I needed new volleyball shoes BADLY. The shoes I previously wore for volleyball were so funky, and the traction on the bottom was getting harder and harder to locate. They were some sad Asics that I received as part of my coach apparel from the season when I coached a juniors club team. They're not bad shoes, but they're sad because they smell so bad, and are probably ashamed from hearing me tell everyone, "hold your breath" when I'd remove them after games. Fun fact: If you only wear your volleyball shoes indoors, you will extend the life of the shoe's traction!
I've played in Asics, Adidas, and Mizuno volleyball shoes more than any other brand. I'd say that my favorite volleyball shoe brand (until proven otherwise) is Mizuno. I have skinnier feet, and their shoes are cut narrowly enough for me that I feel like they're actually holding my feet in place. They're also incredibly lightweight and come in great styles. You can tell they've really invested in designing great volleyball shoes. (I hear their running shoes are pretty good as well.)
The problem with purchasing volleyball shoes is that it is so hard to find them anywhere -- in a brick-and-mortar store and online. I spent days looking online at different options. It was draining! I eventually decided that I really liked the look and design of the Mizuno Wave Tornado 8. Since it looked like no stores in the area were carrying the product, and the @MizunoVolley folks on twitter never replied to me about whether they had any reps in the area, I decided to spend two evenings searching the Web near and far for these shoes (and at a more reasonable price than the $140 price tag Mizuno was advertising. Heck, that's almost as much as it costs to enter an entire team for one tournament!). I eventually found a few online stores that would work.
Since I hate buying things online that I haven't tried out before, I decided to go to Dick's Sporting Goods to try on the different Mizuno shoes they had available -- just to make sure I ordered the right size. It was kind of a jacked-up shopping experience for me, but in the end, I was able to find the appropriate size for me. I headed home, looked online, and found an absolutely amazing deal over at Hock Sports.
Ron Hock, the store's owner, did such a wonderful job with answering all of my questions, I ended up ordering some great Mizuno socks and kneepads while I was at it! He had deals that could not be beat by any of the other stores I found online. I actually ended up spending about $60 less than the shoes cost anywhere else! Unfortunately, this deal is no longer available (the price of these shoes went up after the USAV indoor season officially started) , but his prices are still better than most other online stores. (And no, I was not compensated for this post, nor did I receive any additional benefit than what was advertised. I didn't even mention the blog!)
I received my items in record time, and was able to break them in pretty quickly. I haven't had to break in a pair of volleyball shoes in quite some time, but it was slightly less painful than what I remembered. It took a couple of weeks, but now they fit me perfectly -- and they don't stink!
I highly recommend checking these shoes out. They are so lightweight! I have also found that my lower back doesn't bother me as much at the end of a long tournament. The shoe offers tons of support, which is perfect for any of you volleyball players out there who play in indoor tournaments.
What is your favorite volleyball brand? What are some of the things you look for in specialty shoes for your sport?