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Choosing the Right Volleyball Shoe 
What makes a volleyball shoe different from a basketball shoe or cross trainer?

Volleyball shoes may look very similar to basketball shoes or cross trainers, but under the surface, they are very different shoes.  Volleyball shoes consist of a gum rubber sole material.  The rubber is designed to give excellent traction on the gym floor and prevent the shoe from sliding on the floor.   This traction helps ensure a solid footing and helps decrease the likelihood of ankle injuries.  This gum rubber is also non-marking to help protect the gym floors.

The next section of the shoe, the midsole is designed to support the ball of the foot.  A volleyball player spends most of their time on the balls of their feet.  This stance allows for quick movements forward as well as side to side.  Basketball shoes and cross trainers are designed for running forward.  A volleyball shoe provides stability for the lateral movements.

These motions put stress on the balls of the feet and the midsole absorbs most of the shock.  Due to these stresses, the midsole needs to be extremely strong while remaining flexible.  Generally, this is achieved by some form of foam.  In higher end shoes, this foam is enhanced by gel or air cushions.  This depends on the manufacturer and line of shoes.

The upper section of the shoe usually is made of nylon or a mesh material.  These uppers are designed to be lightweight and allow air in so the foot can breathe to reduce moisture and keep the foot cooler.

Can I wear my volleyball shoes for other things?

The gum rubber sole of a volleyball shoe is fairly soft.  Wearing your volleyball shoes on abrasive surfaces, like concrete or asphalt, wears the sole out extremely quickly.  Whenever possible, volleyball shoes should be removed before walking on abrasive surfaces.

How long will a volleyball shoe last?

Under normal conditions (court use only) where a volleyball shoe is worn for practice or a game 4-5 days a week, the shoe should be expected to last one full season.  For more casual use, they generally last a year or more.  The most common signs of the shoe wearing out are that the sides by the ankle become weaker and do not remain tight against the foot throughout play.  The sole also begins to lose its traction as the shoe ages.

How should the shoe fit?

A volleyball shoe needs to be able to move with your foot, but your foot should not be able to move inside of the shoe.  The volleyball shoe should fit snugly (but not tight) and there should be a finger width or less between your toes and the tip of the shoe.

How does a multicourt shoe compare to a volleyball shoe?

A multicourt shoe is more of a hybrid between a basketball shoe and a volleyball shoe.  These shoes are designed to be a multi-purpose shoe for sports like badminton, squash, handball, or racketball.  These sports require the high lateral support, but are not as affected by impacts from jumping.  We do not recommend multicourt shoes for competitive volleyball, but they may be more comfortable for recreational play.  Additionally, many of our customers who play badminton, squash, handball, or racketball actually prefer to wear a volleyball shoe due to the increase in lateral support.

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Volleyball Corner: Serving the Volleyball Community Since 1986

Volleyball Corner
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