Can You Wear Shorts in Volleyball?

group of friends playing beach volley on the beach

Volleyball is a popular sport and an excellent way to make friends. If you’re considering joining a volleyball team, do you know what to wear? 

You can wear shorts for volleyball, but it depends on the shorts type. Long shorts and basketball shorts aren’t suitable due to their baggy fit and long length. Running shorts and bike shorts are ideal as they hug the body and facilitate the movements required in volleyball.

This article will discuss what to consider for volleyball apparel and whether or not you can wear specific types of shorts. Keep reading to learn more.

What to Consider for Volleyball Apparel

To make an informed decision about wearing shorts in volleyball, we should consider the movements involved when playing the game and what makes suitable apparel. 

female volleyball player with black short holding ball

Volleyball typically involves the following body actions: 

  • Level changes: For the ball to pass over the high volleyball net, players need to change levels frequently. Examples include jumping high and scooping the ball low. 
  • Multiplanar movements: Being a successful volleyball player includes plenty of multiplanar (multidirectional) movements with the arms and legs. 
  • Acceleration and deceleration: Volleyball players often need to speed up to catch the ball and slow down when in a defense position.  
  • Force production: In volleyball, the ball is large and heavy and requires a lot of force production to move it to another player or over the net. 

Based on the above, we can deduce that your volleyball shorts should have the following properties:

  • Low-drag and lightweight: Lightweight and low-drag clothing allows you to jump, accelerate and forcibly hit the ball comfortably and without resistance. 
  • Tight-fitting (but not restrictive): When jumping and performing lateral movements, you might inadvertently flash the other players or spectators if you wear loose-fitting clothing. Tighter-fitting shorts that don’t restrict movements are, therefore, ideal.  
  • Breathable: Running around, jumping, and defending your volleyball position gives you an excellent workout, and you can work up a sweat. Wearing shorts made of a breathable fabric can help wick the sweat from your skin and keep you feeling cool. 
  • Stretchy fabric: Volleyball requires players to be highly flexible, but non-stretchable shorts can make this challenging. You should avoid cotton, viscose, or rayon fabrics for your shorts as these are not stretchy. Shorts containing spandex, nylon, or stretch cotton allow plenty of movement.  
  • Short length: When trying to score a goal or obtain the ball in volleyball, players come into close contact and can accidentally grab another player’s shorts. This is less likely to happen with shorter-length shorts. 

Can You Wear Long Shorts In Volleyball?

Long shorts end on or below the knees and are typically fashion shorts. Because they are not sports shorts, their fabric is usually cotton or another non-stretch fabric that doesn’t allow flexible movement. 

You shouldn’t wear long shorts for volleyball as their rigid fabric can impede your movements. Long shorts are fashion shorts and may have embellishments, pockets, or unnecessary buttons that another player could accidentally pull off. If they’re baggy, you may inadvertently flash your underwear. 

Can You Wear Running Shorts for Volleyball?

Running shorts sit well above the knees, close to the skin (but loose enough to facilitate leg movement), and are generally made from breathable material. 

You can wear running shorts for volleyball as they aren’t likely to expose your underwear when making multiplanar movements. Their lightweight and breathable fabric will help keep you cool during volleyball, and their short length allows your legs to move around freely. 

Can You Wear Basketball Shorts for Volleyball?

Modern basketball shorts are made from breathable fabrics, such as polyester or nylon, and are tailored to facilitate the basketball player’s multiplanar movements. They are also knee-length and slightly baggy. 

You should not wear basketball shorts for volleyball as they are too baggy and could reveal your underwear or even fall off when you jump or dive. Additionally, volleyball is a very physical sport, and another player could accidentally grab the loose fabric around your knees. 

Can You Wear Biker Shorts for Volleyball?

Biker shorts are tight-fitting, short, and stretchy due to the high spandex content. They are similar to volleyball shorts but contain a cushioned seat to make bike riding more comfortable. 

You can wear biker shorts for volleyball because their short length, lightweight, and stretchy fabric allow you to move freely. Biker shorts are tight-fitting but not restrictive. However, the cushioned seat may feel cumbersome during multiplanar movements.


Most volleyball players wear shorts during a game, but not all short varieties are suitable. 

Volleyball shorts, running shorts, and bike shorts are ideal as their stretchy fabric, shorter length, and close fit ensure volleyball players can move around freely. 

Bike shorts have a cushioned seat, though, which could be uncomfortable for some players. 

You should avoid wearing basketball and long shorts as they are too baggy, and you could inadvertently flash your underwear when jumping or falling. Long shorts usually are not designed for sports but fashion, accounting for their rigid fabric, extra buttons, and embellishments.

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