How To Break in Volleyball Shoes?

How to break in volleyball shoes

Breaking into volleyball shoes is a crucial step for any player who wants to perform at their best on the court. Understanding how to break in volleyball shoes effectively ensures not only a comfortable fit but also enhances performance and reduces the risk of foot injuries.

The process of breaking in volleyball shoes involves several steps, each designed to gradually mold the shoes to the unique shape of your feet. This introduction will delve into the various techniques and tips on how to break in volleyball shoes, ensuring they provide the optimal balance of comfort, support, and flexibility needed for high-impact volleyball movements.

When discussing how to break in volleyball shoes, it’s essential to consider the materials they are made of, the design specific to the needs of a volleyball player, and the personal nuances of each player’s feet. The goal is to make the shoes feel like a natural extension of your feet, offering support where it’s needed without causing any discomfort or restriction in movement. 

How to break in volleyball shoes?

Breaking into volleyball shoes can be easy or a bit tougher. The easy way includes wearing your shoes at home or putting on thick socks with them. This doesn’t take much work and helps your shoes get comfy.

The tougher way involves bending your shoes or using tools to stretch them out. This takes more time and effort. But whether you go easy or tough, both ways will help make your volleyball shoes fit better and feel more comfortable on the court.

Breaking into volleyball shoes is an essential step for any volleyball player, both for comfort and to ensure top performance during games and practices.

A well-fitted volleyball shoe can make a significant difference in how you move and play on the court. Here’s a detailed guide on how to break in your volleyball shoes effectively:

Easy Method for Breaking in Volleyball Shoes

1. Choose the Right Shoes

Fit and Comfort

  • Initial Fit: The initial fit of the shoe is crucial. When trying on volleyball shoes, make sure they fit snugly but are not uncomfortably tight. 
  • Heel Support: Pay attention to the heel area. Proper heel support is essential to prevent slippage and to provide stability during rapid movements.
  • Width and Length: Consider both the width and length of your feet. Some brands run narrower or wider than others, so it might take a few tries to find the brand that best fits your foot shape.

Purpose-Specific Design

  • Volleyball-Specific Features: Volleyball shoes are designed with features that cater to the needs of volleyball players, such as enhanced lateral support for quick side-to-side movements and shock-absorbing cushioning for jumps.
  • Traction: The sole of a volleyball shoe is designed to provide grip on the smooth surfaces of indoor courts. Look for soles with good traction to avoid slipping.
  • Breathability and Durability: Given the intense nature of volleyball, choose good volleyball shoes that offer a balance between breathability and durability. You want materials that allow your feet to breathe but can also withstand frequent use.

2. Wear Them at Home

Start Slow

  • Initial Wear: Begin the break-in process by wearing your volleyball shoes around the house. This is a low-impact way to start molding the shoes to the shape of your feet.
  • Short Periods: Initially, wear them for short durations, like 30 minutes to an hour. 

Gradual Increase

  • Extended Wear: Gradually extend the time you wear the shoes at home.
  • Monitor Comfort: As you increase the wearing time, pay attention to how your feet feel. If you notice any discomfort, reduce the time slightly and then try increasing again slowly.

3. Use Thick Socks


  • Extra Padding: Wear thick socks or even multiple pairs to give extra padding to your feet. This cushioning is particularly helpful during the initial stages of breaking in the shoes.
  • Fit Adjustment: Thick socks can also help adjust the fit slightly if the shoes feel a bit loose.


  • Prevent Blisters: Thick socks help reduce friction between your feet and the shoes, preventing blisters and other forms of discomfort.
  • Absorb Impact: Especially during activities like jumping or quick movements, thick socks can absorb some of the impact, protecting your feet.
Thick socks for breaking in volleyball shoes

4. Flex and Bend Them

Manual Flexing

  • Gentle Manipulation: Use your hands to gently flex and bend the shoes, concentrating on the sole area. This helps in making the sole more flexible and less stiff.
  • Focus on Problem Areas: If specific parts of the shoe feel rigid, focus your flexing there, but do so gently.

Don’t Overdo It

  • Avoid Damage: Be careful not to over-flex the shoes or bend them in unnatural ways, as this could damage their structure or weaken important support areas.
  • Balanced Approach: The goal is to soften the shoes, not to alter their fundamental shape or support mechanisms.

5. Light Practice Sessions

Initial Use

  • Gradual Introduction: After getting accustomed to your volleyball shoes at home, start using them during light practice sessions. This can include low-intensity drills or warm-up exercises.
  • Familiar Environment: Practicing in a volleyball-specific environment helps the shoes adapt to the movements and pressures of the sport.

Monitor Comfort

  • Feedback from Feet: Notice if there are any areas of discomfort or pressure points.
  • Adjust Accordingly: If discomfort arises, consider reducing the intensity or duration of your practice in the new shoes, and gradually increase as the shoes become more comfortable.

Pros and Cons Of Easy Method for Breaking in Volleyball Shoes


  • Simple and Convenient: No special tools or skills required
  • Time-Saving: This can be done during everyday activities like walking around the house.
  • Gentle on Shoes: Reduces the risk of damaging the shoes.
  • Comfortable Process: Gradual breaking-in is less likely to cause blisters or discomfort.


  • Slower Results: May take longer to break in the shoes fully.
  • Limited Stretching: Might not adequately stretch very tight areas.
  • Less Precise: Can’t target specific tight spots as effectively as more involved methods.
  • May Require Regular Repeating: Might need to repeat the process over several days or weeks for the best results.

Hard Method for Breaking in Volleyball Shoes

1. Use Shoe Stretchers or Balls

Stretching Tools

  • Target Tight Areas: If certain parts of your shoes feel too tight, like the toe box or sides, using a shoe stretcher or stretching balls can be effective.
  • Customized Stretching: These tools allow for targeted stretching, addressing specific tight spots without affecting the overall fit of the shoe.

Target Specific Areas

  • Focused Adjustment: By using stretchers or balls, you can focus on expanding just the areas that need it, which is especially useful if only part of the shoe feels uncomfortable.
  • Prevent Overstretching: Be cautious not to overstretch, as this could lead to a loose fit and reduced support.
Shoe Stretchers for Volleyball Shoes

2. Apply Heat

Hairdryer Method

  • Gentle Warming: Use a hairdryer to gently heat the tight areas of your shoes. While doing this, wear thick socks to protect your feet from the heat and to aid in stretching the material.
  • Controlled Heat: Avoid overheating the shoes, as excessive heat can damage the materials. Use a moderate setting and keep the hairdryer moving to distribute the heat evenly.

Flex While Warm

  • Active Stretching: While the shoes are warm, flex your feet and toes inside them.
  • Immediate Feedback: This method provides immediate feedback on how much the material has loosened, allowing you to adjust the amount of heat and movement as needed.

3. Conditioning the Material

Leather Shoes

  • Use Leather Conditioner: If your volleyball shoes are made of leather, applying a leather conditioner can help soften them.
  • Even Application: Apply the conditioner evenly across the shoe, paying extra attention to particularly stiff areas.

Synthetic Materials

  • Fabric Conditioner for Synthetics: For shoes made from synthetic materials, a fabric conditioner can be used. This helps to soften the material, making it more pliable and comfortable against your feet.

4. Insert Shoe Trees

Maintain Shape

  • Use When Not Wearing: Insert shoe trees into your volleyball shoes when you’re not wearing them. 

Prevent Shrinking

  • Avoid Tightening Over Time: Shoe trees can also prevent your shoes from shrinking or becoming too tight, especially if they are made of materials like leather that may contract over time.
shoe tree for volleyball shoes

5. Increase Practice Intensity Gradually

Build Up Usage

  • Gradual Increase in Intensity: As your shoes become more comfortable, gradually increase both the intensity and duration of your practice sessions while wearing them.
  • Progressive Adaptation: This helps your feet to adapt to the shoes under more demanding conditions, replicating game-like scenarios.

6. Check for Fit and Comfort Regularly

Reassess Fit

  • Periodic Checking: Every so often, reassess the fit of your shoes to ensure they continue to be comfortable and provide the necessary support.
  • Adapt to Changes: Feet can change over time, so what was a perfect fit initially may need adjustments later.

Adjust Accordingly

  • Modifications if Needed: Make any necessary adjustments to maintain comfort and fit, such as changing the type of socks you wear or adding insoles for extra support.

7. Seek Professional Advice

Persistent Discomfort

  • Consult a Specialist: If you continue to experience discomfort despite following these steps, it may be wise to consult a footwear specialist or a podiatrist.
  • Tailored Solutions: They can provide advice specific to your feet, such as recommending special insoles, adjustments in the shoe, or even a different type of volleyball shoe that might suit your feet better.

Pros and Cons of Hard Method for Breaking in Volleyball Shoes


  • Targeted Stretching: Can focus on specific tight areas for a better fit
  • Faster Results: Often stretches shoes more quickly than the easy method.
  • Effective for Tough Materials: Better suited for shoes made from harder, less flexible materials.
  • Customizable: Allows for more control over the amount and areas of stretching.


  • Risk of Damage: Aggressive stretching might harm the shoes’ structure or material.
  • Requires Tools or Equipment: You may need shoe stretchers, balls, or other tools.
  • Effective for Tough Materials: Better suited for shoes made from harder, less flexible materials.
  • Potential for Overstretching: There’s a risk of stretching the shoes too much, leading to a loose fit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much time does it usually take to fully break in volleyball shoes?

Breaking in volleyball shoes varies based on the shoe’s material and how often you wear them. Generally, a few weeks of regular wear should do the trick.

Do volleyball shoes need to be broken in, or are they game-ready from the start?

Most volleyball shoes are designed to be comfortable right out of the box, but a short break-in period might help them mold perfectly to your feet.

Is Using a hairdryer a good method to loosen tight areas in volleyball shoes?

Yes, a hairdryer can be effective for loosening tight spots. Gently heat the tight area while wearing thick socks, and move your feet around to stretch the shoes. Just be careful not to apply too much heat, as it might damage the shoes.

What should I do If my volleyball shoes remain uncomfortable after weeks of use?

If discomfort continues even after a few weeks, try using shoe stretchers on specific tight areas. If this doesn’t help, it’s advisable to seek advice from a shoe expert or a podiatrist for a solution tailored to your needs.

Is it recommended to use shoe trees in volleyball shoes?

Shoe trees aren’t essential but they can be beneficial. They help keep your volleyball shoes in shape, preventing them from shrinking or deforming, especially in materials like leather.


How to break in volleyball shoes? Properly breaking in volleyball shoes is essential for achieving both comfort and optimal performance. This personalized process involves wearing the shoes regularly, gradually increasing their use in practice, and taking care of them to ensure a perfect fit. Techniques like using a hairdryer for tight spots, employing shoe stretchers, and using shoe trees help in this process. Properly broken-in shoes enhance your mobility and stability on the court, contributing significantly to your overall volleyball performance.

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