Volleyball Shoe Buying Guide
One of the most important parts of a volleyball shoe is the heel area. Players do a lot of jumping during the game. The heel of your foot absorbs up to 8 times the body weight of the player so it is vital that you have plenty of cushioning in that area. Below we have provided the answers to many questions that you may be curious about when it comes to choosing your shoes.
How are Volleyball Shoes Different from Other Athletic Shoes?
Sole – Even though there are similarities between a volleyball shoe and a basketball shoe, the differences are extremely important. One of the most notable differences is the sole of the shoe which is made of gum rubber. The purpose of the sole is to provide as much traction as possible and will prevent the shoes from sliding on the gym floors during play or practice.
One benefit to this increased traction is a reduction in the amount of ankle injuries that are a possibility. Another benefit is that the rubber soles protect the gym floors and don’t mark them up.
Midsole – The midsole of a volleyball shoe is designed to protect that area of the foot that takes the brunt of the action and that is the ball of the foot. Players spend the majority of their playing time on the balls of their feet so they can move fast in any direction.
With other athletic shoes, like cross trainers and basketball shoes, they are designed to move forward in a fast, efficient way. Volleyball shoes are created to provide stability and speed moving forward, backward and also laterally.
Lateral movements put a lot of strain and stress on the balls of the feet which means the midsole of the foot absorbs the shock.
The midsole of the shoe need to be flexible but extremely strong to handle this shock and support the foot appropriately. Normally the midsole will have foam in the less expensive shoes. In the higher quality volleyball shoes you will find the midsole have gel or air cushions. It will vary from company to company.
Upper – Last but certainly not least is the upper of the shoe. A good quality volleyball shoe usually has a mesh upper which provides the player with plenty of air circulation during play. The uppers need to be lightweight as well so they don’t weigh the player down. Mesh uppers will keep the foot cooler while reducing the amount of moisture in the shoe that can occur while engaging in the games or practices.
Wearing Volleyball Shoes for Other Things
The soles of a volleyball shoe are made from gum rubber which is a lot softer than other types of shoes. If you wear the volleyball shoes for other things and wear them on asphalt, concrete and other hard, abrasive surfaces, the soles will wear out very fast. To keep your volleyball shoes performing in peak condition and lasting a long time, only wear them during practices and games on the court. Take them off and put others on before heading outdoors or walking to other places.
Durability and Longevity
Normally, volleyball shoes will last one complete season if you wear them only on the court, 4-5 days a week for games and/or practices. If you don’t play that much or practice that often they can last longer.
One of the ways you can tell that your shoes need replacing is to look at the sides of the shoe by the ankles. It will become weaker and will not remain tightly against the foot while you’re playing. You will see that the traction of the sole will lessen as well.
Proper Fitting of Your Volleyball Shoe
You want the shoe you choose to move with your foot easily but you do not want your foot to move inside the shoe. Make sure the shoe fits snugly but does not pinch or rub unnaturally. Also make certain that there is no more than a finger width of space between the end of your toes and the tip of the shoe.
What to Look for When Shopping
There are several things you want to look for in the volleyball shoes you purchase. We’ve outlined some guidelines for you to go by to ensure that you are only purchasing the shoes that will work the best for your needs.
Basic All Purpose Volleyball Shoes – There are certain features that you can look for in any volleyball shoe you choose. These are mainstay points that every volleyball shoe should possess.
- Traction and grip – Courts can get slippery, so traction is one of the most important features a volleyball shoe has.
- Plenty of cushioning for protection – Jumping on a hard surface for hours can take a toll on your body; ensuring that that shoes are supportive enough and provide enough cushioning for the ball of your foot.
- Stability to move fast in all directions – Lateral movement is very important in volleyball. Make sure the shoes you’re interested in have plenty of stability and strength to allow these fast movements.
Defence Shoes – It is important to keep your footing when you are playing defence in volleyball. You don’t want your feet slipping when you are trying to move quickly laterally or front to back. There are several factors that you want to look for when purchasing defence shoes.
- Good shock absorption – This will take the shock out of jumping and will cushion the landings as well.
- Low profile – This will help provide a lot of comfort to the player and will increase their speed as well.
- Traction – Traction is a big deal in this position. You want to make sure that the shoes you’re wearing can start-stop quickly, and move laterally. This stability will help improve your overall performance.
Attack Mode – The offensive positions in volleyball involve being able to move fast and jump high. For these reasons you will need to look for volleyball shoes with the following attributes.
- Lightweight – This is very important for being able to get off the ground as high as possible. When you don’t have heavy shoes weighing you down, you will feel much lighter on your feet.
- Cushioning – This is very important for protecting the ball of the foot from the jumping shock that it will incur.
- Precise Fit – Make sure the shoes fit properly which will allow for fast movement around the court. If your foot is being pinched or rubbed you will definitely have trouble performing well when it comes to playing during the game. Uncomfortable shoes will distract you.
Frequent replacement critical to injury prevention
Volleyball shoes take quite a beating. If you wear the volleyball shoes 5 to 6 times each week including practices and games, you can expect to have the shoes for about a month. If they play 2-3 times a week, then replacing them every 3 or 4 months will work well.
Wearing the shoes longer than you should and not replacing them can increase the likelihood of leg, ankle and foot injuries. . If you are not careful, the stress on the joints and bones will cause an injury to occur that is caused from exhaustion.
Playing any kind of sport usually involves specific gear and shoes make up a large part of that gear. In volleyball, the right shoes are extremely important to enhance performance and prevent injuries. There are several different styles of shoes on the market to choose from and several brands as well.
The key to choosing the right volleyball shoe is to know what you’re looking for and to know what your specific needs are. This buyer’s guide will provide you with all the right information that will steer you in the right direction towards the shoes that will be perfect for all of your volleyball playing activities.
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