Once upon a time, indoor court sneakers with gum rubber bottoms were called volleyball shoes. Not anymore! We are now in a new era of volleyball shoes! Technological advancements combined with countless hours of research have turned those typical “sneakers” into a piece of necessary equipment. With so many brands and styles to choose from, getting the perfect pair for you can seem like a daunting task.
Picking out shoes is a personal preference – not all styles will work for everyone. But knowing a few key characteristics of volleyball shoes can help you narrow down your search to find your new sole-mate.
Here are four main characteristics that all volleyball shoes have:
Cushioning – A must-have especially if you play every day or have long all-day tournaments. If your volleyball shoe isn’t comfortable, your feet are going to let you know! Tired or painful feet can make a player feel exhausted much earlier in play than usual, which is not optimal for performance.
Stability – Volleyball shoes feature reinforced stability in all possible directions – right, left, forward, backwards, up, and down – you never know where the ball will take you! This is why you can’t wear just any shoe to play in. Traditional running shoes have great stability for forward motion, but they leave something to be desired if you need to move side-to-side, increasing the chances of a rolled ankle. To be clear, volleyball shoes won’t protect you 100% from an ankle injury. However, the all-around stability will definitely help decrease the chances of one during simple, common lateral movements during play.
Breathability – Means how well shoes keep your feet cool and dry while your body is working and sweating hard. Strategically placed mesh materials and vents allow for air flow into the shoe as you play. Improvements in the strength of moisture wicking materials enable them to be incorporated into shoes more often now without sacrificing durability. The cooler and drier your feet, the better they will feel and perform!
Lightweight – Volleyball shoe brands do a great job of balancing the need for a shoe to be durable and also lightweight. You don’t want to play in a pair of heavy shoes that drag you down when you jump or sprint. You need a shoe that responds to your every move quickly! That is why volleyball shoes are always made to be as light as possible without sacrificing stability, durability and other features.
Remember to keep in mind: volleyball shoes boast all four qualities as mentioned above, but in varying degrees depending upon the brand and style. Depending upon what characteristics you value more than others will help you find your sole-match or perfect volleyball shoe for you!
If cushioning and stability are more important to you, ASICS and Kaepa are the brands for you because they tend to focus more on cushion and stability. That being said, Mizuno and Adidas strive to make their shoes breathable and lightweight, so if those characteristics appeal to you, go with one of them!
It takes more than a gum rubber bottom to be a volleyball shoe. There are many other features that each specific shoe style has, so be sure to check out the Product Descriptions for a full list. There is no such thing as a “bad” or “wrong” shoe, because there is a shoe offered out there for everyone!
Use this as a guide to finding your sole-mate so you can live happily ever after on the volleyball court!