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.
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.
Best Volleyball Shoes For Hitters – At A Glance
Fantastic impact protection helps protect your joints from large volumes of jumping.
Best For Outsides
Improved bounce/springiness makes this shoe great for jumping in. Ultra lightweight too!
Incredibly comfortable for playing volleyball and are specifically designed for hitters.
Best For Middles
Great bounce, impact protection, and ankle support – ideal for playing around the net.
Middle blockers and opposite hitters, for the best value, you can’t overlook this shoe.
Best For Opposite Hitters
This shoe meets hitters’ needs for flexible jump support, and they delivered.
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 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 2023.
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.
Great option for all hitters, regardless of position. I recommend the mid tops for slightly better ankle support.
Extremely good cushioning setup offers maximal bounce as well as impact protection.
God tier traction and responsiveness.
On the more expensive side.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
Way more responsive than the original Momentums, absolutely insane bounce!
Superior grip/traction to original Momentums.
One of the lightest volleyball shoes out there.
Cushioning/shock absorption isn’t as good as the original Wave Momentums.
Definitely on the more expensive side.
Another Great Volleyball Shoe for Outside Hitters
These lightweight shoes utilize Adidas’s Adiprene+ technology for improved bounce, making them an ideal choice for hitters. The forefoot and midfoot parts of the sole are made with Adiprene+, noticeably improving your jumping.
Aside from being great jumping shoes, Adidas CrazyFlight are lightweight, breathable shoes. To make them as light on your feet as possible, Adidas uses a thin, breathable mesh on the top part of the shoes.
You won’t feel them weighing you down after an intense training session, and your feet will get some breathing room too.
CrazyFlight provides good traction and plenty of colorful designs to choose from, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
The only negative of this shoe is slight heel slipping, which was reported by some hitters. This, however, doesn’t happen often.
Adidas CrazyFlight are a great choice for outside hitters – their bounce technology is superior to most modern volleyball shoes, and they’re very comfortable and breathable.
Incredible jumping technology – Adiprene+ improves your bounce greatly.
Lightweight and breathable because of a thin top mesh.
Plenty of colorful designs to choose from.
Some hitters report heel slipping (albeit rarely).
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!
The Dame 8s check all the boxes for middle blockers: fantastic ankle and lateral support, God tier impact protection, and excellent bounce.
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.
Traction could be a little better on dustier courts.
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!
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.
Easily the most affordable volleyball shoes under $100!
Excellent shock absorption and ankle support!
Better traction compared to the Dame 8s.
Slightly bulky and boot-like, perhaps not a great fit for outside hitters who might prefer something a little more responsive.
Best Volleyball Shoe for Opposite Hitters
To improve your jumping and make landing easier on the knees and ankles, Asics employed GEL technology, which is a cushioning technology Asics came up with in the eighties.
It improves bounce and stability by inserting a gel into strategic places along the sole. This also offers a reasonable amount of comfort, which you’ll notice as soon as you put it on.
Another thing that has to be mentioned is the flexibility of this shoe. Stitches won’t open as bending and creasing, so you can count on this shoe for a long time.
Perhaps the best thing about this shoe is the fact you can get it at a very reasonable price!
Opposite hitters will enjoy this shoe, although I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any position on the court!
Improved bounce and landing stability through GEL technology.
Very flexible thanks to lightweight materials.
There’s nothing specifically bad about this shoe!
Another Great Volleyball Shoe for Middles & Opposites
The biggest selling point of Upcourt 5s is their flexibility – these shoes aren’t as bulky as many other volleyball shoes. This guarantees two things – the aforementioned flexibility and comfort.
They won’t weigh you down when you jump and your legs won’t get as tired as quickly.
To compensate for durability, Asics used double paneling at the heels and the toes, making them difficult to rip open. Since they’re so flexible, you can twist them however you want, but the double paneling prevents them from ripping open.
Mesh panels guarantee breathability, which affects comfort as well.
Just like Adidas CrazyFlight, these shoes come in a variety of colors, and you can choose from many different designs.
Middle blockers and opposite hitters will enjoy these shoes, but I would recommend them to outside hitters as well.
They’re lightweight and breathable.
Toes and heels are reinforced through double paneling, making them more durable.
You can choose from a lot of different designs.
Stability may not be the best with these shoes, so I wouldn’t recommend them to people who have shaky ankles!
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.
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.
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.
Feel free to read the above reviews to see exactly why those shoes best fulfill the needs of an outside hitter.
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.
Alternatively, they can select from any of the shoes I’ve recommended for opposite hitters.
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.
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.