Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Pickleball? (Explained)


Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Pickleball

Volleyball and pickleball are 2 different sports with some similarities like some similar movements and the required intensity to execute and score points …

That’s why some amateurs are wondering whether it is possible to use volleyball shoes for pickleball!

Indeed, if you’ve got access to a pickleball field inside with wooden ground similar to volleyball, then it is mostly Okey to do so. However, if (like in most cases) the field is outside, then consider that this could damage your volleyball shoes, especially the rubber gum which is not designed to be used outside.

In this article, I breakdown some pros and cons you should be aware of before using volleyball shoes in a sport like pickleball!

Using volleyball shoes for pickleball (Pros and Cons)

Pros

  • Volleyball shoes offer great shock absorption features which is useful for pickleball (For example, these quality volleyball shoes offer great shock absorption)
  • Volleyball shoes also have more padding in the front.
  • Volleyball shoes are designed especially for lateral motion, which is known as torsional stability. This helps prevent rolling or spraining of an ankle as well as falling or slipping on the court.
  • Both volleyball and pickleball shoes are” lightweight and designed to aid fast lateral movement.
  • Both types of shoes also offer some traction on slippery surfaces.

Cons

  • If you use volleyball shoes for an indoor court, you cannot use them for outdoor pickleball as the outer court of pickleball tends to have a rougher surface. Indoor volleyball shoes are typically made up of gum rubber outsoles, and these outsoles can easily get damaged if you play on rough outdoor surfaces.
  • Volleyball shoes will not offer the same degree of grip on slippery surfaces like grass.
  • Volleyball shoes are heavier than pickleball shoes, and they may cause some extra drag. Wearing shoes that are not specifically made for that sport will increase the chances of injuries (but not much) if the match intensity is high.
  • The weight distribution between the two types of shoes can differ.

Difference between volleyball and pickleball shoes …

Both volleyball and pickleball are physical sports, and they both involve a lot of movements, much like tennis.

They do have many things in common, but at the same time, there are many differences as well. This is why, as an athlete or even if you are a beginner, it is important to wear the right shoe for any sport you want to participate in.

Quick Tip: There are some shoes in the market that have many similar features for both volleyball and pickleball shoes. For example, these quality shoes belong to this category and could be used for both sports at an amateur level.

Here are some of the key differences between pickleball shoes and volleyball shoes.

  • Generally, the midsoles of pickleball shoes give the player a good grip on the court and good movement. Volleyball shoes, on the other hand, are designed to provide good support cushioning and rapid side-to-side movements on the court. Volleyball shoes give the players the freedom to start and stop suddenly at quick interception throughout the match.
  • Volleyball shoes are made with gum rubber soles that give them better traction on the court and also prevent the player from slipping or sliding on the court. Pickleball shoes have aggressive soles to provide a firm grip and traction on the court.
  • Volleyball shoes are usually lighter in weight than pickleball shoes. This allows the player to jump and down without any issue. It also improves their ability to move quickly on the court. Pickleball shoes weigh a little more.
  • Volleyball Shoes tend to be more expensive than pickleball shoes.

Pickleball moves to avoid with volleyball shoes …

Some of the pickleball moves you might want to avoid if you are wearing volleyball shoes are as follows:

  • Jumping too high: Volleyball players have to jump quite high. In fact, the higher they are able to jump, the better it will be for them. Volleyball shoes are, therefore, designed to allow the player to jump high. However, you rarely see pickleball players jumping at a high length, which is why it is not recommended to consider wearing volleyball shoes for pickleball.
  • Forward movements: Volleyball shoes use an outsole traction pattern that is ideal for side-to-side movement, and it prevents you from slipping. Side-to-side motion is rarely used in pickleball, unless specifically needed. However, in pickleball, players have to indulge in a lot of back and forth movements. Due to this, volleyball shoes are not suitable for this frequent motion.

Now, can you use pickleball shoes for volleyball?           

If you don’t have volleyball shoes, then this could be somewhat tolerable! However, the best shoe for pickleball is a court shoe like the one used for volleyball, or a tennis shoe. Volleyball shoes provide great comfort, grip, ankle support, gum rubber soles, and a tread pattern that is conducive to quick lateral movements.

The rubber sole of volleyball shoes help players avoid sliding on the surface while playing pickleball. Volleyball shoes are also built for lateral movements.

Any shoe type that can be used for both sports?

With all the side-to-side movements mixed with constant jumping, both volleyball and pickleball shoes are made to absorb the impact of the sport and also stick to the floor when needed. While you should ideally use specialized shoes that are made for each sport, if you have no option, tennis shoes can still be used for both pickleball and volleyball.

Tennis and pickleball are very similar sports, but of course, they do have certain differences as well. Both sports have similar movements that resemble one another.

Tennis is played on different courts that include synthetic, grass, and clay, and pickleball is usually only played indoors/outdoors on the cemented or synthetic courts. This is why there are several types of tennis shoes. Tennis shoes made for indoor courts can be used for playing both pickleball and volleyball.

Tennis and volleyball are again two different sports, but indoor tennis shoes are used on soft courts, just like indoor volleyball courts.

This is why indoor tennis shoes can be used to play volleyball as well. In fact, tennis shoes mimic the requirements of volleyball as they allow for back and forth, as well as lateral movements to respond to the need of the sport.

However, do keep in mind that tennis shoes tend to be heavier and might not allow you to make swift movements in either volleyball or pickleball.

This is why it is usually not recommended to use a shoe designed for any other sport while playing volleyball or pickleball.

Final Thoughts …

Sports are for many people an addiction (a good one I have to say) and it is not feasible for everybody to have specific equipment for each sport. That’s why it is normal to use some equipment (like shoes) of a sport in another one …

The 2 important questions you should ask before doing so are, whether this is risky for you, and whether this could damage your gear …

If the answer is No for both questions, then it is definitely a Go. Otherwise, you probably should not consider doing so.

Finally, another article that you might find interesting is regarding the main differences between squash and volleyball shoes! This will give you more options if you want to practice both sports with the same shoes.

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.

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