When it comes to playing your best volleyball, basketball or running shoes are no substitute for a good pair of volleyball shoes. Lightweight with gum rubber soles, these shoes support quick cuts and constant jumping. Here you’ll find my recommendations for the top 5 best men’s and women’s volleyball shoes.
Playing volleyball can be tough on the body. Overhead motions put stress on the shoulders and arms, while the repetitive jumping and sudden motions can put tremendous pressure on the legs, ankles, and feet.
Thanks to today’s advanced footwear technologies, shoes can be designed to focus on the demands of specific activities. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that you buy a shoe specially designed for any sport you participate in more than two times a week. Not only can this boost your performance, but it facilitates comfort and can prevent injuries.
To the untrained eye, all athletic shoes look the same. You may think that basketball, running, and volleyball shoes are interchangeable. How different can an ASICS Upcourt 3 really be from a Nike PG3? It’s true that they do share many similarities- including light weight, cushioning support, and good traction- but when you examine the shoe from the inside you’ll find the difference.
Picking the right shoes could mean the difference between scoring that match point.
So what’s so special about volleyball shoes? Well made athletic footwear consists of three parts. Shoes that are made specifically for volleyball will differ from other athletic shoes in distinct ways:
Volleyball shoes are made with a gum rubber outsole that is designed to provide the best traction for all those quick start-and-stop movements on the wooden or sport court surface. This non-marking rubber also helps to prevent ankle injuries by giving you a more solid footing. This semi-transparent rubber isn’t used on basketball or running shoes because they are often worn on a variety of surfaces.
This part of a volleyball shoe is designed to give better reinforcement to the ball of the foot. While basketball, tennis players and runners move mostly in a forward or backward direction, volleyball also focuses on lateral movement. Strong, flexible midsoles support this motion. Shoes for volleyball are often made with a foam and/or gel cushioning system with the role of absorbing shock during all those hard landings and sudden stops. They will have more padding in the forefoot that absorbs impacts from repetitive jumping.
The Upper Section.
Like basketball shoes, volleyball shoes are designed for traction. But since basketball shoes are often made with thick, leathery materials and pieces of leather or plastic, they can be bulky and restrict movement. Volleyball shoes, on the other hand, are made to be more flexible and durable. Often made of a lightweight mesh or nylon material, the upper part of a volleyball shoe should be breathable to keep the foot cool and reduce moisture. They should also fit snugly to prevent your foot from moving around inside them.
The top 10 best volleyball shoes for men and women listed here have been specifically engineered for the sport. They provide the flexibility and cushioning you need for maximum performance on the court.
5 Top Men’s Volleyball Shoes
When buying shoes for volleyball, men should focus on good cushioning to support their weight and promote stability, and a shoe that will provide the most comfort during gameplay. Volleyball shoes for men will often focus on accommodating a wider foot. And while you may not find as broad a selection as women, men’s volleyball shoes are designed to be more durable since men tend to put more stress on shoes when playing. Here are my five best volleyball shoes for men:
ASICS Men’s Netburner Ballistic Volleyball Shoes
These ASICS trainers are built to last, making them one of the best shoes for volleyballers who play more aggressively.
- Removable moisture control Ortholite Sockliner
- Natural rubber outsole for enhanced traction
- Gel cushioning technology for shock absorption
- FlyteFoam midsole reduces packing
- Synthetic and mesh material
The FlyteFoam midsole of the ASICS Netburner Ballistic allows for more bounce and a lighter feeling when you jump for the ball. This feature combined with good impact mitigation might make it an ideal shoe for side hitters who jump a lot.
Because of the high rise design of the mesh upper shoe, it offers more ankle support than low styles, which is important when making quick turns. It could also help increase your confidence level if you have ankle issues.
With a comfortable true-to-size fit, these ultra light shoes may help with your agility. The Ortholite Sockliner in this shoe is another bonus when it comes to a comfortable fit. Though not made with traditional gum soles, the NC Rubber outsoles are designed for both durability and superior grip on wooden surfaces.
They can be found in various colors and sizes that accommodate wide feet well. If you like the gel comfort of the ASICS Upcourt 3 but want an upgrade, this might be a good shoe to invest in.
- Sizes run standard
- Fit wide feet well
- Extremely light
- Offers good ankle support
- Comfortable fit
- Can cause blisters on toes
- Fit too tightly
- Issues with traction
- Soles may come apart
Adidas Stabil X Volleyball Shoe
If you’re looking for that extra bounce in your step, the Adidas Stabil X might be the shoe you’re looking for.
- Abrasion-resistant synthetic mesh upper
- Low cut design
- Padded ankle support
- Variety of colors and sizes
- Shock-absorbing Adidas Boost sole
The Adidas Boost cushioning sole technology provides valuable impact absorption while also offering you a quick rebound. These imported volleyball shoes can work for players in any position of the game where constant stopping, directional changes, and jumping is taking place. They have a wide sole for more floor contact which equates to better traction.
Designed for handball as well as volleyball, these shoes also feature a sling-cage lacing system. You can adjust the midfoot stability for ultimate comfort while playing. Breathable inner socks that hug your feet also get high ratings in comfort.
Though they are heavier than the average volleyball shoe, they have a sturdy construction that appeals to ballers who play hard. However, if you are looking for an ultra-lightweight shoe, this may not be an ideal choice for you.
- Fits comfortably with no rubbing
- Great traction on any court surface
- Durable construction
- Good stability
- No removable insole
- May run small
- Bulky feel
- Hard to put on
ASICS Men’s Gel-Rocket 8 Volleyball Shoe
Like the popular Nike Volley Zoom, these are purported to be top-level shoes for the modest price tag, great for beginners, or those who only play a few times a week.
- Enhanced traction
- Asics Trusstic System Technology
- Forefoot Gel Cushioning System
- Synthetic and mesh upper
- removable inserts
The cushioning system for shock absorption has been upgraded in this particular model. Designed for the motions that happen during gameplay- like lateral movements, quick stops and starts- this might offer you better stability on the court.
You can find a good pair of ASICS Gel Upcourt 3 shoes for a more modest price, however, the Upcourt 3 does not offer the Trusstic System Technology.
The low-to-the-ground sense of these volleyball shoes may enhance your comfort by giving you a lighter, more natural feel. Like previous models, the Gel-Rocket 8 has non-marking gum rubber soles.
The great traction has been improved in this model. The superior grip surface as the front of the shoe can offer better control for all of those quick turns and dives. The mesh upper part of the shoe allows for good breathability, though it may not prove to be durable enough for those who play hard or often.
- Fits true to size
- Great traction and control
- Good heel and arch support
- Good quality for the price
- Not enough arch support for some
- May not stay tight on the foot
- Mesh toe area may wear out
- Some like previous Gel Rocket models better
Mizuno Men’s Wave Tornado X Volleyball Shoe
If you are looking for a top-brand low-cost shoe like the ASICS Upcourt 3, give the Mizuno Wave Tornado X a look.
- Infinity Wave rubber outsoles
- Dynamotion Fit technology
- Minimizes forefoot instability
- 100% synthetic material
- Non-marking outsoles
These imported shoes for volleyball are a good middle-of-the-road shoe for all types of players (and they are crafted with more volleyball-centered technology than the Upcourt 3).
Attributes of these shoes include the improved Infinity Wave technology that helps to balance your motion by evenly dispersing the energy from impact when you jump or cut quickly. It also provides extra support in the insole to keep your foot more stable inside the shoe.
Another trademark feature of the Mizuno men’s volleyball shoes is the Dynamotion Fit technology, which aims to make the shoes more comfortable.
The synthetic mesh upper moves naturally with your foot, providing a good range of motion along with a secure fit. Some suggest buying a size bigger as these shoes can fit tight. However, after being broken in you can expect a comfortable and supportive wear.
Like all great volleyball shoes, the Wave Tornado X has non-marking rubber soles. They offer good traction for all the stop and go motions on the court, as well as adequate cushioning so that you don’t feel as much impact when jumping and landing.
- Good arch support
- Well constructed
- Good grip and shock absorption
- Well ventilated
- Not enough ankle support
- Fit too tight
- Can cause blisters
Mizuno Men’s Wave Voltage Indoor Court Shoe
As the official footwear brand of the USA Volleyball teams, it’s no surprise that Mizuno knows how to make a great shoe for the sport.
- Mizuno wave plate technology
- DynaMotion Groove for increased flexibility
- Dura Shield toe protection for durability
- textile and synthetic material
Like the Wave Tornado X, these Voltage Wave volleyball shoes feature the trademark Mizuno Wave technology that disperses the energy from impact. Sandwiched between the inner sole and the rubber outer, this wavy-shaped midsole plate helps provide both cushioning and support.
It’s best for the high impact you experience during volleyball with all of those intense lateral movements and repetitive jumps (especially good if you’re a hitter, attacker, or blocker). This decreases stress on your feet while also keeping them stable inside the shoes.
Many find these shoes incredibly supportive for their light weight. The shock-absorbent cushioning of the Voltage Wave can help with all of those rapid reaction motions that are so critical when playing a game of volleyball.
DynaMotion Groove technology on the rubber outsole of the shoe can improve your flexibility and agility on the court. The Wave Voltage also features the patented Mizuno Dura Shield that increases the integrity of the toe. A great feature for men, this also makes for a smoother hitting approach.
- Comfortable lateral movement
- Great traction
- Good stability
- Not durable
- Not for wide feet
- May not fit comfortably
Top 5 Women’s Volleyball Shoes
Women are usually smaller than men, with smaller, narrower feet. Because of different foot shape and length, women’s shoes are not just a scaled-down version of men’s; they are designed to take these differences into account.
You’ll find many popular models of volleyball shoes that are available for both men and women. But since more women play volleyball than men there tends to be a wider selection to choose from. Women should focus on shoes that are lightweight with ample cushioning in the front of the shoe. Here are the five best volleyball shoes for ladies:
Women’s Mizuno Wave Lightning Z3 Volleyball Shoe
The Mizuno Wave Lightning Z3 volleyball shoes may be at the high end of the price spectrum, but you can expect to get what you paid for.
- Parallel Wave plate technology
- non-marking outsole
- Removable molded insole
- Intercool ventilation system reduces heat
- Synthetic material
These shoes boast the classic low-cut style in a variety of colors, a comfortable fit, good grip, and great support for all those quick lateral movements on the court. Suitable for both practice and gameplay, some find these to be the best shoes on the market. The light weight and grippy soles allow for quick mobility. They also sport toe protection at the front which is crucial for intense volleyball play.
These Mizuno volleyball shoes for women feature the Parallel Wave midsole technology that is ideal for neutral foot types. If you don’t need a lot of foot support but you still want a good stabilizing shoe that moves with the natural movement of your foot, these might be the best sneakers for you. As with the men’s Mizuno Wave shoes, the Wave Lightning Z3’s are designed to disperse impact more evenly throughout the midsole for more stability and comfort when you jump and slide.
Some have found that the shoes run one to 1/2 size small, so account for sizing when ordering.
- Well designed
- Very comfortable
- Good grip on the court
- Not for people who need arch support
- Too narrow
- Don’t last long
- Hard across the toes
ASICS Women’s Gel-Netburner Ballistic Volleyball Shoe
An upgrade on the women’s Upcourt 3, this innovative new addition to the line of ASICS Gel shoes were designed with the best volleyball-specific technology.
- NC Rubber outsole
- Shock absorbing ASICS Gel Cushioning System
- Fluid Ride technology for support and durability
- Trusstic System prevents twisting
- Mesh and synthetic leather upper
Like the men’s Gel Rockets, these mid-priced women’s volleyball shoes sport a lot of the same features that make ASICS one of the best shoes for volleyball. Great for both collegiate and club players, many women enjoy a stepped-up game thanks to the enhanced stability and cushioning support. You might also enjoy better traction during cutting movements because of the NC Rubber soles.
Having a shoe that feels like a part of your foot is important for comfort on the court. The upper of this volleyball shoe has a new design that features both mesh and synthetic leather reinforcement that makes for a comfortable fit and responds well to foot movement.
This also allows for a breathable and more durable shoe. Other features that make this an advantageous pair of volleyball shoes are the trademark ASICS gel Trusstic System that keeps the shoe stable, rear and forefoot gel cushioning, and FluidRide technology in the midsole that absorbs impact and rebounds easier.
- Great traction
- Comfortable toe box
- Good foot and ankle support
- Ample arch support
- Very durable
- Different colors fit differently
- May take time to break in
- May make feet hot
- Too narrow for some
Adidas Women’s Crazyflight Bounce 3 Volleyball Shoe
The Crazyflight Bounce 3 is the best basic volleyball shoe at a modest price.
- Grippy gum rubber outsoles
- Lightweight breathable mesh upper
- Stabilizing integrated TPU fibers
- High impact midsole cushioning
While the ASICS Upcourt 3 may be rated the top volleyball shoe on a budget, this one has some extra benefits that make the price difference worth it, including high comfort ratings.
It’s made with a more breathable material than previous models, but still has the same reinforced toe area, flexible rubber outsole for good grip in all directions, and cushioning in the midsole to keep you on the front of your foot, ready for quick jumps and cutting motions.
One thing that’s unique about these Adidas volleyball shoes is the use of TPU fibers integrated into the mesh upper. These stretchy fibers add to the shoe’s stability on your foot while making them more durable and resistant to abrasion. If you like a light weight and sleek look these might be the best pair of volleyball shoes for you. They could also be beneficial if you tend to be rough on your shoes. The grippy material around the upper edge of the shoe is another plus. It provides some resistance when slipping out, which is best for volleyball players with narrow heels that tend to slip out of a shoe when jumping.
- Sufficient foot support
- Fit comfortably
- Good traction
- Stable construction
- Downgrade from previous models
- May run large
- Not many color choices
ASICS Women’s Gel-Rocket 9 Volleyball Shoes
One of ASICS’ most popular volleyball shoes (in fact many professional volleyball players wear this style), the Gel-Rocket 9 offers you optimal shoe performance at a lower-end price range.
- Shock-absorbing EVA midsole
- Fore and rearfoot Gel Cushioning System
- Trusstic System support
- Rubber and gum rubber outsole
Like other ASICS volleyball shoes, it provides gel cushioning technology in both the rear and forefoot for the best shock support at toe-off. It also has molded EVA midsole cushioning. Good for the lateral movement that volleyball requires, these lightweight shoes have a flexible rubber and gum outsole. Most find that the Gel-Rocket 9’s fit true to size, however, some suggest adding an extra orthotic insert for more cushioning comfort.
These shoes are made with the trademark Trusstic System Technology which reinforces the middle part of the sole to facilitate stable movements on the court. This design is made specifically for the sport of volleyball, preventing the shoe from twisting unnecessarily during all those quick motions.
It can also make your shoe more durable so it can last through lots of games. Some find these the best basic shoe to wear for practice or for younger players. The breathable mesh lining may help with moisture management when you sweat.
- Fit true to size
- Very secure on feet
- Good traction
- Upper not very durable
- Not a good fit for some
- May need insole inserts
Mizuno Women’s Wave Voltage Indoor Court Shoe
The Mizuno Wave Voltage is one of the best volleyball shoes for both men and women, which is why I mention it in both categories. This women’s shoe offers all the perks of the men’s model, the only difference is the size and expanded color options.
- Mizuno Wave plate midsole
- DynaMotion groove increases stability
- Dura Shield toe protection
- textile and synthetic construction
It is recommended for setters and liberos in all levels of the game from high school to collegiate. It offers maximum comfort and a nice medium level of support in the ankle and foot. Designed just for volleyball, these Mizunos hold up great on the court.
As in the Wave Bolt model, the Wave plate in the midsole provides support around your arch where you need it most while also keeping your foot stable inside the shoe. This is important for players who are jumping and shifting often. You might also experience better balance on the court with the DynaMotion flex grooves built into the outer sole (also found in the Wave Bolt model).
When every little bit counts, that extra bit of agility can be a game-changer. These imported textile and synthetic shoes have an Intercool upper to reduce humidity during gameplay. They also have the rubber outsole and Dura Shield toe protection to reduce friction, as in the men’s version.
- Removable insole
- Very comfortable
- Great support
- Respond well to starts and stops
- May run small
- Runs narrow
What are the best volleyball shoes for hitters? Setters? Liberos?
While any high-quality shoe designed specifically for volleyball can offer you better performance on the court, many ask if certain shoes are the best for the different positions. Ratings show that yes, in fact, there are. Different shoes have qualities that make them ideal for the movements required for different positions. Cushioning, tread, and ankle support are all factors to consider. There is a lot to choose from, so here are a few of the top choices to get you started:
Best for hitters: ASICS Gel-Netburner Ballistic (men); Nike Zoom Air HyperAce (women)
Best for liberos: ASICS Gel-Rocket 8 (men); Adidas Performance Ligra 4W (women)
Best for setters: ASICS Volley Elite (men); Mizuno Wave Lightning Z3 (women)
What Are The Best Volleyball Shoes For Shin Splints?
Shin splints – also called medial tibial stress syndrome- manifests as pain at the front of the lower leg (the tibia) due to inflammation at the insertion of the muscle on the bone. This overuse type of injury can be caused by increasing or changing training routines, running on hard surfaces, or sports like volleyball where a lot of jumping is involved. Wearing shock-absorbing insoles when playing can help, especially if you have flat feet or high arches.
Wearing the appropriate kind of shoe for the sport is also imperative to prevent and recover from shin splints. When it comes to the best shoes, I recommend anything with ample cushioning to pad jarring landings and provide extra comfort. The ASICS Gel Rocket shoes, for example, provide a nice solid structure and great cushioning. Nike’s Volley Zoom Hyperspike is another good choice. These shoes offer great support for those attackers who are constantly jumping.
When you find a style of shoe you like, stick with it. Changing shoe styles often can exacerbate a shin splint injury. The same goes for keeping shoes too long. Often the cushioning in a shoe is the first thing to wear down, so try to invest in a new pair each season.
Do Volleyball Shoes Really Make A Difference?
If you’re on a budget or are involved in multiple sports you might be tempted to utilize a general across-the-board sneaker. But when it comes to playing great volleyball- and playing it often- you definitely will benefit from a shoe designed specifically for the sport. Not only will they improve your performance, but they’ll also lower your chances of injury.
The movements in volleyball are different than other sports. You make quick side to side movements in addition to forward and backward motions. Also in volleyball, explosive movements during blocking, serving, and spiking are common. Volleyball footwear is designed to absorb impact best, and help you stick to the floor. Plus there’s the weight factor. Having shoes that are only a few ounces lighter can markedly decrease your workload throughout the course of a match.
The constant jumping and landing in volleyball is also hard on shoes. Basketball and running trainers aren’t designed to bear the force of impact that often. Thus, you might notice quicker degradation on the court. You could end up having to spend money on another pair halfway through the season if you don’t opt for a volleyball specific shoe.
Before the advent of modern shoe technology, running shoes were often worn by volleyball players. Today some players will choose basketball shoes because of the similarity in traction and support. But many serious volleyball players choose to wear a shoe that is designed specifically for the sport.
Not only will great volleyball shoes up your game, but they’ll also help to best protect you during this high impact sport. Like knee pads and ankle braces, good volleyball shoes like those listed here can keep you from hurting both your performance and your body. Not only that, but they’ll also provide the highest possible comfort level so you can concentrate on your game and not your feet.
Hopefully, my list of the best choices can start you in the right direction. All of the leading brands- including Mizuno, ASICS, Nike, and Adidas- have great things to offer, making no one brand inherently better than the other. From the Nike Zoom Air HyperAce to the Mizuno Wave Bolt, ultimately the best shoes will depend on your specific body and gameplay.