Do Volleyball Shoes Make You Jump Higher? (Myth or Reality)

do volleyball shoes make you jump higher

Authentic Volleyball Shoes are extremely important for many aspects of the game. We all know that it gives you the comfort, the cushioning as well as the grip you need to operate the way you need …

However, does this exceed to the point where it literally makes you jump higher? Yes in some sorts, but you need to know some important details to understand to which extent volley shoes can help.

Let’s dive in!

How do volleyball shoes help your vertical jump?

Volleyball shoes are known to have so many characteristics & features. I will list the most important ones and how each one of those can give a little bit of an advantage for your jumps:

Lightweight: Volley shoes (especially the most quality ones) are generally lightweight which means that will have to carry less weight when you jump, thus a higher vertical jump.

Made of durable and breathable material: It is harder and les comfortable to jump with deteriorated shoes. Keep in mind that jumping is the move that cost the most to your shoes longevity.

Flexible with bounce back capabilities: This will give you more ease and comfort especially when you land after high jumps.

Good shock absorption given the frequent impacts of landing on high floors.

GRIP: While most volleyball shoes should provide excellent grip, and protective cushioning, they are often role specific. For example, blockers need shoes that are especially lightweight, because heavier materials can slow them down and inhibit the leap. Even a few grams can make a difference in terms of height gained.

Padded midsoles: Not only does this mean that they are slightly higher off the ground than they were standing in their bare feet, but it provides additional cushioning on landing. Having added inches on the heel area is not a good idea though, but it makes the shoes inherently unstable, and increases the risk of losing balance.

Protection for the ankle area: This is very important to provide the necessary confidence you need to jump higher and land safely.

Important Tip: If the information and features I’ve shared here are too much for you to remember, then just keep in mind that the 3 most important features in volleyball shoes to promote higher jumps are Grip, Shock absorption capabilities and lightweight. For example, these quality volleyball shoes have not only these 3 but also all the features I’ve stated above.

How much height volleyball shoes could add?

It depends on the brand and the make, although those with a ticker sole can typically add up to 2 inches to somebody’s true height.

One example is the Nike Air Max models which have larger airbags. They can add more height than some other models, but sometimes there is a price to be paid in terms of stability. The large airbag provides a high degree of ankle cushioning, but it can lead to problems with ankle rolling.

In fact, although people will choose higher heels when choosing a normal shoe, this is definitely not a good idea when it comes to volleyball.

It is analogous to somebody wearing excessively high heels in normal life. It may temporarily add a few inches to their height, but that comes at the risk of losing balance, and also appearing faintly ridiculous.

Instead the advice is to try and find shoes with little or no heel at all. Not only does this help with balance and traction but it ensures correct weight distribution, because a lot of movements in volleyball when jumping are to do with the front of the foot when springing upwards.

Instead, height can be gained with thicker midsoles and padded steps using technologies like reinforced foam. Models designed using this technology can add up to 1.5 inches on height, not as much as Nike equivalents, but still significant.

Not all volleyball players need that much added height either…

Libero and other defenders, for example, spend more time near the surface of the court, and much of their movement is lateral with sudden, quick movements. For them stability and traction is more important than more inches.

What to look for in volleyball shoes to help your vertical jumps?

The main difference between volleyball shoes and main other types of sports’ footwear are their soles and their weight. Volleyball shoes are specifically designed to meet the demands of the game, with its continued and varied movement.

Generally they need to be lightweight, because that entails the use of less energy.

However, the key difference lies in the sole of the shoe.

Most volleyball shoes come with gum rubber soles, because volleyball players are used to playing on smooth, shiny wooden floors.

Slipping is an obvious risk, so it is important that shoes provide the best traction possible, and gum rubber offers this. It does not even look like the rubber commonly used in other sports shoes because it is semi-transparent (although it will often be dyed to match the colour of the rest of the shoe).

And then there is the cushioning which needs to offer protection against the constant impact of landing on hard surfaces of jumps during the game. Again, the inner cushioning for volleyball shoes differs from that used in other sports because it needs to provide both shock absorption and traction.

They also need to provide excellent ankle support because they will take a good deal of stress in the course of a game.

How much jumping a player does during a game may make a difference to the type of shoe that they need …

Libero, for example, will not jump so much, so they might prefer a more lightweight shoe because they tend to make lateral, quick movements. On the other hand, large part of the game of middle blockers and opposites involves jumping, so they should choose something more robust.

One leading brand for jumpers is this quality model, long-time market leader because of the Wave Plate technology used in their shoes. This helps disperse the impact from landing around the rest of the foot, allowing players to jump higher and last longer before getting fatigued,

How do volleyball shoes help safety for jumping?

The other part of the jumping equation is landing safely, not only minimising the risk of injury but also meaning that they are in the right position to make the next move.

Although volleyball is a non-contact sport that does not mean that it is immune from its fair share of injuries. This is not surprising given its nature and that it is played on hard floors, either made of wood or cement, or sand that may have been baled in the sun for hours (Check the list of surfaces where you can play volleyball)

Whilst learning to land right is key part of the training for any volleyball player, it is also important that they choose the right pair of shoes.

One of the most important characteristics of a volleyball shoe is that they must be cushioned, because this helps absorb the impact of constant landing on the floor.

The mid sole is also important because this supports the ball of the foot, the point of impact when it comes to making a jump. Soles are often made of foam material, gel and sometimes come with air cushions which offer strong, yet flexible support.

The sole itself should be made of gum material which not only aids stability and traction but also helps ensure that when a player lands on the floor, that they do not slip, and are in a position to make their next movement.

And last but not least, shoes should be lightweight. Not only could heavy shoes stop somebody reaching their maximum height when jumping, but they can also slow a player down and impede their movement. And, in the course of a long match, having to drag a pair of heavy shoes around can cause a player to get tired and that increases the risk of injury.

I highly invite you to learn how you should properly choose your volleyball shoes … You will find that really useful!

Tips to help your vertical jump …

Stretching on a regular basis can help enhance performance because it stretches muscles like hip flexors which can become tight and tense.

Warming-up is also important before any athletic endeavour of any kind, and increasingly, the benefits of warming-down after work-outs are becoming apparent, to prevent cramps and other muscle problems.

Another technique is to skip over a rope for a more or more at a time. Not only does this help increase the size of calf muscles, but it is also a very good cardio exercise in itself. Skipping both backwards and forwards helps increase suppleness, and also replicates the type of motion often found in volleyball games.

The secret of great jumping is often related to the strength of the lower body and the core, which can be improved through resistance training in the gym, with exercises like leg presses, squats and deadlifts. Lifting weights is also a recommended way to build up strengths. Although this should be done under supervision to reduce the risk of injury.

For more, I highly invite you to have a look at these solid tips to increase your overall vertical jump!

Final Thoughts …

Hopefully this article has answered most of the questions you’ve had. However, keep in mind that your volleyball shoes shouldn’t necessarily be perfect …

If they are good enough, when it comes to the comfort, cushioning and the grip, then I believe that’s more than enough for you to operate at the best of your abilities …

Shoes with those qualities will help make you reach the best of your abilities when it comes to vertical jumping.

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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