Are Basketball Shoes Good for Volleyball?

Asking whether you can wear basketball shoes for volleyball is like asking if you can use a golf club to play baseball. Technically, you can. But is it the best choice?

Basketball shoes have long been synonymous with cutting-edge design and innovation.

Recently, their potential for cross-sport application, particularly in volleyball, has been increasingly recognized.

While basketball shoes can be used for volleyball, they are not the best option. Volleyball shoes are designed specifically for the sport and offer better traction and support on the court. However, if you cannot buy volleyball shoes, basketball shoes can be a suitable alternative.

Some popular basketball shoes for volleyball include the Adidas Harden Stepback, Nike Kobe Mamba Focus, and Nike Kyrie 8 Infinity.

At the core of this development is the realization that basketball shoes often eclipse traditional volleyball shoes in critical aspects, offering players a significant advantage on the court.

basketball shoes for playing volleyball

Are Volleyball & Basketball Shoes The Same?

Over the years, basketball and volleyball shoes have witnessed a gradual convergence in their design principles. Guided by the twin objectives of performance enhancement and injury prevention, footwear designers have increasingly blurred the boundaries between these two shoe types.

At first glance, volleyball and basketball shoes might appear quite similar. However, under the hood, so to speak, there are several significant differences.

Volleyball shoes are designed with specific features that enhance performance in volleyball, such as a gum rubber sole for better traction on indoor courts, and a lighter weight for quick and agile movements.

Basketball shoes, on the other hand, are designed for the rigors of the hard court, including frequent jumping and side-to-side movements.

Indeed, basketball shoes now share many similarities with their volleyball counterparts, including critical features like flexible upper materials, robust midsoles, and grippy outsoles. Nevertheless, it is the nuanced differences that tip the scales in favor of basketball shoes when chosen wisely for volleyball use.

The Advantage of Basketball Shoes: Bounce and Cushioning

At the heart of the basketball shoe advantage lies the duo of bounce and cushioning. High-flying movements, a common sight in both sports, require footwear that can support such physical exertion without risking injury.

Basketball shoes typically come equipped with superior bounce, which translates to an enhanced ability for explosive jumps, critical in both volleyball attacks and blocks.

Further, the cushioning aspect of basketball shoes provides an unparalleled degree of joint protection.

This feature is especially valuable in volleyball, where the constant jumping and landing could otherwise pose significant stress on players’ knees and ankles.

The enhanced shock absorption capabilities of basketball shoes can thus contribute to the longevity of a volleyball player’s career.

From a practical perspective, basketball shoes also present a more affordable option for volleyball players. This affordability does not come at the expense of performance or longevity, making them a sound investment for athletes.

basketball shoes in volleyball court

Why You Should Wear Basketball Shoes For Volleyball

Despite the differences, there are compelling reasons to consider wearing basketball shoes for volleyball. Let’s delve deeper into these.

More Volleyball Position Specific Options

Basketball shoes come in a wider variety of styles and designs, which can cater more specifically to the needs of different volleyball positions. For example, hitters and blockers who require more cushioning for their frequent jumps may find basketball shoes with superior cushioning technology beneficial.

More Bounce For High Flyers

Basketball shoes are known for their bounce. This quality can be particularly useful for volleyball players, especially for those high-flying outside hitters and middle blockers who require additional lift.

Better Cushioning For Frequent Flyers

Frequent jumping and landing are part and parcel of volleyball. The enhanced cushioning provided by many basketball shoes can better absorb the impact of these jumps, reducing the risk of injuries.

Basketball Shoes Are More Affordable

Generally speaking, basketball shoes can often be found at more affordable prices than specialized volleyball shoes. Therefore, for those on a budget, basketball shoes may present a more cost-effective option.

The Difference Between Volleyball & Basketball Shoes

Now that we’ve explored why one might consider basketball shoes for volleyball, let’s dive into the key differences between these two types of footwear.


Basketball shoes are often made from leather or synthetic materials that provide durability, support, and flexibility. In contrast, volleyball shoes typically feature a combination of mesh and synthetic materials, prioritizing breathability and lightness.


Weight is a crucial factor in sports shoes. Volleyball shoes are designed to be lightweight to allow for quick and agile movements. Basketball shoes, on the other hand, are typically heavier, offering increased stability and support, particularly for side-to-side movements.


While both types of shoes provide cushioning, basketball shoes often have more robust cushioning systems to absorb the repeated high-impact landings in basketball.

Variety & Availability

Basketball shoes generally have a wider variety and are more readily available than volleyball shoes, offering a broader range of choices in terms of design, fit, and color.


In general, basketball shoes are less expensive than volleyball shoes, making them a more cost-effective choice, especially for recreational players or those on a budget.

Things To Avoid When Looking For Basketball Shoes For Volleyball

While basketball shoes can be a viable option for volleyball, there are a few potential pitfalls to avoid.

Excessive Heel Caging

Heel caging, a feature common in basketball shoes, can be counterproductive in volleyball, as it can limit the agility and quickness required in volleyball.

Excessive Weight

The heavier weight of basketball shoes can be a detriment in volleyball, which requires quick, agile movements.

Thin Midsole/Weak Cushioning

Basketball shoes with thin midsoles or weak cushioning may not provide enough shock absorption for the high-impact movements of volleyball.

An Examination of Specific Basketball Shoe Models for Volleyball Use

A few specific models of basketball shoes have proven their suitability for volleyball, including the Jordans, Kyrie Flytraps, KD14s, Curry 8s/9s, and PG 5s/6s.

Jordans and Kyrie Flytraps, in particular, strike a healthy balance between weight, midsole thickness, and cushioning. KD14s and Curry 8s/9s also shine with their high-performance cushioning and bounce, proving beneficial for players performing high jumps and quick lateral movements.

However, PG shoes, while offering commendable cushioning and traction, have an excessive heel-caging design that might impede a player’s lateral mobility in volleyball.

Basketball shoes provide more diverse options and hence, can also be leveraged by basketball players for volleyball, broadening their footwear selection scope.

Basketball Shoes For Volleyball FAQ

Are High Tops Good For Volleyball?

High-top shoes, popular in basketball for the ankle support they offer, can also be beneficial in volleyball. They can provide stability and help prevent ankle sprains, a common injury in volleyball. However, they might also be slightly heavier than low-top shoes, which could impact agility.

Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes For Basketball?

Just as basketball shoes can be worn for volleyball, the reverse is also possible. However, they might not offer the same level of support and cushioning required in basketball.

Why Don’t Basketball Players Wear Volleyball Shoes?

The primary reason is that volleyball shoes are designed specifically for the needs of volleyball, which differ significantly from basketball. For instance, the softer soles of volleyball shoes might not withstand the hard outdoor courts often used in basketball.

Can I use basketball shoes for volleyball?

Yes, you can. However, bear in mind that they may not offer the same level of agility and lightness as volleyball-specific shoes.

Are basketball shoes more durable than volleyball shoes?

Due to the materials used, basketball shoes can be more durable than volleyball shoes. However, the lifespan of your shoes also depends on usage and care.

Why are volleyball shoes so expensive?

Volleyball shoes are specialized footwear, designed specifically for the sport’s demands, and thus, they tend to be more expensive than general sports shoes.

Can I wear volleyball shoes casually?

Yes, you can. However, bear in mind that the soft soles of volleyball shoes might wear down faster on rough surfaces.

Why don’t basketball players wear volleyball shoes?

Volleyball shoes are designed specifically for indoor courts and might not offer the required durability and support for basketball, especially when played on outdoor courts.


In conclusion, basketball shoes can indeed be a viable, even preferable, option for volleyball players when chosen with care. The key lies in understanding and considering the specific needs of the player, the position they play, and the features of the basketball shoe in question. This way, one can unlock the full potential of basketball shoes, leveraging their versatility and advanced design to excel in the dynamic sport of volleyball.