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How to choose the perfect pair of volleyball shoes

Volleyball: No matter the level, it’s a sport that brings out fun, competitive play, team building and athleticism. What you wear to the court counts. For some, a simple pair of tennis shoes or running shoes does the trick for a casual game of volleyball. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your game or if you play on an amateur or professional team, tennis shoes won’t cut it. Your best bet is a pair of volleyball shoes, which are specially designed for the type of movement and force that the sport demands.

What kind of shoes are volleyball shoes?

What sets volleyball shoes apart from other athletic footwear is their design, which focuses on lateral motion. Unlike running shoes, which prioritize cushioning and shock absorption, or basketball shoes, which can handle swift forward motion, volleyball shoes have a different aim. They’re made to support the rapid lateral movements you make during the game. These sideways motions are taxing on your feet, and good volleyball shoes support your legs while also helping you go in for a spike. 

Sections of the sole

A volleyball shoe’s sole has three sections: an upper section, midsole and rubber sole.

Upper section

Made out of a nylon mesh material, this front section is breathable enough to keep your foot cool. The material should be wicking and reduce the moisture caused by sweating.


The midsole is designed to be particularly thick in comparison to most shoes. The reason for this is that volleyball players stay on the balls of their feet for most of the game, so midsole support helps take some weight off the front of your foot. Additionally, it helps you make quick movements and jumps.

Rubber sole

A hard gum rubber sole gives good traction, helping you move seamlessly on the court. This sole support also helps lower your risk of ankle injuries. However, because it’s made of a special material, it wears down over time and should never be worn off the gym floor.


The soles of volleyball shoes consist of a special type of gum that is nonmarking, solid enough to give good ground gripping, and supportive enough to help protect your ankles. A mix of foam cushion and mesh materials make up the other two parts of the shoe.

Top brands

Notable brands for volleyball shoes include Adidas, ASICS and Nike. Be sure to consider consumer reviews for each particular shoe you consider. Not all volleyball shoes are created equal.


Q: Is it OK to wear basketball shoes in place of volleyball shoes?

A. Basketball shoes are a better stand-in shoe for a match of volleyball than tennis or running shoes. The demands of basketball and volleyball are similar, but the reality is that basketball shoes are made for one thing specifically: basketball. The movements of volleyball may be close to that of basketball, but the lateral motion may be more intense depending on how you play. Additionally, the give of the sole of the shoe is different as well. The design of a volleyball shoe is made to target all the needs of the game, so you can’t go wrong purchasing a pair if you’re dedicated to the sport.

Q: Do volleyball shoes offer ankle support?

A. There is some degree of ankle support in most volleyball shoes. However, for those with previous ankle injuries or weak ankles, it’s a good idea to look into buying ankle braces to supplement your volleyball shoes.

Q: How long does a quality pair of volleyball shoes last?

A. The life span of your athletic shoes depends, in large part, on how often you play in them. As a general rule, if you wear one pair of shoes exclusively and play four to five times a week in them, a good pair of volleyball shoes will make it for at least a full season before wearing out. You’ll be able to tell your shoes are wearing down when they start to lose traction in the soles; that’s a sure sign that you’ll need to have them resoled or outright replaced to play your best game. If you’re more of a casual player and only play once a week, your shoes will likely last years.

Q: Can I wear my volleyball shoes off the court?

A. Don’t wear your volleyball shoes when you’re not actively playing. The gym floor is the only place they belong. Walking around on other surfaces, especially rough pavement, will rub off the important gum sole, aging your shoes prematurely. Be sure to bring a change of shoes for before and after your volleyball training sessions and games.

What you need to buy for volleyball shoes

Adidas Ligra 7 Volleyball Shoes

This well-balanced indoor volleyball shoe offers versatility and all-around support. The sole is resistant to abrasion and offers a solid grip while not being too heavy.

Where to buy: Sold by Adidas and Amazon

Nike Zoom HyperAce 2 Volleyball Shoes

With patented Lightweight Zoom Wear cushioning to help you bounce higher combined with steady traction to keep you balanced, this pair of shoes offers the best of both worlds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

ASICS Gel-Rocket 10 Volleyball Shoes

The cushion, foam and mesh on these shoes all prioritize comfort above all else, helping keep you refreshed no matter how long you play. They’re available in eight color combinations.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Adidas Crazyflight Volleyball Shoes

Don’t let this shoe’s sleek, minimalist design fool you. It’s got ample midsole support for the ball of your foot while also offering breathable mesh to keep your feet cool.

Where to buy: Sold by Adidas, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Under Armour Women's HOVR Highlight Ace Volleyball Shoes

The extended ankle collar provides built-in ankle support for those who need it. Its sole is abrasion-resistant, and the sock liner molds to your foot to prevent slipping around in your shoe.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon

Adidas Court Team Bounce Volleyball Shoes

Snug and tight while still offering breathability, these shoes fit like a glove on your foot. The design prioritizes grip while not losing comfort or support on the gym court.

Where to buy: Sold by Adidas


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Micayla Mead writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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