What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different?

What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different

Many people ask me whether volleyball shoes are different from court/tennis shoes.

Most people will definitely need volleyball shoes if they play more than just twice a month recreationally.

This article will explain why volleyball shoes are so special, how they differ from other types of court shoes, and why you should invest in a pair.
It’s time to get started!

It’s Important To Have A Unique Volleyball Shoe

What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different

The physical requirements of volleyball are very unique compared to other sports. The sport of volleyball requires more jumping than any other sport played on a hardwood court.

You should spike the ball at a pretty close vertical jump height every time. The same thing happens every time you go up to block. During a game, I would jump hundreds of times as a former international level middle blocker!

Basketball, badminton, squash, or handball do not feature as much jump volume as volleyball, which is one of the reasons volleyball stands out.

Volleyball shoes must allow us to jump as high as possible while protecting our joints from the high volumes of jumping we do in our sport.

Different volleyball players must also wear different types of shoes. For obvious reasons, liberos should not wear the same shoes as middle blockers.

Also, check Best Shoes For Grass Volleyball

Volleyball Shoes: Special Characteristics

What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different

Best volleyball shoes have thicker midsoles than non-volleyball shoes, which is the first thing you will notice.

Cushioning is improved with thicker midsoles. A good cushion does two things: improve bounce/springiness, allowing you to jump higher, and provide adequate impact protection or shock absorption.

It is not uncommon for volleyball tournaments to last ten hours or more…

A shoe without solid impact protection will cause your joints to ache after extended play (i.e. jumping) and you may develop or exasperate patella tendonitis or damage your knees.

In general, mid-top shoes offer more ankle support than regular low tops, so I recommend them for spikers.

There may only be a tiny difference in ankle support, but when you jump hundreds or thousands of times each week, every little thing helps prevent ankle sprains.

Exceptional traction is another attribute of great volleyball shoes, meaning they have good grip on the court.
The amount of traction that certain shoes provide depends on how dirty the court is, but some shoes are better at traction than others even on dusty courts.

Back Court Shoes Vs Front Court

What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different

Shoes with such extensive midsole technology shouldn’t be worn by liberos and setters who play primarily on the back court. Often, it will work against them.

Since liberos don’t jump, they can swap out their super thick midsoles for lighter, more responsive shoes that are better suited to lateral movements.

Many budget shoes fit this description, such as the Adidas Harden Stepback 3, the Nike Giannis Immortality, or even the Asics Gel-Rocket 10.

Due to the fact that back court players can usually save a lot more money on volleyball shoes by skipping the advanced midsole, the vast majority of the price of a volleyball shoe is determined by how much tech is packed into the midsole.

In addition, backcourt players tend to prefer shoes that feel more connected to the court by being lower to the ground.

Liberos and some setters should avoid shoes such as the Asics Sky Elite FFs (shown above) because it is very difficult to achieve this low down feeling with so much cushioning.

It’s also possible to forgo the mid top design if you like, since liberos and back court setters don’t jump very much.

While defending, it is very difficult to break an ankle moving laterally. Most ankle injuries in volleyball occur as a result of spiking and blocking.

A lot of popular ‘volleyball shoes’ aren’t actually volleyball shoes!

What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different

The number of volleyballers who buy regular court shoes believing they are appropriate for volleyball never ceases to amaze me.
Netball, handball, badminton, etc., are among the sports for which the Asics Upcourt range and Gel-Rockets were designed.

It’s not volleyball, though!

It is simply not possible for these shoes to support volleyball athletes’ massive jump volumes due to inadequate cushioning in the midsole.
Research volleyball shoes carefully and make sure that they are specifically designed to meet volleyball’s needs.

Also, check Best Volleyball Shoes for Libero

Brand Spotlight

Top Volleyball Shoe Brands in 2024

In the volleyball shoe industry, there are a number of brands that excel. In this article, we’ll highlight the leading brands, and see what sets them apart from competitors.

Player Testimonials

Insights from Professional Volleyball Players

How do pros choose volleyball shoes? Our goal is to provide valuable insight to enthusiasts and aspiring athletes through the testimonials and preferences of professional players.

Maintenance Tips

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Volleyball Shoes

Maintaining volleyball shoes is as important as investing in quality shoes. This article will provide you with practical tips on how to clean, store, and preserve your volleyball shoes for a long time.

Do Volleyball Shoes Really Make A Difference?

What Makes Volleyball Shoes Different

My opinion is that it’s a no-brainer to invest a few hundred dollars in a good pair of volleyball shoes.

Playing regularly will benefit your joints, unless you do it for fun very rarely.

The jump volume volleyballers perform throughout a season is simply too high for typical court shoes (or tennis shoes, heaven forbid, running shoes).

You will not only reduce your performance if you are wearing the wrong shoes, but you may also sustain an injury.
Volleyball shoes do make a difference, so yes, they do!

Basketball Shoes Are Becoming More Like Volleyball Shoes

Volleyball players actually benefit most from basketball shoes when it comes to providing the support they need.
The reason volleyball shoes are taking on a basketball shoe look is because of this…

There is almost no difference between Nike Hyperdunk (Nike’s most popular basketball shoe) and the React Hyperset, Nike’s most popular volleyball shoe.

It’s true that the upper looks different, but everything else, from the midsole down, is the same!

In my opinion, the basketball shoe style offers a lot more in terms of cushioning and midsole technology than much of the other styles.

Basketball shoes have been my go-to volleyball shoes for years, and many of the elite volleyballers I know wear them too.

Also, check Best Adidas Volleyball Shoes


Do I really need volleyball-specific shoes, or can I use regular athletic shoes?

The importance of volleyball shoes for optimal performance is explored in this article.

How often should I replace my volleyball shoes?

Find out whether it’s time to retire your existing pair and invest in a new pair.

Are high-top shoes better for ankle support in volleyball?

Low-top, mid-top, and high-top designs are discussed in detail, with ankle support at the center of the debate.

Can I use volleyball shoes for other sports or activities?

Identify the situations in which volleyball shoes can be used outside of the court and when they are appropriate.

What’s the importance of traction in volleyball shoes?

Examine the crucial role traction plays in preventing slips and improving overall stability.


As a result, choosing the right volleyball shoes goes beyond aesthetics. The decision directly impacts the performance, comfort, and safety of a player on the court.

Whatever your level of experience, knowing the unique features of volleyball shoes is essential for improving your game.

Also, check Best Volleyball Shoes for Hitters

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