What Should You Wear if You Don’t Have Volleyball Shoes?

What shoes to wear if you don't have volleyball shoes

As far as I am concerned, I always recommend using volleyball shoes during games and practice sessions as these provide the necessary comfort for your feet and safety for your body to execute most moves …

However, some people can’t afford them or are just not interested in buying them because they are only practicing volleyball as a recreational activity.

That’s why I’ve chosen to put together this article, to provide some alternatives in case you don’t have volley shoes.

Volleyball shoes Best alternatives …

Option 1

tennis shoes for volleyball

The dynamics of movement in volleyball and tennis shoes are quite similar. Both sports require high-speed movements, sharp changes in direction, and sudden stop and start motions.

This is why the impact on the feet also remains the same. This makes many tennis shoes (Like this One) suitable for playing volleyball.

The major difference between a tennis shoe and a volleyball shoe lies in the arch. Tennis shoes are primarily designed to support forwards and backward movement, so the support is weighted to make sudden stops and starts on the court as comfortable as possible.

On the other hand, volleyball shoes traditionally have a stronger arch support, considering that most of the game is played on the balls of the feet.

Greater arch support allows for a more comfortable 360-degree movement. However, this remains a subtle difference, and many tennis shoes work as the perfect fit for playing volleyball.

Option 2

basketball shoes for volleyball

Another option you can consider wearing while playing volleyball are basketball shoes!

While the two sports remain very different, the basic fundamental movements are very similar, which include jumping, pivoting, agile movements, and needing a lot of grips and cushioning in the shoes.

Basketball shoes (Like These) also have good traction so that you don’t slip around while playing volleyball …

The only difference is that the basketball shoes look different than volleyball shoes. They go up higher than volleyball shoes and protect your ankles.

While it’s okay to play volleyball in basketball shoes, it is not recommended that you play basketball in volleyball shoes since they don’t have the ankle protection players need for basketball.

Option 3

cross training shoes for volleyball

You can also think about using cross-training shoes. Cross trainers have some additional features and benefits that make them suited for the rapid changes in direction and frequent impact of volleyball.

Cross-training shoes (Check this example Here at Amazon) are known to be extremely versatile, and they are built to withstand heavy impact, which is important for a sport like volleyball in which a lot of jumping and shock absorption takes place.

Another benefit of wearing cross-training shoes for volleyball is that they offer extra ankle protection.

Ankles can easily get twisted or injured during volleyball games, and shoes with added ankle protection can help prevent such injuries.

Cross trainers are also designed to allow lateral movement, which is important when playing volleyball.

What shoes are the most similar to volleyball shoes?

Tennis shoes are the most similar to volleyball shoes. The main similarity lies in the fact that the dynamics of movement in both sports are quite similar.

Both tennis and volleyball require high-speed movements, sudden stop-start motions, and sharp changes of direction.

The impact on the feet is also similar. This is why many tennis and volleyball shoes are considered to be transferable.

The main difference between both shoes lies in the arch of the shoe. While tennis shoes are designed to support forwards-backward movements, volleyball shoes have a stronger arch support since most of the game is played on the balls of the feet.

Risky moves with non-volleyball shoes …


There is no doubt that volleyball is a jumper’s sport. Players need a shoe that can provide both bounce at take-off and the proper cushioning for a safe landing.

Volleyball players are typically two-foot jumpers. But, when you wear non-volleyball shoes that were designed for, say, basketball, you won’t be getting the same type of cushioning since basketballers usually practice a lighter one-foot jump at take-off.

For two-foot jumps, as in volleyball, a thick air-bubbled heel is needed like what is there in volleyball shoes. So wearing non-volleyball shoes might lead to an injury while jumping.

Quick and Sudden Changes in Directions

Volleyball players need a shoe that can easily handle these violently squeaky turns. A shoe with a rounded base (such as the one in volleyball shoes) lets you push off at different angles.

Though even basketball shoes will do well for such movements, they would still not have much lateral movement support as volleyball shoes do.

Basketball shoes also tend to be heavier, which might slow down your movements when you make quick and sudden changes in direction.


All those jumping repetitions you need to do in volleyball are bound to take a toll on your body and shoes. The shoes you wear need to have decent cushioning.

This is an important factor if you are playing a high-impact sport like volleyball. While non-volleyball shoes also provide some cushioning, but due to all the extra jumping involved in volleyball, the midsole cushioning tends to break down more quickly, which may lead to injuries.

How other sports shoes would work for volleyball


badminton shoes for volleyball

The two most important factors when it comes to a volleyball shoe are the weight and sole.

However, the most important factor for a badminton shoe is a thin sole. Good volleyball shoes are made with a gum rubber sole, which provides better traction on an indoor court.

The shoes are designed for side-to-side movement, and the traction allows for the player to move rapidly without slipping.

Badminton shoes are made with thin gum rubber soles to have a lower center of gravity, which gives better stability and traction for the player.

But volleyball shoes use an outsole traction pattern that is specialized for side-to-side movement. Since badminton shoes have a thin rubber outsole, they are much thinner than volleyball shoes.

This does not make it great for volleyball because you need your feet to be well protected when you are jumping. This is why badminton shoes are not recommended for playing volleyball.


running shoes for volleyball

Using running shoes for playing volleyball is usually not recommended. Volleyball puts different stresses on the ankles, feet, and legs than running does.

Running shoes are flexible and lightweight. They are also engineered to promote forward movement. Volleyball shoes are stiffer, heavier, and designed to protect against the stresses of lateral movements and vertical impacts.

Running shoes will not help reduce the pressure on the ankles or help relieve the impact on the soles during jumps. This increases the likelihood of sprains and other injuries.

Volleyball shoes benefits (do they make a difference?)

Yes, volleyball shoes indeed do make a whole lot of difference. With all the side-to-side movements, along with constant jumping, a volley shoe is designed to absorb the impact and stick to the floor where needed.

They are also lightweight, which makes jumping and lateral movements much easier.

The soles of volleyball shoes are made from gum rubber. It is a type of rubber that is pliable and soft.

Helpful Tip: In case you are not tall enough and want to buy volleyball shoes I highly recommend you choose a pair that has high soles. This will make you gain a little bit in height and will also help you jump quite higher. For example, these quality volley shoes come with a high enough sole.

Due to its flexibility, gum rubber allows for movement and impact on the court, and it holds up even after numerous jumps.

(By the way, if you haven’t yet bought your pair of shoes, then I highly invite you to check this short guide to learn how you can properly choose your volleyball shoes!)

Apart from allowing flexibility, the gum rubber is conducive to the motions of volleyball players. With the many jumps, quick cuts, and the stop-and-go type of motion, the gum rubber provides the necessary traction.

This traction and slip-resistant nature of gum rubber are what sets apart volleyball shoes from other types of shoes.

Further, the mid-sole of a volleyball shoe provides specific support to the ball of the foot. Since volleyball players spend most of the time on the balls of their feet, the midsole of the shoe is built to be strong enough to absorb the shock while still allowing flexibility.

With the use of foam, a foam-gel mixture, or air cushions in the mid-sole, volleyball shoes provide support to the players’ stance. With the emphasis on standing on the ball of their feet, players are able to quickly move forward and side to side without feeling tired.

Final Thoughts …

I personally don’t agree with some volleyball coaches that prevent their beginner students from training volleyball simply because they don’t have proper volley shoes …

Indeed while those are obviously worthwhile, I believe that there are good enough alternatives that you can use until you can afford getting proper shoes.

Hopefully, some of those coaches would eventually change such an attitude.

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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