Listen to the podcast, then read the most up to date shoe review on my personal website: StraightFromDehart.com/shoereview
This episode of The Dig discusses the different brands of volleyball shoes. Before we begin, I want to strongly encourage you to buy a pair of volleyball shoes if you're planning on playing a lot.
Volleyball shoes are designed to combat the specific spots of wear and tear that are common amongst volleyball player's shoes. For instance, most volleyball shoes will have a harder piece in front and on top of the toe. This is because the majority of volleyball players are taught to drag their toe when they serve. Without that extra protection, your shoes become ruined in a hurry.
Volleyball shoes are also designed for lateral (side to side) movement more than running shoes are. Running shoes are designed to go forward, not side to side. Finally, volleyball shoes are built light weight and with cushioning to absorb the shock of repetitive jumping. This is an added benefit because it will keep your knees, hips and back healthier if your shoes are designed for the sport you intend to use them for. I want to show you my absolute favorite pair of shoes... I'm slightly embarrassed about this, but not really. I still wear them from time to time, because they are super comfy after so much use. :)
I wore these running shoes as my primary volleyball shoes for a couple months. That was a mistake. The lateral movement destroyed these $140.00 shoes. Don't make the same mistake I did. Now I buy volleyball shoes if I'm planning on playing volleyball in them. I would encourage you to look online if you don't have a lot of choices locally. Finding a good shoe can make all the difference in your performance.
What are the best volleyball shoes?
I'm glad you asked! I'll give you a rundown of the 4 primary brands which carry volleyball shoes, and briefly discuss each volleyball shoe within that brand. At the bottom of this post, you can see a basic table to compare and contrast the specifics of each shoe.
Mizuno Volleyball Shoe Review
Mizuno volleyball shoes are well constructed and very durable. They are a leader in the industry and relied upon by many volleyball players. The majority of people claim these shoes run a little small, so if you're between two sizes, go with the smaller size.
These are are the top of the line volleyball shoes from Mizuno. Priced as low as $70 on Amazon, these could be the perfect shoe for you. They weight 10.6 ounces and are a bit heavier than most of the other volleyball shoes on the market, but they are well constructed and durable. They are designed for stability and shock absorption. They have three color options to choose from, black, white and black/blue. These shoes are ideal for hard core volleyball players who spend a lot of time in their volleyball shoes.
The Wave Lightening RX3 Volleyball shoe is the newest shoe in the very popular Wave Lightening line from Mizuno. I would rate this shoe as tied for the best volleyball shoes on the market. It is a lightweight option, and only weighing 8.5 ounces, it is designed for speed. One of the best features of this shoe, is that it comes in over 10 colors. You'll be able to find the perfect match to your team colors, or pick a color that suits your individual style. My last two pairs of volleyball shoes have been in the Wave Lightening line and I absolutely love them. These shoes are known to run a little bit small (due to their narrow nature) so if you've never worn Mizunos, read up on the size guide to find your perfect fit.
The Wave Bolt 3 is the introductory line of volleyball shoes from Mizuno. It comes in weighing only 8.8 ounces and has five color combinations. It is designed for speed and agility and is known to hold up well when worn by the average volleyball player. This is the updated version of the Wave Bolt 2 and according to the Mizuno website, it has a better outer grip than the Wave Bolt 2. Many people who have reviewed the Wave Bolt 2 have commented on its super-gripping soles. If you're just getting into the sport of volleyball, the Wave Bolt series would be a good place to start.
At only $55.00 on Amazon, you can't beat the Wave Rally series by Mizuno. They have the zigzag mizuno wave technology which is designed to add cushioning and stability. They are 8.8 ounces and although it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the other Mizuno shoes, it's very durable shoe. The biggest con here is that it only comes in two colors, black and white.
Asics Volleyball Shoes Review
Asics are the other big name in volleyball shoes. They tend to run wider than Mizuno and other shoes, and this makes them a favorite among many.
This is the top of the line volleyball shoe by Asics. It is designed for the most hard core volleyball players who intend to get a lot of use out of their shoe. It is the improved version of the Gel Sensei 4 and has improved breathability and flexibility in its upper. It boasts the the ASICS Impact Guidance System (I.G.S) whose aim is "to encourage the foot to perform in a more natural manner. This is achieved primarily by encouraging the shoe to work with the foot rather than trying to control it." This model of shoe was designed to operate at the absolute highest standard given the biomechanics requirements of volleyball. The major downside of this shoe is that it currently only comes in white/pink. Asics is know for their bright colors with a lot of choices, so they may add more colors to their lineup in the future. $115.00 on Amazon.
This volleyball shoe emphasizes cushioning for the power player who does a lot of jumping. Most volleyball shoes have very little ankle support because most volleyball players wear ankle braces, but this shoe has a slightly higher ankle with a supportive quarter panel brace to securely wrap your foot. You can find this shoe on Amazon in a couple colors for around $95.00.
The Asics Flashpoint 2 is one of the most popular shoes on the market today, and it is tied for the title of best volleyball shoes. It comes in a variety of bold colors at a reasonable price. The flashpoint line is known for having excellent support and giving relief to people who suffer from chronic foot and joint pain. It is very common to see these shoes being used outside the sport of volleyball. At a very reasonable price, you can buy these shoes in 3 different colors, and if you go with the previous Flashpoint model, you get 4 more color options at an even lower price. These are my highest recommended Asics volleyball shoe.
The Gel-Rocket 7 is in a great price range for the recreational volleyball players. It has a lot of cushioning and is reccomended by Tony Horton, from P90X. It comes in 4 colors and review after review talks about how they are always brighter in person. The Gel Rocket 7 has improved traction over the Gel Rocket 6. The Gel Rocket 7 does not specify a weight, but the Gel Rocket 6 came in at 8.6 ounces, so it wouldn't be surprising for this shoe to be a similar weight.
This shoe is designed to have a solid combination of responsive cushioning and medial/lateral stability. It is offered in three colors, standard black and white, and a very bright, electric blue. There are not a lot of reviews out on this shoe, but at 12 ounces, I can report that it is one of the heaviest shoes I'm reviewing this season.
The Gel Dominion line offeres optimal lateral stability. Its gel coushioning system absorbs shock during movement and it is built for the "aggressive player seeking a show with looks to match." Unfortunately, this shoe only comes in 1 color. One of the better features of this shoe is that it contains 2 layers of memory foam in the heel which will allow the shoe to mold into the perfect fit for each individual athlete.
This is the #1 selling team shoe by Asics. It has an upgraded new upper which offers a combination of synthetic leather and air mesh for improved performance and breathability. The new toe guard makes the shoe more durable in the long run. It is a heavier shoe, coming in at 10.5 ounces.
NFinity Volleyball Shoes Review
Nfinity is a new brand to the market of volleyball, but they are in the running for the title of best volleyball shoes. They have landed on the scene with force and intend to stay. They take care to study the female athlete's foot and movement and they look for solutions to the most common problems face by female athletes.
The NFinity brand takes great effort in designing a shoe made specifically for female volleyball players and their specific movements. It offers a couple new technologies including NfiniLock which "keeps the arch locked in position and the foot secure during lateral blocking movements or backcourt shuffling." Forefoot Cross-flex grooves on the sole for optimal flexibility when changing speeds and directions and Active Ankle Heel lining protects the shoe from wear and tear from the use of ankle braces. It is a little heavier, but it is well liked. It only comes in one color and the durability is questionable. Most people are lucky to get a full season of use out of them. 10.1 ounces
Nike Volleyball Shoes Review
Nike is a force in the shoe world, but not so much in the volleyball shoe world. They make a quality product, with good looks, but volleyball is more of an afterthought for them. I will concede that in the last few years, as the sport has expanded, so has their collection and attention to detail. Nike runs narrow.
If you love Nike, you'll likely like their volleyball collection. Like most Nike products, the Zoom Volley Hyperspike are sleek looking shoes. They incorporate Nike's Flywire technology which allow the shoe to be lightweight, but flexible and strong at the same time. Nike runs a bit narrow, even in their volleyball shoes, which make these a difficult combination with your Active Ankle, ankle braces. If you don't wear ankle braces, these might be a good choice for you, because the ankle comes up higher than most volleyball shoes.
Adidas Volleyball Shoes Review
Adidas is the last to the market of big name volleyball shoe companies and there isn't a lot of information about their limited product.
Adidas has decided to offer a volleyball shoe, and as flashy as they are in bright yellow, I wouldn't personally go with this brand. They have the innovative boast midsole which will help with cushioning and stability but no where in the product description do they give me the impression they understand what's important to a volleyball player. I feel like this line is out just to appease volleyball players who like Adidas. If you have personally tried these shoes, I would LOVE for your to leave a comment with your experience.