Volleyball Shoes for Basketball? What’s the Difference?

difference between volleyball and basketball shoes

Volleyball and basketball are played basically on the same court. There are even courts that serve for both volleyball and basketball games. That’s why it is normal for many players and practitioners to believe that both sports share the same shoes.

But, can you actually use volleyball shoes for basketball? The deciding factor for this is intensity. In other words, if you are going to player basketball using volleyball shoes with low intensity, then there is no real issue or threat. Otherwise, you just cannot do it, because they don’t offer enough ankle protection needed for intense basketball games.

In this article, I breakdown in details when you can use volleyball shoes in other sports like basketball and when you should not. I also address some highly important differences between shoes of both sports.

Using volleyball shoes for basketball (Pros & Cons)

Volleyball shoes are made to provide comfort. Indeed, they cover the area above the ankle which is crucial for preventing ankle injury. They also provide cushioning and a good grip to the surface.

Basketball shoes, on the other hand, are made on most of those principle, yet they provide much more ankle safety, grip and cushioning.

Quick Tip: There are some shoes available in the market that are made in a way to provide the necessary cushioning and ankle protection that you can use for both sports. For example, these Quality Shoes could be well used for volleyball and basketball games as well.

Now, let’s dive into the main pros and cons in case you decide to wear volleyball shoes to a basketball game or practice.


Jumping – Both volleyball and basketball shoes are made to make jumping easier, as they have a well-rounded soul that can grip well, thus making the jump easy.

Direction changes – Direction changes are connected to the rounded soul. We have mentioned the grip the rounded soul provides. That grip also enables you to change direction effectively, and fast. This works find for both sports.

Landing – Basketball players are one foot jumpers, meaning they use the main foot to jump of the surface. Landing however could have some long lasting consequences. Volleyball shoes have great cushioning, which makes the landing easier and more comfortable for basketball.

Quick take-off – Again this is tied to the grip. Volleyball shoes are light and enable that quick take-off that you can obviously utilize for both activities.


Jumping – I’ve just mentioned that basketball players are one foot jumpers, and that volleyball shoes are light, but they are not lighter than basketball shoes. They have more cushioning and are made for tow foot, heavy jumps.

They might seem good, and they might behave good, but they can sometimes impact basketball jumping, which is a key part of the sport.

Direction changes – This part is tied to the lightness or heaviness of the volley shoes. The latter are, as I’ve mentioned earlier, slightly heavier than basketball shoes and can have an impact on overall movement.

Difference between Volleyball and basketball Shoes

The weight element is one of the most important differences …

Volleyball shoes are more cushy, and have a slightly bigger sole. They are made for two footed heavy jumps. Hence the cushy materials that makes the landing safer.

Basketball shoes, on the other hand, have a slightly thinner sole, which in turn makes the shoes lighter than volleyball shoes.

Basketball players are light jumpers, which require continuity and momentum. They also provide good cushioning but they are not as cushy as volleyball shoes.

Now for the design part, there is couple of differences …

Basketball shoes are historically made out of thick leathery materials that make them a little bit stiff. Today, they are made out of a variety of materials but they are still a little bit stiff, and as such they are not good for volleyball in general.

That stiffness can impact the flexibility that is needed for volleyball players and their gameplay.

The cushioning and jumping we have already mentioned is also tied to this. The structure of basketball shoes makes the player fall back into the shoes with every landing, impacting the soles more than volleyball shoes would.

The overall structure of the basketball shoes makes them less durable in volleyball than in basketball.

Volleyball shoes are best when it comes to flexibility and overall performance.

You can also learn the difference between volleyball and badminton shoes!

Now, can you use basketball shoes for volleyball?

Technically, yes you can do so. Indeed, several professional players have done it before.

In fact, Basketball shoes are made in a similar way as volleyball ones. They provide good grip and comfort. Basketball shoes are a little bit lighter however, but they tend to be favored by some volleyball players who are looking for faster movement.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice. Basketball shoes are a lot stiffer than volleyball shoes. And some players find that to be comfortable!

Indeed, a stiff shoe tends to provide more stability and a higher sense of safety, or security for players. That may be the reason why some players prefer them.

They might also be chosen by some players because they are light, and some volleyball positions require light footedness, like the libero, who needs to be a little tornado when playing a game.

Long story short, yes, you can use basketball shoes for volleyball. The design is similar and it serves the same function!

Volleyball moves that could be impacted by basketball shoes?

Basketball shoes do not impact specific moves in volleyball …

They rather can have an impact on the overall movement and comfort for players …

Because of their stiffness basketball shoes can sometimes be uncomfortable, which could restrict the movement of a player, especially for high intensity games.

In addition, Basketball shoes are lighter and that can impact players jumps, by jumping a little bit higher …

However, when he lands on his feet in basketball shoes, this might have consequences in the long run. Keep in mind that volleyball players jump a lot harder and a lot more than basketball players.

Basketball moves that could be impacted by Volleyball shoes?

Again, there are no specific moves that could be impacted, however, your ankle safety could be at stakes especially during high intensity games or practice sessions.

In fact, volleyball shoes do not have the same level of ankle protection as basketball ones, the latter tends to have higher side protection and are as we have mentioned stiffer.

Basically, you can use volleyball shoes when playing basketball, but it is highly discouraged, since there is much room for ankle injury. They do not restrict movement, but are slightly dangerous to wear.

I’ve recently published this article on why I think volleyball is probably a better sport than basketball!

Final Thoughts …

If you are playing both sports as recreational activities, then this won’t really be a source of concern. In such a case, you can really use shoes with good grip for both sports …

However, if you are competing on a higher level, then the best thing to do is to use sport specific shoes. This is a great way to ensure not only the needed protection, but also the right comfort and feel for both disciplines.

Finally, if you are looking for volleyball shoes, then I highly invite you to learn how they should fit! So you can avoid picking choosing shoes with the wrong size.

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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