Is it okay to use basketball shoes for volleyball and vice versa?
This question is not only common among non-professional sportspersons but also professionals. The short answer is no. Each shoe design is specific to the needs of the athletes using it.
On the other hand, some basketball shoes like the Kobe 6 have been recommended by players and experts as excellent substitutes for volleyball shoes. This is due to their impressive shock absorption, comfort, durability, and lightweight build.
However, except for a few exceptions, there are a lot of differences between the design of volleyball and basketball shoes. While both sports include jumping, landing, and lateral movements, the way these activities get carried out differ.
Good volleyball shoes should enhance lateral and vertical movement, while basketball shoes are designed to improve speed and vertical movement while providing ankle support.
Let’s explore the differences between both sports and why switching shoes is such a bad idea.
What Shoes Are Good for Volleyball?
Volleyball players’ range of motion includes jumping and quick lateral and vertical movements. As such, players need stability, traction, and cushioning to provide impact absorption.
Support and Cushioning
It is standard for volleyball shoes to have an inner sole and a midsole. The inner sole is for support and cushion, while the midsole, which must be strong and flexible, is for absorbing shock from impact after a jump or quick lateral move. Some shoes may have pads to cushion the forefoot and rearfoot.
Good volleyball shoes are lightweight but sturdy enough to provide stability and durability, which is perfect for the kind of quick movements players need to make.
Heavy shoes could slow you down or not allow you to get the right height when jumping.
The quick movement in volleyball when chasing after the ball exposes players to injuries and sprains. You need the type of support that allows you to change direction without falling over easily. The traction gives the grip on the court to avoid these when players make both forward and side movements.
During a game, a good volleyball shoe should allow enough airflow to keep the feet dry and cool. Certain brands place vents or mesh to enable ventilation, while some use breathable materials like high-tech polyester.
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What Shoes Are Good for Basketball?
What determines if a basketball shoe is good is its weight, ankle support, traction, and cushioning. A basketball shoe is perfect if it helps a player for better positioning when dribbling or defending the loop by maintaining traction grip on the court.
As an athlete you’re always on your feet, so cushioning is the most important part of your shoes. There are many types of cushioning to help you achieve a comfortable fit and performance on the court. Want to know if shoe cushioning is the right fit for you?
Here are a few aspects to consider basketball shoes:
- Height of the Cushioning
The cushioning’s height determines how high your foot is on the ground. If the cushion setup is too high, you won’t have that low-to-the-ground feel, court feel. This may cause and reduce responsiveness. So while there’s no fixed rule on how high your feet should be from the ground, extreme high soles can have drawbacks. On the other hand, if your cushion set up is too low, the impact protection will be minimal.
We recommend an in-between height – not too low or too high cushioning. That way, you’ll get a court feel without sacrificing impact protection.
- Bounce of the Cushioning
Another aspect is the level of impact protection your shoe’s cushioning offers. This depends on the type of foam used and new technologies that manufacturers use to ensure a cushion setup is not too rigid or too soft.
Brands try to find a balance as a cushion that is too soft will not meet the needs of quick players like guards. And if it’s too stiff, you won’t get enough impact protection and responsiveness. Lean on your heel to check the level of the bounce or check other buyers’ reviews.
Basketball shoes have to grip the floor so you can be agile and shifty. As a result, you should look out for two factors:
- Indoor or Outdoor
Some shoes are ideal for indoor courts while having hard soles for the outdoors. Indoor court tractions are typically tacky and soft to provide grip on dusty floors.
However, outdoor shoes have hard soles to ensure durability against rough courts. Not choosing the right type for each type of court can lead to slippages or no durability.
Outdoor shoes have hard soles that are meant to be durable against the rough courts. Choosing the wrong type for the wrong court can either lead to lots of slippages or no durability.
- Traction Pattern
The type of traction pattern on your shoe’s outsole determines how grippy a shoe is. For your shoe to have more grip, the traction pattern should be multi-directional so you have agility.
A basketball shoe outsole features a rubber or synthetic material. Go for a flat and wide outsole for maximum balance.
Basketball shoes feature various closure techniques to secure your feet. Laces are the most popular. But you might also find basketball shoes with hook-and-loop closure, straps, or zippers. This extra reinforcement can improve your ankle support. High-tops also provide another layer of coverage compared to standard laces only. The only drawback of high-high-tops is the added weight. So keep that in mind if you decide to go for high tops.
Basketball shoes are not all the same. There are three, namely: low-tops, mid-tops, and high tops. Low-tops are light but do not support the ankle well. Mid-tops are not the most stable but have their top just at the ankle to provide much better support to the ankle than low-tops. High-tops give the best ankle support and stability but are heavy.
Choosing a good basketball shoe depends on your playing style and position. Ball-handlers pushing through the length of the court would typically go for a low-top to make those fast breaks. Post players need high-tops to keep their stability and protect their ankle when blocking or contesting rebounds with the offensive side. All-round players typically chose mid-tops because the weight is moderate and they provide decent support.
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Differences Between Volleyball Shoes and Basketball Shoes
Volleyball shoes typically feature gum rubber material on the insole to give players solid traction in all directions. Look out for soles that are non-marking to prevent ankle injuries. Similar to volleyball, basketball also requires traction due to the complex footwork and sudden, quick moves. However, basketball shoes are made of rubber to improve the speed and jumps required during the game.
The number of jumps expected per minute in a basketball game falls short of what is expected in a volleyball game by 25%. About four times more jumps are expected on average in volleyball. In basketball shoes, the midsole serves as the insole. But the level of impact on such insoles when playing volleyball will quickly stretch its limit. For a volleyball player expecting intense play in tournaments or at club level, the cushioning needed for volleyball is far beyond what typical basketball shoes can provide.
Basketball shoes now come in a soft and flexible material, unlike decades ago when most sneakers mostly feature hard leather. But the tension on shoes in volleyball and the constant side movement and pulling is not at the level that basketball shoe design endures. As such, the shoe might wear out far more quickly than in basketball.
Basketball shoes are generally bigger and heavier than volleyball shoes. The rubber outsole, cushioning, and padding all add up to make them look bulkier than what feels ideal for the intensity of volleyball. To keep performance on the highest level and get the edge in game-defining moments, being comfortable in the first place can be the key. Ensure your volleyball shoe is light to make movements quick but sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of the game.
Top Volleyball Shoes and Basketball Shoes
ASIC Gel-Rocket is the ideal volleyball shoe for indoor court games. It uses GEL technology for its heel stabilization, EVA sock liner for cushioning and absorbing shock during lateral movements. It also has the Trusstic system technology to make the sole last long.
Mizuno Wave is your perfect shoe when you want that extra edge in your game. It is lightweight and flexible to provide cushioning for quick moves while maintaining stability. It features the EVA midsole and a non-marking rubber outsole.
Lebron Witness 6 has all it takes as a top basketball shoe. Its most recognizable feature is the visible Max Air cushioning that absorbs impact with elegance. It is lightweight, has breathable mesh, and its TPU heel stabilizer is great for stability during lateral movements. The herringbone pattern runs through its outsole from front to back.
Dedicated to J.Cole, RS-Dreamer is on fire with its suede overlays, profoam, RS foam for the midsole, unique lacing, and sticky rubber outsole for traction.
1. Can basketball shoes be used as volleyball shoes?
Some basketball shoes like the Kobe 6 are perfect substitutes for volleyball shoes. They provide excellent impact absorption, durability, and lightweight construction required for volleyball.
2. Can volleyball shoes be used for other sports?
If you mean other court games, you may use a volleyball shoe.
3. Why can’t you wear volleyball shoes outside?
Taking volleyball shoes to sports outside the court can wear out the sole and affect the traction of your shoes.