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In this article, we cover the best volleyball shoes for men and women.
Volleyball is a sport that demands a lot from shoes and is the reason why any old pair you have lying around isn’t going to cut it. The difference between a good and bad pair of volleyball shoes comes down to a lot more than you think.
We reviewed dozens of volleyball shoes until just the best options remained. We looked at comfort, durability, grip, fit, stability, style, and value from shoes by ASICS, Mizuno, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour for men and women. We also evaluated shoes best suited for different positions like liberos and hitters.
8 Top-Rated Volleyball Shoes
- Best Overall: ASICS GEL-Rocket 9, “Excellent cushioning, lightweight, great stability and durability.”
- Runner-Up: Mizuno Wave Lightning Z3, “Technology called Parallel Wave is engineered to disperse shock throughout the sole instead of being focused in just one area, which makes a real difference in keeping any shock felt to a minimum.”
- Best Budget Pick: ASICS Gel Upcourt 3, “A great volleyball shoe if you’re on a budget, and perhaps want to see if volleyball is the right sport for you.”
- Most Stylish: adidas Originals Crazyflight Bounce 2, “If how you look on the court is just as important as your performance, the Bounce 2 is the right choice”
- Most Durable: Mizuno Wave Bolt 6, “Designed for durability and maximum air circulation to give your feet as much room to breathe and stay cool as possible.”
- Best for Liberos: Nike Volley Zoom Hyperspike, “Smartly designed with a low-cut ankle to allow for a full range of movement, making it a great shoe for liberos.”
- Best for Hitters: Mizuno Wave Tornado X, “A great shoe for hitters thanks to its excellent shock absorption and cushioning.”
- Best High Top Volleyball Shoe: Under Armour Women’s Highlight Ace 2.0, “There aren’t many high top volleyball shoes out there, but the Ace 2.0 is certainly the best.”
8 Top-Rated Volleyball Shoes
Excellent cushioning, lightweight, great stability and durability makes the Gel Rocket 9 our top pickCheck Amazon for Pricing
The GEL-Rocket 9 from Asics features a mesh upper for enhanced breathability to keep your feet cool while you play. It is more lightweight than many of the company’s other shoes, which goes a long way in reducing foot fatigue as much as possible. The upper also features a padded tongue and heel collar for better comfort on the court.
The midsole features Asics’ Trusstic System which is another reason why this volleyball shoe is so lightweight, as it consists of a molded component in its design instead of any separation. Cushioning is impressive, particularly at the forefoot area of the shoe.
Grip is also very good with this shoe thanks to its specially designed NC Rubber Outsole that consists of far more natural rubber than is found on many other shoes designed for volleyball.
ASICS GEL-Rocket 9 Key Features
- Excellent cushioning system
- Great stability
Mizuno's best and most popular volleyball shoeCheck Amazon for Pricing
One of the real strengths of the Mizuno Wave Lightning Z3, and the reason why it is popular with volleyball players is down to its cushioning system. A technology called Parallel Wave is engineered to disperse shock throughout the sole instead of being focused in just one area, which makes a real difference in keeping any shock felt to a minimum.
Another technological feature that goes a long way is the Dynamotion Fit. This is designed to allow for very quick movements in all directions and is achieved in two ways:
One is that the grooves on the non-marking outsole are designed in such a way to increase both agility and flexibility while maintaining a high level of stability, particularly in the forefoot area.
The other is how minimal stress is applied on your feet due to the excellent fit that is provided via a midsole that naturally conforms to your feet.
It is also worth noting that this volleyball shoe is very light, which plays a large role in limiting foot fatigue as much as possible – something volleyball players will certainly benefit from.
If you have flat feet, then the Mizuno Wave Lightning comes in a Z6 version, which has great arch support. If you want to learn more, then check out my article on the Best Volleyball Shoes For Flat Feet.
Mizuno Wave Lightning Z3 Key Features
- Excellent cushioning system
A great shoe for players on a tight budgetCheck Amazon for Pricing
The Asics Gel Upcourt 3 is a great volleyball shoe if you’re on a budget, and perhaps want to see if volleyball is the right sport for you without having to spend lots of money on a pair of shoes. For this reason, the shoes suffer slightly from durability issues, so they are unlikely to last as long as the other shoes on this list.
It’s good to see an inexpensive volleyball shoe coming with an upper that is made from mesh due to the air circulation your feet are provided with. The heel collar and tongue are also padded for additional comfort, which is always a plus.
The midsole features a Rearfoot Gel Cushioning system that works effectively to limit the amount of shock felt on your feet, particularly in the all-important heel area for volleyball players.
The outsole is made from a gum rubber material, which is something that all top-rated volleyball shoes should be made of due to the traction it provides. The fact that the traction patterns are varied also goes some way in further enhancing your grip.
ASICS Gel Upcourt 3 Key Features
- Great value
- Good traction
Learn more about Asics shoes in my article Best Asics Volleyball Shoes.
If how you look on the court is just as important as your performance, the Bounce 2 is the right choiceCheck Amazon for Pricing
It’s not much use if a volleyball shoe is all style but no substance. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the Crazyflight Bounce 2. It manages to make you stand out and look great on the court while ticking all the right boxes.
The biggest strength of the shoe is the level of control it provides. The lightweight mesh upper and bounce cushioning system combine to give a lightweight feel that allows for agile movements and good shock absorption as your feet land back on the ground. It’s a popular shoe for players who need to control the net.
One thing to keep in mind is that the sizing runs a little big. So best to order half a size to a size up.
adidas Originals Crazyflight Bounce 2 Key Features
- High level of control
View Price & Reviews: WOMENS
Tired of your shoes wearing out too fast? The Wave Bolt 6 is the most durable shoe out thereNew: $79.99
The Mizuno Wave Bolt 6 is similar to the Wave Lightning Z3 in many aspects. The shoes feature the same excellent Parallel Wave cushioning system that works to disperse shock throughout the whole shoe. However, the sole is a bit stiffer, which affects comfort slightly.
Dynamotion Fit is also present that allows explosive movements more easily thanks to the uniquely designed grooves in the sole of the shoe and the midsole’s natural arch design.
One big difference, however, is to do with the material the upper is made from. The upper is made from both synthetic and mesh materials. Therefore, if you’re looking for a shoe for volleyball that is designed for durability and maximum air circulation to give your feet as much room to breathe and stay cool as possible, then the Wave Bolt 6 is a good choice.
If you like the Mizuno line of volleyball shoes, I wrote an entire article on the Best Mizuno Volleyball Shoes, where I cover some of my top models.
Mizuno Wave Bolt 6 Key Features:
Designed with liberos in mind thanks to its lightweight, breathable construction that allows for a great range of movementCheck Amazon for Pricing
The Nike Volley Zoom Hyperspike is smartly designed with a low-cut ankle to allow for a full range of movement, making it a great shoe for liberos.
Additionally, its lightweight design and breathable Flywire construction, which locks the foot down and aids in eliminating any unnecessary movement, also plays their part in making it one of the better shoes for players who need to be agile and get down low.
Keep in mind that this volleyball shoe takes a little longer to break in than others. Probably not a big deal for many, but these require actual playing and practice time to break in rather than just wearing them around the house.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot cushioning
View Price & Reviews: WOMENS
Learn more about Asics shoes in my article Best Nike Volleyball Shoes.
A great shoe for hitters thanks to its excellent shock absorption and cushioningCheck Amazon for Pricing
The Mizuno Wave Tornado X is a volleyball shoe best for hitters and blockers and the aggressiveness required from these positions. This means that you’re getting a shoe that is designed with great cushioning and shock absorption in mind – yet one that also manages to be light.
The shoes feature the same Dynamotion technology found on Mizuno’s other models to provide better stability and relieve the stress put on your feet from repeated movements and landing.
There aren't many high top volleyball shoesout there, but the Ace 2.0 is certainly the bestCheck Amazon for Pricing
The Under Armour Women’s Highlight Ace 2.0 is the best high-top volleyball shoe for women. Not only do they look great but they provide everything you need when playing.
They are lightweight so you can move around the court quickly. The mesh design, especially in the forefoot and the mesh tongue, enhances breathability to stop your feet from getting sweaty.
Support and cushioning are great thanks to the extended ankle collar that also makes the shoes easy to slip on and off. The midsole is designed to absorb impact as well as possible.
View Price & Reviews: WOMENS
Why Buy Volleyball Shoes?
You may be wondering why you should even buy specific shoes for volleyball instead of just using your regular pair of sneakers. The reason is that the shoes are specifically designed for what the sport of volleyball requires of you.
If you’re playing volleyball then your shoes need to have plenty of grip and cushioning, allow for quick movements, and be designed to handle the intensity that the sport puts your feet and shoes under.
It can be tempting to wear your volleyball shoes everywhere, particularly as they look quite stylish. However, you should remember to wear the shoes only for volleyball purposes. If you don’t then you will find that they wear out more quickly, particularly the all-important sole area that provides traction.
- To learn more about my top reasons for buying volleyball shoes, check out my article: Why Buy Volleyball Shoes.
Important Factors to Consider When Buying Volleyball Shoes
Before you go out and buy the first decent-looking pair of volleyball shoes you see, you should consider the following aspects. Every good volleyball shoe should tick many if not all of these boxes if you want to be able to play to the best of your ability.
Even though there have been some huge strides in the past decade in improving the durability of shoes, it is still common to have to replace shoes used for volleyball every season.
This is taking into account wearing them 4 or 5 days a week for practice and match purposes. Of course, if your schedule isn’t quite as intensive as this the shoes can last longer.
It’s usually pretty easy to tell if you should purchase a new pair of shoes. Apart from not getting the same performance from them, particularly in terms of cushioning, grip, and stability, the wear and tear of the shoes themselves become obvious.
All top volleyball shoes should have gum rubber soles for traction purposes. There’s no doubt that you need plenty of grip out there when you’re playing, as it can get quite slippery.
Shoes with gum rubber soles ensure that you won’t be sliding and slipping all over the place. This helps to avoid injury and also ensures that your shoes won’t mark the court.
Comfort and Cushioning
All-round comfort is of course very important of any shoe, particularly one that is worn when engaging in such intense activity.
It is perhaps cushioning, however, that can be considered to be the most important aspect – particularly cushioning in the heel area.
Volleyball requires players to be constantly jumping on every point, so you want to ensure that your feet land as softly as possible on the hard wooden surface every single time. Not only to avoid fatigue, but also injury.
It’s common for volleyball shoes to feature mesh uppers. This is to ensure that your feet are given plenty of room to breathe, so they don’t get all hot and sweaty when you are playing.
Volleyball requires lots of quick movements in all directions. Therefore, it’s a good idea to look for a shoe that gives your feet plenty of stability so you are able to take off as quickly as possible towards the ball. If you plan on playing volleyball on grass, then I recommend you check out my other article on the Best Grass Volleyball Shoes since you’ll need additional features for this type of playing surface to increase stability.
Considering that volleyball requires lots of running and jumping around it is important to look for a volleyball shoe that is designed to be as lightweight as possible. This will ensure that your feet don’t fatigue as easily. Volleyball shoes are significantly lighter than running shoes.
The right volleyball shoe for you should fit right. It should be a snug fit without being overly tight. This allows for a wide range of movement.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Checking Out Volleyball Shoes, I Keep On Seeing the Terms Upper, Midsole, and Sole. What Do They Mean?
When shopping online for shoes it’s becoming quite common to see them described under three headings – upper, midsole, and sole.
Under these headings, you should look for the following features to be sure that they are right for volleyball.
The upper usually features mesh material which is necessary to ensure that your feet are given plenty of air circulation. Lightweight is another word that is commonly used, which is important because you don’t want your feet to fatigue easily.
Under the midsole section of a volleyball shoe, you will typically see a mention of the Gel Cushioning System used. Some shoes are designed to have more of an emphasis on cushioning on either the forefoot or rearfoot area, whereas others have equal cushioning all over.
For volleyball, it’s arguably more important to have better cushioning at the rear due to all the jumping you will be doing.
The flexibility of the shoe is another commonly stated aspect. It’s important to wear shoes that feature a good amount of flexibility in the midsole. This is because you need to be able to quickly take off at all times in all directions due to the nature of volleyball.
The sole section should state what material the sole is made of and just how good the traction is. Volleyball shoes should be made of gum rubber due to the superior grip it offers compared to other materials.
You will also typically see whether the sole has a non-marking design or not, which is of course important when playing on indoor wooden courts.
Why Are Some Volleyball Shoes More Expensive Than Others?
Technology plays a large part in the different prices of shoes. Generally, the more expensive the volleyball shoe the better its technology and design will be. The comfort and cushioning will be greater, the shoe will be more durable and last longer, and the grip will be better.
There is also the brand to consider. While the shoes from top brands like Mizuno, Asics, and Nike are all similarly priced, shoes from lesser-known brands will likely be cheaper.
Related: Best Volleyball Shoes Under $50
Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Other Sports?
Volleyball shoes share a few common characteristics with the shoes designed for other sports, so in theory, they can be used. Basketball comes closest.
Not only given the surface it is played on, but, like volleyball, basketball requires quick movements, puts your feet under pressure, and good grip, and cushioning is a must. The same can apply to sports like badminton, netball, and squash too.
Tennis can be described similarly with the exception that it is generally played outdoors on a harder surface, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to wear your volleyball shoes for playing tennis.
So while you can wear your volleyball shoes for other sports, you’ll be shortening their lifespan every time you do.
How Can I Break in My New Shoes Quickly?
The best way to break in your new shoes is to start playing asap, and they’ll be broken-in in no time. While this isn’t always possible, your next best bet is to wear them around the house, in the gym, and generally while doing anything indoors.
What Is the Best Way of Cleaning Volleyball Shoes?
One of the best ways to keep your shoes clean is to not let any dirt and dust set in the first place. So if you keep a damp towel near your bench you can give them a quick wipe down between sets and time-outs.
We also hope you’re only wearing your shoes indoors! This alone will not only minimize any dirt but also ensure they will last as long as possible.
What Is the Top Brand of Volleyball Shoes?
Generally, there are only 4 brands you should consider: ASICS, Mizuno, Adidas, and Nike. These offer the best comfort, support, cushioning, grip, and generally everything else you need in a volleyball shoe.
This is the reason why all the recommendations on this page are from those brands. For further protection, it’s a good idea to purchase one of the best volleyball ankle braces we covered.
What Are The Best Volleyball Shoes For Setters?
The GEL Rocket 9 by Asics is the best volleyball shoe for setters. Both affordable and a great high-performance shoe, they offer the most well-rounded support and capabilities for a multi-purpose player such as the setter, who might be setting, passing, diving, and hitting all within the space of a couple minutes.
What Are The Best Volleyball Shoes For Hitters?
The Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6 is the volleyball shoe best for hitters and blockers because of the aggressiveness required from these positions. The shoe is designed with great cushioning and shock absorption in mind while remaining light. Try the Mizuno Wave Tornado X for a slightly sturdier option.
What Are The Best Volleyball Shoes For Liberos?
The Mizuno Wave Momentum 2 is the best volleyball shoe for liberos. With great ankle support and traction, it is a great choice for the dynamic, panther-like movements of a defensive specialist. This shoe also comes with a high-top (“Mid”) variant for extra support, but this results in a little more weight to the shoe.
We also ranked the Mizuno Wave Momentum #1 as the Best Volleyball Shoes For Jumping.
Which Volleyball Shoe Has The Best Grip?
My pick for the grippiest volleyball shoe has to be the GEL-Rocket 9 by Asics. The positioning of the gum rubber (the material on the bottom of the shoe), the balance of the design, and the way it grips the floor feel superior among the other choices of its time.
How Should Volleyball Shoes Fit?
Volleyball shoes should fit snugly with the heel of the foot anchored to the back of the foot and the balls of the feet secure but not painfully tight. Make sure there’s little-to-no space between your toes and the front of your foot for maximum performance, without hurting your toes (this can cause injury).
Can You Wear High Tops For Volleyball?
You can wear high tops for volleyball provided that they are either court shoes or volleyball shoes. High tops are great in volleyball because of their superior ankle support. You can find many examples, but several shoes include the Under Armour Highlight Ace 2.0 and the Mizuno Lightning Z6 MID.
Are Kyrie Flytrap 4 Shoes Good For Volleyball?
As a court shoe, the Flytrap 4s are fine to use for volleyball, but they have their downsides. They offer less cushioning for jumping, are heavier, and lack the “volleyball eyelet” that anchors your laces for a tighter fit. At the same time, they provide excellent ankle support, decent grip and traction, and can be a flashy fashion statement to spice up the court.
Are Air Jordans Good For Volleyball?
Air Jordans are suitable for volleyball, but face similar problems as the Kyrie Flytraps. My personal breakdown is that Jordans provide a great fit and awesome cushioning, but the traction leaves a lot to be desired and they are heavier than typical volleyball shoes.
Other Volleyball Shoes We Reviewed
We looked at several other volleyball shoes. Even though they didn’t make the cut for our 8 best volleyball shoes list, they still might be worth checking out, especially if you’re brand-loyal.
The ASICS Gel Tactic features something that is often overlooked but can make a real difference for players.
What we’re talking about here is a toe guard that can provide protection for your toes when you are diving to the floor, and jumping and running around all over the court.
Besides the toe guard, the upper also features a padded tongue and heel collar for better comfort, a lightweight design, and Air Mesh for better breathability.
The midsole features the same Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System that is found on many of the other company’s shoes that effectively works to disperse shock.
The outsole is made from NC rubber that again is found on many ASICS shoes and features more natural rubber than many others for better traction. The Trusttic System on the sole is also designed to reduce the weight of the sole to reduce foot fatigue.
- Toe guard
One of the best aspects of this shoe and main differences compared to some other shoes on the market is its Gel Cushioning System.
In this case, cushioning is found in both the Rearfoot and Forefoot to not only disperse shock but also allow for movement in multiple planes – key for volleyball players.
The upper is made out of synthetic leather and mesh material for the better breathability and comfort it provides. There is a padded tongue and heel collar, and the upper is also designed to be as lightweight as possible while also maintaining a high level of durability and flexibility.
The Gel Dominion is also a very durable shoe, which is largely down to the SpEVA material that is cleverly designed to decrease midsole breakdown.
The outsole is also a little different from others. This is down to its drainage port that provides a place for moisture to escape, so breathability is enhanced. Traction is what you would from an ASICS volleyball shoe too – excellent.
Nike makes a point of the strengths of this volleyball shoe when it comes to playing hard. The Hyperace 2 is encouraged to be used by players who need everything from great durability to support and cushioning in a shoe.
The cushioning is based around Nike’s famous Zoom Air design, while support and stability is enhanced thanks to the heel cage.
While this shoe doesn’t disappoint in several aspects, its comfort does let it down slightly. However, it is still one of the best women’s volleyball shoes.
Great for volleyball defenders who need a shoe that allows for quick movements but also explosiveness in the back row, the Hurricane 3 features all the tech found on the other company’s models. This includes Dynamotion, Parallel Wave, and a mesh design for better breathability.
Beware that these shoes run slightly small, so you will likely need to go a full size up.
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