Serving up the truth: Volleyball vs Basketball Shoes


We buy different shoes for different events, daily tasks, and of course for options. Whether in sport, work, or play. We make decisions to wear specific shoes in our daily activities because of what they do for us. The footwear we wear can determine the outcome of our performance and physical comfort., so what happens when we make the wrong decision in volleyball?

Over the past few decades, volleyball footwear trends have changed as new technology emerged and consumer preferences changed. For example, running shoes were popular in the early days of the sport until research found the benefits of stability and traction were critical to performance … and volleyball shoes born.

Today, while basketball shoes have become another footwear trend for players, primarily due to their simple aesthetic and cushioned materials, the performance benefits of wearing a shoe designed to play volleyball could be the added advantage needed to win match point.

Volleyball and basketball are both played on courts, involve lateral movements, and require foot stabilization, yet the two sports have very different biomechanical effects on the body.  At Mizuno, we’ve been invested in the sport of Volleyball for more than 40 years – it is what we do. We analyze, evaluate and test to make sure the design and function give support where it is needed most.

There are three main factors highlight the differences between these sports – impact, structured flexibility, and weight.


In volleyball, when landing from an approach, nearly 9x our body weight is concentrated on the forefoot of our shoes. Basketball includes a lot of explosive jumping as well, particularly from post players who get rebounds and block shots, but the sheer amount of times a player jumps in a volleyball game well exceeds how often a post player jumps.

Basketball midsoles are focused around cushion underfoot, so when you’re running up and down the court your foot is comfortable. Volleyball shoes are made with both cushion and structure. The Wave Momentum, for example, has the DynamotionFit bootie construction for a secure and comfortable fit, while also providing cushioning in the midsole for added comfort. It is laced with technologies, visible and not, that are engineered to enhance your performance and cause less stress on your body.

Structured Flexibility

Paralleled to the landing of a jump in volleyball, the approach is particularly important to the success of a hitter, blocker, server, and defensive players who move around the court a lot. Basketball shoes are historically made with thick and leathery materials; a structure like this limits the flexibility of the shoe needed by a volleyball player. Their approach isn’t smooth, and subsequently, when landing, the shoe causes the player’s foot to quickly snap back into the structure of the shoe.

Contrarily, more recent basketball footwear designs now include soft materials; mesh and knit uppers with small pieces of leather and/or plastic reinforcement. These materials, of course, allow for smooth approaches in volleyball, but the impact, pivots, and lateral movement often times leave the basketball shoe weak in the upper, both impacting performance and minimizing durability.

The Mizuno Wave Momentum combines these attributes to create the optimum shoe; soft and flexible enough to allow unrestricted movement when making an approach, yet structured enough to keep your foot secure in the shoe without compromising your natural movements. This combination allows the player to perform all necessary functions on the volleyball court at a high level and not have the shoe working against him or her.


Weight in shoes is a factor that we often times don’t think about until we are out playing on a volleyball court, in our 3rd match of the day finding ourselves tripping over our shoes.

Volleyball players must be able to quickly move and react in all directions, take fast approaches to jump, and quickly start and stop. The average weight of Basketball shoes is often higher than that of volleyball shoes, due to the amount of cushion and padding and thick rubber outsole. Because of the need for quick moments and lightness of foot, Volleyball shoe should offer a lightweight design, like the Wave Momentum which features purposeful materials, like EVA foam in the heel that is lightweight but yet very stable and cushioned.

As athletes playing volleyball, we believe it is important you take steps to protect your bodies to enable better performance. After all, ankle braces and kneepads are used as preventative measures and extra shoes to train or run in allow for more targeted workouts. Why wouldn’t we utilize the research footwear engineers have provided to prevent injury in volleyball and wear the shoes designed and tested for the sport?

Allow your feet, ankles, and knees to thank you – wear volleyball shoes to play volleyball.  At Mizuno, we are and have been committed to volleyball and to producing products that help you get the most out of yourself on the court. Why? Because volleyball is what we do.


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