Can I Use Running Shoes For Volleyball?

Can i use running shoes for volleyball

Volleyball shoes can be a nightmare especially when you choose the wrong or unsuitable pair for playing volleyball. Therefore, experts suggest using a dedicated and specialized pair for athletes.

Can I Use running shoes for volleyball? is one of the many frequently asked questions by beginners, while selecting some better volleyball sneakers.

Based on my personal opinion built on many years of experience as a former professional volleyball player I won’t recommend wearing running shoes for volleyball. But why I don’t recommend running shoes for volleyball? is another aspect and requires a detailed discussion.

In this article, I will give a detailed answer to this question with logic, examples, and experience. I will be discussing the various aspects including the difference between running and volleyball shoes based on the shoe design, construction material, and durability.

So let’s start without any delay!

What Governs the Shoes Requirements For Volleyball And Running?

Playing volleyball is 180 degrees different from running. In volleyball matches athletes jump intensely, extensively, and more frequently. Moreover, they also perform digging, diving, quick-stepping, sprinting, and lateral movements during a match.

On the other hand, running is a straight movement that does not involve jumping and movements like volleyball. You won’t be diving or digging while running or jumping like a spiker.

In fact, this difference gives rise to separate shoe demands for both volleyball and running. Hence, a volleyball player will require shock-absorbent shoes that have decent traction and lateral support.

Can I Use Running Shoes for Volleyball?

I don’t recommend wearing running shoes for volleyball due to the following reasons:-

Inadequate Cushioning

  • The volleyball shoes have increased cushioning to reduce stress on the ankle and knee joints. Although, there are some running shoes that can match the bouncy technology found in volleyball. However, they are not designed to absorb large impact loads when landing from a height.
  • The main task of the running shoes is to extinguish the load from a long stride, but not from a height of 100 centimeters. Plus, the resource of running shoes is calculated in the distance traveled.
  • Many people don’t know, but most of the running models have a recommended mileage in which the elasticity of the sole retains its original properties. The original shoe depreciation is reduced from 100% to 70% after 200 km.
  • Now imagine that with your jumping loads, you reduce the resources of your shoes 10 times faster. This does not mean that your sneakers will suddenly become wooden; it means that your knees and spine will begin to receive a large shock load upon landing in the form of a cumulative effect, and thus you increase the risk of injury in the future.
  • For the same reason, playing and running shoes cannot be used for training in the gym when working with large weights. You reduce the cushioning life of your shoe very quickly.
  • This is hard to notice over a long period since, figuratively speaking, your shoes lose half a percent of their elasticity per workout, and this is very imperceptible at the moment.
  • But if after 2-3 months of regular training, try on the same pair of new sneakers in which you play, you will feel the difference right away. I checked it myself, several times.


Weight is another important factor and when creating, the designers do everything to make their shoes as light as possible.

  • Since there is no need for additional stabilization when running in a straight line, the weight loss of the shoe is felt very strongly, especially when running long distances.
  • As per Asics the ideal average weight of a volleyball shoe range is 300-400 grams conversely Nike has set a range of 185-226 grams for running shoes.
  • Despite the preference for using lightweight shoes in volleyball, running shoes can’t be fantasized because they will cost the performance i.e. stability and shock absorption

Design and Support

Both running shoes and volleyball shoes have different requirements. Hence, the difference in the design is logical and obvious. Running shoes are designed for forward motion. Whereas, volleyball involves a lot of multi-directional movements, so you need a shoe that can handle that.

  • Running shoes focus on forward motion, so they often lack the lateral stability required for volleyball.
  • On the other hand, volleyball shoes have a wider base, which offers better stability, and they often include features like outriggers to prevent rollovers.
  • Moreover, Running shoes are not originally designed to protect your ankle from twisting; the running shoe is designed to move the foot freely.
  • Therefore, when playing in running shoes, especially at a level of training above the initial level, you will need to make sharp lateral stops or lateral movements, in which the upper part of the shoe will not support your ankle. At best, you get a sprain, at worst, a rupture of the ligaments.
  • Running shoes may also lack adequate arch support and rigidity. Volleyball shoes usually have shanks or plates to provide arch support and rigidity, which helps with landing and stability during rapid movements.
Can i use running shoes for volleyball? Running Shoes vs Volleyball Shoes in term of design

In the image, you can see 2 shoes the upper is a Nike Pegasus 39 running shoe and the second one is the Mizuno Wave Momentum volleyball shoes.

Here you can clearly see more ankle support, lateral stability, and toe protection in the Mizuno wave momentum which is not the case with the Nike.

I once used my Asics Gel-Kayano 27 running shoes for playing volleyball but the experience was terrible. I like these sneakers, and I am happy to wear them always and everywhere, but I would never play volleyball in them.


Traction is a fundamental factor for a good volleyball shoe. It directly influences an athlete’s performance and safety on the volleyball court. Whether it’s preventing slips and falls, ensuring stability during rapid movements, or enabling precise control over the game, the role of traction in volleyball shoes is paramount.

  • Volleyball shoes are specifically designed to optimize traction, catering to the specific demands of the sport and the varying court surfaces encountered.
  • As a rule, running shoes do not pay as much attention to this aspect. As there is simply no need for this when running in a straight line.
  • Running shoes typically have a traction pattern designed for grip on asphalt and other surfaces, which isn’t ideal for the quick and dynamic movements of volleyball.
  • Even the area of contact with the surface is much less than in the game. Therefore, the lower your weight or the higher the speed of movement, the greater the probability of slipping and the risk of injury.
  • Because of this, when playing in old or dusty halls, running shoes can behave like skates on ice.
Running Shoes vs Volleyball Shoes in term of traction

In the above image, the upper photo is of the running shoes whereas the lower one is of the volleyball shoes. After looking at the outsole surface one can easily understand the level of traction offered by both shoes.

Upper Material

  • Many running shoes are made with lightweight materials like mesh, which can wear down quickly when subjected to the lateral movements of volleyball.
  • Therefore, playing contact sports in such shoes, after the first contact with the opponent’s feet, you can turn them into open-topped sandals.
  • In contrast, volleyball shoes, incorporate more durable materials and overlays to withstand the demands of the sport. They have to protect your fingers in case of landing or accidental impact on the leg.

What is the difference between Volleyball Shoes and Running Shoes?

I have tried to elaborate on the difference between both shoes in the table by considering a few important factors:-

Volleyball Shoes
Running Shoes
BreathabilityLess Breathable Compared to the Running ShoesMore Breathable compared to Volleyball Shoes
CushioningSoft gum rubber specifically designed for the court-like gym floor Light cushioning to mitigate the small and frequent blows during running
Jumping Facilitate jumping and equipped with special technology to give a pushFacilitate forward movement and keep the gravity forward not good for high jumps
DurabilityLess DurableMore durable due to outdoor usage
OutsoleMore Breathable Compared to Volleyball ShoesHard carbon rubber specifically designed for outdoor surfaces like asphalt and concrete
WeightHeavier in weightLighter in weight
Difference between running shoes and volleyball shoes

Can I use Volleyball Shoes for Running?

Volleyball shoes can also not used be for running. This is due to the earlier explanation of the differences between the shoe requirements and the construction for both. To me, the most important reasons for not using volleyball shoes for running are the weight, design, outsole construction, and durability.


Volleyball shoes are heavier in weight compared to running shoes. Therefore, they are not suitable for running. Obviously, heavier shoes significantly influence running efficiency.

  • For Instance, Eliud Kipchoge in 2018, with a step length of 190 centimeters, made a total of 22,500 steps in 42 km, which means that if you reduce the weight of sneakers by 20 grams, then at such a distance, your legs will have to load by 4.5 tons less. Depending on the fact that such a marathon lasts for 2 hours, this is a really big pressure on the runner’s feet


Running shoes are designed to absorb small but consistent shocks as well as to keep the center of gravity of your foot forward. However, this is not the case with volleyball shoes where shoes are crafted to absorb the shocks and facilitate the smooth landing.

Outsole Construction

  • The volleyball shoes cannot withstand the abrasion and impact associated with outdoor running.
  • The outsole of the Volleyball shoes is specifically designed and optimized for indoor use on smooth surfaces, such as gym floors.
  • On the other hand, running shoes are designed to endure a wide range of outdoor terrains, including concrete and asphalt.

Why Are Dedicated Volleyball Shoes Advised?

With the advancement in shoe construction technology, footwear-making companies are focusing more on the R&D in the shoe industry.

They are developing modern technologies based on the biomechanics of various games. In the strive to mitigate the negative impact of different athletic activities on the human body, new shoe models are launched.

Therefore, it is advisable to choose a dedicated volleyball shoe pair to avoid injuries as well as boost your performance on the court.

Shoes To Avoid for Playing Volleyball

Apart from the running shoes, the following shoes are also not recommended due to the reasons mentioned against each

  • Casual Shoes: Sneakers or casual shoes, like Converse or Vans, aren’t built for sports performance. They lack the necessary cushioning, support, and traction for volleyball.
  • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots are too heavy and lack the flexibility required for quick movements on the volleyball court.
  • Cleats: Cleats are designed for sports like soccer or football and have studs on the sole, which can be dangerous on an indoor volleyball court, posing a risk to your safety and the court’s surface.
  • Flip-Flops or Sandals: Open-toed footwear doesn’t provide the necessary protection and stability for volleyball. They also increase the risk of injury.
  • High Heels: High-heeled shoes are entirely unsuitable for playing any sport, including volleyball. They lack support, stability, and traction.
  • Old or Worn-Out Shoes: Worn-out shoes with flattened cushioning and reduced support should be replaced, as they can increase the risk of injuries and decrease your performance.
  • Cycling Shoes

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right pair of sport-specific shoes, especially when it comes to volleyball, is crucial. Volleyball, like many other sports, places unique demands and pressure on your feet. The only way to securely cater to this demand is by using appropriate footwear. It’s not merely about style; it’s about functionality, performance, and, most importantly, your safety.
When it comes to running shoes they are unfit and unsuitable for playing volleyball. The basic reason for their unsuitability is the design, traction, cushioning, and support which are the key features of any volleyball shoes. So, it is always recommended to use the specialized shoes crafted for volleyball.

Frequently Asked Questions?

Can I wear badminton shoes to play volleyball?

This question is also the same as of the use of the running shoes for the volleyball. I have also written a dedicated article on this topic covering all the necessary details and reasons to support the argument that you can not wear badminton shoes for volleyball.

Similar Posts