At their best, volleyball shoes look to provide lightweight traction, comfort, and most importantly, impact absorption. We all know volleyball is a jumper's sport, so impact absorption makes sense. But… what about for liberos? So how necessary is it that they invest in volleyball shoes, and what do ‘the best volleyball shoes for liberos in 2020’ even look like?
Volley-Pedia's own Aaron Samarin: Photo Credit to Phil Gibbin Photography
Bottom line on best volleyball shoes for liberos?
When looking for a good shoe to wear for the libero position, it is important to have good flexibility, comfort and durability. Although you aren’t jumping, low forward and backward movement combined with the lateral movement can put a lot of strain on your foot’s flexibility and comfort as well as the shoe's flexibility and its durability.
If you are looking for the most flexibility then you should consider the Nike Lebron Witness 3’s.
If you are looking for comfort then consider the Nike Zoom Hyper Aces or the Mizuno wave momentum.
Whatever your preference, here are our top 5 best shoes for liberos in 2020 to fit your needs.
Top 5 Best Volleyball Shoes for Liberos
Editors choice: Mizuno Wave Momentum
Great heel cushion
Good sole texture for grip
Our pick for flat feet
Read the full review below
Best Comfort: Nike Hyperace 2’s
Our pick for cushion
Struggles with traction
Read the full review below.
Best Traction: Nike Lebron Witness 3
The heaviest of the five options
Read our review.
Most Durable: Nike Air Zoom Hyperattacks
Holds onto its traction longest
Takes a moment to break in
Read full review
Best Lightweight: Asics Gel-Rocket 8
Don't form to your foot as well as others
Read our review
Best libero volleyball shoe 2020: Overall (Editor's Choice)
Mizuno Wave Momentum
These are our top choice on the list. These would work well for any volleyball position, but at the libero position they work perfect. They have a low cut, lightweight and flexible design that gives you the ability to roam well on the court. The cushion around the ankle makes for a comfortable fit. To top it off, these things can last you a while too. They may take a moment to break in. As a new and high end shoe, they aren't the cheapest option, but they win our Overall Best pick.
Who should buy?
If you are looking to dress like a volleyball player and want the full package of flexibility, comfort, and durability then these are for you.
Special Feature: lots of laces and loops that can help form to any kind of foot.
Get them on Amazon
Best libero volleyball shoe 2020: Most Comfortable
Nike Hyperace 2’s
The Nike Hyperaces shoe is our top choice for the comfort category. They form to your feet very well and the heel has a very comfortable feel to it. Owner’s of this shoe have said that they love the way they feel on your feet when making moves around the court. They have also appreciated how lightweight they are. Their primary downfall is the lack of traction they have. Owners have stated that the traction on these shoes wear quicker than most.
Who should buy?
If you are a person who has found that when you play comfortable you play better, then these are for you. Add this with the fact that these are stylish, clean looking shoes and you’ll be looking good on the court.
Special Feature: the heel padding is second to none without slippage
Get them on Amazon
Best libero volleyball shoe 2020: Most Flexible
Nike Lebron Witness 3
In the past, the lebron shoe was too bulky to wear for volleyball, let alone for the libero position. However this shoe is a unique one. While this is an indoor shoe, multiple people have appreciated their ability to wear it outdoor basketball. Outdoor basketball requires some very flexible movements similar to that of a libero. They have great grip, and are very comfortable. Plus they are stylish donning the name of one of the most well known athletes in the world. You can find these on amazon for a very reasonable price, too.
Who should buy?
If you are someone looking for both style and top end functionality in a shoe these are a solid choice. They are very good looking and will be able to provide the necessary support and flexibility for the versatile moves required for the libero position.
Special feature: lots of options for designs. It’s Lebron’s shoe.
Get them on Amazon
Best libero volleyball shoe 2020: Most Durable
Nike Air Zoom Hyperattacks
The Nike Zoom Hyper Attacks are a shoe modeled after the Kobe VI’s, which are some of the greatest athletic shoes ever made. While they are modeled after the Kobe VI’s, there are some differences. These have great durability, but with that comes some stiffness in the shoe, especially when breaking them in. Don’t let that scare you away though. These are some great court shoes with exceptional grip and will last you through the season.
Who should buy?
If you are someone who emphasizes a strong shoe that can last you the season and keep its grip throughout, then these are for you. They are still lightweight, comfortable and are great shoes for the court.
Special feature: the grip pattern underneath grips well. A bit of a wider base than other shoes giving solid support.
(These are a little difficult to find right now, but we'll be putting up a link as soon as we find a reliable source!)
Best libero volleyball shoe 2020: Best for the price
Asics Gel-Rocket 8
These are a great shoe for the price. At the most affordable price on this list, you get all the features you need, but cheaper. While these may not give you the same comfort, support, aesthetic appeal, or durability as the other four shoes in this review, they still do the job well. The Gel-Rocket 9s have already come out, but people have been saying they like these more. Some have argued these are the best shoes for liberos, but find out for yourself!
Who should buy?
If you are someone always searching for the best deal, we suggest these. Asics shoes in general do a solid job for volleyball. It is a Korean brand and some of the best defensive liberos in the world come out of Korea and most wear these shoes.
Special feature: Great breathability for your feet. While some suggest they don't snug to your foot well enough, others compliment the ability for their foot to be able to breathe
Get them on Amazon
What type of shoe is best for volleyball?
Volleyball hosts a large number of athletic movements that may cause strain on your body. Having a shoe that can lessen the impact on your body is the primary concern when creating a volleyball shoe.
For example, a volleyball player in any given play may have to jump 3-4 times within a 15 second window. Therefore, providing a shoe that has good shock absorption and ankle support is necessary. Additionally, volleyball requires a lot of lateral and low movements that require flexibility in the shoe. Oftentimes with more ankle support, such as a high-top basketball shoe, means that there is less flexibility. So the challenge then is to find a combination of both flexibility and support.
How to choose the perfect shoe for volleyball as a libero
Luckily for liberos though, they don't have to worry about the jumping side of the game. They are more worried about the flexibility side. This gives them more options to choose from when selecting a shoe. A libero will often prefer a lower cut shoe. While this may take away ankle support, it will feel like they have more freedom to move.
Likewise, having a lightweight shoe is pretty important. If my feet had traction and cushion support I would prefer to play barefoot, but that wouldn't work very well on the hardwood. All the shoes mentioned in this article are lightweight shoes, they all weigh roughly the same. Some may be heavier than others.
Understand however that at an early age, kids may want to try out multiple positions. Don't let that scare you though, the shoes mentioned above are still great options for other positions. For jumping purposes, the Nike Hyperaces 2 and the Nike zoom Hyperattacks are both great options.
‘Whatever your level, you’ll want to consider the following factors.’
Lightweight shoes are something people cherish for every position in volleyball. Lightweight shoes make people feel like their feet are more free and they can run faster and jump higher. However, sometimes lightweight material may mean less durability.
Traction is a massive part of a volleyball player's life, and is very important to the liberos. Certain patterns and material on the bottom of shoes have better traction on the hardwood. When looking for indoor shoes, a lot of people have noticed that a ‘gummy’ outsole provides the best traction. Companies who specialize in volleyball shoes (i.e. Asics and Mizuno) put this material on all of their shoes. Understand that sometimes the floor your playing on may be overtly dusty, so if your shoe does not perform well on some courts, don't instantly blame the shoe.
Comfort is an obvious aspect that must be considered when buying a shoe. Comfort,however, is dependent on the person. Some shoes work better with wide feet, some work better with narrow. Some are sold larger and some smaller. Some are a tight snug fit, some are a little more loose and airy. It all depends on what your feet like the most.
Price is an interesting dynamic. Most quality volleyball shoes, or shoes that are suitable for volleyball, will be in the same price range. Some factors affecting price are the release date of the shoe, the brand, and if it's a special edition shoe. Using the a shoe mentioned above as an example, the Nike Lebron witness 3’s shoes will likely start costing less in the coming months, because Nike recently released the Nike Lebron Witness 4’s.
Other factors include the brand, aesthetics, and volleyball vs. basketball specific shoes. The three brands being represented in this article are all established brands in their craft. They have been around for sometime and are trustworthy brands. You know that what you buy from them will be solid quality. Nike’s existence is accredited to their shoe dominance, Mizuno and Asics are both niche brands that focus on sports that Nike or Addidas doesn’t necessarily place utmost importance in.
Aesthetics of a shoe is something a lot of people care a lot about, but don’t always like to admit it. This is actually a psychological thing. When you are strutting some shoes that look good, it may actually boost your self confidence. As mentioned a couple times, the difference in volleyball specific compared to basketball specific shoes is minimal but relevant. If you are most worried about the shock absorbance of the shoe then best to stick with volleyball shoes. If it's more so about ankle support, basketball might be the area to consider.
Side note: there has been a rumor that Nike may be retro-ing the Kobe IV’s, Kobe V’s, and Kobe VI’s. If they do follow through with this rumor, then getting your hands on a pair of the Kobe VI’s will be the best decision ever made. These shoes are the best shoes I have ever owned. I have owned them for over 10 years and they are still some of my best court shoes. They are still available on retailers, but they cost an absurd amount and the ones that are reasonably priced are used.
Bonus: What are the best volleyball shoes for flat feet?
As an extension into the comfort discussion, something that is of absolute concern in the shoe buying community is whether or not the shoe is comfortable for flat feet. I personally have very flat feet as well, so this strikes me personally. Of the five shoes above, I have found that the Mizuno Wave Momentums were actually still comfortable for my flat feet. Oftentimes though, it is easy to just replace the sole inside the shoe with something that is specific for flat footed people. In-soles are great for more than just flat footed people and we at volley-pedia will be providing an article soon addressing all the positives that can come out of in-soles for us flat footed people as well as others.
Overall there are a lot of things to consider when buying volleyball shoes and more specifically the best volleyball shoes for liberos. Volleyball specific shoes will generally have solid traction, they will be lightweight, and will typically be relatively similar in price. Finding the ones that have that perfect combination of flexibility and support is what’s most difficult.