As a volleyball player, your shoe choices may seem limited compared to other types of sports shoes. With such a small selection of volleyball shoes available, you probably wonder if basketball shoes may be substituted. We’ve compiled the research here to show the difference between basketball and volleyball shoes and whether they are interchangeable.
Due to the special midsoles that assist in lateral movements and excess jumping, volleyball shoes remain the best option for volleyball. However, if you prefer more variety and still want excellent mobility while moving on your toes, basketball shoes may substitute as an acceptable alternative.
What are the key differences between volleyball shoes and basketball shoes? Do volleyball shoes help you jump higher? What brands rank as the best among volleyball and basketball shoes? Continue reading for a full guide on the best volleyball shoes and basketball shoe swaps.
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Do You Really Need Volleyball Shoes?
When it comes to the purity of wearing volleyball shoes for volleyball, most athletes in the sport agree that volleyball shoes work the best. Just like shoes bought specifically for other sports like running and soccer, volleyball shoes contain the materials, shape, and weight needed for the best performance in the sport.
Volleyball shoes provide a "gum" rubber sole that best sticks to the court while moving. They also include a foam, gel, or air-filled midsole designed for absorbing the shock of continual jumping and landing. The midsole especially pads the balls of your feet since volleyball players spend most of their time on their toes for quick movements.
Lastly, the shoe around the bottom of the ankles must be tight but not too tight. A volleyball shoe provides the perfect amount of pressure around the ankles needed to move in all different directions.
Do Volleyball Shoes Make You Jump Higher?
Most volleyball shoes provide an optimal design for jumping higher and faster. Research shows that multiple different factors must be taken into account when aiming for a higher “jumping shoe.” Vertical Jump World suggests choosing a shoe that feels lightweight, has a low-top, fits with no wiggle room, and provides excellent traction.
Luckily, volleyball shoes typically weigh much lighter than basketball shoes. They also tend to be low-top while still being snug around the ankle area. Finally, the gum rubber sole on volleyball shoes allows the athlete to jump quickly and agilely due to its grip on the court.
The Cons Of Volleyball Shoes
Most people seek other shoes for volleyball due to the lack of variety in style and the tendency for gum rubber soles to wear down more quickly if worn on rough surfaces. Avoid the second downside by only wearing your volleyball shoes on the court and removing them before walking on other surfaces. Bypass the first downside by opting for more stylish shoes in the basketball variety.
The Characteristics Of Basketball Shoes
Basketball movements relate to volleyball movements with jumping, pivoting, moving laterally, and stopping quickly, which makes them a great second choice for volleyball. However, basketball shoes contain their own flaws that you should take into account when considering purchasing them over volleyball shoes.
Pros Of Basketball Shoes
- Stylish with more options and brands
- Similar aids built into the shoe for jumping and traction
- More ankle support in high-tops
Basketball historically gained more media attention and popularity from the NBA and star players. This means the amount of basketball shoes available far exceeds the number of volleyball shoes available. For more stylish shoes on the court, many professional volleyball athletes opt for basketball shoes.
Volleyball shoes provide the best support for jumping and the grippiest traction for quick transitioning around the court. Yet basketball shoes contend with volleyball shoes in technology and sustainability due to their high-end brands and decades of tweaking to create some of the best shoes in the world. With the right brand and fit, you may find that a basketball shoe lasts an entire season even with added jumping and pivoting.
If you desire more ankle support, basketball high-tops provide better protection. However, with the added ankle support, you trade the possibility of not jumping quite as high since low-tops perform better for jumping.
Cons Of Basketball Shoes
- Not as much lateral movement support as volleyball shoes
- Tend to be heavier, which might slow down your movements
- Midsole cushioning breaks down more quickly due to extra jumping in volleyball
Just like running shoes, basketball shoes focus on the forward momentum for running down the court. While a basketball player must pivot and move laterally to defend, most of their movements include running forward and jumping. This means the midsole in basketball shoes allows mostly for the forward movement with a limited amount of lateral movement, limiting the lateral movements of a volleyball player.
Secondly, the weight of basketball shoes tends to be heavier than volleyball shoes. Heavy may not necessarily equal worse if you are a “heavy jumper.” The heavy shoe could help absorb your landings better if you land on your heels instead of your toes. Since most volleyball players land on their toes, however, a lightweight shoe proves better for most players.
While basketball players jump throughout the game, they jump fewer times throughout the game than volleyball players. The midsoles in basketball shoes provide some airy cushion support for landing from jumping, but the material tends to wear out quicker with the extra jumping from volleyball.
What Is The Best Brand For Volleyball Shoes?
The leading brand of volleyball shoes for women is, hands-down, Mizuno. Mizuno dedicated its attention over the years to crafting a specific volleyball shoe, able to assist the volleyball player with every move on the court. Their most well-known type is the Wave Lightning series, which is beginning to emerge with more variety than historically found:
Some runner-ups for the women’s best volleyball brands are Nike and Asics. The Nike Zoom Hyperace 2 trainers are highly rated volleyball shoes.
According to this volleyball player, the best brand for volleyball shoes for men is Asics. The Gel Rocket 9 series provides many color varieties and special technology for shock absorption so that they last longer.
Mizuno also competes as one of the top brands for men’s volleyball shoes, with the Wave Lightning Z4 series:
What Is The Best Brand For Basketball Shoes?
If you’re looking for comfort, a boost for jumping, and a material that is stretchy but doesn’t lose its shape over time, the Lebron 16 basketball shoe provides a great option for men. However, if you tend to experience ankle issues, the stretchy material may not provide the best support for your ankles. Overall, these shoes look stylish, help with jumping high, and stay comfortable all season long.
In contrast, if you still want the jump but prefer more ankle support, then the Kyrie 5 basketball shoe may be the best option for you. A runner-up brand for men is the Nike Hyperdunk X, but note that these are high-tops so they may not be the best for jumping.
For women, the top brand seems to be Under Armour with their Jet basketball shoe. This basketball shoe weighs less than normal basketball shoes, provides ankle support, and sustains great traction for lateral movements.
With this comprehensive guide, you now possess the information needed to make an informed decision between using a volleyball or basketball shoe for volleyball. While volleyball shoes provide the best traction, lightweight design, and midsoles for lateral movements, basketball shoes suffice as a reasonable replacement with their design for jumping and keeping traction.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you pick the right fit, decide what kind of ankle support you need, and only wear your shoes on the court for a long-lasting pair of shoes.
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