Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball?

Micah Drews


Do you want to know if wearing your old tennis shoes will cause any problems on the volleyball court? In the first place, you may not even be aware that tennis and volleyball shoes differ.

In general, tennis shoes can be worn casually for volleyball. But there are several key differences that make them unsuitable for long-term use.

This article explains why you should avoid wearing tennis shoes on volleyball courts if at all possible, and the 4 major differences between tennis shoes and volleyball shoes.

It’s time to get started with this guide on Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

Can You Use Tennis Shoes For Volleyball?

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

It is unfortunately not possible to use tennis shoes for volleyball. Choosing footwear for these two sports requires consideration of some factors due to their different builds.

Shoes with gum rubber soles are recommended for volleyball to enhance traction on hard courts. A gum rubber sole can provide a great grip for quick starts and stops. Thus, the polished floor prevents athletes from slipping.

You need to be on your toes all the time when playing volleyball. To avoid slipping or falling, you need a shoe that lets you move quickly laterally. That wasn’t the intention when tennis sneakers were designed. 

Compared to other athletic shoes, volleyball shoes weigh less. In addition to providing speed and agility on the court, this enhancement gives players control while competing. All of these factors mean volleyball players need a shoe specifically designed for their sport, and they need the shoe to meet their needs while playing.

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Understanding the Importance of Proper Footwear

Volleyball, like any other sport, requires the right footwear. Stability, support, and traction are provided by your shoes. You can enhance your performance and reduce your risk of injury by wearing the appropriate shoes for each sport.

The Main Differences Between Tennis Shoes & Volleyball Shoes

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

The movements athletes perform while wearing sports shoes are optimized by all sports shoes. In spite of their similarities, tennis, and volleyball are very different sports that involve some pretty different movements.

There are several factors that make a huge impact on how shoes are designed, the most important of which is jumping and landing. As well as the obvious differences, volleyball is usually played on a hardwood floor rather than a concrete, grass, or clay surface.

1. Different Outsole Designs

There is one major difference between tennis shoes and volleyball shoes in terms of their outsoles. On outdoor courts, tennis shoes are typically made from much thicker, heavier, and more durable rubber.

To maximize grip on hardwood indoor courts, volleyball shoes are often made with soft gum rubber. The traction patterns on volleyball shoes and tennis shoes tend to be very low profile in order to maximize grip.

An uneven surface would be better gripped by a shoe with much deeper grooves, such as one used for running.

2. Lateral Stiffness & Sidewall

A tennis player’s aggressive changes of direction are one of the things that make them different from volleyball players. As players dig their feet in to switch directions, they occasionally slide sideways across the court.

Because of this, tennis shoes tend to have thicker materials along the sides just above the midsoles, which puts a lot of pressure on the outside of the shoe. There are often internal sidewalls in tennis shoes that reinforce the sides to ensure that the foot stays secure.

As far as lateral containment goes, volleyball shoes tend to be much less restrictive and even allow the foot to protrude slightly over the sole during lateral movement.

3. Thickness and cushioning of the midsole

There is less cushioning in tennis shoes on average because their midsoles are thinner. Consequently, the bounce when jumping as well as the impact protection when landing is reduced.

Since tennis has very little jumping and volleyball has a lot, this makes all the sense in the world. Tennis shoes tend to be more ‘low to the ground’ than volleyball shoes, so they feel higher off the ground than tennis shoes.

4. Forefoot Flexibility & Heel Toe Transition

Also, you may notice a difference with some shoes in the way they rock from heel to toe. We call this the ‘heel-toe transition’. We can determine how smooth a shoe is when jumping based on this, along with its forefoot flex.

A volleyball shoe’s heel-toe transition is usually smooth and fluid, with plenty of forefoot flex to make jumping easier. When jumping, some tennis shoes ‘slap’ the floor because they are too flat and stiff.

Why Tennis Shoes Aren’t Ideal For Volleyball

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

Liberos and setters primarily play from the backcourt, so their need for extra cushioning may not be as great as that of the setter. A thicker midsole with better cushioning is necessary for spikers, on the other hand.

Tennis shoes lack shock absorption, so jumping in them repeatedly can result in aching joints. It is also important to note that tennis shoes tend to be quite a bit less smooth when it comes to jumping than other types of shoes.

You should feel very springy when you jump on the court and very soft when you land in a good pair of volleyball shoes. Tennis shoes will not give you that experience.

The harder outsoles of tennis shoes are also not designed for hardwood courts, so they will not grip well on the surface. It may even be dangerous on particularly dusty volleyball courts since the shoes will slide around too much. Indoor courts lack bite, resulting in slower and less agile players due to poor responsiveness.

Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes For Tennis?

If we tried to wear tennis shoes with volleyball shoes, what would happen? Tennis shoes on the volleyball court may be even worse than this!

The lack of traction, lateral containment, and durability of volleyball shoes make them impossible to wear for tennis. Concrete courts, or any tennis courts for that matter, are not suitable for the outsoles on volleyball shoes. It is very likely that the rubber bottoms of the shoes will fray very quickly because they are too soft.

Wearing volleyball shoes on a tennis court increases your risk of rolling your ankle since the shoes are much higher off the ground, lack an internal sidewall, and have softer materials around the sides.

Best Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

It’s remarkably similar to a lot of other Asics court shoes that people wear for volleyball all the time, so I’d choose the Asics Gel-Dedicate 7 if I had to wear tennis shoes for volleyball.

This shoe has a similar traction pattern to Asics’ volleyball shoes, and its heel-toe transition is relatively smooth. This budget shoe, however, probably has very weak cushioning, so I’d have to replace it sooner rather than later!

If you’re a beginner libero or setter who doesn’t jump a lot, it might be okay.

Impact of Footwear on Performance and Injury Prevention

A volleyball player’s performance can be significantly affected by his or her choice of footwear. The construction of volleyball shoes is lightweight, the cushioning is superior, and the lateral support is great.

In addition, these elements allow players to make sharp movements and move quickly with less risk of ankle injuries. The dynamic nature of volleyball requires shoes that provide support and cushioning that tennis shoes lack.

Can Tennis Shoes be Suitable for Volleyball?

It is not recommended to wear tennis shoes for volleyball as an alternative to volleyball shoes. The differing design features can cause suboptimal performance and increase the risk of injury.

The quick movements and jumps involved in volleyball require ankle support, cushioning, and stability that tennis shoes cannot provide. In order to maximize your performance and minimize your risk of injury, you should invest in a pair of volleyball-specific shoes.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Volleyball Shoes

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

There are several factors to consider when choosing volleyball shoes:

  • Fit: Comfort and performance depend on proper fit. A snug fit without too much restriction is what you should look for in shoes.
  • Cushioning: Jumping and landing are common elements of volleyball, so a cushioned midsole is essential to reduce joint stress.
  • Grip and Traction: Indoor courts require rubber outsoles with a tread pattern designed for volleyball shoes. As a result, you will have excellent grip and traction on the court, so you will be able to move confidently.
  • Breathability: You should choose sneakers made from breathable materials to ensure your feet stay cool and dry during intense matches.

Features to Look for in Volleyball Shoes

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

Here are some features you should look for in volleyball shoes:

  • Lightweight Design: Wearing lightweight shoes reduces fatigue during extended play and enables quick movements.
  • Ankle Support: In order to prevent ankle injuries, volleyball shoes often feature supportive ankle collars or overlays.
  • Responsive Cushioning: The shoe with responsive cushioning absorbs shock and returns energy, making you move more efficiently.
  • Durability: Although volleyball demands frequent stops, jumps, and lateral movements, volleyball shoes need to be durable enough to handle those demands.

How to Select the Right Volleyball Shoes

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

The following tips should be kept in mind when purchasing volleyball shoes:

  • Try Before You Buy: Try on various brands and models before deciding which pair is right for you. Ensure that you are comfortable, supported, and feel good overall.
  • Consider Your Playing Style: Defensive players need lightweight shoes with excellent traction for quick movements and changes in direction. Players who wish to enhance their vertical jump may benefit from shoes that provide additional cushioning.
  • Consult With Experts: Request advice from knowledgeable sales associates, coaches, and experienced volleyball players who can guide you toward the right shoe.

Tips for Maintaining Your Volleyball Shoes

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

Here are some tips on how to maintain your volleyball shoes to ensure that they last as long as possible:

  • Clean After Use: After each game or practice session, wipe dirt and debris off with a soft cloth or brush.
  • Air Dry: Allow your shoes to air dry naturally. Radiators and dryers can damage materials, so keep them away from direct heat sources.
  • Rotate Your Shoes: It is helpful to rotate your volleyball shoes between two pairs if you play frequently.

The Benefits of Investing in Volleyball-Specific Footwear

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Volleyball

The following are some of the benefits of investing in volleyball-specific shoes:

  • Improved Performance: By providing support, cushioning, and traction, volleyball shoes enhance your performance.
  • Reduced Injury Risk: Volleyball shoes are designed with specialized features to minimize ankle sprains, knee injuries, and other common volleyball-related injuries.
  • Comfort and Durability: In addition to keeping your feet comfortable and protected in volleyball shoes, they also withstand the demands of the sport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wear any shoes for volleyball?

In some levels of volleyball, basketball shoes can be substituted for volleyball shoes, but if you plan to play at the next level, you will need volleyball shoes. You will experience fewer injuries over time if you wear volleyball shoes that give you more bounce and better landings.

Can I wear running shoes for volleyball?

It is not recommended to wear running shoes while playing volleyball because of their design differences. In order for volleyball movements to be effective, they lack the necessary lateral support and cushioning.

How often should I replace my volleyball shoes?

According to the frequency of use and wear, volleyball shoes should be replaced every 6-12 months.

Are high-top volleyball shoes better than low-top shoes?

In terms of volleyball shoes, both high-tops and low-tops have their advantages. Ankle support is provided by high-top shoes, while a range of motion and flexibility are increased by low-top shoes.

Can I use basketball shoes for volleyball?

As basketball shoes prioritize different aspects of performance, they are not suitable for volleyball. As a result of the quick movements and jumps involved in volleyball, volleyball shoes are designed specifically for this sport.

Are volleyball shoes suitable for other sports?

It should be noted that volleyball shoes are not only designed for volleyball but for other indoor court sports requiring similar movements and features as well.


You can significantly improve your performance and safety when you wear the right volleyball shoes. In spite of the fact that tennis shoes may seem like a viable alternative, it is strongly recommended that you invest in volleyball-specific shoes instead. For the dynamic movements involved in the sport, these shoes provide adequate support, cushioning, and stability. It is possible to elevate your game and minimize the risk of injury when you choose the right volleyball shoes.

About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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