Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Lifting? (Explained)

Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Lifting

I’ve noticed lately that many people who practice volleyball prefer to include lifting in the gym amongst their warm-up routine or after they finish their volleyball session. Whether this is good or bad, is a question for another day …

But, what I want to address here now, is whether it is a good idea to utilize volleyball shoes to lift weight in the gym.

Of course, it is possible to use volleyball shoes for lifting. This won’t have a noticeable impact especially for simple liftings involving low weights using dumbbells for example. However, for intense movements like deadlifts, volleyball shoes won’t give you enough balance to make it through those movements.

In this article, I address some important pros and cons you need to know before using volleyball shoes in other disciplines like lifting!

Using volleyball shoes for Lifting (Pros and Cons)

When you are lifting weights, you need shoes that provide you with great support, a good grip system, and of course, safety (These quality shoes for example offer these qualities).

Even though volleyball shoes provide support, they are not necessarily the right fit for lifting weights. Below are the pros and cons of using volleyball shoes for lifting.


  • Volleyball shoes are typically flat and lightweight, which makes them perfect for making movements in the gym, lifting movements, and agility.
  • They also offer good traction inside the gym.
  • Many lifting or gymming shoes even look a lot like volleyball shoes.
  • Volleyball shoes also provide forefoot cushioning that helps in movements like box jumps and skipping.


  • Indoor volleyball shoes are not suited for outside lifting.
  • The rubber that produces traction inside will break down rather quickly if used outside.
  • Volleyball shoes offer forefoot cushioning, but when you are doing movements like deadlifts and squats, this type of cushioning makes it tougher to find balance.
  • Cushioning also absorbs the force you want to put into a barbell.

You can also learn about the pros and cons of using volleyball shoes for running!

Difference between volleyball and Gym shoes …

Volleyball is a game of agility and power, and therefore players need to wear shoes that are designed to make these actions easier and safer for them…

When compared to lifting or gym shoes, volleyball shoes use different designs and materials. Keep in mind that on the pro level, volleyball shoes are usually selected based on the athlete’s foot, their physical build, as well as the position they play on the court.

Quick Tip: At an amateur level, there are some shoes that have most features you need for both volleyball and the gym. For example, these quality shoes could be used for both disciplines without really any problems.

Here are some of the differences you need to be aware of:

  • Even though gym shoes may look like volleyball shoes, they do not have the right elements to provide the support needed to volleyball players.
  • Gym shoes do not have a shock absorption feature that helps a volleyball player land ideally without injuring their knee, ankle, or feet.
  • Volleyball shoes are even more lightweight than gym shoes.
  • The sole of a gym shoe is usually made of carbon rubber, blown rubber, or a combination of both. Meanwhile, volleyball shoes are made with gum rubber soles that provide better traction on the playing court. This rubber prevents players from sliding on the surface.
  • Since the activities in a gym do not involve sudden start and stop, these shoes do not have a sole with heightened traction, which is what is needed in volleyball shoes.
  • Volleyball shoes are also designed to enable safe and easy movement in the quick side-to-side motions that are involved in the sport. This is why the midsoles of the shoes are structured to give support and cushion at the ball of the foot, which is where volleyball players spend maximum time. Stronger midsoles are needed to help improve performance and reduce the risk of injury by absorbing shock. Gym shoes are designed more for forward motion and do not provide as much support at the ball of the foot.

You can also learn about the difference between volleyball and squash shoes!

Precautions to take while lifting with volleyball shoes ….

If you are still wearing volleyball shoes while lifting weights, here are some basic precautions to take:

  • Do not lift too heavy. Start with a weight that you can lift comfortably. The heavier the weight, the more the chances of injury when wearing a volleyball shoe because your feet are not entirely stable on the floor.
  • Always lift using proper form. When lifting weights wearing volleyball shoes, you have the disadvantage of reduced range of motion. So the more attention you pay to your form, the lesser will be the probability of getting injured.
  • Breathe correctly. You might be tempted to hold your breath in between lifting weights. However, do not hold your breath. In fact, breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower the weight.
  • Make sure you are properly balanced before you start lifting.

Now, can you use Gym or Cross shoes for volleyball?

Wearing the wrong pair of shoes while lifting weights can do more harm than good, especially if you are lifting heavy.

Increased range of motion means that a lifter is able to squat deeper and also make their posture better, thus reducing the chances of injury.

Another fact is that volleyball shoes are cushiony. They help you run better and indulge in sudden changes of direction on the court.

Weightlifting shoes, on the other hand, have soles that are made of hardwood or plastic, which makes them rigid and inflexible.

A harder sole helps a weightlifter push their feet into the floor, thereby becoming more stable while lifting.

The heels of lifting shoes are stable, which allows the lifter to grip the floor. However, at the same time, lifting shoes are not going to work in volleyball. The heels are too stiff to allow a player to move comfortably, and neither will they bend along with the foot.

This is why it is important to keep your volleyball and lifting shoes separate.

Any shoe type that can be used for both disciplines?

While you can try using a pair of flat-soled shoes, which may provide an even distribution of your body weight, but they will not provide the kind of stability a lifting shoe gives because of the differences in the soles of the shoes.

This is why for all those people who are entering the world of strength training and weight lifting, a flat-soled, without cushioning shoe should be preferred if you cannot buy proper lifting shoes.

Final Thoughts …

Again if you are just like me and love being involved in multiple sports, then you should make sure that you cover the necessary equipment for your main sport first (like volleyball) …

For the other disciplines, acquiring their specific equipment should then depend on your budget. But, if the latter doesn’t allow you, then there is nothing wrong by considering using volleyball equipment (like shoes) in those other disciplines (like lifting) as far as there is little risk on you and the equipment doesn’t get damaged while being used in other sports or disciplines.

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

Recent Posts