Are Volleyball Shoes Good For Running? (A Detailed Analysis)

Are Volleyball Shoes Good For Running

You bought a new pair of volleyball shoes a few months ago and have worn them to countless games.

Can these shoes handle a run on the track or help you with a jog around the neighborhood?

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Well, this is an old-age debate: “Are volleyball shoes good for running?”.

Key Takeaway: No, volleyball shoes are unsuitable for running as they are purpose-built for the volleyball court, where they provide support for quick lateral movements and jumping.

In contrast, running requires lightweight shoes that offer comfort for the forward motion and have less cushioning in the midsole, designed for use on outdoor surfaces.

In this article, I will explain the differences between volleyball and running shoes and the reasons to avoid volleyball shoes for running.

By the end of this journey, you will have a clear idea of whether to take volleyball shoes for your next run or keep them only for the volleyball court.

Can I Use My Volleyball Shoes For Running?

Volleyball-specific shoes shine on indoor courts, but using them outdoors can be an uncomfortable experience.

At first, you might think they’re okay for a run, but your feet can start hurting after a few miles.

The issue is their rubber outsole, which doesn’t perform well on hard outdoor surfaces.

On the other hand, running shoes have superior cushioning designed for the forward motion of running, something volleyball shoes lack.

The truth is, the purpose of these shoes is different.

Volleyball shoes prioritize quick side-to-side court movements, not running.

You don’t do much running in volleyball, right?

So, the bottom line is that you shouldn’t use your volleyball shoes for running.

Investing in running shoes makes your outdoor run comfortable and enjoyable.

Volleyball Shoes vs Running Shoes: Key Differences

Now, you know why wearing volleyball shoes for running isn’t the best idea.

So, let’s dig further and compare these two shoe types.

I will highlight the key differences between volleyball shoes and running shoes below.

By understanding how these two types of footwear differ, you will get an idea of choosing the right shoes for your sporting requirements.

1) Material

The volleyball shoes feature lightweight and breathable materials, which are helpful for lateral movements on the court.

On the other hand, running shoes prioritize material that offers comfort and adapts to the forward motion of running.

The outsoles in the volleyball are made from gum rubber typically, providing maximum traction and grip on the indoor court.

Running shoes use rubber compounds, such as carbon rubber, that can easily handle the hardness of outdoor surfaces such as asphalt, trails, etc.

difference in design and construction of volleyball and running shoes

2) Weight

Some volleyball shoes are so lightweight that you feel like gliding in the clouds.


No, that’s actually true!

The lightweight design enhances agility and provides crucial support for quick jumps and side-to-side movements on the court.

The running shoes are slightly heavier than the volleyball shoes.

The extra cushioning in them provides stability for running forward without any hurdle.

This additional weight adds endurance and comfort during longer runs. 

3) Breathability

The running shoe design offers maximum breathability and prevents overheating during long runs.

They have materials that allow efficient airflow, which keeps the feet comfortable.

In contrast, volleyball shoes have relatively less breathability than running shoes.

The reason is that volleyball shoes focus more on lateral support.

So, they incorporate materials that offer ventilation, but not to the same extent as the running shoes.

4) Front Foot Flexibility

When you look at running shoes, you will notice that manufacturers have focused on flexibility at the front.


Because running is all about moving forward with each step, and your foot naturally bends at the front during this.

Running shoes have flex grooves at the front to make your runs as comfortable as possible.

Regarding volleyball shoes, they have less front-foot flexibility due to the game’s requirements.

The actions in volleyball, such as lateral stability and jumps, require focus on the side of the foot rather than the front.

Libero shoes take this lateral support even further, with design elements tailored to their unique defensive movements and floorwork.

A person with his running shoes

5) Durability

The players use volleyball shoes for quick, intense moves on indoor courts.

They’re tough for the demands of the game, like quick moves and high vertical jumps.

But if you use them for long activities like running, they might only last for a short time.

On the other hand, manufacturers build running shoes for endurance and long-term usage.

They can withstand the repetitive impact of running on various outdoor surfaces due to their rigid materials.

So, you will find that the durability of running shoes is much better than that of volleyball shoes.

Top Reasons to Avoid Volleyball Shoes for Running

I’ve shared all you need to know about volleyball and running shoes, including their unique features.

Now, let’s discuss why it’s best not to wear volleyball shoes for running.

  • The design of volleyball shoes may not provide the required stability and shock absorption for running, increasing the risk of injury.
  • As they have a design and material made for a specific sport, volleyball shoes lack versatility for other activities like running.
  • They may not give you the arch support needed for comfortable running.
  • They are not optimized for the forward motion of running, which can badly affect your running performance.
  • Volleyball shoes are costly. So, you don’t want to lose your investment by using them for running and, ultimately, reducing their lifespan.

Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Walking?

No, volleyball shoes aren’t the most comfortable option for walking.

If your walking activities are more casual, you can use these shoes.

But for longer or more rigorous walks, consider running shoes.

Also, the rubber gum in volleyball shoes is unsuitable for running or long walks.

Another essential factor to consider is the toe box.

For running, the space in the toe box gives you more comfort for walking.

You wouldn’t find an extended toe box in volleyball shoes, while in walking shoes, there is a particular focus on it.

a person walking with shoes on uneven surface

Can You Use Volleyball Shoes On A Treadmill?

Absolutely, volleyball shoes are a fine choice for treadmill use.

The reason is that treadmills provide a controlled and cushioned surface.

You will feel less demand for footwear while running on it than on outdoor running surfaces.

However, I want to remind you that volleyball shoes would not provide the same level of comfort and cushioning on the treadmill as running shoes.

So, if you are a gym rat and planning to use it regularly, invest your money in running shoes for maximum comfort.

Final Thoughts

Picking the right shoes for your sport is all about feeling comfortable and performing at your best.

Investing in running shoes is always a wise decision if you are conscious about your running performance.

But, if you have a pair of volleyball shoes at home and want to use them for running, it will not be the best experience for you in terms of comfort.

Volleyball shoes are all about providing support for lateral movements and jumping.

Conversely, running shoes focus on forward motion and the ability to withstand the rigors of running.

In short, my recommendation is to avoid wearing volleyball shoes for running.

Selecting the right shoes ensures both optimal performance and comfort!

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