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Athletes with flat feet often have pain when using the wrong shoes, especially in a sport like volleyball which involves a lot of jumping and landing. This puts undue strain on your arch and heel and can become quite painful over time. But with proper footwear and a supportive in-sole if needed, this can easily be avoided.
So, what are the best volleyball shoes for flat feet? The best volleyball shoes for flat feet are the Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6 (Men’s / Women’s) for their advanced EVA midsole, specialized Wave technology for stability and cushioning, and D-flex groove that allows the foot and shoe to move as one. These, paired with an insole, are the best combination for flat-footed volleyball players.
Flat footed athletes should look for several things in a shoe, including great arch support that contours to your foot. An over-arched sole will only bring you discomfort while playing, so the contour is very important to allow your shoe and foot to work together. This, combined with an elevated heel, are the two most important things to look for when buying new shoes.
In this article, I’ll be discussing:
- Other elements to help you find the perfect fit
- My take on the top volleyball shoes on the market
- Insoles, prevention, and limiting pain while playing
4 Factors to Consider When Buying Volleyball Shoes For Flat Feet
1. Foot Shape Matters
Odds are that if you’re reading this article, you already know that you have flat feet. But if you haven’t addressed or considered foot shape when it comes to picking out shoes, you’re falling behind.
More and more we see specialized shoes being built and designed for athletes across all sports, filling the needs of different feet and requirements. After all, no two athletes are the same, and even if your shoe size is similar your foot shape is probably more different than you realize.
Volleyball is a battle against gravity, and includes a lot of jumping and landing while playing. These actions can cause pain in flat footed athletes and lead to genuine discomfort on court, something I believe we’d all like to stay away from.
As I stated earlier, great arch support that contours to your foot – as opposed to working against it (or over-arching it) – is the ideal option to support flat feet. A raised heel will also help, by relieving pressure from the back of your feet and limiting damage from plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.
It’s worth noting that this article is intended to show the very best options on the market right now for volleyball players with flat feet. While volleyball shoes can be expensive, those listed here are top-notch products that will benefit you the most from using, and ones that you should always allow priority when choosing.
It’s important to consider the level of competition that you will be competing at. This will help determine the level of investment worth making and help define what you expect to get out of your shoes.
For high school, middle school, or social teams, having the best shoes are not strictly necessary as these are usually less intense sessions meeting much less often than other levels.
For club, university, or professional (including pre-professional/semi-pro) athletes, a better shoe is not only advised, it is almost a requirement.
Being at this level, chances are that you also have a much better idea of what you want to see in a shoe and how it should feel when worn. This is an excellent practice to have, and the descriptions below will be of heightened use to you when browsing.
3. Foot History
Be mindful of your medical foot history. If you’ve ever visited a doctor for foot pain before, keep their advice and recommendations in mind when looking for shoes. This is really important as a person and an athlete, because there’s no point investing in new shoes if you won’t even be able to use them.
Ask yourself: do you need to use insoles?
This is a common solution for athletes with flat feet who are looking for a little bit more support than normal.
Kelaide is a great brand for this and make high quality in-soles with EVA foam layers that help re-align and support your feet. You can check them out HERE.
Perhaps your doctor or podiatrist recommends only wearing EVA sleeve soles. Several of the options below have this feature, and many others exist beyond this list whose features – while good – were not superior to their fellows.
Ultimately, it’s very important to make sure you are the most comfortable possible so that you can perform at your best and not contribute (or initiate) to your declining foot health.
Lastly, you want a shoe to be durable. In practice, this means not buying any knock-off brands that use inferior materials or structural designs, and sticking to the FIVB approved brands (which are used by the professionals).
For flat feet especially, you want a shoe that doesn’t break down quickly, both externally on the gum rubber sole and internally for the cushioning provided and arch support. If it does, it will be a waste of money and time on your part, which we want to avoid at all costs.
Part of this is taking proper care of your shoes by not wearing them outside, which will destroy their specialized material, and by cleaning them regularly to avoid dust buildups and other debris, which will destroy your soles through friction also.
With proper care and mindful use, the six products I’ve gathered for you below should last for a very long time and provide you with the support that’s best for your type of foot.
6 Best Volleyball Shoes For Flat Feet
The six best volleyball shoes for flat feet are:
- Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6 – Best Overall
- Asics Gel-Rocket 9 – Best Budget
- Under Armour HOVR Highlight Ace – Best High Top Option
- Adidas Crazyflight Bounce 3 – Most Flexible Fit
- Dame 7 – Best Wide Option
- Asics Gel-Tactic 2 – Best Traction
Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6 – Best Overall
Have a completely revamped sole and traction pattern, with an extended signature Wave Plate for impact dispersion.New: $135.00
Lightweight and breathable, the Z6s have an engineered mesh that covers the top layer and secures the shoe tightly in place beneath its high-quality laces.
If you’ve read any of my other shoe articles, you’ll know that I believe the Wave Momentum is Mizuno’s superior shoe at the moment. However, when it comes to choosing shoes to support flat feet, it falls short of the Wave Lightnings for its slightly lower heel and a few other small differences.
The Wave Lightnings have one of the coolest names out there and look equally fantastic, but their value doesn’t just come from their looks. A deceptively technical shoe, the Wave Lightning Z6s have a completely revamped sole and traction pattern, with an extended signature Wave Plate for impact dispersion.
Lightweight and breathable, the Z6s have an engineered mesh that covers the top layer and secures the shoe tightly in place beneath its high-quality laces. These features are ideal for all positions, but especially spikers and setters. For liberos, I’d recommend the Wave Voltage instead for its heightened stability and retention of other elements which make this shoe ideal for flat footed athletes.
The major benefits of this shoe are twofold:
Firstly, the EVA midsole arch support, which is simply fantastic; a design that’s completely ahead of its competitors in comfort and support. While it is good enough to use without an insole, using one will heighten this feature even more if you do find it inadequate for your foot shape.
Secondly, for its D-flex groove. This is a diagonal, flexible groove in the shoe that allows it to turn with your foot rather than roll like other shoes, but it is ideal for flat footed athletes in particular because it means that strain isn’t put on your arch no matter which way you turn. This is exciting because for several shoes, even a small change of angle can lead to discomfort, but with the Z6s there’s none.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this shoe to any volleyball player with flat feet. While it is expensive, I believe that the features it comes with more than make up for the price point and will be a great investment in your wellbeing.
- EVA midsole
- Great arch support
- Raised heel
- D-flex groove
- Wave Plate dispersion
- Can be difficult to find at the start of the season
Asics Gel-Rocket 9 – Best Budget
Are known for being comfortable – though a narrow fit – and with a foam-padded collar and tongue these are no exception.Check Amazon for Pricing
They are a great choice that come at a lower price point.
I’m a big fan of the Gel-Rocket 9s and have used several iterations over the years. While they don’t change drastically from year to year, the Gel-Rocket 9s are the best for flat footed athletes for their slightly more elevated heel and combination of other great features.
Asics shoes are known for being comfortable – though a narrow fit – and with a foam-padded collar and tongue these are no exception. Their Gel cushioning system is the signature feature for this line, and offers nice shock-absorption to help reduce jumping fatigue throughout the game.
While these shoes may appear to be almost as expensive as Mizuno at first glance, Asics does a lot of promotions and deals especially leading up to the new season, and you can often find these shoes for cheaper.
Asics’ big benefit to flat footed athletes is its shoe’s TRUSSTIC system built into the shoe, which reduces weight through a lattice structure without compromising the integrity of the shoe. This results in good arch support – paired with EVA midsole for comfort and molding – and a feeling of freedom to move where you like.
While the Gel-Rockets aren’t as flashy as the Wave Lightnings, they are a great choice that come at a lower price point. I would recommend these for any player looking to get the best value out of their purchase without dropping a fortune.
- Molded EVA insole
- Great arch support
- Good traction
- Doesn’t have as many benefits as other options
Learn more about Asics shoes in my article Best Asics Volleyball Shoes.
Under Armour HOVR Highlight Ace – Best High Top Option
Lightweight and breathable, the collar is just stretchy enough for easy access but firm enough to provide excellent support and control for your ankles.New: $87.00
The best high top option for volleyball shoes for flat feet is the Under Armour HOVR Highlight Ace.
This Under Armour shoe is great for flat footed athletes, with its raised heel and HOVR cushioning system, but it is also one of the coolest high top options to pick from.
Lightweight and breathable, the collar is just stretchy enough for easy access but firm enough to provide excellent support and control for your ankles. As ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries in volleyball, and flat feet affects the body’s alignment, increasing the likelihood of developing ankle pain or weakness. These shoes help prevent and rectify that, and are another approach to keep in mind.
The Highlight Ace’s sockliner molds to your foot, ensuring a better fit for your feet and in doing so, supporting your arch. The HOVR cushioning system aids this but is not an arch support-specific feature. I would recommend using an insole for maximum support.
I would recommend this shoe to any player who is concerned with ankle support in addition to arch support. While either can be added to – with insoles or an ankle brace – the high top nature of these shoes give them the best of both worlds and is a good way to address both at once.
- HOVR cushioning
- High top collar
- Great ankle support
- Molded sockliner
- Doesn’t come in men’s sizes
Adidas Crazyflight Bounce 3 – Most Flexible Fit
Have a raised interior arch and elevated heel, both of which are good for flat footed athletes.New: $99.99
The most flexible fit for volleyball shoes for flat feet is the Adidas Crazyflight Bounce 3.
The Adidas Crazyflight 3s are relatively simple shoes compared to others in this category. Adidas is known for making good quality shoes, but lags behind its competitors when it comes to the volleyball shoe market. That said, they are a solid option that designs shoes slightly slimmer than Nike or Asics and fittingly have their own foot shape that they best fit.
The Crazyflight 3s have a raised interior arch and elevated heel, both of which are good for flat footed athletes. However, being a non-EVA liner, they may be less comfortable than other shoes you may be used to.
The adjustable lacing system makes up for some of this deficit, however. While most shoes have a single row of eyelets either side through which to lace your shoes, the Crazyflights have a double row each side to help secure your foot in the best way possible.
I would recommend these shoes to anyone looking for a simple option without too many bells and whistles, who has a narrow, flat foot.
- Adjustable lacing system
- Elevated heel
- Unique traction pattern
- Simple design
- Doesn’t have as many benefits as other options
- Somewhat overpriced
Dame 7 – Best Wide Option
The Dame 7s are a good, general “mixed” option for different styles of player, great for defense and offence, with an elevated heel that gives some support.New: $59.99
The best wide option for volleyball shoes for flat feet is the Dame 7.
Basketball shoes often have a wider construction than volleyball shoes, so for wide feet they are often a better option. The Dame 7s are a good, general “mixed” option for different styles of player, great for defense and offence, with an elevated heel that gives some support.
While the interior Lightstrike cushioning is sufficient to mold to your arch, I would definitely recommend pairing these with arched insoles. While the sizes for the Dames are in men’s sizes, they can also be used for women’s volleyball by sizing them down either 1 or 1.5 sizes to get an accurate fit. If done properly, they should benefit both players equally.
I would recommend these shoes to any player with flat feet who struggles to find shoes that are wide enough for them. The basketball style of shoe combined with the extra room means that you will be comfortable, and the addition of your choice of insole will take your arch support to the next level.
- Lightstrike cushioning
- Wide fit
- Basketball style
Asics Gel-Tactic 2 – Best Traction
Fantastic for getting a grip on court, and has been used for sports besides volleyball like pickleball, squash and badminton.Check Amazon for Pricing
Designed as an all around shoe for hitters, this shoe has the distinction of also performing very well on the ground.
This shoe is fantastic for getting a grip on court, and has been used for sports besides volleyball like pickleball, squash and badminton.
While the Gel system is often the most talked about feature of Asics shoes, and not without reason, the TRUSSTIC system is often overlooked in its important and contribution to the success of these shoes. This secures the foot and increases forefoot stability, preventing rolled ankles. Additionally, it forms part of a raised arch support that is ideal for flat footed athletes.
Almost as lightweight as the Asics Gel-Rocket, which is designed as an all around shoe for hitters, this shoe has the distinction of also performing very well on the ground where it can use its traction to the best of its ability. Therefore, I’d recommend this shoe specifically for setters, who don’t spend as much time in the air.
- Superior traction
- TRUSSTIC support
- Versatile across other sports
- Good stability
- Somewhat heavy
Try Before You Buy: How to Choose the Best
I may be a little old fashioned when it comes to choosing shoes, but if you truly want the best idea of what works for you and how it fits, try the shoes on in person.
Amazon has an amazing feature called Prime: Try Before You Buy where they will ship you up to six items on loan for seven days and only charge you for what you keep. This allows you to order several sizes at once, or several different products if you want, and box the ones you’d rather avoid, just like in a traditional fitting room or shoe store.
With free shipping back to Amazon (and other participating companies), there’s no reason to avoid using this feature if it’s available to you. I would highly recommend trying it out and making sure you get exactly the right size and product for you, every time.
We live in a digital world now; one changing every day. If you can’t go to the store, then bring the store to you!
So, what are the best volleyball shoes for flat feet? The best volleyball shoes for flat feet are the Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6 for their advanced EVA midsole, their specialized Wave technology for stability and cushioning, and their D-flex groove that allows the foot and shoe to move as one.
I truly recommend investing in a pair of arch supporting insoles also though, either for regular wear or for support on days where your feet ache. There’s no shame in it, just as I believe it’s just common sense to own an ankle brace, and these things together will help you put the best foot forward on court.
Other Volleyball Shoe Resources
- Best Nike Volleyball Shoes
- 8 Best Volleyball Shoes
- Best Volleyball Shoes For Wide Feet
- Best Grass Volleyball Shoes
- Volleyball Shoes Under $50 (Top Picks Reviewed)
- What Shoes Do You Wear For Volleyball?
- Can You Wear Basketball Shoes For Volleyball?
- How To Fix Slippery Volleyball Shoes (8 Tips)
- Why Buy Volleyball Shoes?
- What are the Differences Between Mens and Womens Volleyball Shoes?
- Do Mizuno, ASICS, Adidas or Nike Make Better Volleyball Shoes?
- Can You Wear Volleyball Shoes Outside? We Asked A Coach
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.