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Nike used to make volleyball-specific shoes for many years before ending production around 2010.
This was done for several reasons – spreading themselves too thin being one of them – but resulted in dropping their volleyball lines entirely.
Despite this, many volleyball players are die-hard Nike fans, continuing to use their shoes religiously, and the facts show that they may have a point.
So, what are the best Nike shoes for volleyball? The best Nike shoes for volleyball are the Kyrie Flytrap IVs for their wrap-around sole, comfortable fit, and rounded heel for more efficient movement on court. While traditionally a great basketball shoe, many talented collegiate players wear the Kyrie Flytraps.
Despite the lingering controversies surrounding Nike, specifically around their labor and manufacturing practices, the company continues to produce high quality shoes that are quickly grabbed up by fans. If you’re not sure what you’re missing, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll be discussing:
- What is Nike?
- Specifics about our three chosen shoes
- Whether expensive is best . . . is it even worth it?
What Is Unique About Nike Volleyball Shoes?
Nike Volleyball Shoes Are More High/Mid-top
As Nike no longer manufactures volleyball-specific shoes (aside from the React Hyperset – an outlier), the interesting thing about Nike options is that they’re all basketball-oriented. This gives them a broad effectiveness for both sports, but will definitely find a closer home with players who prefer high- or mid-top styles.
Nike Volleyball Shoes Have an Emphasis on Ankle Support and Lateral Movement
Nike brings a unique expertise from their research and experience making basketball shoes that can greatly benefit volleyball players. The emphasis on lateral movement and ankle support gives volleyball players the support needed to make dynamic movements without worrying about injury, and they often include good cushioning to reduce fatigue while playing.
Nike Volleyball Shoes Are Durable and Comfortable
Nike also brings a unique level of expectation to its products: buyers often expect Nike shoes to be durable and comfortable, made of high-quality materials that withstand the rigors of competition. This is one massive positive about buying shoes from them: you can be sure of their quality.
One Downsides To Consider When Buying Nike Volleyball Shoes
Nike Volleyball Shoes Are Heavier than Normal
The extra material used in basketball shoes makes them heavier than volleyball shoes, potentially tiring players out faster than if they used the lightweight volleyball alternatives. As we want to keep things as lightweight – yet supportive – as possible in volleyball, this may raise a red flag for some players.
This additional weight doesn’t have the same effect on basketball players due to the fact that they are not jumping as much as volleyball players within the same period of time, as the pace of the game is played out differently.
3 Best Nike Shoes For Volleyball
The three best Nike shoes are:
- Kyrie Flytrap IV – Best Overall Nike Volleyball Shoe
- React HyperSet – Best “Volleyball Style” Nike Shoe
- KD 14 – Best Nike Volleyball Shoe For Cushioning
Kyrie Flytrap IV – Best Overall Nike Volleyball Shoe
A great option from Nike and a good choice for players looking for a basketball style shoe to play in.New: $110.00
The best overall Nike shoes for volleyball are the Kyrie Flytrap IVs.
The name Kyrie Flytraps have been thrown around as alternative options for shoes for a long time, and having found great success in basketball, they naturally find a niche within volleyball.
The high collar construction of the shoes, which is typical of basketball court shoes, provides a high level of ankle support, ensuring the safety of volleyball players during game time and helping to support rapid lateral movement. As ankle injuries are among some of the most common and serious in volleyball, from landing on other players’ feet, equipment, or catching the landing wrong, this is a valuable feature.
As can be expected of basketball shoes compared to true volleyball options, this adds a little more weight, potentially tiring spikers out faster. If playing with these regularly though, it’s likely that the difference becomes negligible.
The laces seat the player’s foot securely, and the cushioned interior molds to the player’s foot, allowing them to not only move how they please but feel natural at the same time.
The rounded heel increases this feeling by limiting the area of the foot that may contact the ground. This allows smoother approach steps and cleaner transitions, keeping the efficiency of momentum.
Last, and perhaps the best feature of the Flytraps, is the wrap-around sole. This extends high over the front, expanding the area of grip to the part of the foot which needs it most, and implements a unique wave traction pattern to stagger grip against the floor as the player needs it.
Overall, the Kyrie Flytrap IVs are a great option from Nike and a good choice for players looking for a basketball style shoe to play in.
One downside to note is that the Flytraps don’t come in a female-specific version, so if you’re looking for a shoe built for women, then I suggest going for the next option on my list.
- Wrap-around sole
- Curved heel
- Wave traction pattern
- Secure fit
- Good ankle support
- Comfortable interior
- Good cushioning
- Can be expensive
- Somewhat heavy
- Not available in women’s
React HyperSet – Best “Volleyball Style” Nike Shoe
Providing a lightweight, “soft yet springy” cushioning for athletes. Undulating sole edges for extra grip.Check Amazon for Pricing
Features an unusual concentric pattern gum rubber sole, with undulating lines along the exterior edge.
Nike stopped making volleyball-only shoes a long time ago, and while the React HyperSet seems to be a return to form, it appears to be merely an outlier. That said, it’s a great show by the footwear giant, and the HyperSet holds its own in the pantheon of volleyball footwear.
The first feature worth mentioning is the Reach foam cushioning which gives the React line its name.
Providing a lightweight, “soft yet springy” cushioning for athletes, this turns the normal force of landing into the breakaway transitions needed by hitters. With decades of feedback from basketball pros, who require a quick turnaround without breaks, Nike brings that excellent knowledge to volleyball here.
The HyperSet features an adjustable strap over the laces in order to secure your shoes, and the Flywire lacing technology builds upon this to secure your midfoot, giving an integrated feel to the shoes when worn. While it may take some getting used to, this enables you to move better and remain seated within your shoes where you need to, without needing to trust in laces alone.
Lastly, the HyperSet features an unusual concentric pattern gum rubber sole, with undulating lines along the exterior edge.
This works in twofold ways: first, it aids in distributing impact force without the need of Mizuno’s Wave Plate technology, and second gives a staggered grip that excels at high speeds. The undulating edges provide asymmetric traction also, meaning that you should never lose your balance.
The React HyperSet is a great pair of shoes that I would recommend to players at the university level.
- React foam cushioning
- Secure fit
- Strap over laces
- Concentric traction pattern
- Undulating sole edges for extra grip
- Good ankle support
- Lacks somewhat in impact dispersion and durability
KD 14 – Best Nike Volleyball Shoe For Cushioning
It has amazing cushioning, a semi-perpendicular traction pattern, and good lateral stability.New: $180.04
The best Nike shoes for cushioning in volleyball are the KD 14s.
The KD stands for Kevin Durant, and the 14th iteration of his shoes have improved upon the last in numerous ways – most obviously adding a strap over the laces to secure the foot better in place. But other changes have changed the KDs from being an already good shoe into a great one, and a great option to consider for volleyball.
The KD 14s utilize a lateral plate in the midsole which adds some lateral stability – important when moving or transitioning on court – but also provides cushioning to the outside of the shoes. This is often disregarded by other shoe designs as “extra and sometimes not needed’, but its addition elevates the overall cushioning for the shoe significantly. This does, however, increases the weight of the shoe by doing so.
The KD 14s show their focus on cushioning even more with the Zoom Air cushioning, which has been a feature of its line throughout its development, but also combined with “Cushlon” foam material inside the sole to ease the impact force on athletes’ legs and allow them to play for longer.
The tall construction of the shoe allows for its Zoom Air cushioning to be built into a lattice or “double-stacked”, turning the already great technology into one that’s top of the line for what it does. This again adds to the overall weight of the shoe, but balances this out by easing the impact strain on the athlete.
The traction pattern uses a unique semi-perpendicular traction pattern to allow defined movements both forwards and lateral. This comes at the cost of lowered control and fine-tuned traction, which could have been achieved by a more all-around pattern.
Overall, the KD 14s is a great nike volleyball shoe that I would recommend to spikers who jump a lot and find that they land heavily, building fatigue on their legs.
The cushioning provided by the KD 14s can alleviate this considerably and elevate your game, but does sacrifice some benefits that other shoes give. For cushioning though, the KD 14s are one of the best.
- Amazing cushioning
- Semi-perpendicular traction pattern
- Good lateral stability
- Secure fit
- Strap over laces
- Somewhat expensive
- Sacrifices some other benefits in exchange for cushioning
- A little heavy
Nike: The Expensive Option
While the options just mentioned are all great shoes from Nike, the fact remains that there will always be better options, especially if you’re willing to pay enough money.
Nike makes a lot of money off of designing personal lines and coveted shoes for professional players, and these are often their best products thanks to the highly personalized input from those great players. This creates a demand, and finding the right ones can be difficult.
While the Kyrie and KD shoes were listed above and are – admittedly – quite expensive, they pale in comparison to some of the other options that, in my opinion, are the superior shoes from Nike for volleyball, if you can find them.
Whether they’re worth it or not is another question.
Air Zoom GT Cut
The Air Zoom GT Cuts are amazing in two ways: first, for their lightweight molded design that turns moving across the court into flying; and second, for their incredible traction pattern.
This is the Nike shoe that has the greatest traction pattern for courts, and as a result allows the top level players to move faster and create space where they need it – just by outrunning the competition. While this definitely isn’t needed or seen by high school or below, it really comes into consideration at the highest levels of the sport.
Not only its traction, but the fit and cushioning are above and beyond other levels of shoe. While not perfect, it is superior, and that generates its high price point.
While this price on Amazon is much higher than they were originally sold for, if you can find a decent price for these shoes, I recommend investing.
Kobe 5 Proto Embyl
The Kobe 5s (or 6s) are some of the greatest basketball shoes of all time, in some people’s opinion. While I’m not an expert on this myself, I can clearly see the benefits the Kobes bring to volleyball.
Lightweight, with Nike Zoom Cushioning and a heartbeat traction pattern, yes the Kobes look amazing, but they function great too. Drawing inspiration from soccer players’ shoes, they feature a low-rise design like many volleyball shoes, making them lighter and quicker on court while maximizing their other benefits.
Once again, while not the perfect shoe (since I don’t believe in any shoe being “perfect” for everyone), the Kobes are fantastic shoes with great features to succeed within volleyball. One of the hardest ones to find and often sold at a high price point because of this, the question becomes one of effort expended versus benefits gained.
At the end of the day, it’s probably not worth it. There are many other great shoes on the market from other brands, some of which have a better idea of what’s needed in volleyball specifically.
While it’s easy to spend a lot of money on Nike, I urge caution when dealing with prices this high, from products so coveted. At the end of the day, your shoes are there to work for you, to break down and fall apart instead of your feet as you give your all. And when you buy shoes as expensive as these, it can be hard to give your all and allow that to happen.
If you’re looking for my top volleyball shoe pick, regardless of brand, then check out my article Best Volleyball Shoes.
The best Nike shoes for volleyball overall are the Kyrie Flytrap IVs for their wrap-around sole, comfortable fit, and rounded heel for more efficient movement on court. That said, the React HyperSets offer a more traditional option and utilize excellent cushioning and traction patterns to suit other styles of play.
Nike is a great company to purchase volleyball shoes from because of its established reputation for excellent: you can always trust their products to use high quality leathers and other material while developing new ideas from some of the best athletes in the world.
Other Volleyball Shoe Resources
- Why Buy Volleyball Shoes?
- Best Volleyball Shoes – Liberos, Hitters, Setters, Budget
- How Should You Clean Volleyball Shoes?
- Are Running Shoes Good For Volleyball? (No, Here’s Why)
- Can You Wear Basketball Shoes For Volleyball
- Best Volleyball Shoes For Jumping
- What Shoes Do You Wear For Volleyball?
- Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes Outside? We Asked A Coach
- Best Asics Volleyball Shoes
- Best Mizuno Volleyball Shoes
- Do Mizuno, Asics, Nike, or Adidas Make Better Volleyball Shoes?
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.