What shoes do you wear to play volleyball? Unexpected insights.

In general, it is best to wear shoes that were specifically designed to play volleyball with. A lot of big brands such as Nike offer these shoes at the moment. These volleyball shoes have to offer the right balance between stability and agility. You need sporting shoes to play volleyball as these offer more grip and are able to drain the sweat well. In some instances you can play volleyball barefoot, we have talked about the best outdoor volleyball shoes before. In this post, we will focus on indoor shoes. Shoes can have a big impact on your performance so it is necessary to give some thought to which ones you will get.

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What shoes can be worn for volleyball? Substitute for volleyball shoes

You can wear indoor sporting shoes to play volleyball but this is not recommended as these offer less support when you have to start and stop a lot. 

The main difference between volleyball shoes and other indoor shoes is their soles, dampening, and stability. Their weight is also different. Volleyball shoes are lighter so that it is easier to be agile in them. 

As shown in the image below, some shoes can bend a lot when you put pressure on them. This can lead to them breaking or some dislocations. Therefore it is better to wear shoes that have been specifically designed for volleyball as these offer more support when you run around. They don’t cost that much more and are worth the additional expense. In the image below you can see the difference between standard indoor sporting shoes (on the left) and volleyball shoes (on the right). As you can see, the standard indoor shoes bend a lot and this is not ideal as they won’t be durable. The volleyball shoes are able to offer more support and it will be more comfortable to play a volleyball match or training session in them. 

Left: indoor shoes, right: volleyball shoe Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlufBzgsw1M

If you don’t play volleyball often, you can consider wearing other indoor shoes such as basketball shoes or running shoes. It is better to invest in real volleyball shoes when you plan to become part of a club. Some clubs even demand that you buy a certain type of shoe so that it fits with the rest of the team. 

A lot of professional teams are sponsored and they can’t pick the brand of shoes that they play with. The Olympic volleyball of Team USA for example plays with Muzino shoes. These have proven to work quite well as the female team won the tournament. 

Volleyball shoes also have special foams and rubbers that offer more cushioning. Volleyball players have to jump a lot and if you land in the wrong way, it could affect the rest of your match. For this reason, volleyball shoes make sure that players get a soft landing so that they can keep playing for a long period of time.

Running shoes often use normal rubber on the soles but volleyball players need more grip. For this reason, rubber gum soles are used in volleyball shoes as these offer more grip. When players sweat on the floor, it can get slippery. To make sure that you have enough grip, volleyball shoes use this special rubber and also add a specific pattern in them that offers more traction. 

What is the difference between volleyball shoes?

Asics, Mizuno, Adidas, and Under Armour offer great volleyball shoes. Their designs are quite similar overall as they both combine gels and foams to reduce the impact. They have a special rubber sole that offers a lot of grips. The difference is the type of materials that are being used in the midsole and upper part of the shoe. There are several ways to formulate the foams in shoes and the brands keep experimenting with different approaches to see how they can improve the design. Some brands also add molded parts to make the shoes more stable. The following shoes of ASICS are very popular amongst women as they offer a lot of comforts.

All these shoes cost about the same and should be durable so that you can play with them for several months.

The shoes of ASCIS are quite narrow so you might have to order a bigger size. Luckily they offer half-size so you can check what works for your feet. The shoes of Adidas are bigger and they might not fit for people that have narrower feet.

Each brand also offers different models. For example, some shoes (for example the Adidas Novaflight) focus more on jumping and this can be great for blockers and servers. This is often mentioned in the name of the shoe or in the description. These shoes often cost more as they use special materials.

 Other models use materials that offer more stability and this can be great for setters and liberos. You can try several brands and models and see what works for you. If you walk around in them and run and jump, you will start to notice small nuances that have a big impact on how comfortable they feel. Everyone has their own preferences in this area so it is hard to generalize. You can ask your coach or other players on your team to see what they wear and like. 

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Adidas and Under Armour also have shoes that are higher and offer more ankle support. The HOVR Ace Highlith shoe is an example of this model. You have to check if this is allowed in your competition as each has unique rules. 

Best volleyball shoes for flat feet

Jumping and landing can be quite painful for people with flat feet. Therefore you need great shoes that can help you with this. Some shoes have a big sole and these are great for people with flat feet. The following shoes by Adidas have a thick sole and have great reviews. The sole is stiffer than the ones used by competitors as Adidas uses special materials. You can also consider adding a sole. There are several brands that offer an additional sole that you can cut to size. These can add more dampening and make it more comfortable to play. It is also essential that you replace your shoes often. A lot of people play too long with the same pair of shoes and this leads to suboptimal results.

What I like about these shoes is that they tighten really well around your feet. Some shoes are rather lose and this is annoying. They are also quite durable and last a long time. You can try them and see if they help you. Often you need to test several designs and brands before you find a pair that really fits. Small nuances can make a big difference.

If you plan to play outside, you might take a look at tennis shoes or running shoes as these offer more support. These have been designed for harder surfaces and can really help. Playing on concrete is different from playing on grass or mulch so you have to take the underground into consideration as well when you select volleyball shoes for outdoors. For concrete you might look into shoes that offer a lot of support or you can consider to jump less often.

Beach volleyball players with flat feet often wear socks to get more stability in the sand. These sporting socks are quite cheap to purchase but often don’t last that long given that sand is quite rough.

To conclude, we can state that it is necessary to buy shoes that have been specifically designed for volleyball players. There are several brands such as Asics and Muzino that offer these types of shoes. They use special foams and gels to offer more stability while the shoes also offer a lot of support and grip. They also weigh less so it is easier to be agile when you wear them.