Youth Volleyball Shoes – How To Find The Right Pair For Your Kid

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How To Find The Best Youth Volleyball Shoes

Youth Volleyball Shoes

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it’s likely your kid has discovered the love of volleyball. Maybe they’re about to start playing for a club, middle school, or high school volleyball team.

Or you’re scouting some gear in hopes your child eventually gets into the sport of volleyball.

Either way, volleyball is a committed team sport. Volleyball players have the opportunity to learn powerful things at an early age.

The sweet satisfaction of sticking something out with discipline and training. The thrill of a hard-fought victory, the long-lasting impact of an encouraging coach.

To make the most of those experiences, your kid needs to be on their game – literally and figuratively. What better way to set the tone than with well-fitting, confidence boosting gear?

A coach or booster club may provide the uniforms, but it’s often up to the parent to supply a youth volleyball shoe. And it’s one of the most crucial volleyball items. They need a well-made and supportive pair of youth volleyball shoes.

“But wait,” you say, “can’t my child just wear their everyday sneakers for volleyball?” At some level, the answer can be yes.

If your child is an occasional or novice player, you can sort of get away with that. A quality pair of athletic shoes (even kids basketball shoes) will work ok even if they’re not specifically designed for volleyball.

But even if you’re looking for a cross-training shoe, you’ll want to take note of the critical features. The ones seen in volleyball shoes and see if you can account for them in your cross-trainers.

We’ll even give some suggestions to help you in your quest for the perfect pair.

Youth volleyball shoes provide a measure of protection to your child’s lower body. They also enhance their athletic ability and ensure time on the court is comfortable.

There’s not much we can do for them when running wind sprints, but at least their feet won’t be the thing slowing them down!

So in today’s article, we will be covering the following youth volleyball shoe topics:

  • Lower Body Protection – Lateral Stability
  • Lower Body Protection – Toe Box Cushioning
  • Enhancing Athletic Ability – Superior Traction
  • Position-Specific Shoes?
  • Youth Volleyball Shoe Durability
  • Shoe Sizing and Brands
  • Youth Volleyball Shoe Recommendations

Youth Volleyball Shoe Lateral Stability

Lower Body Protection – Lateral Stability


Youth athletes are continually growing. Their muscles are strengthening and stretching, and pushing themselves to the max.

If we have any hopes of guarding them against injury, we have to start by providing them with proper footwear.

Kids volleyball shoes provide max support where the player needs it most – the sides of their feet and ankles.

Ever hear the term, “lateral stability”?

It’s the support provided to compensate for side to side movement.

Breaking this idea down by sport is sometimes a more natural way to understand it.

Running, for example, is an activity that doesn’t require much side-to-side motion. So, running shoes are not built with much lateral stability. The mesh sides are often designed to breath but don’t provide much side support.

Volleyball, tennis, and basketball shoes have higher levels of lateral stability. They consist of more leather because those sports require a fair amount of side to side motion.

If you had thoughts of sending your kid out to play volleyball in running shoes, you might want to think again.

Have you ever watched a college or professional volleyball match? All the digging, and cutting from side to side?

Sure, they’re well versed and make it look easy. But I bet as youth players those cuts weren’t as clean, their body control not as tight.

Youth volleyball players need a high level of lateral stability in their shoes. This stability helps to protect their feet and ankles as they learn to make sharp cuts, turns, and dives.

Shoes with a high level of lateral stability reduce the risk of injury. They help prevent rolling an ankle or awkwardly turning over a foot.

Lower Body Protection – Toe Box Cushioning


Jumping. All. The. Time!

Volleyball players are always on the move. Their knees and feet take the brunt of absorbing each contact with the hard court.

Youth volleyball shoes are designed with shock absorption in mind. They have extra cushioning in the front of the shoe, sometimes called the toe box.

Jumping players take off from their toes, and land on their toes. So adding a layer of absorption at that point makes a lot of sense.

But that’s not all.

The extra cushioning in volleyball shoes provides a measure of protection everywhere. For example, cushioning can help protect:

  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Shins
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Back

The foot is connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, etc. etc. etc.

Sure running shoes are often designed to be lighter weight than volleyball shoes. But the added weight is for cushioning and structural material to protect your kid’s body.

Kids Volleyball Shoe Sole

Enhancing Athletic Ability – Superior Traction


This next point has a home in both the “lower body protection” as well as the “enhancing athletic ability.”

Volleyball shoes stand out for their superior traction on the court.

Kids volleyball shoes are often made with a gum rubber soles. And the soles extend all the way to the edges of the shoe. Youth volleyball shoes are meant to keep a player’s feet from sliding around on the court.

As you can imagine, this protects a player from sliding around. It also helps prevent missteps and also enhances their ability to react in an instant. Being able to stop on a dime, cut side to side, and control their body is critical for top volleyball performance.

Let’s think about it in everyday terms – how hard would it be to run or make sharp movements in, say, a pair of high heels vs. a pair of athletic shoes? While it’s doable in athletic shoes, it’s comical in high heels.

For a focused athlete, the comparison is similar. A cheap slick sole as opposed to a soft rubber sole with superior traction.

With traction, your child doesn’t have to think about slipping. Instead, they’ll be able to focus on where their foot is going and what move comes next.

And of course, any volleyball-specific option you choose will have a non-marking outsole.

Position-Specific Shoes?


No. Most middle school, high school, and club players are still rotating positions because they’re still learning.

If that’s the case for your child, a pair of general-purpose volleyball shoes are as specific as you’ll need to get.

They should have all the features listed above and fit well. It’s a shoe that will protect your child and enhance their play.

Volleyball Shoes Durability

Youth Volleyball Shoes – Durability


Volleyball shoes are constructed of more leather and less mesh. Again, this is to provide added lateral stability.

And while lateral stability is critical here the added leather and also means a more durable product. Chances are, your child will outgrow their volleyball shoes before they wear them out.

That is, unless your youth is in high school and is likely done growing much taller. In that case, they may wear them out at some point in a long season.

In this case, replace when the construction breaks down to the point where it’s affecting performance.

Shoe Sizing and Brands


Keep in mind that volleyball shoes do not come in anything other than standard width sizes (no wide sizes). However, brand to brand there seems to be some variance (Asics seem to run wider than Mizuno). While browsing pay attention to the reviews and look for any notes about shoe brands running large or smaller.

It’s important to know your child’s exact shoe size.

Resist the urge to “go up a shoe size” to try and save a few dollars. If your child is competing competitively, wearing volleyball shoes a size too big is not going to help their cause. Their foot will slide inside the shoe, making cutting and jumping more challenging and more dangerous!

If your child is still in a youth size, look for youth sizes volleyball shoes (see recommendations below). Teens (and even some pre-teens) may find the appropriate fit in an adult size volleyball shoe (see recommendations below).

Youth Volleyball Shoe Recommendations


Here are the top kid’s volleyball shoes we recommend:

Adidas Performance Kids’ Ligra 5K

Youth Fit (Unisex)

Adult Fit (Women’s and Men’s)

ASICS Women’s GEL-Flashpoint

If You Need To Go The Cross-Trainer Route…

So maybe your child IS just an occasional player in a pickup volleyball game or is just trying it out for a season.

Skechers Kids Nitrate Sneaker

I get it; it’s sometimes hard to spend the money on a sport-specific shoe. If you’re going to go the cross-trainer route, here are a few options that tick off many of the features listed above:

If your child does become more serious about the sport, we suggest you revisit the shoe selection at that time. Tailoring your child’s gear to their needs and sport is one way to ensure they stay healthy and comfortable.

I think we can all agree that’s the most important thing.

Here’s a good video on “How To Buy Volleyball Shoes” that gives a few helpful tips when shopping.

Bonus Features

We’ve covered safety, comfort, and performance, but what about convenience and style? One feature that catches my attention when shoe shopping, especially for youth, include:

Vibrant, fun, or team colors. Of course – you’ve gotta match the uniform!

Rainbow Laces

Interchangeable laces. Because kids like flair, am I right?

Final Word


So let’s review.

Kids volleyball shoes are a crucial element in your child’s gear bag.

They support your child’s feet. They provide cushioning on the landings of every jump. And they protect their ankles from side-to-side cuts. They’re made with quality materials and designed with high lateral stability in mind.

If your child isn’t an everyday player consider buying a quality cross-trainer instead. Look for ones made with supportive materials and an extra grippy sole.

Either way, check throughout the season to ensure a proper fit (kids grow so dang fast!)

Consider splurging on colorful and fun accessories like laces. And, of course, enjoy watching the action from the stands!

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