It is not an unknown fact that Volleyball is a mainstream popular game. Approximately 46 million Americans and 800 million people worldwide play this game. Everyday new players are joining. And one thing beginners always struggle with is the appropriate gear.
Well, the struggle is justified too, not everyone can own every kind of athletic shoes .The real question is what sort of shoes would you wear while playing this sport? The answer is simple. Volleyball has specialised shoes. Good volleyball shoes give you an advantage on the court.
But what if you don’t own it or it doesn’t fit anymore or the pair simply got torn or destroyed! You will have to look for a substitute. So what is the next best alternative? Are running shoes good for volleyball? If not, what are your options here?
To know all the answers, read ahead.
Every sport has its own customised athletic shoes built just for that sport. There are golf shoes, hiking boots, basketball shoes etc. For volleyball we have volleyball shoes. But what is the specialty?
Well, the main differences between volleyball and other athletic shoes are the soles, weight and cushioning.
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Sole is the key component on any athletic shoes. It is like the foundation of the sneaker. Good volleyball shoes are designed to have gum rubber soles. You won’t find it on any other pair.
You might think why is that important?
Let me tell you why. Volleyball players have to make a lot of repetitive jumping, quick cuts and make a lot of small and long lateral movements. Most indoor courts have shiny wooden floors. So gum rubber soles are important to keep you grounded and prevent injuries.The best shoes for volleyball are made with solid rubber outsoles for better traction.
However this rubber gum doesn’t exactly look like a regular rubber outsole of shoes. These gum rubber soles are carefully coloured to match the shoe. In reality they are mostly transparent.
If you play volleyball then, you must know that a lightweight shoe has a significant advantage. In the game you have to make quick jumps. A heavy shoe will pull you down. For male volleyball players the ideal shoe weight is 300-400 grams and for females 200-300 grams. Volleyball shoe companies keep that in mind while making this pair of shoes for constant jumping.
This type of shoe also helps in quick movement.
Another key difference between a good volleyball shoe and other athletic shoes is the inner cushioning. Most volleyball shoes are made of wave technology or gel cushioning systems. This helps to absorb shock while making rapid stops, heavy landings and quick movements..
The best volleyball shoes come with high class inner cushioning that gives you firm ankle support for great traction.
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Difference Between Volleyball Shoe and Running Shoe
When it comes to the alternative of a volleyball shoe, many people automatically come to the conclusion that running shoes are the best option. But professional volleyball players will tell you otherwise.
To elaborate a bit let me make a comparison of volleyball shoes vs running shoes.
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We already talked a lot about the rubber outsole of a volleyball shoe. While playing volleyball you need greater stability due to the way the courts are built and various movements. So most volleyball shoes are just meant to be worn indoors.
However, running shoes can be used on different surfaces and that’s why makers don’t put gum rubber on the shoes. You might lose your balance on the court.
The midsole is a wide layer of latex that rests between the rubber outsole and upper section. .
Volleyball players need extra mid support to stabilize the ball of the foot. By providing air cushions or foam or mixture of foam gel in the midsole volleyball shoes ensure the said superior grip.
Though the midsole of the other athletic shoes like basketball shoes or running shoes are constructed with the same component, they are made in such a way that provide superior forward movement support.
One thing you will get with a volleyball shoe is longevity. The pair is only meant to be worn in the indoor court. If you are a professional volleyball player or planning to be one who practices 5 to 6 times a week, your shoes should last for a whole season. Best volleyball shoes will last even more than that.
But running shoes don’t have similar builds as the volleyball shoes. So if you constantly play in them, they won’t last very long.
While playing volleyball, shoes need to be lightweight for quick movements and frequent jumps. With a gel cushioning system, gum rubber soles , mesh uppers, volleyball shoes make sure to provide greater ankle support and exceptional traction. All these components make the shoes feel almost weightless on the athlete’s foot.
Lightweight shoes give a volleyball player an edge on the game. However the soles of the running shoes are made using different heavy components for better traction and shock absorption on and off the roadway.
And to prevent injuries running shoes are equipped with hefty cushioning which makes the pair heavy. It is definitely good for absorbing shock but for swift movement, the shoe cannot compete with a regular volleyball shoe.
As a beginner player it is always a fight between money and premium equipment. Understandably so!
When starting, most players aren’t sure if they will stick to the game or not. So buying one pair of customised sports shoes with a hefty price tag seems like a waste of money. And Premium volleyball ranges from 100 to 500 dollars
On that instant Running shoes . can be found at a cheap rate.
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Are Running Shoes Good for Volleyball?
Now the real question is whether you can use running shoes to play volleyball or not. Well initially the answer would be no. Running shoes won’t give you that momentum or longevity.
These shoes are mostly made for forward movement and constructed for outdoor use. On the other hand volleyball shoes are designed in such a way to give stability on wooden courts, shock absorption, a lot of light cross movement, jumping and cross cuts.
The rubber soles, cushioning and mesh upper has a lot to do with it.
However, if you look at the practical point of view it seems fair. If you are not a professional volleyball player then I would suggest you not to invest in volleyball shoes right off the bat. You might not stick to the game later on.
For the first few months you can use running shoes as a substitute. That is until you make it as a regular player. Even If you quit this sport, later on you can use this pair for other sports. But the volleyball shoe is useless off the court.
For beginners in terms of purpose, price and utility this seems like a good option. Most customised athletic shoes have hefty price tags. And when you have just started a sport unsure of whether you will continue or not, investing a lot of money will not be a wise decision.
Trust me, you will regret it later when you have actually quit the game after a trial and the pricey shoe is just rotting in your shelf just to mock your spending choices. Better be safe than be sorry, right?
If somehow your volleyball shoes get damaged or torn you can use this pair as a substitute until you buy new shoes whether you are a professional volleyball player or not.
Are Running Shoes Good for Volleyball If You’re a Libero
Libero is mostly a defensive position. They get the ball on the team’s court and create opportunities for attack. So if you are playing in this position, you need a shoe that can withstand strong impact.
That means heavy cushioning for shock absorption and rubber gum for side to side movements. Volleyball shoes are the preferred choice. But a premium running shoe can be a good alternative.
That is to say the shoes have to come with all or maximum facilities volleyball shoes can give you. The cost will be high in that case. So it is better to invest in good quality volleyball shoes,
Are Basketball Shoes a Good Option?
Well, yes basketball shoes are a good option while playing volleyball. At Least better than running shoes.
If you have closely watched these two sports you will find many similarities in the mechanism. A lot of quick scattered movements, pivoting and jumping.
So a basketball shoe closely mimics a volleyball shoe. That’s why basketball shoes are a lot like volleyball shoes. Many volleyball players often use them as an alternative in practice sessions.
But not the actual game. If you think about it for a sec you will see while playing basketball one player doesn’t have to constantly jump like a volleyball player. They are built for quick forward movement and light jumping.
Volleyball shoes in contrast are constructed for a lot of side movement and jumping. So though basketball might seem like a good option, we won’t recommend you to use it for a long period.
Volleyball shoes are like the sole of the game.Players hardly use any other athletic shoe for this sport. But the truth is you won’t always have a choice in this matter. So it is natural to look for alternatives.
To answer the question, are running shoes good for volleyball; Yes you can.
Though there are many major differences between the two shoes it is possible to use running shoes instead of volleyball shoes for a little while.
Make sure to get a shoe that will give you maximum comfort while playing. And also ensure that the shoes fit snugly with your foot. A loose shoe can cause a lot of discomfort and injury.