Volleyball Insoles – What You Need To Know
Playing volleyball can be hard on your feet, ankles and knees due to the continuous jumps and landing on a hard surface. Statistics show an average volleyball player takes 80-100 jumps during a match. When most athletes think about volleyball footwear, the first thing that comes to mind is sneakers with some of the top brand names being Nike, Mizuno, Asics and Adidas, all typically preaching lightweight construction, extra bounce, and added ankle support. But a good insole can be as important to you as the sneaker it goes into. Here’s what you need to know about volleyball insoles.
1. Don’t Volleyball Sneakers Come with Insoles?
Yes, they do. But it’s typically a very thin, flat layer of foam providing support, stability or shock absorption – check it out for yourself. Over the last 10 years, many sport shoe manufacturers have “light-weighted” their shoes by removing structure – and cost. With less weight, these shoe models can claim to be faster. However, most sports medicine experts agree that this light-weighting of shoes has led to more foot and lower leg injuries.
A recent study by NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association), showed that female volleyball players are prone to leg & foot injuries, about 2/3 of total injuries taking place below the waist. The mix of injuries by body parts: 36% ankle/foot, 16% hip/thigh/leg, and 11% knee. Most of these injuries occur during practice and happen during a spike or block attempt.
2. What Are the Most Common Volleyball Injuries?
An indoor volleyball court can be unforgiving. If you’ve played the sport, you know the pounding your joints receive from the constant jumping and landing. Some common foot and lower leg injuries in volleyball are:
· Ankle Sprains – Jumping doesn’t usually cause ankle problems, but landing does. All too often, a player will land awkwardly, or on another player’s foot, leading to a torquing injury causing the ankle ligaments to stretch beyond their normal limits. This is the most common injury in volleyball and players should consider wearing ankle braces for added protection.
· Jumper’s Knee (aka patellar tendonitis) – Repeated jumping on a hard surface can lead to small, micro-tears in the tendons around the knee (patellar) which results in knee pain and stiffness. Shock-absorbing sneakers and insoles can help reduce the impact – and reduce the risk of getting Jumper’s Knee.
· Fractures – Each foot contains 26 bones, some of which are thinner than a pencil. The constant jumping and explosive movements in volleyball can stress the bones and joints. Small breaks or stress fractures can develop over time and become quite debilitating.
· Lower Back Pain – While technically not a “below the waist” injury, back injuries can be caused by repetitive jumping and landing on a hard surface which can put pressure on the vertebrae and discs in the lower back. Once again, having good shock-absorbing sneakers and insoles can help reduce the impact and improve stability for the athlete.
3. How Can Insoles Help in Volleyball?
Quite simply, it all starts from the ground up… your ability to explode vertically for a spike, laterally for a save, or simply landing safely after a block at the net. Athletes, and especially volleyball players, are more likely to perform better and avoid injuries when they are starting with a stable foundation.
Aftermarket insoles are designed to provide more arch support, more heel stability and more shock absorption than most of the insoles that come in even the best volleyball sneakers. And they also provide more comfort. If you find an aftermarket insole that you like, you can keep that same fit, feel and comfort level from shoe to shoe, no matter how often the big sneaker companies change their shoe styles. And if you are hard on your shoes, you may find that a good aftermarket insole will help extend the life of your favorite sneakers.
4. What Are the Best Volleyball Insoles?
The good news is that there are many brands and products to choose from. Most products on the market are made from foam and plastic. The added structure can provide arch support and comfort and that may be all that a casual volleyball player is looking for. Brands like Dr. Scholl’s offer Sport Insoles for $20-$50. Or you can upgrade to brands like Superfeet, Sof Sole and Currex for $40-$70. All of these products are upgrades over the simple foam insoles that come with your volleyball shoes.
For athletes more serious about their sports, VKTRY Insoles are full-length, carbon fiber insoles that sell for $99-$169. They are the only insoles scientifically proven to help athletes jump higher (+1.6”) and land softer. In addition to higher verticals, “VKs” also help with lateral explosiveness (+9.3%). If the shoe or an insole is too soft, an athlete can lose responsiveness. The VKTRY Insoles provide a firm, stable base for push off to help with that important first step to help you get to every ball.
5. What People Are Saying About VKTRY Volleyball Insoles:
"Exploding vertically is important in Volleyball and VKs give me that extra edge on the court. I love that VKs help to protect against injuries from the countless jumps I take."
– Jordan Larson, Captain of the US Women’s National Volleyball Team, and 2021 Olympic Gold Medal Winner
“After an extensive 6-month research study, it is clear that VKTRY Insoles improve lower body biomechanics, stability of the ankle and knee during running, and shock absorption during landing. These improvements can help safeguard athletes by providing injury protection.”
— Dr. Douglas Casa, PhD, ATC, Professor of Kinesiology, CEO of KSI (Korey Stringer Institute), member of the NFL Executive Committee