If anyone ever tells you that, as a volleyball player, you can just wear basketball shoes or running shoes, politely tell them they’re wrong. Playing volleyball is different than playing basketball or running. The movements are different, the demands on your body are different and what you need to perform your best is different.
What’s the Difference?
The two major differences between volleyball shoes and basketball or running shoes are their soles and their weight. Volleyball shoes need to allow the player to move the way the game demands. The weight of the shoe is very lightweight. It’s pretty obvious why they should be that way - the lighter they are, the less energy you’re putting out to move. The difference in the soles of the shoe is a little more complex.
The soles of a volleyball shoe really are the main part of the entire shoe. When you talk about building from the ground up, starting at the sole is as basic as it gets. Most volleyball shoes have gum rubber soles. Why is this so important? Because as a volleyball player, you’re making a lot of quick cuts, you’re starting and stopping a lot and you’re playing on a smooth, shiny wooden floor. You need the best traction you can get and gum rubber soles will give it to you. Rubber gum doesn’t look like other rubber used in other athletic shoes. It is actually semi-transparent, but most of these soles are dyed to match the color of the shoe. Other shoes, like running shoes for example, don’t use the rubber gum because of the variety of surfaces athletes use them on. Regular rubber works best for them.
The inner cushioning of a volleyball shoe is also a little different than other athletic shoes. Whether you choose a shoe with a gel cushioning system or a wave technology shoe, one thing your shoe must do is absorb the shock you put your body through with hard landings, quick cuts and sudden stops. Make sure any shoe you buy gives you support, shock absorption and the traction you need to perform your best.