When I was training full time as a volleyballer, my number one obsession was increasing my vertical jump.
If you’re anything like me, you only want to wear shoes that enable you to jump as high as humanly possible while on the volleyball court.
My Top Picks:
Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time researching the various midsole technologies inside a variety of popular volleyball and basketball shoes to determine which kicks offer the biggest bounce.
I created this list based on what I feel the two most important criteria for jumping are: bounce and impact protection.
Just how much extra spring does a shoe offer when jumping?
And how well does the cushioning system absorb landing forces?
Today I’ll be answering each of these questions for each of these shoes, as well as discussing some other aspects of performance to be aware of.
Asics Sky Elite FF
The Sky Elite from Asics is the most beautiful volleyball shoe we’ve seen in recent times and it’s an absolute joy to jump in!
Best Overall Volleyball Shoes For Jumping
The Asics Sky Elite FF was rated as my top volleyball shoe of all time. In that article I go into great detail as to why it’s the best volleyball shoe money can buy, so I’ll try to keep it brief today.
Historically speaking, volleyball shoes haven’t had a crazy amount of ‘bounce’ in them.
They usually feel fairly neutral to jump in and you wouldn’t feel any extra springy sensation…
The Sky Elites have an incredible full length FlyteFoam cushioning setup in the midsole which is easily the best midsole design we’ve ever seen from a volleyball shoe.
It’s got a great bit of extra pop to it, so you feel super springy when jumping in these.
More importantly, the impact protection is as good as I’ve ever felt from a volleyball shoe.
This is super important, especially if you’re doing a lot of jumping, as it’ll prevent your joints from turning to dust over time.
I could go on and on about the incredible heel toe transition, out of this world traction, and top tier lateral support, but all you really need to know is that this shoe absolutely slaps!
The Sky Elites have one of the best cushioning systems of any volleyball shoe, making them some of the best choices for high flying athletes.
Extremely good traction and grip on court.
Top tier heel lockdown and amazing ankle support (especially with the mid top design).
Ultra responsive cushion with a good bit of extra bounce and world class impact protection.
On the more expensive side.
Nike Lebron 18
I’ve decided to bring out the big guns for this shoe recommendation. The Lebron 18 has the craziest bounce of any shoe to ever step onto a volleyball court!
Best Volleyball Shoes For Jumping – Runner Up
Yes, the Lebron 18 is a basketball shoe.
And yes, you can wear basketball shoes for volleyball!
The reason the Lebron is on this list is because it’s one of the craziest jumping experiences any type of baller can have.
The full length Zoom Strobel unit combined with the rear Air Max unit creates one of the springiest feeling rides when on court.
The heel compression is ridiculous.
As far as impact protection goes, this can only be described as ‘God tier’.
You can play a day-long tournament in them and your feet and knees will feel great.
I recommend the Lebrons for the heavy hitters: middle blockers and opposites who need to be jumping their highest and aren’t overly concerned about passing or defending.
These shoes might be a little too high up for passer hitters.
For anyone who doesn’t mind the very high off the ground feel, the Lebron 18s will provide the most bouncy jumping experience you can have!
As far as bounce goes, it doesn’t get any better than this!
Impact protection is also of the highest quality.
Fantastic choice for middle blockers as the super responsive midsole allows you to get max air on your toe jumps when blocking.
Midsole is so thick that it might be off-putting for some users.
Best Budget Shoe
Adidas Dame 7
Not only are the Dame 7s one of the most durable, reliable, and comfortable shoes to play in, but they’re really quite good when it comes to jumping and are easily the cheapest shoe on this list!
Best Budget Volleyball Shoes For Jumping
I’ve been personally testing this shoe over the last few months and I’m a massive fan.
It’s pretty rare to find a shoe that retails for under $100 that performs as good as the Adidas Dame 7.
This shoe has a Litestrike midsole which feels super smooth to jump in.
Shock absorption is also really excellent in the Dame 7, so it’s easily the best budget shoe for all things jumping.
Lateral support is top tier as well, which again is great for hitters doing a lot of jumping and landing around the net.
I’ve never once done an ankle wearing my Dame 7s!
I’m also occasionally asked why I recommend the Dame 7s over the Dame 8s and the reason is because the traction is considerably better in the 7s.
The 8s are technically a better shoe for jumping in because the cushioning setup is slightly better, but they tend to slide around on court a lot which is why I stay away from them.
The Dame 7 is also a great shoe for wide footed folks like me too!
One of the best options for anyone focused on jumping really high who doesn’t have a ton of spare cash to blow on shoes!
Great shock absorption and very responsive cushion.
Mid top design offers great ankle support.
You won’t find a better shoe to jump in under $100!
Slightly bulky and boot-like, perhaps not a great fit for setters and liberos.
Mizuno Wave Momentum 2
The improved Wave Momentum from Mizuno is one of the most lightweight and springy feeling volleyball shoes on the market.
Also Great Volleyball Shoes For Jumping
The original Wave Momentums were known for their really excellent impact protection/shock absorption while being an ultra lightweight shoe.
They were great to land in, but not so bouncy or responsive…
The improved Wave Momentums saw the midsole replaced with Enerzy foam which saw a massive improvement to the responsiveness of the shoe.
This thing is now insanely springy while maintaining its super lightweight frame.
Personally I’m a big fan of lightweight shoes because, even though I know it doesn’t actually make a difference, psychologically I feel as though I can jump higher in them!
The Wave Momentum 2s are a great choice for anyone who prefers a very lightweight shoe that feels like you’re wearing a feather!
Extremely bouncy/springy with a super responsive cushion.
Amazing lateral support and lockdown. Mid top design adds plenty of ankle support.
God tier traction on court.
Impact protection isn’t quite as good as the original Momentums – maybe not the best shoe to jump in all day long.
Li-Ning All City 9/10
Another one of my favorite all-rounders, the All City 9 or 10 is known for it’s super solid cushioning setup and bouncy feel, making it great for jumping.
Another Great Volleyball Shoe For Jumping
Li-Ning have been making some of the most incredible basketball shoes in recent times and the All City 10s are some of my favorite shoes to play volleyball in, superb for jumpers!
The midsole is full length BOOM stacked on top of full length Cloud which is one of the nicest feeling foam setups on the market.
It’s really nice and responsive with a good amount of bounce and the shoe also performs really well in the impact protection department.
The materials are really high quality and the shoe is also excellent for wide feet.
And they look bloody fantastic!
One word of caution… if you play on dusty courts a lot, this probably isn’t the best shoe to pick.
They tend to pick up quite a bit of dust and are a particularly hard wipe, so you may end up sliding around more than you’d like.
The traction does improve over time as they break in, and there’s absolutely no issues if you’re playing on a clean court.
The Li-Ning All Citys are some of the few low-to-the-ground feeling shoes which are still fantastic to jump in. Ideal for outside hitters and setters.
Cushioning setup is on the better side: bounce and impact protection is on point.
Fantastic option for wide feet!
Great choice for anyone who prefers a lower to the ground shoe.
Absurdly stylish with tons of cool colorways!
Definitely on the more expensive side…
Note: Li-Ning’s official store is on Amazon, however you can find other retailers with a simple Google search. Stock and colorways may be extremely limited outside of the Amazon store.
If you want the craziest jumping experience you can have on a hardwood court, the Lebron 18s are well worth looking at.
The best all rounders are going to be the Asics Sky Elite FFs or you might also like to give the Mizuno Wave Momentum 2s a go.
Both of these shoes are suitable for all positions on the volleyball court.
Lastly, if you’re looking to save a little extra cash, opt for the Dame 7s which are my favorite budget volleyball shoe of all time!
Do Volleyball Shoes Help You Jump Higher?
There’s no evidence that any sports shoe will increase your vertical jump, unfortunately.
There is however evidence that suggests how you feel about your shoes impacts how high you’ll jump.1https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329912270_Does_the_weight_of_basketball_shoes_affect_speed_and_jumping_performance
Each of the shoes I’ve discussed today (except for maybe the Mizuno Wave Momentums) have a good bit of extra bounce in them, which will at the very least make you feel as though you’re jumping as high as you possibly can.
At the end of the day, there’s no point in being able to jump high if you’re neglecting your joints, so impact protection is the one aspect of a volleyball shoe that remains most important.
Each of the above shoes do an excellent job in this domain, so whichever shoes you go with, you’ll be well looked after.