Are Basketball and Volleyball Shoes the Same?

If you are an avid volleyball player, you may be asking yourself, can I use basketball shoes to play volleyball? There are usually much more options and the prices can be lower, so the question makes sense. Buying shoes is expensive for any sport, and you want to make sure you are using the right shoes for your sport. So, are basketball and volleyball shoes the same?

No, basketball and volleyball shoes are not the same. Though they are of a similar structure on the outside, the shoe’s inner construction is built differently due to the difference in playing capabilities. The shoes’ difference is based on the sport’s motions, such as the impact on the feet when playing volleyball.

Each shoe has its differences and can help a person perform well in their sport. Read on to determine the differences between the two shoes. At the end of the article, we also give our opinion on whether you could use basketball shoes for volleyball.

Criteria for Basketballs Shoes vs. Volleyball Shoes

When looking at shoes for your sport, there are a few criteria that can make a shoe suitable for volleyball or basketball. Even though there is some overlap, each shoe has been designed for that particular sport.

Each shoe has been built based on the flexibility and agility necessary for your sport. Wearing a shoe for the opposite sport may lead to more wear and tear on the body, which would be unnecessary if the right shoes were worn.

Bodily Impact

Both basketball and volleyball are heavy impact sports on your body. The shoes are designed differently to absorb the impact left on your body by making a move. Each decision made when creating the shoe can help a person perform better at their sport. The type of shoe would break down more quickly if used for incorrect purposes, causing harm to the wearer.


Volleyball shoes are designed for people who are bouncing on the toes of their shoes and landing on the balls of their feet when jumping. The shoe design requires strong support that can help the wearer rocket forward on their feet and jump into the air upwards of eight times a minute. 

The support provided in the arch is more critical for volleyball because you are doing more pivoting and jumping. Also, the gum rubber used on the bottom of the shoes helps you build traction and not slip on a gym floor. The additional traction will provide less possibility of injury ending in more bodily harm. Safety first!

Also, volleyball shoes are built to protect your toes and for stability and protection when playing. Even though volleyball doesn’t involve a lot of contact, if any, it’s still a physically demanding sport. Therefore it requires stable shoes that prevent possible injury. 


Basketball shoes are designed to be quite like a running shoe, and a volleyball shoe rolled into one. Since basketball requires running movement up and down the court, the shoe’s middle needs to be cushioned and provide support like a running shoe. 

The middle of a cushioned shoe is perfect for the basketball shoe because it keeps the weight from impacting the body when moving. The rubber on the bottom of the shoes also helps avoid slipping and keeping traction for running on a possibly slippery surface. 

The shoe’s sole is made with rubber to be used on various surfaces that basketball is played upon, rather than just the gum rubber. The rubber grips the surfaces a lot easier than the gum rubber, which requires a flat smooth surface. 

Basketball shoes are designed to help with cardio-based movement and running. Instead, the focus is on providing traction and running support to lessen the impact of repeated movement on your joints, rather than jumping.

Flexibility in Shoe Structure

Shoes used in different sports need different ranges of flexibility. Each one is to provide stability or ease of movement depending on what is required. In volleyball and basketball, these shoes require additional flexibilities to deal with the movements of the sport. 


Volleyball shoes are made to be quite flexible compared to those of basketball. Since much of the sport requires jumping, you need a shoe that will be able to bend to your foot and the activity it is performing in a lateral motion. 

The rubber and soles of the shoe are made to be light and flexible to move with you. Whereas the rest of the shoe structure is more rigid, allowing you to have the secure structure you need.


Basketball shoes are notorious for being very rigid and inflexible. The purpose of these shoes is to provide stability when moving forward and ensure a cushioned sole on their foot. Because it is more of a forward movement, a rigid structure is needed to keep the foot steady in its movement.

Weight of Shoes

The difference in the weight of the shoes is due to the purpose of the sport. A heavier shoe will be more beneficial for a less quickly moving sport, such as basketball, where lighter and more flexible shoes will be more useful for volleyball.


Volleyball shoes are light and flexible, allowing the athlete to move faster and laterally. The shoe structure is made with lightweight materials not to hinder the lateral and jumping movements required when playing volleyball. 

Movement is more comfortable in a flexible shoe rather than rigid ones in basketball. The rubber is also a lighter transparent one that makes moving on the floor quite a bit easier and has good traction. 


The weight of basketball shoes is quite a bit heavier than volleyball ones. The structure of stiff materials forces the foot to maintain its shape, and it is not moved side to side very quickly. It takes more effort to move the foot and causes the athlete to think more carefully about their movements rather than an instant reaction.

What Type of Shoe is Best for Basketball?

Ultimately basketball shoes are the best shoes to play basketball in. The technology used to create a stiff and comfortable shoe is essential to the sport. Since it is a forward sport, the shoe is perfect for that. 

Using other shoes to play basketball is unwise and can ultimately cause more stress and impact on your body, leading to health concerns. Whatever shoe you choose to play in, make sure it has good traction and arch support to keep your foot steady and supported to keep you at your best.

Can Basketball Shoes be Used to Play Volleyball?

Technology has advanced basketball shoe design in recent years to be more flexible. The roof of the shoe is more flexible while maintaining the same rigid cushioning bottom. This can be a good thing for volleyball players because the structure will help prevent injury.

But basketball shoes can be broken down quickly because of the repeated motion needed in volleyball. So replacing these shoes would need to come at a more common frequency. 

It is important to note that basketball shoes are more easily found because it is a more popular mainstream sport. A more saturated market means basketball shoes’ prices will be a lot less than those of volleyball. So if you are struggling to find a pair of shoes to wear for volleyball, basketball shoes can be a fair trade.


Basketball and volleyball shoes are not the same. Depending on how and what you are playing, choosing the proper shoes can help keep you moving, and your body impacts lower. Now that you know the differences between the shoes, you can make sure you are using the right one for you!

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