Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes: What are The Difference?


Our goal is to provide clarity by comparing basketball shoes vs volleyball shoes.

Keeping up with the latest athletic footwear technology and understanding which shoes are best for different sports can be overwhelming. 

Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes

So you can decide which one suits you best. Read on for a comprehensive overview of Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes!

Difference between Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes

Basketball and volleyball shoes have distinct design features that cater to the specific needs of each sport. Basketball shoes have thicker and more cushioned soles to provide stability during lateral movements and absorb impact from jumps. 

Volleyball shoes have a lighter and thinner sole, allowing for better court feel and agility. Basketball shoes often have a higher cut with added ankle support for injury prevention. 

Furthermore, volleyball shoes have a lower cut for greater ankle mobility. Tread patterns also differ between the two shoes. 

Basketball shoes have multidirectional patterns for quick changes in direction, and volleyball shoes feature gum rubber soles for better indoor court traction.

Comparing Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes

When comparing volleyball and basketball shoes, we focused on several key factors. 

Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes


The designs of volleyball and basketball shoes are quite different. 

Basketball shoes typically have a thicker sole with cushioning, while volleyball shoes are lighter and more flexible. 

The extra cushioning in basketball shoes helps absorb shock when landing after jumps. But the flexibility in volleyball shoes gives players more control over their movements on the court.


Regarding both shoes offer unique benefits. Volleyball players prefer lightweight materials that don’t weigh them down during jumps and long rallies. 

Basketball players often prefer heavier materials with extra cushioning for support during high-impact movements like jumping and running up and down the court. 


Aside from design features, there are differences in materials used between volleyball vs basketball shoes.

Basketball shoes often use lightweight mesh for breathability during play while keeping the feet cool on the court. 

However, this material may need more support or protection for relentless jumping in volleyball. 

As a result, volleyball shoe brands typically use leather due to its durability and stability, giving consumers freedom of movement on the court.

The Heel Difference

One of the biggest differences between volleyball and basketball shoes is their design around the heel. 

Volleyball shoes have a higher heel-to-toe drop than basketball shoes. That’s why it provides more cushioning and shock absorption at the heel side of the shoe. 

This helps reduce fatigue on your feet when jumping for long periods during a game. Basketball shoes typically have less cushioning because players don’t need as much shock absorption when running on the court.

Traction Considerations 

Another key difference between these two types of athletic footwear is traction. 

Volleyball players need to move quickly from side to side without slipping on the court surface. Volleyball shoes feature rubber outsoles with deep tread patterns, providing superior grip on indoor surfaces like wood or tile floors. 

Basketball shoes feature smooth outsoles with shallow tread patterns better suited for outdoor surfaces like asphalt or concrete courts.

Upper Design

The upper design of volleyball shoes is made from synthetic leather that is lightweight and breathable to keep your feet cool during intense gameplay. 

Basketball shoes generally feature a combination of mesh and leather for extra durability, making them more suitable for the hard-hitting nature of basketball.  

Sole Structure   

Volleyball shoes have a flexible midsole with arch support, enabling players to move quickly on the court while maintaining stability and comfort.

Basketball shoes feature reinforced midsoles with multiple layers of cushioning to absorb impact when playing on a hardwood court.

Outsole Tread Pattern     

Regarding outsole tread patterns, volleyball shoes feature an ultra-grippy pattern designed specifically for indoor sports like volleyball, squash, and badminton. 

Basketball shoes have a thick rubber outsole designed for traction during quick stops and start on an outdoor court. 

Weight Comparison

Weight is an important factor when choosing shoes for volleyball, as rapid side-to-side movements and abrupt starts and stops are necessities in the sport. With their thick rubber outsole and heavy padding, basketball shoes can be clunky on the court and make movement difficult. 

Volleyball shoes are much lighter than basketball shoes and feature less padding – this allows players to move freely while getting a great grip when jumping around or sliding during quick dives. 

For example, the Wave Momentum by Mizuno weighs only 10.3oz. It is designed with lightweight materials, EVA foam in the heel for stability and cushioning, and a shape that matches the foot, providing ease of movement and body control. You can protect your feet, ankles, and knees by wearing Mizuno’s volleyball shoes.


An interesting comparison between volleyball shoes and basketball shoes is their cushioning. 

Volleyball shoes generally have less cushioning than basketball shoes, as they need to be lighter, more practical, and easier to run. 

While volleyball shoes have less cushioning, they make up for it with a flexible sole and strong arch support, ensuring players remain comfortable during jumps in a match. 

Basketball shoes offer different levels of cushioning due to the sport’s high average jump height. It requires maximum support and response during rigorous impact moves such as dunking or rebounding.

Both shoes provide necessary protection for players’ feet but use different methods and materials for cushioning.


Basketball shoes tend to be more expensive than the most expensive volleyball shoes. However, basketball shoes are slightly cheaper on average than their volleyball counterparts. 

This is based on my experience writing several volleyball shoe roundup articles, which usually include many basketball shoes.

Furthermore, budget basketball shoes are more readily available than budget volleyball shoes, which are rare.

Are Basketball and Volleyball Shoes the Same?

Volleyball Shoes vs Basketball Shoes

No, basketball and volleyball shoes are not the same. While they may look relatively similar on outside, they have many differences.

Basketball shoes are designed to focus on cushioning, providing comfort for players as they make quick lateral movements or jump for rebounds. 

Volleyball shoes are designed to provide ankle stability and low-profile cushioning for players who may be jumping in the air or changing directions.

The main difference lies in the supportive features. Basketball shoes have thicker soles with an exclusive design that provides increased comfort and protection from impact on hardwood floors. 

Volleyball shoes feature a flat sole and low-profile cushioning to provide stability and grip when making sudden movements in any direction. 

Furthermore, volleyball shoes also feature more support around the ankles compared to basketball shoes, as they are designed to protect players from sprains during rapid directional shifts.

Can you wear basketball shoes for volleyball?

Yes. Choosing the right shoe for playing volleyball is important for a successful game and a comfortable experience. 

Basketball shoes have distinct features that differentiate them from volleyball shoes, including increased padding on the soles and thicker bottoms, which make them generally unsuitable for volleyball. 

Their hard material can cause discomfort and reduced performance over time, mainly on basketball court surfaces.

Ultimately, deciding if you should use basketball shoes for volleyball comes down to what offers you the best comfort, control, and performance on the court.

Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes For Basketball? 

Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes For Basketball

Yes, volleyball shoes can be worn for basketball as they share many similarities in design and functionality. Most volleyball/basketball shoes can be used interchangeably for both sports.

Unlike wearing running shoes for volleyball, which is not recommended due to the sport’s unique demands, volleyball shoes have features that are well-suited for basketball. 

However, it’s important to note that basketball has a higher risk of ankle injuries than volleyball. Therefore, wearing shoes with extra lateral stability and ankle support is advisable when playing basketball.

As someone who has played both sports for over a decade, I highly recommend taking extra precautions to protect your ankles while playing basketball, regardless of the shoes you wear.



Basketball and volleyball shoes are specifically designed to cater to the demands and movements of their respective sports. Basketball shoes work best for basketball, while volleyball shoes are better suited for volleyball.

Basketball shoes tend to be designed with more ankle support and cushioning to help with the constant jumping and quick movements required in the sport. They are also often heavier and have thicker soles to provide better traction on the court.

Volleyball shoes are made to be lightweight and provide better lateral movement since the sport involves a lot of side-to-side movements and quick changes of direction. They also have a lower cut, allowing for more ankle flexibility and jumping ability.

Avoid these things Basketball Shoes For Volleyball.

Avoid these things Basketball Shoes For Volleyball

While comparing volleyball shoes vs basketball shoes, we found that there are some things to avoid when buying basketball shoes for volleyball.

  • Inadequate Traction: Avoid basketball shoes with poor traction patterns for indoor volleyball courts. Choose shoes with gum rubber soles or tread patterns for optimal grip on smooth surfaces.
  • Excessive Weight: Heavy basketball shoes can hinder agility and quick movements on the volleyball court. Look for lighter shoes that provide a good balance between support and agility.
  • Excessive Cushioning: While basketball shoes often offer more cushioning for impact absorption, too much cushioning can compromise court feel and responsiveness. Look for shoes that strike a balance between cushioning and court feedback.
  • Restricted Ankle Mobility: Some basketball shoes have high-cut designs or added ankle support for basketball-specific movements and stability. However, ankle mobility is necessary in volleyball for quick lateral movements and jumps. Avoid basketball shoes with restrictive ankle support features that may limit your range of motion.
  • Insufficient Lateral Stability: Basketball shoes may prioritize stability for vertical movements, but volleyball requires quick lateral movements. Avoid shoes lacking lateral stability and opt for models that provide support and stability during side-to-side movements.

While basketball shoes can be used for volleyball in certain cases, it’s generally best to choose shoes specifically designed for volleyball to ensure they cater to the unique needs and movements of the sport.

Which Basketball Shoes Are Best For Volleyball?

Although basketball shoes are not specifically designed for volleyball, some models have features that can make them suitable for the sport. 

Basketball shoes such as 

  • The Nike Kyrie series (Kyrie 7 or Kyrie Low 4), 
  • Adidas Dame series (Dame 7 or Dame 5), 
  • Under Armour HOVR Havoc series (HOVR Havoc 3),
  •  Jordan’s Why Not Zer0 series (Why Not Zer0.4 or Why Not Zer0.3) 

These shoes offer good traction, cushioning, and stability, making them popular among volleyball players.

However, it’s crucial to remember that individual preferences may vary, and trying on different shoe models is always recommended to find the best fit and feel for your specific needs and playing style in volleyball. 

Final Verdict

There are many significant differences between volleyball shoes and basketball shoes. 

While both shoes serve the important purpose of protecting the feet and providing support, they each have different features that make them better suited for their sports. 

If you need help deciding which shoe type to buy, consider what sport you’ll be playing most often in them.

You must watch for key features like extra ankle support or a strong toe box. With this information in mind, you should have no trouble finding the ideal pair of shoes to help improve your game!

If you are also interested to read about the best running shoes for basketball, then feel free to check out this article. Thanks!


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