10 Best Volleyball Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

Volleyball is one of the agile indoor sports which involve lots of jumps and multi-directional movements. This makes volleyball shoes rather similar to basketball shoes, badminton kicks, or indoor soccer cleats.

So, if you are a beginner or a recreational volleyball play, you can use any indoor court shoes at your disposal. But if you start playing regularly or professionally, it’s worth investing in a pair of dedicated volleyball shoes.

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7 things to consider in your next volleyball shoe

Volleyball is a fast-paced and intense sport. You need skills that would allow you to jump high and move quickly on the court to block your opponent’s shot. A good pair of volleyball shoes should be able to keep up with the demands of the game. It should have excellent underfoot protection and bounciness, proper grip on the court, and a securely-fitting top.

 

Cushioning

Volleyball involves a lot of jumping, lunging, and sprinting — thus volleyball trainers are equipped with a midsole that can absorb shock to prevent injuries and discomfort. They are bouncy to help wearers be always ready for the next step. The midsole is also crafted to be resilient, allowing it to bend naturally with the foot and return to its original form immediately upon the release of pressure.

Volleyball players spend a massive chunk of time on their forefoot. This puts them in a position to take action. Thus, the footgear should have excellent shock absorption under the ball of their foot.

Some brands, like Asics volleyball shoes, are equipped with additional technologies like Gel to enhance comfort and shock attenuation, especially at the forefoot. This colloidal component adapts to the movement of the foot to relieve pressure where it is needed. It also helps disperse the force of impact for reliable comfort.

There are trainers with removable insoles, permitting the use of custom orthotics or ankle braces if needed. In some brands, the insert molds to the shape of the underfoot to deliver maximum coverage for a prolonged feeling of comfort.

 

Toe protection

Some athletes drag the tip of their foot while serving. Those who are in the position closest to the net utilize the front of their toes the most when they go on tiptoes as they block or drop the ball. If you find yourself relating to the above statements, you should look for volleyball trainers with bumpers to protect the foot against painful toe hits.

An example of this is the Dura Shield found is some Mizuno volleyball trainers. This piece of rubber is placed at the tip of the shoe, guarding against drags and bumps. It strengthens the area so the underlying material won’t easily get destroyed with frequent abrasion.

 

Traction

If you’ve ever worn shoes that have no grip, you know how dangerous it can be. It’s like wearing bedroom slippers on polished floors. Imagine wearing something similar while playing a fast-paced game?

For players to be able to move quickly on the court, they need a footgear that won’t allow their foot to slip out from under them. The outsole needs to be able to support swift direction changes without causing them to slide or lose footing. 

Some volleyball shoes from Adidas employ a high-grip rubber called Adiwear. This compound is engineered to bite polished floors, like those on indoor courts, to prevent accidental slipping, especially during fast foot movements. It is also non-marking so wearers won’t have to worry about scuffing the floors.

You can also find pivot points in most volleyball trainers. These are round tread patterns or discs under the ball of the foot which make for easier twisting and turning without hurting the player’s knee. This element may be a familiar feature to those who wear Ryka training shoes. This brand is quite popular with women who enjoy dance workouts like Zumba or jazzercise.

 

Flexibility

The pliability of a pair of volleyball shoes should be both in the upper and sole unit. Thus, these trainers are built with a low-to-the-ground midsole-outsole combo, allowing the foot to bend and move naturally.

A person’s foot naturally bends at the forefoot section, so it is common for volleyball trainers to have a midsole that is thick at the heel but tapers in the forefoot section. Because of this design, players can use various parts of their forefoot to push off the ground and be more agile.

 

Lightness

Compared to other athletic footwear, volleyball trainers are rather lightweight. It is vital for players to nimbly maneuver their way to hit the ball and wearing something that barely weighs anything helps them do that. These trainers employ components that have been specially engineered to weigh less.

 

Breathability

Keeping the feet fresh is an essential quality in volleyball shoes. Thus, most of them are made using mesh fabric with an open cell construction or synthetic leather with perforations. This construction allows heat to dissipate and fresh air to cool the interior. The inside is also lined with a soft fabric that helps with aeration and moisture management.

Some Mizuno models, like the Wave Lightning Z4, have a unique ventilation system. Called the Intercool, it is a full-length midsole component which has vents that connect to a screened opening on the outsole. It helps with temperature and moisture management.

 

Low-top vs. mid-top

The primary difference between these silhouettes is how high the collar of the shoe is from the ankle. Low-top volleyball shoes give the ankles more freedom to move because the collar sits lower than the ankle bone. As for the mid-top cut, it sits closer to the ankle bone, thereby giving the ankle more support but still doesn’t restrict movement.

As for which cut to choose, it depends on a person’s preference. Some people like wearing low-top cut because anything higher feels like their ankle is being restrained. In other cases, they choose mid-tops because they appreciate the extra ankle hold it delivers.

 

Frequently asked questions

Can I use my running shoes for volleyball?

It is not advisable to use your running trainers to play volleyball. Though running shoes are equipped with adequate cushioning to lessen the shock felt by the foot, they are constructed to provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition. However, the construction of the sole unit in running shoes may not always support side-to-side movements. Also, the outsole of running footwear is hard-wearing, which may not be non-marking and may not offer grip on indoor courts.

On the other hand, volleyball shoes are designed to support multi-directional movements. The outsole has beveled sides that allow the foot to roll inwards and be able to push off the ground using that side, for faster transitions.

 

Can I use training shoes for volleyball shoes?

No, and there are several reasons why. First, the term training footwear is pretty broad, and it includes shoes for weightlifting, CrossFit, and footwear for light workouts. These shoes have different characteristics that make them unsuitable for volleyball use.

For instance, CrossFit shoes are built to be sturdy, so they don’t easily get worn down, especially during rope climbs. These shoes are quite rigid, which could hinder the movements of players. Some workout shoes could be mistaken for volleyball trainers, but they lack toe protection, and their outsole is too hard for indoor use.

Other differentiating factors between training and volleyball shoes include weight, cushioning, and traction.

  • Most workout trainers feel heavy, and volleyball players need one that barely weighs anything so they can move faster and not drag their foot down.
  • The cushioning units of training and volleyball shoes are also engineered to be different. The midsole of gym shoes is less bouncy to provide steadiness while footwear for volleyball uses a cushioning unit with a lot of rebound.
  • Finally, the outsole of workout shoes may not provide excellent grip on indoor court floors. They may be designed to withstand abrasion from rough surfaces, but aren’t meant to deliver traction on indoor volleyball courts.

 

Can basketball shoes be used in place of volleyball shoes?

Yes, there’s no stopping you from doing that. After all, basketball kicks share some similarities with volleyball trainers. Both types of footgear have outsoles that are grippy on indoor court floors. They employ a midsole that decreases the force of impact and is also bouncy for energized take-offs. And they both have an upper that is structured for support while also providing comfort. 

However, there are also disadvantages to using basketball shoes for volleyball. One of which is the weight. Most basketball shoes are tricked out with thick cushioning units that can cause them to be heavy. The substantial midsole may help with decreasing shock but may affect the overall flexibility of the shoe, which is needed for quick direction changes.

 

Can volleyball trainers be used for other sports?

Yes, they can be used for other indoor sports. However, it is still advisable to wear trainers for their intended sports. For example, badminton shoes. They are constructed with a low-profile silhouette from the sole unit to the top, which allows for more flexibility and better ground feel. The lateral support on badminton trainers is not as rigid compared with volleyball shoes, giving the ankles more freedom of movement. On the other hand, volleyball shoes provide more lateral hold compared to badminton shoes.

 

Can volleyball shoes be used for streetwear?

It is not recommended to use volleyball kicks out on the street. The primary reason being the outsole of these trainers is soft, which helps it adhere to indoor floors. The problem is, they are not built to withstand abrasion from walking on rough surfaces. 

It would be wise to use your volleyball shoes only during games or practice. This ensures that the tread pattern remains intact to be able to provide grip on indoor court floors. If you’re looking for something to use for fitness walking or for daily errands, check out our list of comfortable walking shoes. If a more stylish pair is what you’re after, we also have a robust list of trendy sneakers from various popular shoe brands.

 

When should I replace my volleyball shoes?

A good pair of volleyball trainers should last a full season if used 3-4 times a week for practice and for competition. If used for casual playing, a pair can last for a year or more. However, if there are signs of wear, it would be wise to get a new pair of trainers immediately.

Below are some of the most common signs of wear:

  • Loss of traction caused by the worn-out rubber treads on the outsole;
  • Lack of snug fit due to stretching of the collar or upper material;
  • Reduction in impact absorption because of the clapped-out midsole.

 

How should volleyball shoes fit?

Forward, backward, side-to-side, diagonal, jumps, and sprints - your pair of volleyball trainers should be able to contain your foot during these agile movements. A comfortable pair should allow your toes to spread out to support you upon landing. As for the midfoot and the heel, the fit should be snug to prevent heel slippage and unnecessary sliding during the game.

 

Are there volleyball shoes that cater to specific positions in court?

Some brands, like Mizuno and Asics, have recommendations as to which shoe would fit a person based on their playing position. However, most volleyball trainer manufacturers build their products with all the players in mind. This means that whether you are a spiker, a setter or a hitter at the back, choosing any footwear from their list of volleyball shoes will ensure that your needs are met.

 

Are there volleyball trainers for men?

Yes, some of the brands that offer volleyball shoes for men include Asics, Mizuno, and Salming. These trainers are constructed to accommodate the shape and volume of men’s feet, but their aesthetics are similar to those offered for women. In some cases, the only difference between the models is the color palette.

Footwear for male athletes typically uses the darker hues while those for female athletes tend to be brighter or lighter in tone. Of course, neutral colorways like black and white are offered for both gents and ladies.

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