Can Running Shoes Be Used for Volleyball? Unraveling The Truth/ featured image

Can Running Shoes Be Used for Volleyball? Unraveling The Truth

Key Takeaways:

  • Running vs. Volleyball Shoes: Running shoes are designed for forward motion, while volleyball shoes support multidirectional movements and jumps.
  • Safety: Using running shoes for volleyball increases injury risks due to inadequate grip and support.
  • Alternative Options: Cross-training shoes might be a more suitable alternative to volleyball shoes than running shoes.
  • Choosing the Right Shoe: Consider playing style, fit, expert advice, and budget when selecting volleyball footwear.

When it comes to volleyball, the fast-paced nature of the game demands specific features in footwear to support the unique movements involved.

This raises the question: Can running shoes be used for volleyball? The simple answer is No, because of the lack of grip in running shoes required for a volleyball game and the lack of some crucial features.

That being said In this article, we will explore the key differences between running shoes and volleyball shoes, and determine whether running shoes can safely and effectively be used on the volleyball court.

Let’s get started!

Anatomy of a Running Shoe

Running shoes are specifically designed to cater to the needs of runners, providing support, cushioning, and flexibility for forward movements.

Let’s delve into their unique features:

  • Materials: Running shoes are typically made from lightweight materials like mesh, synthetic fabrics, and foam to reduce weight and improve breathability.

This helps to keep the feet cool and comfortable during long runs.

  • Design: The design of running shoes is focused on providing smooth heel-to-toe transitions.

They often have a thicker heel cushion and a more flexible forefoot to facilitate the natural rolling motion of the foot during running.

  • Support and cushioning: Running shoes offer various levels of support and cushioning based on a runner’s individual needs.

Neutral shoes provide basic support and are suitable for runners with normal arches, while stability shoes are designed for runners with mild overpronation, offering additional arch support.

Motion control shoes provide maximum support for severe overpronators, helping to correct excessive inward rolling of the foot.

  • Types of runners: Running shoes cater to different types of runners, such as road runners, trail runners, and racers.

Each type of shoe offers specific features tailored to the respective running surfaces and performance requirements.

Anatomy of a Volleyball Shoe

On the other hand, Volleyball shoes are specifically engineered to support the multidirectional movements, quick lateral cuts, and jumps that are characteristic of the sport.

Let’s take a closer look at their unique features too:

  • Materials: Volleyball shoes are often made from lightweight synthetic materials and mesh for breathability and comfort.

They typically have a reinforced toe cap to protect against abrasions from sudden stops and court dives.

  • Design: The design of volleyball shoes emphasizes lateral support and stability, as well as shock absorption for landing after jumps.

They have a lower profile and a wider base, providing a stable platform for quick movements on the court.

  • Lateral support: Volleyball shoes offer enhanced lateral support with features like external heel counters and rigid midfoot shanks, which help to prevent ankle injuries and provide stability during side-to-side movements.
  • Stability and shock absorption: The midsole of a volleyball shoe is designed to offer stability and cushioning, with materials like EVA foam or polyurethane.

These shoes also include responsive cushioning systems in the forefoot and heel, which help to absorb impact and reduce stress on joints during jumps and landings.

  • Traction: Volleyball shoes have a non-marking rubber outsole with a herringbone or multi-directional pattern, ensuring optimal grip on indoor court surfaces.

This superior traction is essential for quick changes of direction and sudden stops.

Running Shoes Vs Volleyball Shoes: Comparison

By examining the design and functionality of running shoes and volleyball shoes, we can better understand their similarities and differences, as well as their impact on performance and injury risk.


Both running shoes and volleyball shoes prioritize lightweight materials and breathability to ensure comfort during physical activity.

They also offer cushioning systems to reduce the impact on joints and provide support to the feet.



Running shoes are engineered for forward motion and smooth heel-to-toe transitions, whereas volleyball shoes are designed for lateral stability, multidirectional movements, and shock absorption during jumps.

The lower profile and wider base in volleyball shoes provide a stable platform for swift court movements, which is not as prominent in running shoes.


Running shoes offer varying degrees of support and cushioning based on the individual runner’s arch and pronation, while volleyball shoes focus on lateral support and stability for all players.

Additionally, the traction patterns on volleyball shoes are specifically designed for optimal grip on indoor court surfaces, whereas running shoes cater to different surfaces like roads and trails.

Impact on performance

Using running shoes for volleyball may decrease performance due to the lack of lateral support, stability, and court-specific traction.

This can hinder quick movements and affect overall agility on the court.

Injury risk

The absence of sufficient lateral support and stability in running shoes can increase the risk of ankle injuries during volleyball, especially when making sudden side-to-side movements.

Moreover, the cushioning systems in running shoes may not provide adequate shock absorption during jumps and landings, leading to increased stress on joints.

The Risks of Using Running Shoes for Volleyball

Let us look into the risks of wearing pair of running shoes for volleyball, because it is important to understand the potential risks associated with this choice.

Here, we discuss the issues that may arise from using running shoes on the volleyball court:

  • Inadequate traction: Running shoes are not designed with the same non-marking rubber outsoles and court-specific traction patterns as volleyball shoes.

Consequently, they may not provide the optimal grip needed for quick changes of direction and sudden stops on indoor court surfaces.

This can lead to slips and falls, which increase the risk of injuries.

  • Insufficient stability and support: Running shoes lack the lateral support and stability features that are essential for volleyball, such as external heel counters and rigid midfoot shanks.

This can result in instability during side-to-side movements and may lead to ankle injuries or other issues related to poor support.

  • Inappropriate shock absorption: While running shoes offer cushioning systems, they are designed to handle the impact of continuous forward motion, not the high-impact jumps and landings involved in volleyball.

This means that using running shoes for volleyball may not provide adequate shock absorption, increasing stress on joints and the risk of injury.

  • Reduced performance: As running shoes are not specifically designed for the unique demands of volleyball, they may hinder performance due to inadequate support, stability, and traction.

Players may find it difficult to execute quick movements, jumps, and landings effectively, which can affect their overall agility on the court.

When is it OK to Use Running Shoes for Volleyball?

A. Casual, recreational play If you’re participating in a friendly, informal game of volleyball, using running shoes may not pose significant problems.

In such scenarios, the intensity of the game is generally lower, and the focus is more on having fun than on competitive performance. 

B. Non-competitive settings where there is no pressure to perform at a high level, such as during practice sessions, running shoes can be an acceptable temporary option. 

C. Transitioning between sports For athletes who participate in multiple sports, including volleyball and running, it may be tempting to use a single pair of shoes for both activities.

While this can be a convenient and cost-effective solution, it is crucial to recognize the distinct requirements of each sport. 

A very good choice of running shoes that can be used for volleyball shoes is ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 8 Running Shoes, with features such as a gel cushioning system that provides amazing shock absorption and a smooth ride.

This shoe also features a durable outsole with improved traction due to re-engineered lugs at the heel. Furthermore, they are lightweight and breathable.

However, because they are not specialized volleyball shoes they lack gum rubber soles for great grip on the floor and a midsole that supports the ball of the foot for quick movements and jumps.

That being said, they will still be quite useful for volleyball players and runners alike who like their shoes to be versatile and can perform multiple tasks.

Alternatives to Volleyball Shoes: Are Cross-Training Shoes a Viable Option?

If you’re hesitant to invest in specialized volleyball shoes, you may be considering other footwear options that can cater to the demands of the sport.

Cross-training shoes are a convenient option as they are designed to handle a variety of athletic activities and can be a potential alternative.

Let’s compare their features to volleyball shoes and weigh the pros and cons of using them for volleyball:


Cross-training shoes offer a mix of support, cushioning, and traction, making them suitable for various types of workouts, including strength training, aerobics, and court sports.

They have a lower profile and a wider base than running shoes, providing better stability and lateral support.

Additionally, they often have a more durable outsole with a multidirectional traction pattern, which can offer better grip on court surfaces

Compared to running shoes, cross-training shoes are a safer and more effective option for those seeking a versatile and cost-effective footwear solution.

Another interesting alternative to running shoes is sneakers to play volleyball shoes.

Finding the Right Shoe for Your Volleyball Needs

Selecting the perfect volleyball shoe is crucial for optimizing performance, comfort, and injury prevention. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Assess your playing style: Consider your position on the court, as well as your individual playing style.

For example, if you’re a front-row player with frequent jumps and blocks, prioritize shoes with excellent shock absorption and stability.

  • Try before you buy: Always try on volleyball shoes before purchasing, and wear the socks you plan to use during games to ensure a proper fit.

Test the shoes by performing volleyball-specific movements, such as lateral cuts and jumps, to assess comfort and support.

  • Check for proper fit: Your volleyball shoes should fit snugly without being too tight, and there should be a small amount of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

The heel should be secure, and your foot should not slide around inside the shoe during movements.

  • Seek expert advice: Consult with experienced volleyball players, coaches, or footwear specialists to gather recommendations and insights on the best shoes for your needs.
  • Consider your budget: Volleyball shoes are available at various price points.

Determine your budget, and find a shoe that offers the best combination of features, performance, and value.

Read in detail about choosing the best fit for your volleyball shoes.


When it comes to choosing footwear for volleyball, safety, performance, and comfort should be prioritized.

Running shoes, although seemingly convenient, are not explicitly designed for the demands of volleyball and may increase the risk of injury and hinder performance.

While cross-training shoes can be a more viable alternative, they also may not offer the same degree of sport-specific features as dedicated volleyball shoes.

Investing in proper volleyball shoes is the best way to ensure optimal performance, support for lateral movements, and injury prevention on the court.

By understanding the unique characteristics of volleyball shoes and using the tips provided to find the perfect fit, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your athletic performance and overall well-being.


Are running and volleyball shoes the same?

No, Running and volleyball shoes are not the same as they have different designs and features to support the specific needs of each activity. Volleyball shoes have more support in the upper part while running shoes have more cushioning in the heel.

What type of shoes do you wear for volleyball?

The best shoes for volleyball are specifically designed volleyball shoes that provide support, cushioning, and non-slip soles for quick movements.

Do any shoes work for volleyball?

While it is possible to wear other types of athletic shoes for volleyball, it is recommended to wear shoes specifically designed for volleyball.

Can we use running shoes as sports shoes?

Running shoes can be used for some sports activities, but they may not provide the necessary support and traction for certain sports.

Can I ball in running shoes?

While it’s possible to play basketball in running shoes, they are not recommended for the sport as they lack the lateral support and traction needed for quick changes of direction and jumping.
It’s best to wear shoes specifically designed for basketball.

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