Best Volleyball Shoes for Women
Volleyball is one of the most underappreciated team sports there is. It’s a great hobby to take up because you can play it by yourself or with a team, on a court or at the beach. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to get in shape or your path towards Olympic glory, volleyball is a good game to pick up. But before you hit the court it’s important to find the right shoes. This is especially important for women since shoe designers try and push impractical shoes on women from an early age. To unleash your full athletic potential, you need a shoe that fits your feet and your athletic aspirations.
This guide was written to help women of all ages and skill levels to find the best pair of volleyball shoes for their needs. Leading brands in the field like ASICS, Mizuno, adidas, and Nike have produced so many shoes that it can be difficult to find the time to sift through all the material out there. We’ve done the work for you, doing the research, putting the shoes to the test, and condensing the information to this handy guide. We’ll start by showing you what to look for in a volleyball shoe, then review 8 top models, and close with our recommendations. If you’re ready to find the women’s shoes that will unlock your volleyball potential, then read on.
Women’s Volleyball Shoes Buyer’s Guide
A shoe isn’t just worthless if it doesn’t fit well, it can be actively harmful. Too many athletes have damaged their feet by wearing shoes that weren’t designed for their feet. Don’t let this happen to you, pay attention to us when we talk about fit and do your own research.
It’s important to remember that we can point you in the right direction, but when all is said and done you hold the keys to your own satisfaction. In the case of shoe fit this means taking the time to get to know your own feet. Look at the shoes you wear now, think about how they fit your body, and take note of the size. If you are wearing a 7 and you’ve always felt they were a tad small you should try and bump your next pair up to a 7.5. For extra confidence, you can go into even more depth. Find a tape measure and measure your feet, then compare your measurements with sizing guides available for the different brands. There are subtle differences between the ways different companies tend to make their shoes.
In this guide, we’ll try and give you all the help we can. We’ll talk about how the shoe fits the average women’s volleyball player and point out the ways different shoes diverge from the average. But only you know your own unique needs. This goes for every factor we look into. The sooner you address your needs and desires the more you’ll get out of this guide.
Determining the right level of traction for an athletic shoe is a balancing act. If a shoe has too little traction, then athletes will go slipping around and risk injury. If traction gets too high, then athletes might find themselves sticking to the ground. This balancing act is one of the reasons that volleyball shoes exist, women who play volleyball have different traction needs than women who play basketball or lift weights.
We score shoes on how they manage to strike the perfect balance for volleyball. One of the worst things you can experience as a volleyball player is the kind of constant slipping that comes from a pair of shoes with terrible traction. This can lead to lost games, humiliation, and injury. We’re here to help you avoid all of that. When your shoes have just the right traction, you can forget about your shoes and focus on the game at hand.
Volleyball can be a very vertical sport. People picture basketball players constantly jumping, but high-level volleyball players spend more time in the air than just about any other athletes. As such, it’s important that volleyball shoes have good cushioning. A shoes cushioning impacts the upward motion of jumping and the impact on your legs when you come back down from a big jump. This means that volleyball shoes have two chances to improve your game or put you at risk. We’re looking for shoes that will help you leap higher and fall more safely.
Cushioning technology has developed by leaps and bounds since the first athletic shoes were invented. This is one of the main areas where different brands differentiate their designs. There’s foam that’s designed primarily to dampen the impact when the shoe hits the ground and air pockets that put extra power in a player’s jump. With such a variety, we’ll mention which sort of cushioning is available so you can choose the shoes that fit your priorities. Consider whether you’re more interested in an extra bit of kick or safety in your volleyball shoes. Modern shoes try to combine protection and power but one is usually favored.
You can buy shoes sight unseen but where’s the fun in that? Every athlete knows that athletic shoes aren’t just soulless pieces of equipment, they’re a unique expression of style. When you’re on a volleyball team, you’ll be wearing the same shoes as everyone else on the team. In this scenario, your shoes are an important way to express your personality.
Scoring on style can be difficult because of how subjective it is. Every woman might have a different idea of what a volleyball player should look like. To help account for this one of the main things we consider is the variety of color schemes that are available for each shoe. The more schemes there are, the more likely it is that you’ll find one that fits your unique needs.
We couldn’t completely escape subjective judgment. To give a score is as comprehensive as possible we compared each shoe style to the popular trends within the volleyball community. This means that our score reflects how the average volleyball player will view the shoe. Keep this in mind if you have a particularly idiosyncratic style. To help accommodate everyone, we’ll talk about the design choices each shoe reflects so you can get a taste of whether or not it will appeal to you. In the end, you’ll have to see the shoes and decide for yourself.
Feeling comfortable on the court is one of the most important things a volleyball shoe can offer, and that’s exactly what the Gel Upcourt shoes provide. The ASICS design approach means that the shoes have a fairly wide toe box and narrow heel. The shoe isn’t for everyone, but if this sounds good to you then they’re worth a try.
These shoes are also well padded. The gel padding works on the volleyball court or the treadmill. These shoes don’t add much punch to your jumps, but they definitely help dampen falls. The one downside is that the shoes aren’t as durable as they might be. The shoes start out with plenty of cushioning, but after months of steady use, you’re going to see a decline in cushioning. They can still be a great buy at their price point, but it’s something to consider.
These shoes shine when it comes to traction. It hits a nice balance that’s perfect for use on indoor courts. Traction also stands out because while this shoe’s other materials have a tendency to wear down over time, the traction holds quite nicely even after intense usage.
These shoes have a nice style. The basic scheme is a very classic look for athletic shoes, and I think the average women’s volleyball player will love the black and white or white and red looks. The shoes come in 6 looks overall. Three of the schemes are relatively basic while the other three get wild. The Pink Glow/Indigo Blue/Aqua Splash, Mint/White/Fiery Coral, and Diva Pink/Methyl Blue/Lime schemes will be loved by some and hated by others. In the end, these shoes have styles for a wide range of tastes.
Whether this shoe works for you ultimately depends on your feet. Sometimes these shoes fit perfectly while at other times they run small. Generally speaking, if you find that shoes often feel too small for you, then you might want to look otherwise. Shoes from Mizuno tend to be a bit more narrow and tinier than the size suggests and these shoes are no different. Shopping a size up for these shoes isn’t out of the question. Something to keep in mind.
Padding is another area of mixed pros and cons. Overall the padding fits basic needs out of the box. You can get what you need right out of the box. The issue is that the heels have a bit less padding than the toes, which may rub some the wrong way. The other issue is wear and tear; the padding tends to head downhill after extended use. Here the lack of heel padding can be a serious issue.
Traction is a high point for these shoes. They have just the right sort of grip. As soon as you head out on the court, you appreciate the way they cut down on skidding. With these shoes, you can trust your feet to hold firm when you’re still and leap into action when you have to move. The only negative relates to the shoe’s broader wear and tear issues. The shoes maintain traction better than they maintain cushioning, but there are still issues after months of use.
Stylistically these shoes are a bit of a mixed bag. The good thing is that the shoe comes in a nice variety of colors. There are 11 themes in total, and they range from basic to a little flashy. None are too crazy. The downside is that the design isn’t the most attractive. Even the basic designs feel a bit busier than they should. Part of this is the fact that the toe and heel are always different colors. Some will love this while others might be turned off, take a look and decide for yourself.
ASICS has achieved a nice fit with these shoes. They are nicely contoured, comfortable, and given the light design, you can easily forget about them. It should be noted that as with many women’s volleyball shoes they are a bit smaller than you might expect. Going up a size is a common choice, but if you’ve had a pair of ASICS before they’re about what you’d expect. When they fit right, they’re incredibly comfortable.
The cushioning is the shoe’s one main misstep. There is a decent amount of cushioning, but it isn’t enough for serious players. Still, it does stand up nicely over extended use. If you don’t have a problem with the cushioning in the beginning, you’ll be able to use it confidently for months to come. In the end, whether or not this shoe works depends on how much cushioning you demand, shop accordingly.
This shoe gets some really nice traction. This is mostly thanks to the NC rubber outsole that gets some extra stick without going overboard. These shoes were designed specifically to help keep players from skidding across floors. When you put these babies on you, know that you’ll be in control when you’re on the court.
The look of these shoes is classic ASICS. It has the sort of look you expect from an athletic shoe, which will appeal to the average player. The ten different designs run the gamut from the basic black and white to bright pink and blue. Still, the schemes are a bit more toned down overall than some of the more outlandish color schemes popular with today’s shoes. Whether this is a pro or con depends on your tastes.
These shoes are a pleasant surprise when it comes to fit. As you might have noticed women’s shoes, tend to be a little smaller than advertised. Not so with the Zoom Hyperspikes. These shoes fit standard sizing quite nicely, so if you’re going to buy a shoe sight unseen, these are a good choice. The one downside is that the Hyperspikes might have gone a bit too far in the opposite direction, the shoes can be a bit bigger than the size suggests. However, the average player will find these very true to their sizing.
Cushioning is this shoe’s Achilles heel. The cushioning is very basic, and it may fall short of your needs. Things aren’t helped by the fact that the inside of the shoes are made of a material that is a little harder than we would have liked. They make jumps feel a little rougher and detract from the experience in an unfortunate way.
This shoe’s grip is everything you could want. It holds the court quite nicely and allows for the control you would want. The only real downside in this department is the fact that it is so right down the middle. It does its job, but it doesn’t go above and beyond the average expectation. Still, not worth holding against the shoe. In the end, it has the traction a volleyball player needs.
The Zoom Hyperspike shoes offer Nike’s iconic approach to style, which has attracted millions but isn’t for everyone. They’ve perfected the basic side of design. The shapes are clear and clean. The basic schemes are very classical and easy to love. But if you want something fancy you might look elsewhere. The flashiest color scheme you can get the Zoom Hyperspike in is black, white, gray and red. Overall the shoe has the sort of traction, fit, and style that outweighs issues with the cushioning. These shoes are a great bet for anyone looking for a well-rounded shoe.
Fit is the area where these shoes truly shine. With these well fit shoes on your feet, you can really feel comfortable on the court. When you get the right size, these shoes will make you forget you’re wearing anything on your feet at all. They may run a tad small and narrow but as we’ve previously noted this is pretty standard. It’s also the only thing keeping these from a perfect score in the fit department.
The GEL-Volleycross shoes have the goods in the traction department. ASICS shows they understand volleyball courts with these shoes. You’re going to get a solid grip on the court with these on your feet. Whether you’re playing volleyball, doing CrossFit, or even lifting weights, these shoes have the traction needed to avoid unwanted sliding. The only point of concern is a potential issue with wear to the sole, which can cause a loss of traction. This is a minor point, but worth noting.
This is yet another pair of shoes where cushioning presents a mixed picture. For most players, these shoes will be just fine. The shoes have some nice bounce, which makes them appealing to players who want to reach a little higher on the court. Still, there are potential issues that need to be addressed. The shoe has arch support issues that can lead to issues with certain players. Not every player will experience this issue, but it’s problematic enough that it has to be noted.
If you like a basic looking shoe, then these work nicely. The problem is the selection. There are only three color schemes, black, white and black, and an explosion of neon colors. It’s a very divisive approach that doesn’t leave much room for people in the middle. Still, it covers the most popular looks.
The only thing that keeps the fit from being perfect is the fact that the shoe runs a bit large and wide. On the one hand, this can be a problem for people used to the fact that women’s shoes tend to be smaller and narrower on average. On the other hand, these shoes can be a blessing to women who have had trouble with the average shoe. This fact and the general level of comfort place these shoes among the best in the fit department
These shoes prove adidas understands traction. It’s hard to stick to the usual list of pros and cons when this shoe has such solid traction that I can’t think of a bad thing to say. With these on you don’t slip and slide and the shoes are so well assembled that you don’t have to worry about the soles coming off.
While support and cushioning have been problems with other shoes, this pair sticks the landing. These shoes are designed for comfort during all circumstances. The cushioning is arranged for movement in all directions, while many shoes are overly focused on up and down movement. If you want a shoe with great cushioning this is one that you should keep a close eye on.
In the style department, these shoes offer a limited range of choices. We hope you like black and white because those are the options. There is also some bright yellow mixed in that might be familiar to adidas owners but could turn off first-time buyers. It really does hurt the more minimalistic look that they’ve clearly gone for in design. Overall, it’s still a very good looking shoe. The only issue is that it really is only one look.
For comfort on the court and on the street, this is a good selection. The Wave Bolt 3 has the standard Mizuno fit. The shoes are a bit on the smaller size, but the situation isn’t as extreme with these shoes. If you’ve got larger feet these Mizuno’s are your best shot. The other downside is the potential for wear and tear. There have been some issues reported with damage and tearing is likely to negatively impact fit. All in all the fit is nice, but it isn’t perfect.
No complaints in the traction department. It provides you with exactly what you’d want in a volleyball shoe. The only real knock is that there’s nothing particularly special about the rubber sole. It does its job but doesn’t offer anything above and beyond the call of duty. Still, it’s hard to hold that against it when it performs so well.
If you want stability and protection, then Mizuno has you covered. The name of these shoes comes from the Parallel wave design that is made to properly disperse shock as you move up and down the court. The insoles can be taken out if you want to switch them out or fit in an ankle brace, which is nice. It all adds up to a comfortable and tech-savvy shoe.
The Wave Bolt 3 is a clear example of Mizuno’s unique design approach. Some will think that it’s jagged and energetic designs are attractive while others will find them a bit busy. These shoes come in 5 color schemes, but there isn’t that much obvious variety, there’s mostly variations on black and white with some added red or blue. Still, overall the style isn’t too out there or basic. Here we come back to personal choice, only with these shoes there aren’t many options to choose from.
Our final shoe is far from our least. From fit onward these are impressive shoes. Right out of the box we found them to be exceptional. With these on you’ll feel comfortable. It helps that they have a breathable outer layer for good traction, so your feet feel better on more than one level. Just be warned that they can be a bit small, keep that in mind if you are planning on making a purchase.
It’s worth noting that in addition to the normal level of traction these shoes have some excellent roll protection. This allows you to safely go side to side without falling or otherwise injuring your feet. Just one extra way that these shoes protect you on the court.
The GEL-Rocket 6 offers the protection women’s volleyball players demand. ASICS is so proud of their cushioning system that they included it in the name. The GEL system adds an extra layer of shock absorption that keeps your feet in top condition while playing in these shoes. If cushioning is a concern then these shoes have you covered.
Style is the area that makes these shoes a bit polarizing. There are two real options, completely white and black with neon colors. If you love neon pink, then these shoes are for you. It helps that the neon colors are accents against a black base. This keeps the shoes from becoming too overpowering. The look of these shoes isn’t for, everyone but ASICS has definitely covered the two ends of the spectrum, which will satisfy many.
Conclusion & Recommendations
After looking at all of these shoes, it’s clear that there’s something for everyone on this list. But to produce a more solid recommendation we scored all eight pairs and came up with the top models. In the end, the ASICS Women’s GEL-Rocket 6 came out on top. Second place went to the adidas Performance Women’s Volley Team 3 while third was snagged by Nike’s Women’s Volley Zoom Hyperspike. All of the shoes on our list have unique strengths and weaknesses, but overall these three stand above the rest. If you only want to consider three pairs we’d suggest looking at these.
As you’ve probably noticed the two biggest names in women’s volleyball shoes are ASICS and Mizuno. Both of these companies make very high-quality shoes but there is one way to determine which brand might be right for you. Mizuno shoes are on average more narrow than comparable ASICS designs. If you constantly wish you have more room for your toes then ASICS is the way to go, while women with narrower feet will find Mizunos fit them like a glove. These are specific examples, but they go to a point, you should look beyond simple numbers to determine whether a shoe will fit you or not. Look into the company behind the shoe and see if they tend to make shoes that run small or large.
We can make a suggestion to point you in the right suggestion but you have to follow through. If one of these shoes stands out to you then check it out. It’s worth taking some extra time to make sure you’re getting the right shoes. With the perfect pair who knows, you might be competing for a gold in women’s volleyball at the next Summer Olympics.