8 Best Volleyball Shoes For Hitters (Outsides, Middles, Opposites) In 2022

Having played volleyball for 15 years and represented my country in international tournaments around the world, I know exactly what makes a solid volleyball shoe.

I’m also a hitter, having started out as a middle blocker, moved to opposite, and finally transitioned into an outside hitter – so I know exactly what’s required from each of these positions.

My Top Picks:

Asics Sky Elite FF Mid Women's Volleyball Shoes

BEST OVERALL

ASICS

I’ve just spent the last couple days doing nothing but researching volleyball shoes in order to put this review together…

I probably went through 20-30 of the latest kicks on the market to see which would meet my grading standards for volleyball hitters.

I’ve also had first hand experience with many of the shoes I’ll be reviewing today so I can tell you with great detail why they’ve made my list.

Note that the shoe requirements for different volleyball positions varies massively.

A middle blocker should wear a very different shoe to a libero.

For that reason, I’ve included a number of basketball shoes in this list, as they often have superior shock absorption and ankle support for play around the net.

To see how the shoe requirements of each position differs, and exactly how I chose the shoes on this list, I’ve included a short guide at the end of this article.

Let’s dive right in!

Best Overall

Asics Sky Elite FF Volleyball Shoes

Asics Sky Elite FF Volleyball Shoes

This is quite simply the best volleyball shoe on the current market, period. It’s appropriate for all positions, but is particularly good for players in the front row doing a lot of jumping!

Best Volleyball Shoe For Hitters – Overall Winner

Not only is this my highest rated volleyball shoe for hitters, but it won my best overall shoe for 2022.

If you want the full run down of this shoe, click on the above link where I explain more about why it’s so excellent.

For hitters, this shoe shines bright for so many reasons…

It has excellent ankle support with a snug, locked down feel inside.

Asics really nailed the lateral support and containment, which makes it perfect for anyone doing a lot of jumping around the net.

It has some of the best shock absorption/impact protection we’ve ever seen, meaning it’ll save your joints which is extremely important if you’re jumping a lot.

They’ve got a nice bit of bounce as well as incredible traction on even slightly dusty courts!

The Asics Sky Elite FF comes in men’s and women’s, low tops and mid tops. Several color options are available.

This shoe is excellent for wide feet.

Recommended Use

Great option for all hitters, regardless of position. I recommend the mid tops for slightly better ankle support.

The Good

Extremely good cushioning setup offers maximal bounce as well as impact protection.

God tier traction and responsiveness.

The Bad

On the more expensive side.

Runner Up

Mizuno Wave Momentum Volleyball Shoes

Mizuno Wave Momentum Volleyball Shoes

This shoe is ideal for any hitter who prefers a really lightweight shoe but doesn’t want to compromise on cushioning and impact protection.

Best Volleyball Shoe For Hitters – Runner Up

I should mention that the Mizuno Wave Momentum 2s are out and they’re also a great volleyball shoe which I recommend.

The Momentum 2s will have a lot more bounce, but the shock absorption is a lot worse.

I prefer the original Wave Momentums because they have superior impact protection. The Momentum 2s can definitely be tough on your joints!

So far as hitters are concerned, the best thing about these shoes is how incredibly lightweight and responsive they are.

They weight in at around 11oz which is significantly lighter than most of the shoes on my list today!

These mid tops have excellent ankle support, great traction, and are super responsive.

They come in slightly different men’s and women’s designs and are excellent for wide feet.

Recommended Use

Ideal shoes for hitters playing any position placing a premium on shock absorption and impact protection (i.e. anyone who suffers from knee pain is a great fit).

The Good

One of the best volleyball midsoles as far as impact protection goes. Better than the Momentum 2s! Ideal shoes for dodgy joints!

Great heel lockdown offers excellent ankle support.

Great option for wide feet.

The Bad

Although the impact protection is superior, these shoes aren’t quite as bouncy/springy as the Wave Momentum 2s.

Best For Outsides

Mizuno Wave Momentum 2

Mizuno Wave Momentum 2 Volleyball Shoes

If you’re an outside hitter who likes extremely lightweight and responsive kicks which feel amazing to jump in, but also want something that feels great to pass and dig in, the Momentum 2s are an ideal candidate.

Best Volleyball Shoe For Outside Hitters

I like to think of the outside hitter position as somewhere between libero and opposite. The outside hitter is, by definition, a passer hitter.

An outside hitter’s shoe needs to have a relatively thin sole to promote agility and responsiveness when passing and defending, but also needs to be bouncy enough to jump well.

The major difference between the original Momentums (see above) and the Momentum 2s is the Enerzy midsole.

This improved midsole increases bounce and responsiveness a lot, which is particularly useful for the highly dynamic position of outside hitter.

Yes the shock absorption isn’t quite as good as the original model, but the Momentum 2s are generally accepted as the superior shoe.

Traction is incredible and considerably better than the original Momentums.

This is also one of the lightest and most comfortable volleyball shoes on the market, an absolute joy to wear.

Great for wide feet!

Recommended Use

This volleyball shoe is ideal for outside hitters as it’s super lightweight and ultra responsive/springy, allowing for fluid transition from passing and digging to spiking.

The Good

Way more responsive than the original Momentums, absolutely insane bounce!

Superior grip/traction to original Momentums.

One of the lightest volleyball shoes out there.

The Bad

Cushioning/shock absorption isn’t as good as the original Wave Momentums.

Definitely on the more expensive side.

Also Good For Outsides

Nike Hyperset Volleyball Shoes

Nike React Hyperset Volleyball Shoes

Nike‘s flagship volleyball shoe has become incredibly popular lately… Almost too popular as they’re becoming increasingly difficult to get your hands on a pair!

Another Great Volleyball Shoe For Outside Hitters…

You’ll often see this shoe being worn by professional outside hitters all over the world.

Liberos also love them because they’re quite low to the ground and highly responsive.

They’re known for having arguably the best traction of all volleyball shoes (perhaps even better than the Asics Sky Elites).

While these shoes won’t offer a ton of extra bounce so far as spiking goes, they still feel excellent to jump in.

Impact protection is also solid, but not the best on this list – which actually makes them perfect for outside hitters who spend time doing tasks other than spiking, like passing the ball.

This shoe is on the narrow side so those with wide feet should go up half a size.

Recommended Use

Nike’s most popular volleyball shoe of all time is a superb all rounder with excellent traction and responsiveness, making it great for a highly dynamic position like passer hitter.

The Good

By far the most popular volleyball shoe among professional volleyball players.

This shoe is extremely well balanced in all regards.

The Bad

This is the most expensive volleyball shoe on the current market and stocks are extremely limited.

Not a great option for wide feet.

Best For Middles

Adidas Dame 8 Volleyball Shoes

Adidas Dame 8s

As a former international level middle blocker, this is my current go-to shoe. The midsole in this thing is ridiculously comfortable, generates a good amount of bounce, and provides impact protection second to none.

Best Volleyball Shoe For Middle Blockers

The holy trinity when it comes to the middle blocker position: impact protection, ankle support, and bounce.

These are the three things I absolutely must have in my volleyball shoe when playing in the middle of the court.

Having worn my Dame 8s for the last several months, I can safely say they’re by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.

The cushioning setup is completely out of this world: simply unparalleled when it comes to shock absorption.

No one really makes shoes with incredible ankle support these days, but the Dame 8s do a better job in this area than virtually all other volleyball shoes…

You can see the great big internal heel counter (see above) which helps create a really snug locked down feel.

They’re also incredible to jump in because of the super responsive cushion – significantly springier feel than the Dame 7s.

Every step you take feels like you’re bouncing off a miniature trampoline, making these great for all the quick toe jumps middles have to do when blocking.

The Dame 8s are available in unisex sizes, a wide variety of colorways, and are absolutely perfect if you’re like me with really wide feet!

Recommended Use

The Dame 8s check all the boxes for middle blockers: fantastic ankle and lateral support, God tier impact protection, and excellent bounce.

The Good

By far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.

Thick midsole creates a super bouncy feel with top shelf shock absorption.

Adequate ankle support, highly necessary for middle blockers.

Really affordable!

The Bad

Traction could be a little better on dustier courts.

Best Budget Shoe

Adidas Dame 7 Extply Red Volleyball Shoes

Adidas Dame 7

When it comes to middle blockers as well as opposite hitters, if you’re looking for the most shoe for your dollar, you simply can’t go past the Dame 7s.

Best Budget Volleyball Shoe For Middles & Opposites

The Dame 7 is a lot of what the Dame 8 is, only it’s quite a bit cheaper and is one of the few volleyball shoes for hitters that go for less than $100.

The amount of tech packed into the midsole is about as good as it gets for a budget shoe.

Usually cheaper shoes like this have extremely thin midsoles with awful impact protection and zero bounce, but not the Dame 7s.

Hitters need shock absorption and the Dame 7s are the only shoe I know of under $100 that provide plenty of it.

Having worn both the Dame 7s and Dame 8s for a while now, I can say the Dame 8s are a lot more comfortable, but it’s not as though the Dame 7s are by any means uncomfortable…

The Dame 7s are super wide and have a ribbed insole which I didn’t really like the feel of…

But as far as performance goes, I stand by the Dame 7s as there’s really nothing comparable in this price range!

Recommended Use

If you’re a middle blocker or opposite and want an affordable volleyball shoe that’ll give you the bounce and impact protection you’re looking for, the Dame 7 is a fantastic option.

The Good

Easily the most affordable volleyball shoes under $100!

Excellent shock absorption and ankle support!

Better traction compared to the Dame 8s.

The Bad

Slightly bulky and boot-like, perhaps not a great fit for outside hitters who might prefer something a little more responsive.

Best For Opposites

Nike Lebron 18 Volleyball Shoes

Nike Lebron 18s

The Lebron 18s have arguably the most technologically advanced midsole of any sneaker ever. This gives them unparalleled bounce with the best impact protection possible, making these ideal for opposite hitters as well as middle blockers.

Best Volleyball Shoe For Opposite Hitters

When it comes to opposite hitters, they require very similar shoes to a middle blocker.

As they do slightly less blocking, they can settle for slightly less ankle/lateral support in exchange for a slightly better jumping experience.

But by all means, any of the shoes I’ve selected for middles or opposites can be used interchangeably for both positions.

The Lebron 18s are known for their incredible cushioning system, making this one of the best shoes for players doing a high volume of jumping.

They have a super smooth heel-toe transition and feel ridiculously springy.

The heel is locked down nice and tight and lateral containment is also solid.

One thing to be aware of is the Air Max unit in the heel, which compresses quickly when landing. This could cause a roll if you’ve landed awkwardly on someone’s foot.

This is technically a men’s shoe, however there’s plenty of great colorways perfect for women’s volleyballers too.

They fit slightly narrow so definitely go up 1/2 a size if you’ve got wide feet.

Recommended Use

The Lebron 18s are ideal for anyone who wants the craziest possible jumping experience one can have on a volleyball court.

The Good

Most ridiculously bouncy shoes to jump in, awesome for spiking and blocking!

Fantastic shock absorption and ankle support.

Premium materials and unparalleled comfort.

The Bad

This is the most expensive shoe on this list!

Also Good

Nike KD14 Shoe For Volleyball

Nike KD14s

Another super combination of shock absorption and bounce. The KD14 is one of the most popular basketball shoes for volleyballers and has a reputation for being one of the best shoes ever created!

Another Great Volleyball Shoe For Opposites & Middles

The KD14 is another really excellent option for any of the opposites and middles out there.

It’s got one of the most unique and best performing cushioning setups making it absurdly comfortable, bouncy, and great on your joints.

These also feel extremely responsive and have better traction than the other big man shoes, making them a feasible option for outside hitters and setters as well.

One slightly annoying thing about them is the velcro strap which makes lacing up difficult as the strap constantly gets in the way. The laces may eventually fray from sticking to the velcro as well.

Aside from that one minor thing, this shoe is one of my favorite options for front court players.

Recommended Use

One of the best all rounders for volleyball. This is my sister’s current favorite volleyball shoe that she’s been wearing for years!

The Good

Incredible cushioning system makes them ideal for middle blockers and opposite hitters.

Superior traction and responsiveness to comparable shoes.

The Bad

Velcro strap can get a little annoying when lacing up.

On the more expensive side.

Final Verdict?

Both the Asics Sky Elite FFs and the Mizuno Wave Momentums are great, generic options for all volleyball players, especially those playing in the front court.

If you play a specific position, I think you can dial in your shoe selection a little more so that you get something that caters to your specific needs as a hitter.

For the outside hitters out there, I would strongly recommend the Mizuno Wave Momentum 2s for their improved midsole tech stack.

For the taller players in the opposite hitter or middle blocker positions, my first preference would be the Dame 8s or if you’re looking to save a little money, opt for the tried and true Dame 7s.

What Should Each Different Position Look For In A Volleyball Shoe?

There are three different positions which specialize in hitting in volleyball and each of them is quite different, meaning their shoes should be slightly different as well.

Outside Hitter

The outside, even though they hit more balls than the other positions, are a only a part time hitter.

They also spend a lot of their time in the back court focusing on passing – something that opposites and middles don’t have to think about.

For this reason, outsides need a shoe that is a hybrid between something a libero would wear, and something an opposite would wear.

It needs to be fairly low to the ground, which will help with serve-reception.

For the same reason, it should also be highly responsive, meaning quick and precise foot adjustments can be made.

This also requires excellent traction.

At the same time, any hitter needs a shoe that has decent shock absorption to protect their joints from high impact movements like jumping and landing.

After comparing well over 20 shoes, I’ve determined the two best shoes for outside hitters are the Nike React Hypersets (women’s) and Li-Ning All City 9/10s (men’s).

Feel free to read the above reviews to see exactly why those shoes best fulfill the needs of an outside hitter.

Middle Blocker

Middle blocker is the position I played when representing my country playing volleyball overseas.

It’s a unique position which requires no passing, minimal digging, and significantly more blocking than any other position.

I determined the best shoes for middle blockers would have excellent lateral containment and support around the ankle.

The primary function of a middle blocker’s shoe should be to prevent ankle sprains in the common event of landing on someone else’s foot when blocking.

This happens all the time and so we need a shoe that will prevent rolling.

As middle blockers we also do plenty of jumping which is very tough on the joints, so shock absorption/impact protection is extremely high on my list of priorities.

These shoes should also have a good amount of bounce in them which will allow us to get into the air more efficiently when blocking and spiking.

I recommend both the Dame 7s and Nike Air Zoom G.T. Jumps for both male and female middle blockers.

Alternatively, they can select from any of the shoes I’ve recommended for opposite hitters.

Opposite Hitter

In terms of what our feet do, the difference between middle blockers and opposite hitters is fairly minimal.

Opposites do plenty of jumping and a bit of blocking. They don’t do much in the way of passing.

Because they’re blocking significantly less than the middle, they can get away with shoes that focus slightly less on lateral ankle support, but should still be quite bouncy.

Each of the shoes recommended for middle blockers are also ideal for opposites, as well as the Nike Lebron 18s or Nike KD14s, each of which are suitable for men and women alike.

What’s With All The Basketball Shoes?

Over the years, volleyball shoes have slowly started looking more and more like basketball shoes.

The Nike Hypersets are the current most popular volleyball shoe and they’re almost identical to the Nike Hyperdunks.

Low tops are quickly becoming mid tops and basketball shoes are eating the volleyball shoe market alive!

But there’s good reason for that.

The basketball shoe market is literally millions of times larger than the volleyball shoe market.

Each basketball shoe is extremely nuanced and has its own characteristics and a personality that separates it from the pack.

For this reason, it’s easier to find basketball shoes that fulfill the needs of different specialist positions on the volleyball court.

Aside from the two volleyball shoes I mentioned, there simply aren’t many shoes that cater to the needs of volleyball hitters as well as basketball shoes do.

About the author

As a former international level volleyball player, I now spend my days working out and writing for Volleyball Vault. I look for ways to bring my wealth of experience and knowledge to create unique and insightful perspectives in my content.