A player’s choice of volleyball shoes is the most important decision they can make regarding their equipment. However, some people think that any shoe style will suffice to play, which isn’t true.
Volleyball shoe styles feature design elements that give you greater control over your movements on the court, minimizing slips and missteps. Their construction also reduces the impact suffered by your joints as you play.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of volleyball shoes, here’s what you should look for in your next pair.
Color is purely an aesthetic choice when it comes to volleyball shoe styles. Customizing your look is a nice feeling, but it won’t impact your game.
That being the case, the color of your shoes can coordinate a team or just your own look if playing solo. If you want to strengthen the look of a uniform, shoe color shouldn’t be overlooked.
You’ll find volleyball shoes in a wide range of colors. The most common include:
Designers often accent their shoes with colors such as:
If you dedicate time to searching, you can find volleyball shoe styles in virtually any color combination.
The midsole is a cushioning layer between the inner sole (where the bottom of your foot makes contact with the shoe) and the outsole (the shoe’s base). According to AAPSM, the midsole is the most vital part of the shoe to maintain your stability.
The midsole cushions the ball of the foot while increasing arch support to relieve pain in flat feet. That same design makes running, jumping, and landing more comfortable, too, with or without flat feet.
Regardless of how comfortable the midsole is, keep in mind that the outsole of a volleyball shoe is designed specifically for courts and will wear down faster if used on other surfaces. If you play outdoors on sand or concrete, you’ll be better off playing in standard sneakers.
A wide variety of materials can make up midsoles, but gel deserves special attention. Gel boasts high shock absorption, which is ideal for those concerned about volleyball’s impact on their joints.
Podiatry Today explains that softer midsoles help prevent shin splints, while thicker midsoles provide greater shock absorption. Gel midsoles come in varying degrees of thickness, so it’s important to try multiple pairs to find what you want.
If your shoe rises up and laces just over the top of your ankles, it’s considered high-top. Most athletic shoes are high-tops, though some are manufactured purely for fashion.
Though sometimes thought of as a purely aesthetic choice, the height of high-top shoes plays an important role: they help keep the ankle stable and significantly reduce the chance of suffering shin splints. As a result, wearers are less likely to roll their ankles when stepping from side to side.
Players in positions with lots of lateral movement on a volleyball team can benefit most from this style. However, athletic high-tops are often heavier than other shoes, so they may take some time to get used if you make the switch.
High-tops lace around the ankle. Inversely, low-tops lace below it.
Low-top volleyball-style shoes boast the broadest range of motion among all styles. In addition, the ankle is significantly less restrained, allowing the wearer to make quick, sudden movements in any direction without hindrances.
With such a wide range of motion, low-tops are best suited for those in the libero position, since they could substitute for any other position.
Low-top athletic shoes shouldn’t be confused with slip-ons, which lack laces. A shoe without laces won’t secure your foot like a laced shoe and should be avoided for sports.
When playing games on a court, athletes favor wide shoes. The larger surface area of their soles has more incredible grip and stability for players on the move. The greater surface area also boasts higher shock absorption. When paired with gel insoles, wide shoes can significantly reduce the court’s impact on your body.
If you’re interested in wide shoes for volleyball, keep in mind that you should be looking at the sole more than anything else. A wide shoe should still have a comfortably snug interior when playing sports.
Sizing wide volleyball shoes isn’t difficult, but you shouldn’t go by the size number alone.
To ensure a proper fit, wear your uniform socks while trying on volleyball shoes. Then, when you think you’ve got a good fit, practice some of the moves you use when you play to confirm they aren’t too tight or loose.
Choosing suitable volleyball shoe styles for you and your teammates comes down to balancing comfort with function. When shopping around, look closely at the shoe components to determine if they meet the needs of the position you play.