10 Best Volleyball Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

On the surface level, it may seem like volleyball has a lot in common with basketball and other indoor sports. This leads people to think that any pair of indoor court shoes will do.

However, the intensity of jumps involved in volleyball calls for a special kind of cushioning and support. And that is what a dedicated pair of volleyball trainers is made for.

How we pick the best volleyball shoes

Before giving a final verdict, we take a deep dive into the volleyball shoe scene by analyzing:

  • 6 brands of volleyball footwear
  • 50+ volleyball trainers with their features, pros and cons
  • 600+ reviews and ratings from both recreational users and professional athletes

Based on all the information gathered, each shoe is given a CoreScore. It is a number from 1 to 100, which dictates the trainer’s place in our rankings.

Popular volleyball shoes aren't the better rated ones

74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100
High Popularity Low
10 best shoes
11 most popular shoes

How to buy the right volleyball shoe (5 things to consider)

There are a few things you should consider before purchasing a pair of trainers:

  1. Cushioning
  2. Traction
  3. Shoe weight
  4. Top (low / mid / high)
  5. Price

The sections below elaborate on each parameter.

Cushioning for jumps

This shoe part will keep you protected from impact during those aggressive jump sets. There are several options to consider depending on your athletic background, preferences, and budget:

Standard cushioning

  • Cheaper
  • Better for beginners

EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) is a rubber-like foam which is considered the industry’s ‘basic’ cushioning type.

It’s fairly lightweight, flexible, and responsive.

Premium cushioning

  • More expensive
  • Improved rebound and shock absorption

You may already be familiar with these cushioning technologies through their use in running shoes:

Stable and durable:

Lightweight and flexible:

Soft and responsive:

Traction for indoor courts

A grippy pair of volleyball shoes translates into sure-footed passes, digs, quick cuts, starts, and stops. Here is what makes a volleyball trainer a better option on the court than a running shoe:

Volleyball shoe

volleyball-shoe-outsole.jpg

Benefits of a volleyball shoe outsole

  • gum rubber has a stickier nature than conventional rubber used on most running shoes
  • shallower and sharper lugs bite polished floors better
  • a pivot point under the ball of the foot helps to twist and grip when needed

Running shoe

running-shoe-outsole.jpg

 

Tip. While every shoe comes with a high level of traction, it can be hampered by dust and dirt. Here is what you can do to prevent this:

  • keep the outsole clean
  • wipe the shoe bottom with a wet towel before the game
  • use a sticky mat to ungum the dirt before stepping on the court

Volleyball shoe weight

It is vital for players to swiftly maneuver their way to hit the ball and wearing something that barely weighs anything helps them do that. Volleyball trainers employ components that have been specially engineered to weigh less.

Shoe weight varies depending on the models and the shoe size but generally volleyball trainers come in the following weight range per shoe:

  • men: 300 - 400 grams
  • women: 200 - 300 grams

Tip. Low-top models weigh less, helping you be more nimble. Mid-tops are better if you seek stability but they also come heavier.

Speaking of which...  

Low-top / mid-top / high-top volleyball shoes

The primary difference between these silhouettes is how high the shoe collar extends up. This difference results in the level of ankle support:

Low top

low-top-volleyball-shoes.jpg

Mid top

mid-top-volleyball-shoes.jpg

High top

high-top-volleyball-shoes.jpg

 

But which one is better for you? Here are the key findings of our research on basketball shoe tops, based on 30 scientific studies:

Athletic performance

No difference

Ankle sprains

No difference

Ankle movement

Low-top shoes allow more ankle freedom (best for quick, sudden movements)

Muscle activation

Mid- and high-tops prepare the foot for inversion more quickly, require less muscular effort (best for side-to-side movements)

 

Bottom line: the choice depends on your shoe feel preference and playing style. Beginners can start with low-top trainers.

Where to buy volleyball shoes for less

The average MSRP price for a fresh pair of volleyball shoes hovers around $110 across brands. However, there are a couple of ways to get one at a cheaper price tag:

  • Consider the budget-friendly options. Every brand releases their own line of affordable, entry-level pairs that host all the basic elements for an efficient game. The prices range from $55 to $70.
  • Check today’s deals on RunRepeat. We collaborate with over 200 retailers to keep track of all sales and discounts. The prices can get as low as $30, even for the premium models.

Frequently asked questions

Can I play volleyball in my running shoes?

It is not advisable.

why NOT use

Running shoes

why USE

Volleyball shoes

  • made for linear, heel-to-toe movement
  • made for quick changes of direction, front, back, and lateral
  • outsole can be slippery on indoor courts; can leave marks on the floor
  • special gum rubber is more sticky on the court; non-marking

Can I use basketball shoes instead of volleyball shoes?

Yes. There are no solid arguments against that.

It’s okay to use basketball shoes as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • You have enough cushioning in the forefoot for all the aggressive jumping in volleyball
  • The shoes feel flexible enough for all the multi-directional movements you make (those who prefer for ankle freedom may prefer low-top basketball footwear)
  • They don’t feel heavy or drag the foot down

Volleyball shoes are often compared to basketball kicks because of the similarities of movements in the two indoor sports which also reflects in the shoe construction.

The trend of switching to basketball shoes has been especially common among male players since men’s volleyball options tend to be limited. There are also more styles to choose from the sports legends Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and more.

Can volleyball trainers be used for other sports?

Yes, they can be used for other indoor sports like handball, racquetball, squash, badminton, etc.

However, it may be better to consider specialized footwear if you start playing the sports more than once a week. Let’s take badminton shoes, for example. Just like volleyball trainers, they have a low-profile silhouette. On the other hand, they are built lighter, with less cushioning and lateral support because the footwork in badminton isn’t as aggressive and there aren’t any vertical jumps as in volleyball.

Can I wear volleyball shoes outside?

It is not recommended.

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 the stretching of the collar or upper material;
  • Reduction in impact absorption because of the clapped-out midsole.

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.

The best volleyball shoes in every category

Now, are you ready to buy volleyball shoes?