Best outdoor volleyball shoes for Sand, Grass, Concrete to Mulch (AVOID This!)

You can play outdoor volleyball on multiple terrains. From grass, mulch to concrete and sand. Each of these requires different shoes as some undergrounds offer more support than others do. You have to make sure that you are standing stable when you play volleyball. The right shoes can help you with this. In this article, we are going to discuss the best outdoor shoes for each of these terrains so that you can perform and play your best game on each of them. Let’s dive in.

Best volleyball shoes for grass

Playing volleyball on grass can be a lot of fun. You can make spectacular slides and dives in it. The main drawback is that it can be quite slippery and you need shoes that offer a lot of traction to play in this environment. A lot of players play on their bare feet in grass but this is not always an option. There are no real volleyball shoes for this terrain so you might want to take a look at all-terrain running shoes if you play volleyball in grass often. These shoes offer more grip than indoor volleyball shoes as they have grooves in the rubber sole. You could consider shoes with spikes if the terrain is really slippery but this could be quite dangerous for the players on your team.  

You can try your standard indoor volleyball shoes and see if they work for the grass that you are going to play on. There are several variables that can affect this, from how smooth the terrain is to how wet the grass is. You can try with your indoor shoes and see if you have enough traction to play. Playing volleyball on grass can be a big challenge if you don’t have the right gear to do this.

Your shoes can be quite dirty after you have played in the grass. It can be a great idea to let them dry in the sun. This can remove the mud and make it easier to clean them afterward. The shoes won’t last long if you don’t take care of them. Therefore it is essential that you clean them often.

A lot of people play volleyball on the grass in a garden. Make sure that there are no other objects in the way. From time to time there is dog poop or other things that can interfere with the game. Therefore it is important that you check that everything is clean before you start playing on grass. Having dog poop on your shoes is not a lot of fun. 

Best volleyball shoes for mulch

Mulch is a natural material and is often made out of trees such as pine or tree bark. It can be quite comfortable to play on as it is soft. We are facing the same challenge as we did with grass as this can result in a muddy and slippery terrain after a while. You can try again with your indoor volleyball shoes to see if this works. If it doesn’t, you can go back to the all-terrain running shoes that should offer more support. You can also try to play on it in your bare feet but many can have sharp edges so be careful if you do this. Not a lot of people are playing on mulch so far but it is becoming increasingly popular because it is cheap and quite soft to play on.

Mulch can get quite slippery so you need shoes that offer enough traction. Your shoes can also be very dirty after you have played in this material. You can’t play in these bare feet as there might be some sharp ends.

You can use the same shoes that are being used for grass. Indoor shoes can work as well but might get damaged quite easily as they are not made for dealing with sharper ends.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Best volleyball shoes for concrete

This terrain is more stable and offers more traction. Therefore it is often possible to use the same shoes as indoors. You might have to be careful with rain as indoor shoes are not always designed to deal with this. It is also a great idea to remove rocks and dirt from the court before you start playing as this can get in your shoes. Other than this, your indoor shoes are often used as outdoor shoes.

You might have to clean them thoroughly as the manager of the sports arena won’t be amused if you arrive in dirty shoes. Therefore you might consider another pair of shoes if you switch often between playing indoor and on concrete. 

As the following image shows, it is important that you get shoes that offer enough support. A lot of shoes are not designed with volleyball in mind and deform too much when you change direction. This can lead to broken shoes or worse. As you can see in the image below, the shoes on the left-hand side move and deform. The shoes on the right hand are volleyball shoes and these retain their shape, even when a lot of pressure is applied on them. 

Source: Mizuno

Concrete can be quite slippery and uneven. Therefore you have to be careful when you play on it. Volleyball is not often played on concrete as you can’t slide over the floor very easily. Some players even refuse to play on this underground as they feel that it is not comfortable enough. There are almost no volleyball tournaments that take place on concrete.

Best volleyball shoes for sand.

Beach volleyball players, in general, don’t wear shoes as the sand gets everywhere and it is soft to play on the sand. Even during the Olympics players don’t wear any shoes. Some players wear socks because beach volleyball can be played during colder months. These special socks have closures to make sure that no sand gets in them. Furthermore, they combine several types of materials (such as nylon and neoprene) to make them durable and comfortable to wear. Some of these socks also use rubber to provide further traction. You will have to check with the referee if this is allowed or not as each tournament has its own rules. These socks can also help to protect your feet if there is dirt or rocks in the sand. These socks are not worn that often as a beach (or sand) volleyball is often played in warmer climates. The sand is soft enough to just play in it. 

As beach volleyball is gaining traction, we might see new designs for these socks coming up as players try to find an edge in the game. Beach volleyball socks don’t have gels or foams that can help players to jump higher as indoor shoes have. This might change in the coming years as players try new types of footwear. 

The following pair of beach volleyball socks have great reviews and are reasonably priced:

It has to be noted that these socks often don’t last that long.

To conclude we can state that there are several outdoor terrains where one can play volleyball on. From grass, mulch, and sand to concrete. Each of these terrains has its unique characteristics and you need the right gear to play on them. For example, grass can be slippery whereas sand offers a lot of traction. Therefore it is important that you buy the shoes (or socks) that fit the terrain so that you can win the match. In volleyball, you have to start and stop running a lot. Wearing the right shoes will help you to do this faster so that you don’t waste time sliding around. Good shoes offer both a lot of stability and allow you to keep your agility. Finding a balance between the two is challenging. Luckily some brands have developed shoes specifically for volleyball and this purpose. 

We have discussed the best indoor volleyball shoes here.