Can You Use Volleyball Shoes for Running? (+the Difference)

volleyball shoes vs running shoes

Since volleyball shoes are usually quite costly, people tend to use them for things other than volleyball, like running for example (You know the idea: let’s make the most out of the money spent on those shoes hahaha …)

However, is this the right move? Indeed …

Volleyball shoes should not be used outside, hardly at all, especially for activities like running. Simply because they are designed to be used indoors and even at soft wooden ground. Otherwise, the shoes will quickly deteriorate and won’t be usable even for volleyball normal activities.

In this article, I go through the differences between volley shoes and normal running shoes. And why you should opt for specialized shoes for the activity you’ve chosen (whether running or volleyball).

Using volleyball shoes for running (Pros & Cons)

Volleyball shoes have one unique feature that makes them perfect for the sport, it is grip. They are optimized to give you the best control when moving across the floor.

Volleyball shoes have some other characteristics that distinguish them from regular running shoes.

  • A gum rubber sole
  • Rounded edges in the parts of the toe and sides
  • A gently rounded heel
  • A flat base at the toes.

Example: Those Volleyball Shoes for example are high quality and have all the characteristics and features I’ve just mentioned above.

Running shoes do not have a rounded sole, instead they have, most of them have a sharp one, since running is mostly compromised of running in straight lines, with no sharp movement from one side to the other.

Running shoes are also made from slightly different materials and are softer than volleyball shoes.

The difference here is obvious. Volleyball shoes have the simple role of gripping to the surface of the court, while running shoes have the role of being a tool for easy running.

Volleyball shoes have some other key things that distinguish them from running shoes, like cushioning which has the role of protecting the knees from constant and repetitive jumping.

When you wear volleyball shoes, you will probably in one case or another be forced to go outside with them. You may be in a hurry, or you may just want to go to your car, not paying attention to the shoes you are wearing, that is fine.

Pros Cons
They won’t feel much different than running shoes while running Not designed for outside usage, will get worn and deteriorate otherwise.
If they are your only choice of sports shoe, then go for it You may experience sliding on asphalt sometimes


Difference between Volleyball and Running Shoes


Volleyball shoes tend to be lighter, since lighter materials are used for producing them. This is because volleyball players need to be light on the feet!

Running shoes on the other hand are made virtually from the same materials, but with bigger soles and more involved materials.

Used material

Materials that are used for volleyball shoes include:

  • Gum rubber
  • Foam material
  • Gel or air cushions for the middle sole
  • Upper part is typically made from polyester, nylon or mesh materials.

Regarding the upper parts of running shoes, the materials are basically the same.

Only the sole materials which is different, since here it is a rubber sole sheet, combined with EVA foam cushioning.


The durability of shoes, not just these two, often depends upon the intensity of usage.

Volleyball shoes often, if used constantly during a season, last just a season, after that it is all a risk, since the rubber gum of the sole starts to wear down and the shoes do not have good grip anymore.

Regarding running shoes there are some indicators that show when it is time to get rid of them.

While many people do not notice when their shoe is worn out, or when the cushioning is starting to get compressed, can keep track of that when they are worn out by just keeping track of how much you have run with them.

Between 500 and 600 miles is the limit for running shoes, or let us say about six months, to a year, depending on the intensity of running.

Recommendation: There are some running shoes in the market that are really durable and could be used even for a 1000+ mile if not more. Those running shoes for example have proven to be that durable.

You can learn more about volley shoes durability!

Can you use volleyball shoes on a treadmill?

Yes you can use volleyball shoes for running on a treadmill, but it is recommend using volleyball shoes that have served their time on the court.

It is best if you use them when they have lost their gum rubber efficiency, and have no longer the possibility to get a good grip on the surface.

It is best if you stick to the gym with them, since they may be also worn out and are not suitable for outside running.

However, there is a thing regarding the shape of your feet. There are three types of feet:

  • Normal feet
  • Flat feet
  • High arched feet

All three types of feet tend to require different types of shoes, especially when running on a treadmill.

It also depends on your intensity of gym practice. It is fine if you use them two to three times a week, but if you plan on using them every day in the gym, then it is best if you buy new shoes just for the gym.

Can you use volleyball shoes in other activities?

Volleyball shoes can be used in other activities when they get worn out and if they lose their gum rubber.

However, if you want to use brand new ones of other activities, make sure that those activities have at least some of the following criteria:

  • Indoor activity
  • Practiced in soft floor
  • Better yet at wooden floor
  • Activity doesn’t require lot of constant running

An example of an activity that has those criteria is Badminton.

Now, can you use running shoes for volleyball?

The simple answer is yes, running shoes can be used to play volleyball, but there are couple things you should know …

Running shoes are different from volleyball shoes! They are a little bit shallower and have a slightly thicker soles.

They are made for outdoors, for concrete, dirt and asphalt, but that does not mean that they cannot be used indoors.

You can use them:

  • When you have no other alternative
  • For practice
  • For a friendly game of volleyball.

However it is not recommended to use running shoes to play at a professional or semi-professional level. Running shoes won’t guarantee your protection, not as near as volleyball shoes do.

Final Thoughts …

Let’s see all this from a different angle … In other words, just go to a court and watch a volleyball game for half an hour, then go to a running circuit and watch people running for 30 minutes …

… Yes exactly, the intensity, the movements and trajectories are totally different. So should the shoes be, different!

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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