If you’re new to the sport of volleyball, you might think that any old pair of gym shoes will be fine for volleyball. This may be the case if you’re only playing a game or two, however, if you’re regularly playing in a league or tournaments, you’ll want to have a pair of volleyball court shoes.
Think of the motion that you do in running – it’s just a repetitive forward movement. On the other hand, each play in volleyball results in a different movement. While there are different techniques that have repetitive movements, most plays result in a player lunging, moving sideways, running to the ball, and often jumping. You plan for a good offensive or defensive play, but you really don’t know what’s going to happen with each serve!
What makes volleyball shoes so special?
Volleyball shoes have a wider base, to better support lateral movements. They also have a good amount of traction, which helps a player to pivot on the court. Volleyball shoes also have more padding in the front base, which provides shock absorption for when a player jumps and lands. The upper part of volleyball shoes is usually made out of a mesh or other breathable kind of fabric, to help keep the shoes lightweight and your feet cooler.
The gum rubber sole is also non-marking, which means that there will be no marks left on the gym floor from your shoes.
Volleyball shoes are indoor shoes!
That gum rubber sole also provides the good traction mentioned above. This means that you will want to keep your volleyball shoes in good condition by only wearing them inside.
Think back to those kindergarten days when you had indoor and outdoor shoes. Volleyball shoes definitely belong in the indoor shoes category!
Once you start wearing your shoes outside, you’ll pick up dirt and debris in the soles, which will impede that squeaky traction you want to maintain on the volleyball court. Some players will even wipe the bottom of their shoes on their tall socks or their hands after each play to help maintain this traction!
Wearing your volleyball shoes on abrasive surfaces, like concrete or asphalt, can also wear out that gym sole faster, so you’ll want to change shoes when you’re walking outside.
And a big no-no in volleyball is wearing wet shoes on the volleyball court! It’s important to keep the playing surface in volleyball as dry as possible, because there’s a higher risk of injury if there are wet areas on the court. Volleyball players are always looking UP at the ball during a play, and if they step in a wet area, their feet could slip out from under them. So definitely make sure your shoes are dry before you hit the court!
The shoes that I’ve worn for many seasons are the Asics Women’s Gel-Rocket 8. These are a really popular shoe for volleyball. These shoes have the shock absorption and are nice and lightweight. They also have the gum rubber sole to provide good traction. I have gotten many miles out of my Asics!
Another good alternative is the Mizuno brand. There are several different models, but the Mizuno Wave Lightning Z4 is quite popular. I haven’t worn Mizuno myself, but many of my volleyball teammates have, and they love them.
Mizuno does tend to be a little more expensive than the Asics brand, but both do provide a solid option.