Asics has been a go-to brand for volleyball for a very long time, and they kept this trend going with the Netburner Ballistic FF 3, the third shoe in the popular Netburner Ballistic line. With a focus on movement based on data taken from actual players, Asics has packed in some interesting and unique design choices and tech that set this sneaker apart from the rest of their volleyball lineup. The result of these features is a great volleyball shoe, but there are some drawbacks.
Asics Netburner Ballistic FF 3
Fit: True to Size
- Rundown: The Netburner Ballistic FF 3 is a great shoe that keeps you feeling ready to move and be quick on your feet.
- Court Feel and Stability
The best feature of the Asics Netburner Ballistic FF 3 is its traction. Most volleyball shoes have good traction (and Asics’ rubber compounds are always sticky), but the Netburner is absolutely glued to the ground. Moving in these shoes feels extremely responsive, thanks to their X GUIDANCE outsole pattern. I tested these on wood and plastic flooring, both clean and dusty. On dusty floors, you’ll have to wipe the soles occasionally, but they were still holding traction even on floors that desperately need some attention.
Traction is meaningless without good lockdown because if the outsole stops moving but your foot doesn’t, bad things happen. Luckily, Asics put a lot of focus on lockdown, with their combination of insole shape and a durable upper. In testing, it worked great. The Netburner Ballistic FF 3 is tight on foot but still comfortable. Your foot sits within the midsole, and the laces work well with the upper to lock your foot down. Asics is calling this setup 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION, and it works.
Court Feel and Stability
This feature is closely linked to the traction and lockdown. The Netburner Ballistic FF 3 is stable when moving laterally and when jumping and landing, which is what really protects your ankles (not high tops). This shoe is built for volleyball movement, and the Asics design team clearly knew what they were doing. Defensive movements feel great, and the shoe really encourages you to stay on your toes to pick up those tips with its relatively high 15mm heel drop. In the front row, it feels natural moving laterally to block, and the heel-toe transition when attacking is very smooth (as is always the case with sneakers featuring Asics’ TWISTRUSS tech). There are some cushioning concerns that we’ll get to in the Cons section, but for defense (liberos), the Netburner Ballistic FF 3 will have you feeling quick on your feet.
The biggest drawback to the Netburner Ballistic FF 3 is that there are just much better options for cushioning. The midsole is made of Flytefoam Propel, which is a responsive setup, and it does feel a little bouncy. It definitely isn’t taking away from your jump height. As far as landing goes, that’s where this sneaker leaves a lot to be desired. Every time I tested these, after a few games, I could feel the lack of impact protection in my knees and, eventually, my feet. In a long tournament, I even had to switch to other shoes to try to mitigate the pain that was building up. For players that need more protection for any reason (heavier players, players that jump high, or players that jump a lot), I would not recommend this shoe.
Asics Netburner Ballistic FF3 Summary
The pros and cons of the Asics Netburner Ballistic FF 3 paint a very clear picture that is simple to summarize. If you mostly play front row (middles and most right sides), probably look at different options. If you mostly play back row (liberos and some setters), this could be the sneaker for you. I will even double down on that and say that the Asics Netburner Ballistic FF 3 is the best volleyball shoe for liberos. They really do feel that great to play in, they just don’t have the cushioning to play in front of the 10’ line.
The Asics Netburner Ballistic FF 3 runs true to size and can be purchased at the links below. Let us know what you think. Have you tried the Netburner line? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments, Twitter, Instagram, or on our Discord community.