Womens Sports Accessories: How To Choose Well-Fitting Volleyball Shoes

Volleyball is growing in popularity. Strategy to choosing footwear to protect your feet and enhance your game.

Women's volleyball is a fast-paced sport, with a growing following. The sport was founded in 1895 by William G. Morgan, an instructor for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) who wanted a less physically demanding game for businessmen to play. Mr. Morgan took a basketball net and mounted it six feet six inches above the floor. It was not until 1920 that spiking was used, an innovation from the Philippines known as the "Filipino Bomb." From then on, volleyball was on its way to the very quick game played at the highest levels by both men and women.

As a sport that requires fast, short, forward, backward and lateral moves, it is critical to have proper footwear. This guide provides you with a winning strategy that will help you choose the right shoes.

First, use these general guidelines, which really apply when trying on any shoes:

Because your feet swell as the day progresses, try shoes on in the late afternoon or evening. This will help "simulate" the beating your feet take as a volleyball match progresses. Wear the socks you are most likely to wear when actually wearing the volleyball shoes. If you prefer thin socks, but your team socks are thick, then wear the thick socks. Otherwise, come game day, your risk having aching feet.

Have each of your feet measured, both width and length, while standing. This helps ensure proper fit for each foot. You should then buy the shoe size that accommodates your larger foot. You should stand while having your feet measured, because your feet spread when they bear the weight of your body. Once you have the proper size, tell the clerk about any unique aspects of your feet, and then ask the sales clerk for help. Experienced sales clerks know that some brands of shoes are better for wide feet, some for narrow feet, etc.

Once you have sample pairs of women's shoes to try on (try not to buy men's shoes, as they will tend to not fit a woman's foot correctly), here is what to look for:

Stand up, then check that the toe box provides a gap about the width of your finger or thumb between the top of the shoe and your longest toe. You need to stand up to do this because your feet elongate and become wider as they bear the weight of your body. You do not want too much space in the toe box, as this can lead to abrasions and/or blistering.

The width of the shoe should be snug, but not binding. The heel cup should not feel loose. It should fit snugly, but without any rubbing. Test the shoes while moving. Walk around, crouch and slide your feet sideways rapidly, jump, etc. Try to emulate some of the movements you make when playing volleyball. Look for pain in your toes (this may suggest the toe box is not large enough), your heel (you may have a potential blister spot) or elsewhere. The shoe should be completely comfortable; you should not need to break it in. Finally, do not buy a pair of volleyball shoes without trying them on, even if they are on sale and it is awkward to try them. A size 10 shoe in one brand does not necessarily translate into other brands. Take the time to buy the right shoes, and your shoes will help you become a winner.

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