How Should Volleyball Shoes Fit

How should volleyball shoes fit

You are on your feet most of the time while playing volleyball. So comfortable and proper fitting of volleyball shoes is pertinent to performance and ease.

A wrong-fitted shoe pair can take you on the track of sustaining blisters, sores, severe injuries like ankle sprains, and deformities like bunions, and hammertoe.

Let’s dive into a complete guide covering the various aspects of finding the best fit and How should volleyball shoes fit?

How Should Volleyball Shoes Fit

Here are a few tips and checklists on checking whether your volleyball shoes fit perfectly or not.

Front of the Shoes

  • There should be about half an inch of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoes
  • Keep in mind, that the longest toe does not automatically mean your big toe. So always try on the shoes and check your toes with the hands-on how it feels on your feet

Back of the Shoes

  • There should be no tightness against the back of your heel. You know its only going to cause skin irritation and blisters.
  • It should have about 1/8 of an inch between the back of your heel and your shoes.

To check the back fitting of the shoes you may use the below-mentioned Finger Trick.

  • You should be able to insert your index finger between your heel and heel collar of your shoes
  • If it fits snugly it’s a good indication that the fit is just right.
  • If it’s too tight where you can barely insert your index finger or you’re forcing a way in, chances are you’re going to need a larger size.
  • If it’s too loose where you can insert two to three fingers that’s going to be a massive warning sign to get a size smaller.
  • Another indicator is heel slippage when there’s excessive heel slipping while moving on the court or walking around.

Width of the Shoes

  • There are different types of feet when it comes to width there may be wide feet medium feet and narrow feet
  • So a simple guideline here is to be sure the widest part of your feet should roughly match the widest part of your shoes.

Important Considerations for Perfect Fit

Whether you’re buying online or in-store make sure to try the shoes by wearing and walking. Stand Up when you’re trying on shoes because many people make this mistake, they sit on the seat to try the shoes.
When you’re standing up there’s an even distribution of force down to your feet which actually causes your feet to be wider when you’re standing up compared to when you’re sitting down.
Walk around and make sure that the shoe is comfortable and leaves no signs of rub on any part of the foot

Importance of Right Fit & Size of Shoes

I consider the size and fit as preliminary requirements for a good volleyball shoe in addition to traction, comfort, and stability while choosing a volleyball shoe.

Although traction, cushioning, stability, and materials can be a huge difference maker, if the shoe is a misfit I’m sure most of us will just stay away from it.

Importantly, if you choose the wrong shoe size, you are going to join many volleyball athletes around the globe who suffer and complain of foot problems, and the prime culprit behind these problems is improper shoe fitting.

A properly fitted volleyball shoe not only provides comfort and stability but also enhances performance. Here are a few benefits of using the proper fitting of volleyball shoes

  • Injury prevention and protection
  • Improved balance and support
  • Stress reduction on joints
  • Comfort and Endurance
  • Enhanced foot health

Are Volleyball Shoes Supposed to Be Tight or Loose

There is diversity regarding shoe size and fit. Few athletes like the tight fit whereas some opt for the loose fitting.

Moreover, the shoe fitting is merely based on personal preferences and choices but wait! You can find your choice below whether you are in a tight fit or a loose fit club.

Why Athletes Choose Tight-Fitting Shoes:

Normally, athletes opt for tight-fit volleyball shoes for the following reasons:

  • Offer Better Stability
  • Support explosive and quick movements
  • Keep the ankle protected

Why Athletes Choose Loose Fitting:

The reasons for choosing the loose fit shoe are as under:

  • Comfort, easy on and off
  • More Ventilation and breathability
  • Athletes who use shoe inserts like ankle braces

How To Find The Right Size

Choosing the right volleyball shoe size is of paramount importance because of its impact on foot health. The wrongly fitted shoes may lead to foot-related complications like bunions, plantar fasciitis, calluses, corns, stress, and even fractures (Footcare.org).

In order to find the perfect fit one has to consider the following aspects of his foot

  • Length and Width
  • Foot shape (Wide, normal, or narrow)
  • Arch type (Normal, high or, a low)

Here is how to use the above parameters in finding the right volleyball shoe size.

Measure Your Foot Length and Width

The easiest way to measure your foot size is using a Brannock device. You may buy these devices online or visit any nearby shoe store whether for athletic shoes or formal shoes to measure your foot size. These devices are available in various size markings like US and European sizes.   

  • There are very few people with identical right and left feet for example my left foot is a little bit longer and just a bit wider.
  • So, measure your both right foot and left foot because most people’s feet are of different sizes like mine.
  • The nice thing about the device is you can measure the length as well as the width of your foot.
  • Make sure to measure the width of your foot from the widest part.

You may measure your foot with the measuring tape If you don’t have the Brannock device. Measure the heel to toe and then measure the width of the ball of your foot take those numbers and you can move on to the next steps of this process

Things to consider while measuring foot length and width

  1. Ensure you take measurements at the day’s end when your feet are at their largest. Throughout the day, your feet may swell and settle, so it’s important to prioritize comfort for the entire day rather than just in the morning.
  2. Avoid relying solely on shoe size: Similar to clothing, the size indicated inside the shoe may vary by brand. Consequently, your shoe size serves as a baseline, and it’s crucial to consider other factors when selecting the right pair.

Do You Know?

The Brannock device was invented in a time when shoes were made to be much more form-fitting much tighter on the person’s foot and they were designed for more leather shoes kind of the dressier shoes.
They weren’t designed for shoes that needed more expansion when you’re sweating and when you’re pounding on them like a court shoe.

Once you find your size on the Barronck device you should

  • Add at least a half size to the size noted form the device
  • If you have a very wide foot then add a full size. For instance, if your foot on the Barronck device is 10 then you should opt for 11 in your volleyball shoe.

If you should go up a half or a full size usually depends on your foot shape. So lets move further.

You can also measure your foot length and width with the help of measuring tape, here are the simple steps:

  • Take a piece of paper larger than your foot, tape, a pen or a pencil.
  • Place the paper on a level surface, and put on socks to ensure precise measurements.
  • Step onto the paper with your heel aligned against a straight edge or wall.
  • Outline your foot using a pen or pencil, ensuring the pen is perpendicular to the paper.
  • Measure the length by measuring from the back of your heel to the tip of the longest toe.
  • Measure the widest part usually across the ball of your foot.
  • Mark the sides on the traced foot outline, and mark points where the tape measure reaches.
  • Measure width: find the distance between the two marked points.

Find Your Foot Shape

So now that You’ve partly found foot size it’s time to find your foot shape and for that:-

  • Take a cardboard and a marker.
  • Put your foot (wearing socks) on the cardboard and trace the shape of your foot.
  • If your right and left foot are pretty similar in shape you can just use one and flip it for the left versus right. However, if one is much wider much more turned in or out than the other do a different tracing for each side.
  • Cut the cardboard on the tracing line and you will get your shoe shape.

Based on the shape, the foot may fall in one of the following three categories

  • Wide Foot: The wide foot is more like a curved or a C-shaped foot. The wide foot pushes the shoes outside as a result the outer areas behind the fifth finger remain under pressure. The prime pressure of the foot in this case is on the sole and centered down.
  • Neutral, or a Normal foot: The normal foot is not awkward in shape and is not extended bigger or smaller in any direction. In this case, the impact/weight is equally distributed on the shapes
  • Narrow or a flat feet in shape: The narrow foot can be considered as a flat foot. It is tilted outward opposite to the wide feet it is like at 110 degrees of angle. In this case the shoe area behind the big toe toward inner side of the foot is under pressure

How to find the perfect fit from the foot shape

  • If you have no deformity and have narrow feet, you may go half size above the Brannock device size (European size)
  • If you have very wide and extra-long feet, your feet are deformed inward or outward you may go 1 size above the Brannock device size. This is because the inner or the outer curling of the foot makes it look shorter than the original length.

What to do if the shoes are built big or small

Few shoes run small and few are accomodating like as a general Nike shoes are on the snugger side compared to the Mizuno. So in that case i will recommend to

  • Thoroughly check the shoe sizing
  • Go half size down from your shoe size (Not Brannock device size) in case the shoe is built big
  • Go a half size up from your shoe size (Not Brannock device size) in case the shoe is built small

Find Your Foot Arch

Knowing your arch is important as it is related to cushioning and shock absorption. A simple wet test can help determine your foot arch.

Simply immerse your feet in water and step onto the floor or a paper towel. Upon examining your foot imprint, you should identify one of the three prevalent foot types: flat, normal, or high-arched.

  • Flat or flexible feet exhibit a low arch that flattens or rolls excessively inward, a condition known as overpronation. This results in an almost complete imprint resembling the entire sole.
  • Normal feet feature a medium arch, with the foot landing on the outside of the heel and then rolling slightly inward or pronating to absorb shock.
  • High arches can be either rigid, causing the foot to roll outward excessively (supination), leading to ineffective shock absorption. Alternatively, the arch can be flexible, causing the foot to roll inward too much (overpronation), and also resulting in inadequate shock absorption.

Based on the arch type following are the shoe considerations:

  • Athletes with flat arches should opt for shoes with good arch support and stability to counteract overpronation.
  • Normal feet athletes generally have a wide range of suitable footwear options, as their foot mechanics are considered biomechanically efficient.
  • High-Arch athletes should select shoes with extra cushioning and flexibility to provide adequate shock absorption and support.

How to Find the Right Volleyball Shoe Size Online

if you’re buying online like most people do. What you have to do is just to do the following

  • Take a picture of the cardboard tracing of your feet with your phone.
  • Put a piece of paper over the top of the phone with the photo opened, and make sure the paper stays on the phone
  • Trace it out, now you have a cell phone size image of your foot
  • Open the outsole image of the shoe you wanna buy online
  • Just put up the tracing on the shoe outsole image on your phone or on your computer for ease of use
  • If the tracing isn’t crossing the edges and fits in, then shoes perfectly fit your foot shape i.e. wide, narrow, or flat.
  • Follow the sizing guidelines as per Brannock device

Common Fit Issues

Choosing Too Tight or too-loose shoes

Normally, beginners make mistakes while selecting their desired fit and choose either very tight or very loose kicks. This may be due to the

  • Half-size discrepancies: where the preferred shoe size is not available, and you choose between a size slightly smaller or slightly larger than their actual foot length.
  • Opting for incompatible shoes according to the foot shape i.e. choosing the shoes with narrow toe box for wide feet and vice versa.
  • Those who like tight fit mistakenly select too-tight shoes. On the other hand, loose-fit lovers choose to loose.

Here are a few common problems that arise due to wearing too-tight volleyball shoes.

  • Foot Pain: One of the first signs of tight-fitted volleyball shoes. The tight-fitting squeezes the foot and reduces blood circulation leading to aches and swelling of the ball, heel, and ankle area. This ultimately results in the foot pain.
  • Deformities: Tighter shoes usually have a narrow toe box causing constant friction with the foot and ultimately leading to foot issues like corns and calluses. In addition to causing pain and discomfort, the confined space can also contribute to the development of painful and unattractive bunions.
  • Ingrown Toe Nails: Excessive toe rubbing inside the shoes causes this condition in tight shoes. The friction coupled with the sweat in tight shoes causes nail curving forcing them to grow inside. This may ultimately lead to toenail loss or infections.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: This problem is common in athletes with a history of diabetes. Therefore, it is also known as “diabetic foot”. Tight shoes can aggravate the problem for diabetic athletes causing diabetic ulcers as they often suffer nerve damage due to diabetes.
  • Athletes Foot: The tight shoes restrict the movement of air and ventilation causing the sweat and growth of bacteria in the toenails and toes. Moreover, this can also lead to a Fungal infection like athlete’s foot causing itching, burning sensation, and broken skin.

What are the consequences of wearing loose volleyball shoes

  • Decreased Stability and Reduced Responsiveness: Stability counts while performing lateral movements and sudden direction changes at defensive positions. The loose-fit shoes do not provide necessary reinforcement to the foot after suddenly stopping. The foot may slip inside the shoes during such movements.
  • Heel Slipping: Wearing too-loose shoes is like walking in a pile of wet mud. Your feet slip and come out of it, this cause the rubbing of the heel with the shoe callers. Resultantly, the rubbing may get painful leading to the formation of blisters.
  • Injuries: Loose shoes do not provide adequate support. As a result, you are more susceptible to injuries like ankle sprains while landing or lateral movements.
  • Ineffective Cushioning: The volleyball shoes come with advanced cushioning technology for shock absorption and impact mitigation on the joints. Too loose shoes compromise the effectiveness of the features

How to deal with these issues?

Simply follow the guidelines I have written above regarding how should volleyball shoes fit.

Sizing of Different Shoe Brands (Adidas, Mizuno, Nike & Nike)

Different brands tend to have different types of sizing. So, if your shoe size is 10 of Mizuno then it’s not a guarantee that the same size will be a decent fit in ASICS. The sizing variation could be annoying sometimes. However, this can be dealt with by trying the shoes in person.

Therefore, despite of the expert’s recommendations and experience on shoe sizing and fit, I’ll suggest the best way to ensure the right size is always trying them on in person. Here is my experience regarding the size and fit of different brands.

How Do Mizuno Volleyball Shoes Fit?

Generally, as per my observation, Mizuno shoes accommodate wide feet and are true to size. Here is my opinion regarding the suitability of various Mizuno volleyball shoe models for various foot types.

ModelsSuitability and Fit
Mizuno Wave Momentum 1, 2Wider toe box, Supportive for the wide feet
Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6Narrow toe box, may run short for wide feet
Mizuno Wave Dimensiontrue to size
Mizuno Wave Luminoustrue to size for women

How Do Adidas Volleyball Shoes Fit?

Generally, Adidas volleyball shoes accommodate wide feet. The shoes have a wider toe box that prevents discomfort in the forefoot due to tight fit. However, caution is required while selecting the right size as it may run big leading to a loose fit. Here are my recommendations on the shoe sizing of different Adidas models.

ModelSuitability and Fit
CrazyflightTrue to size
Ligra 7Suitable for wide feet. May runs large for neutral feet
NovaflightSuitable for wide feet.
Crazyflight Bounce X 3 Suitable for wide feet. May run large for neutral feet
Dame 8Suitable for wide feet.

How Do Nike Shoes Fit

Overall the Nike volleyball shoes are on the snugger side with a relatively narrower toe box. Here are my recommendations regarding the fit and sizing of different Nike volleyball shoe models

ModelsSuitability and Fit
Zoom HyperaceSnug need to buy half a size bigger
Nike HypersetSuitable for wide feet, true to size

How Do Asics Volleyball Shoes fit

Asics volleyball shoes are also diverse regarding shoe sizing. Few models are supportive of the wide feet whereas some have a narrow toe box. Below is the suitability of the most popular Asics volleyball shoe models in terms of fit.

ShoesSuitability and Fit
Asics Gel RocketNarrow toe box and may not fit the wide feet in actual size
Asics UpcourtNarrow-toe box
Netburner ballisticNarrow-toe box
Asics Sky Elite FF 2Wider toe box, wide feet approved
Asics MetariseWide feet approved

Wrapping it Up

Choosing the right fit for volleyball shoes is vital for performance and foot health. In this guide i have emphasized the key factors such as toe space, heel snugness, and consideration of foot width.

Trying on shoes while standing, walking, and factoring in individual foot characteristics is crucial. Moreover, It is equally important to know the difference between the tight and loose-fitting shoes in term of benefits and harms.

However, it is pertinent to find a balance that ensures stability for explosive movements and provides comfort and ventilation. Ultimately, the aim is to achieve a fit that optimizes performance while safeguarding foot well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do when your volleyball shoes are too tight?

First of all, it is recommended to choose a snug fit i.e. neither too loose nor too tight. However, if you have bought a tight fit, then instead of stretching it better replace it. This is because stretching is not a good practice as it disturbs the overall makeup of the shoes. This may affect the durability and longevity of the shoes and even lead to wear. Other things that you can do are wear thick socks, adjust laces, and use them around in the house.

Do volleyball Shoes Run Small?

Volleyball shoes do not run small instead they fit snugly to support quick movements. Small shoes have the drawback of squeezing the foot and add to an uncomfortable experience. This ultimately affects the performance on the court.

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