starting to break and could lead to issues quite fast. Repairing these shoes might not be worth it as they are designed to work under a lot of pressure and repairs might not last for a long time. Therefore we would recommend that you replace your volleyball shoes as soon as you notice that there is wear and tear on them.

These shoes are not that expensive so it is better to replace them from time to time. I have seen people get in trouble during a match because their shoes broke and they didn’t have spare shoes with them. Therefore they had to stop playing that game. If you want to avoid this, make sure to check your shoes regularly and replace them if needed. 

Especially if you plan to play volleyball outdoors, you will need good shoes. Typically volleyball shoes are designed for indoors as the sport is often performed there. For outdoors playing you will need more grip if the surface is not solid. In that instance, make sure that you have soles that are not just flat but also have some texture. You also have to make sure that the shoes are able to handle moisture and so on.

If you only play outside from time to time and it is on a hard surface, you can use your normal volleyball shoes. Make sure that you clean them before using them again inside. There can be a lot of dust and dirt on them if you have used them for an outside training session. This could make them slippery or make the room dirty. A brush and some water should suffice to clean them.

 Are volleyball shoes good for tennis?

Tennis and volleyball have a lot in common. You have to move a lot and be able to change direction fast. In tennis, you don’t have to jump that often so they have less padding. Volleyball shoes have more padding and might slow you down if you play tennis with them. If you plan to use them once or on a recreational level, this might not be an issue. If you plan to play tennis professionally or train often, you might buy shoes that are designed for tennis itself. 

Another reason to buy tennis shoes is the terrain. Tennis is often played outside (on gravel, in the grass) or in the rain. Volleyball shoes are not designed for these undergrounds so you might have less grip on these types of terrain. Volleyball shoes are not designed to get wet so if you have to play tennis in the rain, it might be better to use other shoes. Tennis shoes are often made out of foam instead of rubber as volleyball shoes are. 

 Are volleyball shoes good for running?

You can use volleyball shoes for running inside. During volleyball training, you often will have to run around. This will make sure that you are able to play a whole game without being too tired. Make sure that your volleyball shoes are not too old or broken if you have to run a lot. Dedicated running shoes might have more padding so you might consider these if you have to run around a lot.

 If you plan to run outside, you might want to look at running shoes as these often have more grip. If you run outside you can encounter several types of terrain. Volleyball shoes are also not designed to deal with a lot of dirt, rain, and moisture. This can break your volleyball shoes quite fast. It is also not acceptable if you enter the training hall with dirty shoes so you will have to clean them if you plan to run outside with these shoes. Therefore it is better to buy dedicated running shoes if you plan to run outside. 

So you can use volleyball shoes for running but make sure that they are in good shape and don’t use them to run outside if the terrain is not solid.

 Are volleyball shoes good for badminton?

There is quite a lot of overlap between the movements that are needed for volleyball and badminton. You have to jump, run and be agile to move in small areas. Therefore badminton shoes and volleyball shoes are quite similar overall.

There are small nuances between the two types of shoes but overall you can use them. There are brands that specifically focus on volleyball or badminton so your coach might look weird at you if you wear a brand that he/she doesn’t know about but overall volleyball shoes can be used for badminton. 

 Do volleyball shoes work for basketball?

You can use volleyball shoes for a basketball game. However, if you plan to play basketball for a longer period of time, I would recommend that you buy basketball shoes as these often contain more padding. In basketball you have to run more, therefore these shoes are designed to be able to deal with this. In volleyball, you have to be more agile as you have to move in small areas.

Therefore the shoes have been designed with this requirement in mind. As you can see, the movements that you have to make during a basketball training or game and a volleyball training or game are quite different. Therefore you can use volleyball shoes for basketball if you don’t play that often. If you plan to play basketball weekly, you might have to look at buying basketball shoes to replace your volleyball shoes. 


We discussed several aspects of volleyball shoes in this article. You have to try and see for yourself which shoes work best for you. Volleyball is a sport that includes a lot of jumping and moving. Therefore there are shoes designed specifically for this sport. Other sports have other requirements so if you play another sport, it is often necessary to take a look at shoes that are designed for that type of sport.