How to Dress to Play Volleyball

Three Methods:Dressing for Casual PlayDressing for Competitive PlayDressing for Beach Volleyball

When playing volleyball, it is important that you dress appropriately so that you can maintain a full range of motion without overheating. Whether you are playing a casual game with friends, competitive indoor volleyball, or beach volleyball, you should make sure that you are wearing the right clothing, shoes, and gear.

Method 1
Dressing for Casual Play

  1. Image titled Dress to Play Volleyball Step 1
    Choose loose fitting shorts. These shorts should have an elastic band. The length can range from your mid-thigh down to your knees. These are often branded as athletic shorts. Basketball shorts, running shorts, and soccer shorts are good options.
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    Put on a sports bra. For women playing sports, it is essential that you wear a sports bra underneath your shirt instead of a normal bra. These tight, polyester bras will allow you to run around without interference or injury.
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    Wear a t-shirt or tank top. Short-sleeved shirts or sleeveless tank tops are good for volleyball because they allow a full range of motion while keeping you cool. Compression shirts, sweat-proof athletic tops, and mesh jerseys are all good options as well. Choose a cotton or polyester blend. Make sure that you can fully move your arms.
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    Find comfortable athletic shoes. Find shoes with good traction. Check the soles for deep rubber grooves. You should be able to wiggle your toes comfortably in these shoes.
    • While you can buy specialized volleyball shoes, you don’t have to unless you are a competitive player. Other types of court shoes, such as tennis or basketball shoes, are good substitutes.[1]
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    Put up your hair up. If you have long hair, you will want to keep it out of your face. You can put it in a ponytail or a French braid. A tight bun also works. Make sure that it is tight enough so it won't untangle or get in the way.
    • If you have shorter hair, you may opt for a headband to keep hair out of your eyes. Choose one that has elastic bands to keep it on your head even during rough play.

Method 2
Dressing for Competitive Play

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    Wear shorts. Men and women tend to wear different types of shorts when playing volleyball. Women’s shorts are tighter and shorter while men’s shorts are longer and looser.
    • Women typically wear spandex shorts. These have a four-inch inseam and resemble biking shorts.[2]
    • Men wear baggy shorts that reach just above the knee. These resemble basketball shorts.
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    Put on a jersey. Jerseys are standard in competitive volleyball. Your team will likely provide you a jersey. Jerseys must be a solid color, and the libero must be wearing a contrasting color to the rest of the team.[3]
    • Women’s jerseys are tight-fitting with short sleeves. Make sure that your shirt is snug but that you can still move your arms. Try stretching and rotating your arms when you try yours on to see how well you can move.
    • Men wear looser jerseys with no sleeves. Make sure yours is not so loose that it can get caught in the net.
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    Invest in a pair of volleyball shoes. Volleyball shoes have special rubber soles that give them extra traction on the court. Two popular brands of volleyball shoes are Asics and Mizuno.[4] Prices for good shoes range from $70 to $150.
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    Put on knee pads. Pick knee pads that fit you well and that cover your entire knee. The sleeve of the kneepad should be between 5 and 10 inches.[5] More advanced players may want a shorter sleeve for maximum flexibility while newer players will want longer sleeves to increase their protection.

Method 3
Dressing for Beach Volleyball

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    Put on your bathing suit. When you play beach volleyball—even competitively—the standard uniform is a bathing suit. While regulations vary from league to league, generally women will wear one or two piece bathing suits while men will wear swimming trunks.
    • Teams should have at least two colors for their uniforms.[6]
    • Bikinis are the most common type of uniform for women, although you can usually wear a one-piece suit if you choose. If you don’t want to wear bikini bottoms, you can also opt for swim shorts or spandex shorts.
    • Not all leagues require men to wear shirts. If you are playing competitively, check with the regulations of your local league. Even if you are not required to wear a shirt, you may want to wear at least a tank top to prevent sunburn.[7]
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    Go barefoot. Players do not typically wear shoes for beach volleyball. On warm, sunny days, the sand can be extremely hot, so you may opt for a pair of socks. Generally, however, you will be playing barefoot.[8]
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    Apply sunscreen. It may not be clothing, but it is just as important to put on as you will be spending a long time out in the sun. Take an one-ounce dollop of sunscreen, and rub it all over your body. Don’t forget your ears, neck, or face.[9]
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    Bring sunglasses and a hat. While not required, many beach volleyball leagues encourage players to wear sunglasses and a hat.[10][11] These will help protect you against the sun.
    • Make sure your sunglasses fit snuggly on your face. You do not want them to fall off as you play.


  • Lace up your shoes. Make sure they are tied tightly so you won't trip on them!
  • If you cannot wear shorts due to religious reasons, check with your local league to see if there are options. Some leagues may allow you to wear a shirt or pants under the uniform so long as they are the same color.[12]


  • Leave the jewelry at home. Jewelry can get caught in nets, and they can cause injury if you land improperly on them.

Article Info

Categories: Volleyball