This page will cover the best grass volleyball shoes available right now. We keep it updated as we review new or better options.
When the weather gets nicer, volleyball players around the world move from the wood and plastic indoor courts to the sand or grass outdoors. Grass volleyball is rapidly growing, especially anywhere without easy access to the coast. Beach volleyball is best played barefoot, but grass is a different story. Some athletes will try barefoot, but most won’t continue that for long. So what should you wear, then? What are the best grass volleyball shoes?
There isn’t one pair that can definitively be called the best.
I’ll write more on this subject in another post, but I’ll summarize briefly here. There is not a single shoe designed for playing volleyball on grass. What we’re left with is compromise. Most players will pick between 3 options, and those will be the 3 categories of this post.
- Best Turf Cleats
- Best Trail Runners
- Best Volleyball/Basketball Shoes
Each of these options has pros and cons:
Turf cleats are meant for playing some other sport, usually baseball, on turf. They are more or less a compromise between the other two. Better stability and lockdown than trail runners, but not as good as volleyball shoes. Better traction than volleyball shoes, but not as good as trail runners. They generally have worse cushion than both, but that’s not as important on the grass. This combination gives turf cleats a strong case for the best grass volleyball shoes.
Trail runners generally have the best traction, but I find the lack of lateral stability and sufficient lockdown meant for jumping and changing directions to be a problem. They aren’t necessarily the best grass volleyball shoes, but they are the most popular choice, and they do work.
Volleyball/Basketball shoes are obviously great for all of the movements required to play grass volleyball, but they really only work in well-maintained, dry grass. A little bit of rain or a dirt patch and they can be completely useless. This puts them in a weird spot, as in perfect conditions they’re inarguably the best grass volleyball shoes, but perfect conditions are very hard to come by.
Best Grass Volleyball Shoes: Turf Cleats
One problem that comes with turf cleats is the lack of options available. Most major brands only offer one or two turf cleats, or might not have any at all. Additionally, one of the main reasons to use them is the traction, and some models have very small treads only meant for short turfs. This doesn’t translate as well to the real grass. The Boombah Dart Turf does not have this problem.
Boombah Dart Turf
The traction on the Dart Turf is excellent. I’ve used it in dry grass, dewy evening grass, and in the mud and pouring rain. The treads grip well, but not so firmly that it’s unsafe (cleats are a major ACL risk, which is one of the reasons they’re usually prohibited from grass volleyball). The rest of the features of this shoe are not extraordinary. The lateral stability is good and is mostly provided by a wide-enough outsole and a sturdy upper material. Compared to trail runners, the lockdown and lateral stability are both a big improvement. Possibly the best feature of the Dart Turf is the price. For $40-$75 you get an excellent grass shoe that you don’t hesitate to stomp into the mud.
The lockdown on these is not great. The laces work well enough to prevent any toe sliding, but the heel feels insecure. There isn’t much of a heel counter, so the laces are the only thing holding your heel down. I’ve never had them fall off my foot completely, but I do feel my heel starting to come out of them occasionally. There are no extra eyelets to tie a runner’s heel lock. The other cons correlate to the budget-friendly price tag. The midsole foam isn’t great so there isn’t much cushioning (adequate for grass though). The upper materials are kind of weird and plasticky, although this does allow them to put fun prints on the shoes.
At a $40-$75 price tag, you get possibly the best option for anything but the most perfect grass and weather conditions. Boombahs are growing in popularity among grass volleyball players, and it’s clear why. I would definitely recommend giving them a try. Despite the incredibly low cost, these could very well be the best grass volleyball shoes.
Best Grass Volleyball Shoes: Trail Runners
Trail runners have some design insufficiencies for grass volleyball, but they are the most popular choice. There are so many to pick from and a lot of it comes down to personal preference. Hoka One One makes some great options with plenty of cushioning, Salomon’s Speedcross line seems built to play in ankle-deep mud, and Nike’s React Pegasus Trail line is a familiar option for a lot of players. You can find even more options on our best trail runners for hiking page. But to be the best trail runner for grass volleyball, the shoe will need to have all of the things that make trail runners great, while minimizing their weaknesses. That award goes to the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 8.
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 8
The Terra Kiger line has been underrated for grass volleyball for years now, as it is a more aggressive design than most other trail runners. The traction on these shoes is incredible. Large, aggressive lugs meant for hill running also work great for jumping and landing. The react foam combines with a forefoot Zoom Air unit to give a springy feel even in the grass. The upper is durable and breathable, which are two important characteristics for any outdoor sports shoe.
If the traction and cushion are so good in the Terra Kiger 8, then how is it not the undisputed best grass volleyball shoe? The answer is still that trail runners are not meant for grass volleyball in the same way that running shoes aren’t meant for volleyball. The lateral stability is lacking, and that’s a large problem when you’re pushing off along the net in uneven dirt and grass. The lockdown is plenty for jogging through the woods, but not as great when you’re aggressively jumping and sprinting and stopping over and over. I found my toes slamming into the front of the shoe repeatedly when landing, even if it wasn’t as bad as some other trail runners.
Trail runners are not the perfect grass volleyball shoe, but they are one of the best options. The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 8 is both the longest sneaker name I’ve ever seen and the best trail running shoe for grass volleyball. If trail runner is your choice, then you can’t go wrong with these.
Best Grass Volleyball Shoes: Volleyball/Basketball Shoes
Russel Westbrook’s 5th signature shoe is not known to be a super top-tier basketball shoe (find our basketball performance review here). But it has one important secret that makes it one of the best grass volleyball shoes. For some reason, Westbrook wanted Nike to give him trail runner traction.
Jordan Why Not Zer0.5
The main reason that the Why Not Zer0.5 is such a good choice in the grass is that it features a trail runner traction pattern with tiny circular rubber lugs. This pattern actually also closely resembles grass tennis shoe traction patterns, and is more than adequate in well-cut, dry grass. The shoe features a solid torsional plate for plenty of support, sufficient lockdown for jumping, and is stable enough to save your ankles when moving side to side. Additionally, you can feel the Zoom Air cushioning underfoot, even on the soft ground.
The sneaker has a lot of materials on it, so it can be pretty warm, although it is well ventilated. The biggest problem is that as soon as the grass is even slightly damp, these shoes are just as useless as any other indoor court shoe.
I realize this shoe isn’t super available anymore. It’s just weirdly applicable with its unique trail runner tread pattern and is worth checking out. In places with a lot of nice weather, Westbrook’s 5th signature sneaker could be the best of the best grass volleyball shoes. This shoe is the closest we’ve seen to a sneaker truly designed for grass volleyball, and it would be great to see more like it.
Other than the Why Not Zer0.5, I would go with turf cleats or trail runners, although I am always looking for and testing more options.
Let us know what you think. Did we leave anything out? Is there another shoe that you’d put on the list? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or in our Discord community.