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Whether or not to wear shoes while playing grass volleyball has been a bit contentious in recent years, but nowadays it’s widely regarded as standard practice to wear shoes on grass courts. While there are no “official” shoes for grass volleyball, other types of shoes have been repurposed to best serve this budding new market.
So, what are the best grass volleyball shoes? The best grass volleyball shoes overall are the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes for their aggressive grip and traction, close-fitting design, and rugged flexibility. The Speedcross are reminiscent of indoor volleyball shoes and will feel very natural to play in for any athlete.
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Not using shoes while playing grass volleyball can lead to slippage and injury, very similar to the problems experienced while wearing poor footwear for indoor volleyball. In both situations, this problem can be averted with proper footwear.
In this article, I will discuss:
- Some factors to consider when choosing grass court shoes
- My favorite options for competing outside
- Thoughts on the barefoot discussion
2 Factors to Consider When Buying Grass Volleyball Shoes
1. No Dedicated Style
Grass volleyball has no dedicated style of shoe to use (yet), which makes the task of choosing one very freeing. Thanks to this, there have been a lot of different approaches and ideas from players, some more appropriate than others.
Originally, players competed barefoot, much like beach volleyball. This made a stand for a while as “the way” to play grass volleyball, and there are still many players who do this and perform admirably. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this style, per say, but the lack of traction makes things difficult.
Others use indoor volleyball shoes that have been cycled out, for their benefits of ankle support and cushioning that make a big difference on the grass also. The main problem in this case – like barefoot – is traction.
By far the most successful style has been the arrival of trail runners on the court – often with rubber cleats (or “lugs”). Metal cleats are too dangerous to play, especially with barefoot players afoot, and the traction offered by trail runners fulfilled the feature that was needed due to the loss of traction.
Personally, I believe that trail running shoes are the best step forward for grass volleyball players, and the best style of shoe to play the sport in so far.
2. What Are The Other Players Wearing?
Sometimes the best way to find new shoes is to just ask others what they’re wearing. Be aware of who is slipping on court, what they’re wearing, and avoid that product or type of shoe.
This method involves going in person to a grass volleyball tournament, true, but it is the quickest way to find shoes beyond the options on this list and to make some new friends!
Volleyball is all about community, so this is a good way to bond with your opponents after a game and strike up a friendly rivalry: there’s a sweet poetic humor about defeating your rival in their own shoes, after all.
And with some of the options I’ve picked out for you below, you’ll look stylish doing it.
3 Best Grass Volleyball Shoes
The three best grass volleyball shoes are:
- Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes
- Boombah Ronin Turf Shoes
- New Balance 410 V6 Trail Running Shoes
Use rubber lugs along the sole to establish precise traction on soft ground, perfect for grass.Check Amazon for Pricing
Great traction, rugged flexibility and lightweight.
The best grass volleyball shoes overall are the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes.
A consistently praised shoe for being awesome, the Speedcross series is a favorite among trail runners and hikers alike for good reason. With the advent of grass volleyball, a sport needing traction on a changeable – sometimes wet – surface, trail running shoes stepped up to fill the need, with Salomon at its head.
The Speedcross shoes use rubber lugs along the sole to establish precise traction on soft ground, perfect for grass. The lugs, being rubber, rightly don’t pose a threat to other players if stepped on, and are therefore allowed at grass volleyball competitions. They are stable yet breathable, and light enough not to hinder players as they continuously jump to spike and block at the net.
The Speedcross 4 shoes fit snugly and form to the foot for best control and grip, but some players may find this restrictive or uncomfortable. The Speedcross 3 has a wider base and may be more comfortable, but is much harder to find with the Speedcross 4 and 5 now available.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Salomon Speedcross series to anyone looking to buy a reliable and high performance shoe to play grass volleyball in, and is the shoe most commonly recommended to me by my own grass player friends.
- Great traction
- Comfortable design
- Rugged flexibility
Give spiking dominance on the grass court.Check Amazon for Pricing
Great stability, good traction, midfoot strap and full-collar for ankle support.
The best grass volleyball shoes for spikers are – hands down – the Boombah Ronin Turf Shoes.
Where the Speedcross provides a rugged all-around excellence, the Boombah Ronin shoes give spiking dominance on the grass court.
These shoes are all about fitting well and amplifying power: it starts with the diamond overlay which strengthens the shoe and supports the foot, and which you can customize from many different designs to be the perfect version for you as a player.
Next, the midfoot strap locks the foot over the inner sole for maximum comfort and control over the shoe, minimizing accidents from slipping. Last, the full wrap collar around the ankle supports it to a level unseen or needed for indoor volleyball, but is fully desirable for the unpredictable grass courts.
With its reinforced toe, providing durability while aiding acceleration, the Ronin shoes fly across the grass while feeling like they’re part of the spiker’s body, gaining traction through the clever arrangement of the sole lugs, shaped against the direction of travel to heighten explosive movements and make them easier.
Not being as rugged as other options on this list, the Ronin shoes are ideal for warmer, dry climates or match days as opposed to adverse weather conditions.
The Boombah Ronins are a fantastic option for grass volleyball shoes, and though I have yet to own a pair myself, I know exactly what I’m getting next (these).
- Great stability
- Good traction
- Midfoot strap
- Full-collar for ankle support
- Reinforced toe
- Not as rugged as competitors
It is well-known for its durability, comfort, and traction.Check Amazon for Pricing
Durable, AT tread traction, comfortable ACTEVA midsole, and affordable.
The most durable grass volleyball shoes are the New balance 410 V6 Trail Running Shoes.
New Balance is respected for its shoes for many reasons, but durability is one of the most praised aspects common to its brand. The weather resistant exterior and quality of materials does that job admirably.
I like these shoes because they feel like the indoor volleyball shoes I’m used to – minus the gum rubber. While the upper part of the shoe is a suede/mesh mix, the bottom and sides of the shoe have thick, durable side guards to protect and prevent against wear and tear happening from explosive outdoor use.
Comfort is another common tenet of New Balance shoes, and the cushioned ACTEVA midsole makes this a comfortable option for anyone, keeping you on your feet longer.
Like the other options on this list, the product chosen from NB is its trail running shoes, but unlike the others – which use unique or exceptional technology to tighten the shoe and mold it to your foot – the 410s just use good, old-fashioned laces. Sometimes, the simplest option is the one we like best.
Traction is one of the big tenets of a good volleyball shoe, and the 410s are no slackers with their AT Tread outsoles to grip the grass. While not providing as much or targeted traction as the Speedcross or Ronin shoes, the traction on these shoes lasted longer and cut deeper despite their unimpressive first impression.
I would recommend these shoes to anyone who wants a reliable shoe for grass volleyball and doesn’t want to spend a fortune getting it. Good for adults and kids alike, they come in all sizes and colors. They also make great hiking shoes.
- AT Tread traction
- Comfortable ACTEVA midsole
- Lower performance element than competitors
- Heavier than competitors
Quick Feet vs Safe Feet
Lots of people like to play grass volleyball barefoot, and until recently I was one of them. There’s this misconception that wearing shoes somehow makes you inferior: it doesn’t.
I remember this problem happened for beach volleyball too when toe shoes (Vibram FiveFingers) became a thing, but it eventually passed when people realized the attitude was silly.
For beach, you can wear what you like, and when the sand is freezing cold sometimes it’s nice to be covered. Look, nobody wants to have their feet stepped on, but unlike beach volleyball, the benefits of wearing shoes for grass volleyball far outweigh the benefits of playing barefoot.
Grass Is Slippery
First of all, grass is slippery (unlike sand).
While it may be warm and sunny, and most grass volleyball tournaments happen in the summer, this isn’t the beach. Grass is a different surface, and if we look at the highest level of play on grass in sport – Wimbledon – they are all wearing shoes.
From both a performance and safety standpoint, it’s beneficial to wear shoes.
Shoes Protect Your Feet – Even On Grass
Second, shoes protect your feet.
You may be playing somewhere you’ve never been before, with hidden dangers that you wouldn’t expect, or unfamiliar terrain that twists your foot the wrong way.
This might take the form of holes, plants, glass, or any other unseen dangers that might lead to injury while playing, most of which can be lessened (or avoided) by wearing shoes.
Take it from someone who broke their ankle just by walking across a grass court: it sucks. Prevention is always better than the cure, so protect yourself however you can.
Related Article: Why Buy Volleyball Shoes
Wearing Shoes For Grass Volleyball Is Respectful
Lastly, it’s just respectful. If the other players on court are wearing shoes, you should be doing the same. It’s not fair to make them play around you, scared of stepping on your bare feet and hurting you, and it’s weird to be the outlier when others are trying to be safe.
At the end of the day, be respectful of where you are and who you’re playing with when deciding whether or not to wear shoes for grass volleyball, and make the right choice.
Other Volleyball Shoe Resources
- What Shoes Do You Wear For Volleyball (Features Explained)
- Can You Wear Basketball Shoes For Volleyball? (Pros and Cons)
- Do Mizuno, ASICS, Adidas or Nike Make Better Volleyball Shoes?
- What are the Differences Between Mens and Womens Volleyball Shoes?
- How You Should Clean and Take Care of Volleyball Shoes
- Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes Outside? We Asked A Coach
- Best Asics Volleyball Shoes
- Best Nike Volleyball Shoes
So, what are the best grass volleyball shoes? The best grass volleyball shoes overall are the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes, for their aggressive grip and traction, their close-fitting design, and their rugged flexibility.
The Speedcross are reminiscent of indoor volleyball shoes and will feel very natural to play in for any athlete that’s transitioning from indoor to grass, and gives the most comfortable feel to playing outside. Everyone likes to be in control, and these are the best shoes on the market to do that.
About The Author
Ailan Samuel is a writer and athlete who has played volleyball at the university, club, and national level since 2012. He has competed successfully in both beach and indoor competitions, resulting in four silver and two gold medals, and was awarded the Half-Blue while playing in Scotland. He received his MA in English and Medieval History from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is currently studying for his MA in Publishing and Creative Writing at Bournemouth University.