In the search for the best volleyball shoes, there are a few points to consider.
The first thing to look at is the sole – volleyball soles should be made of gum rubber, which provides a much stronger traction on the court. Unlike most other sports, a game of volleyball comprises of sudden movements – short, sharp, stops and starts. With the wrong type of sole the player will be sliding all over the court, which at best could lose you the game and at worst cause severe injury.
The next thing to consider is the weight of the shoe – the best types of volleyball shoes are lighter than other types of sports shoes, necessary for the speed with which the player moves around the court, and the dexterity and agility those moves take.
Material is also a consideration when looking for the best volleyball shoes. Unlike running or tennis shoes, volleyball shoes don’t need the heavier material needed to provide all over cushioning and stability. The game dictates that the shoes need to be lightweight.
And last but not least is the midsoles. Most of the action is played using the ball of the foot, and it is here that the best volleyball shoes will provide most of the necessary cushioning and support. Unlike, for instance, tennis shoes which concentrate on support for forward movements, a good quality volleyball shoe will act as a shock absorber and provide support for those rapid side to side movements which are characteristic of the game.
Which brands are the best?
There are many brands out there which make shoes for volleyball, but the main contenders are Asics and Mizuno.
Mizuno come out as the top choice for best women’s volleyball shoes, probably owing to the fact that the company really are committed to the game, rather than it just being another string to their bow, which is the case with many other sports brands. However, it should be noted that their shoes do tend to be narrower than their counterparts. The construction is sturdier – they use more leather, which lends itself more to support than breathability.
Asics, on the other hand, concentrate more on using breathable material, although they do offer substantial support to the wearer. Their sizing is also noted for being wider than Mizuno, so the width of your foot may well be the deciding factor between the two brands.
However, when it comes to men’s shoes, the tables have turned. Asics seem to have grabbed the top spot, owing to the brand’s shock absorbency and comfort. The fact that Asics tend to make their shoes wider is probably also a contributing factor, as men’s feet do tend to be wider than women’s. Mizuno are hot on their heels though, it has to be said, with not that much difference between the two brands.
So, down to specifics.
The Best Women’s Volleyball Shoes
As already mentioned, Mizuno came out on top when it comes to the best women’s volleyball shoes, with several of their models making the list.
The Mizuno Wave Lightning RX2, while not being a top of the range shoe, is an excellent choice. It offers great support and cushioning, and great flexibility, and it is thanks to this flexibility that these shoes require very little breaking in. If color is a consideration for you, the choice is somewhat limited, with only five colorways available.
Upgrade to the Mizuno Wave Lightning RX3 however, and the choice of colors is much wider. That being said, while still an excellent shoe, there is some flexibility lost – users have reported that these shoes, while an excellent choice, are not quite as mouldable as the RX2.
Next up is the excellent Asics Gel Flashpoint 2. With fore and rear gel cushioning, these shoes are also a firm favorite on the volleyball court, due to the comfort that this affords them. They do come in a wider fit than the Mizuno, which alone could be the deciding factor, depending on your shoe fitting. However, a huge draw with these particular shoes is the bright coloring – if you want to get noticed on (or off) the court these might well be the best women’s volleyball shoe for you.
These two favorite brands may well have to keep their eye on the ball though, to compete with the less specialised Nike, who have upped their game when it comes to making a runner for the Best Women’s Volleyball Shoe.
The Nike Zoom Volley Hyperspike is gaining recognition in the field of the best women’s volleyball shoes. Like the Mizuno, they do seem to be on the narrow side at first and require some breaking in, but once that has been accomplished they are a great shoe to wear on the court. They also offer probably the largest choice in colors, too.
The Best Men’s Volleyball Shoes
Again, Mizuno is right up there at the top of the list in user reviews for the best men’s volleyball shoes, but this time Asics is right up there with them.
The Mizuno men’s wave bolt 2 is a very popular shoe, owing to its comfort and minimal breaking in requirements. There is enough room for ankle braces, without the shoe losing its fit. A downside is the lack of color variety, but if aesthetics aren’t that important, this is a great contender for the title of best men’s volleyball shoe.
The Mizuno Men’s Wave Lightning Z BK-SL is definitely one to look out for if you are searching for the best men’s volleyball shoe. A common complaint of volleyball shoes is that they do tend to fit on the narrow side, in particular Mizuno. However, this model seems to have, on the whole, escaped this design ‘flaw’ and its fit is one of its notable plus points.
Asics Men’s GEL-Tactic Volleyball Shoes. In your search for the best men’s volleyball shoes, the Gel-Tactic rates highly in the comfort stakes. With the dedicated fore foot gel cushioning which acts a great shock absorber, combined with the lightweight construction of the shoe, this is a great all-rounder on the court.
However, the Asics men’s GEL-1130V has been top-voted again and again as one of the best men’s volleyball shoes, by those who know the sport best, the players. The shock absorbency is second to none, which in turn reduces impact significantly. As the shoes are also extremely lightweight, they lend themselves to speed on the court. Another huge plus is that little or no breaking in is required.
In conclusion, when it comes to looking for the best volleyball shoes, it is, of course, a matter of personal preference. It makes sense to buy from a company which is dedicated to the game, rather than one which has a volleyball shoe in its diverse range of sports shoes.
Where possible, try them on in store, or at the very least compare the general fit of each brand, as Mizuno, for instance, comes up narrower than Asics, and that general fit and tendency will be carried throughout the line.
Once you have the right brand for you, then you can shop around, and buy online if that is where the best deals are.