How To Choose Volleyball Shoes

How to choose Volleyball Shoes in 06 Steps

Choosing the right pair of volleyball shoes can be a nightmare, especially when you don’t know the basics of volleyball shoe selection.

Especially, if you don’t know your needs and requirements, the exact size, type, and quality of shoes you need.

So, Let’s walk into 06 simple considerations regarding how to choose volleyball shoes!

06 Steps infographics on how to choose volleyball shoes

Step 1: Understand the Basics of Volleyball Shoes

Understanding the basics of volleyball shoes is important. Here are a few general facts about volleyball shoe construction, characteristics, and anatomy;-

1.1. How are Volleyball Shoes Designed- An Anatomy?

  • The primary parts of volleyball shoes include the outsole, midsole, and upper.
  • The outsole is made of synthetic rubber material with a pattern to offer excellent traction on the court without damaging the integrity of the court
  • The midsole consists of the cushioning material aimed at providing a smooth and impact-free landing. EVA, Gel, Flyte Foam, Enerzy, Boost, Bounce, react and Zoom are a few examples of midsole technologies
  • The upper of the volleyball shoes is generally a mesh material with PU bracing in the toe box area for protection against abrasions and collisions. The upper material makes a lightweight, breathable, and durable combination.

1.2. How are volleyball Shoes Different?

  • Volleyball shoes are focused on lateral support due to the game requirement like side movements during digging and diving.
  • These shoes provide excellent traction on the court. This job cannot be done by running shoes or casual sneakers.
  • Shoes are crafted to provide a smooth landing and shock absorption.
  • Offer a variety of options for different playing positions like defenders, blockers, and spikers
  • Lightweight and durable

Step 2: Define Your Needs and Requirements

  • Understanding your needs and requirements is a critical step in the process of selecting the perfect volleyball shoes.
  • Failing to establish a clear checklist for your volleyball shoe purchase significantly increases the risk of ending up with a pair that doesn’t align with your playing style and preferences.
  • To ensure you make an informed decision, take the time to deliberate what you’re looking for in your volleyball footwear. This involves considering factors such as you’re playing position, the type of court, and the characteristics of your foot.
  • By clearly defining these needs, you lay the foundation for a successful and satisfying volleyball shoe purchase.
  • Remember, the more precise your requirements, the better equipped you’ll be to navigate the multitude of options available in the market and find the shoes that will complement your game.

2.1. Playing Positions and Style

Playing position and style is one of the most important considerations in the selection of volleyball shoes.

  • For instance, if you are a middle blocker or an opposite hitter who is doing max jumping and powerful spiking your shoe requirement will be different from that of a libero. Here are the brief shoe requirements for different volleyball positions:-

2.2. Court Type

Court type or surface is an important parameter in the selection of volleyball shoes. This is linked to the durability of the shoes. Indoor and outdoor courts have different surfaces, requiring specific shoe features

  • Indoor shoes typically have non-marking outsoles suitable for polished wood or synthetic floors, while outdoor shoes may have more durable, all-terrain soles.
  • Using indoor shoes for playing outdoor volleyball might lead to the early wear-off. On the other hand, outdoor volleyball shoes might damage the indoor court surface when used.

2.3. Foot Type

Generally, you may be a wide-feet or a narrow-feet athlete. Or you may have a high arch or low arch feet. In all cases, you need specialized volleyball shoes.

  • If wearing shoes with narrow feet can make you uncomfortable, the wide shoe has the disadvantage of rolling the feet and causing ankle twists.
  • Similarly, mismatched high-arch and low-arch shoes can lead to foot pain and discomfort.

Step 3: Check the Basic Volleyball Shoe Features

While talking about the basic shoe features, two parameters, i.e., Primary and secondary, should be considered. The primary parameters are crucial and cannot be compromised whereas the secondary parameters can be flexible.

  • Primary-Includes traction, cushioning, breathability, lateral stability, Durability and comfort,
  • Secondary– Style and Colour, Weight

3.1. Traction

Just as formula racing drivers rely on specialized tires designed for optimal grip on the track, volleyball players similarly depend on their shoes to move quickly on the court.

  • The quality of the outsole of your volleyball shoe is a top priority. It needs to have an excellent grip since you’ll be playing on hard-surface courts that can become slippery.
  • Shoes that can grip the court result in better digs, quick cuts, passes, starts, and stops.
  • Look for a volleyball shoe with an outsole that’s made of high-performance rubber, has a pivot point under the ball of the foot, and has sharp and shallow lugs or intricate tread patterns.

3.2. Size

Selecting the right size is the most important part of choosing the best volleyball shoe. Properly fitted shoes increase the performance of a player and can prevent injuries.

  • Ill-fitted shoes are the cause of many problems, too small can lead to foot pain and a bad playing experience.
  • On the other hand, large shoes can cause a lack of stability while playing and blisters. Lack of stability may lead to an ankle sprain and slipping on the court.

Here are a few quick tips to remember:-

  • Your shoe needs to fit snugly so that it moves with your foot as you move around the court.
  • Your foot shouldn’t have wiggle room inside, which can result in turned ankles or loss of balance.
  • And when you try on a shoe, choose one that has a finger width or less between your toes and the tip of the shoe.
  • You should also be able to bend naturally on the ball of your foot without restriction.

3.3. Cushioning/Shock Absorption

Volleyball involves a lot of jumping, whether it’s to block a shot, spike the ball, or move around the court.

According to an article published on NCBI,

Source: Wang X, Deng L, Lam WK, Yang Y, Zhang X, Fu W. Wearing Cushioning Shoes Reduce Load Rates More Effectively in Post-Fatigue than in Pre-Fatigue during Landings. Biology (Basel). 2021 Sep 26;10(10):962. doi: 10.3390/biology10100962. PMID: 34681061; PMCID: PMC8533174.
  • To provide a better shock absorption volleyball shoes should feel comfortable on your feet and have plenty of cushioning to reduce pain as well as fatigue during and after your matches.
  • Modern-day volleyball shoes use advanced cushioning technologies.
  • For instance, ASICS volleyball shoes use the GEL™ technology and FlyteFoam™ technology that offer flexible and lightweight cushioning.
  • Similarly, the Mizuno uses Enerzy and wave plate technology, and Adidas offers Boost and Bounce foam technology. Where Nike has the react and zoom technology.

3.4. Breathability

Another important thing to keep in consideration while choosing volleyball shoes is to select ones that let your feet “breathe.” This is because your feet get sweaty while playing volleyball.

  • The breathable shoes prevent moisture from being trapped and allow air to flow around your feet. This keeps the feet drier and cooler during play.
  • Moreover, the breathable shoes keep you odor-free allowing you to focus on the game without distractions.
  • Although volleyball shoes are constructed with breathable material, one should also carefully consider this aspect while selecting any shoes.

3.5. Lateral Stability

Lateral support and stability are crucial for protecting the injuries, especially ankle injuries.

  • As you change direction on the court, the volleyball shoe provides support to the foot and acts as a barrier for keeping you balanced and reducing the risk of ankle injuries.
  • Look for a shoe that provides good ankle support. For you, this could mean either low-top, mid-top, or high-top support, whichever is most comfortable.
  • A high-top shoe provides the most ankle support but will also be slightly heavier. If quick, sudden movements are important to the position you play on the court, low-top shoes are a better choice.
  • Movements from side to side are better supported by mid- and high-top volleyball shoes. If you’re unsure or are a beginner player, you may want to start with low-tops.

Comfort

3.6 Weight

Generally, lightweight volleyball shoes are preferred by athletes, as they have to move around the court quickly for several games in a row. A bulk pair of shoes will take extra energy and may feel heavy on your feet ultimately reducing the movement efficiency.

  • Lightweight shoes help you get the right height when you jump.
  • For men, look for volleyball shoes that weigh between 300 and 400 grams (10.5 to 14 ounces).
  • Women’s volleyball shoes ideally weigh between 200 and 300 grams (7 to 10.5 ounces).

3.7. Durability

Durability is an important consideration as it is related to the budget.

  • Like a professional player, one can’t afford a new pair of volleyball shoes after every game or tournament.
  • However, When made with the right materials, your volleyball shoes can hold up for the entire season without the support around your ankles weakening or the soles losing traction.
  • A no-sew mesh upper is generally more supportive and durable.

For further details on the life of volleyball shoes read my article How Long Do Volleyball Shoes Last?

3.8. Style and Color

Style or color is the secondary feature of volleyball shoes. These are linked with the wao factor and also vary from person to person. Sometimes, you have to wear a matching pair with your team jersey or the Nicker.

Despite that, I didn’t regard this as an important feature of volleyball shoes.

Step 4: Define Your Budget

Now if you have decided on the type of shoes you need, the next step here is the budget. Considering your budget you may go with the high-end models, mid-range options, or a budget-friendly choice.

4.1. High-End Models:

Top-of-the-line models from renowned brands offer the latest technologies and features. Investing in a high-end model might be worthwhile if you’re a professional volleyball player and looking for the best performance. Here is a list of a few high-end models of volleyball shoes

  • Asics Sky Elite FF -2
  • Mizuno Wave Momentum 2,3
  • Adidas Crazyflight
  • Nike React Hyperset
  • Mizuno Wave Lightning Z-6
  • Nike Zoom Hyperace 02
  • Asics Netburner Ballistic FF-3
  • Mizuno Wave Dimension

For further details about volleyball shoes read my article on Best Volleyball Shoes

4.2. Mid-Range Options:

Many mid-range options provide an adequate balance between performance and affordability. These shoes often incorporate key features for optimal play without the premium price tag.

  • Mizuno Luminous 02
  • Adidas Ligra
  • Adidas Novaflight
  • Mizuno Wave Momentum

4.3. Budget-Friendly Choices:

Budget-friendly options of all renowned brands offer decent performance despite being low cost. Moreover, these shoes are also suitable for recreational players or those on a short budget and looking for cheap options.

Although these shoes may lack advanced features like modern cushioning technology, they can provide a decent experience for casual play.

  • Asics Gel Rocket
  • Asics Up Court-5
  • Mizuno Wave Cyclone 3

Step-5: Seek Recommendations and Reviews

5.1. Feedback from the Fellows

It is wiser to take the advice of your fellow volleyball players for their recommendations. They may give some valuable suggestions and insights based on their experiences in the use of specific brands and models.

There is also a possibility that their experience can be different but this will give you a general idea about the key characteristics of a specific pair of shoes.

5.2. Online Reviews

Explore online reviews and testimonials from both experts and consumers.

Platforms like customer reviews on e-commerce websites or dedicated volleyball-related blogs like ours can help you select a decent pair.

5.3. Brand Considerations

Globally, 04 volleyball shoe brands are the most popular among the professional circles.

Mizuno

Mizuno is renowned for its advanced technologies, including the Mizuno Wave and Enerzy Foam which provide excellent cushioning and stability.

Consider Mizuno if you prioritize cutting-edge and lightweight shoes and a brand with a strong presence in the volleyball community.

Asics

Asics, a trusted name in athletic footwear, is known for its Gel technology, and flyte foam technology which offers superior shock absorption.

Asics volleyball shoes are known for their reliability, diversity, and comfort.

Nike

Nike’s emphasis on responsiveness and traction makes its volleyball shoes popular among players seeking a blend of performance and style.

Nike Zoom Air units contribute to a responsive feel, ideal for quick movements.

Adidas

Adidas combines performance with a stylish design in its volleyball shoes. Boost and bounce technology in the midsole that enhances energy return, contributing to a player’s explosiveness.

Adidas is often chosen by those looking for a fashionable yet high-performing option.

5.4. Insights and Endorsement From Professional Players

Many volleyball players share their thoughts and insights about the performance and selection of volleyball shoes on social media, television, and even with the collaboration of any brand.

For instance, Yugi Nishida has endorsed the ASICS Sky Elite. Moreover, I have seen USA volleyball players Erik Shoji and David Smith about talking Mizuno Volleyball shoes on Instagram.

Considering the above volleyball enthusiasts often follow the advice and endorsement of their ideal player regarding footwear selection.

For details read: what shoes do the best volleyball players wear?

Step-6: Buy Online or Try In-store

You may either buy the shoes from a store by visiting physically or online through Amazon.com.

  • Visiting a store physically has the benefits of perfect fitting and a wide variety of options. But you have to spare your precious time.
  • Online platforms are time-saving and deliver the shoes to your doorstep. However, there may be an issue with the size and fit. Fortunately, this doesn’t last longer once you define your size.
  • Caution! Always check and understand the return and exchange policies of the store or online platform before purchasing.

Conclusion

While thinking of How to choose volleyball shoes, start with the basics like understanding the design and makeup, and defining your needs and requirements like playing position, court, and foot type.

Checking the basic features is the next crucial thing in choosing volleyball shoes. In this regard, various features traction, cushioning, breathability, and stability are essential, to ensure optimal performance and prevent injuries. Your budget plays a role in whether you go for high-end models, mid-range options, or budget-friendly choices.

Interestingly, seeking recommendations and reviews from fellow players, following the endorsements of the best volleyball players, and recognizing popular brands like Mizuno, Asics, Nike, and Adidas can also help you in making decisions.

Finally, whether you buy online or in-store, it’s about finding the right balance between convenience and fitting. In a nutshell, choosing a decent pair of volleyball shoes involves understanding your unique needs, recognizing key features, and aligning your choice with your budget and playing style

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