What to Look for
Volleyball is played all over the world and gaining in popularity exponentially. With this popularity, a market has been created for volleyball gear, especially volleyball shoes. The shoes themselves will not improve your game per se or allow you to overcome athletic feats you couldn't achieve before purchasing the shoes. However, volleyball shoes will benefit you by offering lightweight and necessary support.
Although volleyball shoes resemble some basketball or cross training shoes, they have distinct differences. Generally, they feel as if you're actually playing barefoot. The following will help you determine what to look for when buying volleyball shoes.
The main characteristic of a Mizuno Wave Spike 9 volleyball shoe is its gum rubber outsole. Modern shoes use a rubber and gum rubber composite combined, giving the player the absolute best traction on various indoor playing surfaces. Some shoe companies, reacting to the growing popularity of outdoor volleyball, have developed shoes that will have an outsole specifically designed for grass.
Volleyball players spend their time on the ball of the foot. Well designed shoes have advanced materials added to the forefoot vice the heel like running and basketball shoes. The mid-sole, which absorbs shock, is usually made of foam from sheet/molded EVA. Most shoes have a combination of sheet and molded EVA foam. Other shock absorbing methods (air, gel, liquid) provide cushioning and energy return. The mid-sole is an important feature because it reduces the chance of knee and shin injuries.
Most shoes have a suede and mesh upper. Some will add mesh to the upper to lighten up the shoe to allow for air flow and breathe-ability. Some manufactures offer a leather or lightweight synthetic leather and mesh upper on mid and high cut shoes, adding ankle support for those players that desire it.