Volleyball is an engaging sport to watch and a stimulating one to play. Despite this, a common question that is raised by both viewers and players alike is- why are volleyball shorts so short?
While some people argue that the reason behind this is utilitarian, others disagree. The latter group believes that the shortness of the bottoms is simply for aesthetic or popular appeal.
While women’s volleyball shorts can be questioningly short, there are practical and historical reasons behind this. Men’s volleyball shorts are also relatively short as opposed to other sports.
Are you curious about the reasons why volleyball shorts are so short? Read on to find out all about shorts for volleyball and how to get the right size!
What Are Volleyball Shorts?
Volleyball shorts are the bottoms that constitute a volleyball player’s attire. The sport emerged in the 1800s but gained widespread recognition in the late 1900s.
Women began playing volleyball in the 1950s, and their uniforms reflected the fashion norm until the 70s. This meant mid-length shorts and fitted jerseys.
Many volleyball teams began transitioning to tight-fitting spandex shorts as the synthetic material gained popularity towards the late 70s. The popular term for these new, higher cut and form-fitting shorts was ‘bun-huggers.’ You may find this to be amusing, but this was indeed the internationally used term for these shorts!
Even though this particular style has undergone certain changes since then, the current volleyball shorts arise from it.
Volleyball shorts today are tight-fitting, close-cropped spandex shorts that allow easy movement while playing for women. For men, volleyball shorts can range from mid-length or board shorts to higher and slightly tighter shorts.
What is the reason behind volleyball shorts so short?
Are you wondering why volleyball shorts are so short when other active sports do not have the same demand? The answer to this lies in comfort and practicality.
Volleyball requires immense lateral movement, diving, and jumping. Baggy bottoms or long shorts are bothersome and get in the way when trying to move quickly.
Short spandex shorts allow a wide range of motion. The cloth does not hit the net either. A lot of volleyball players can vouch for this!
Longer shorts tend to bunch up uncomfortably due to the rapid movements, and players find it distracting to keep adjusting their shorts. It negatively affects their speed. The shorts are such to reduce the resistance caused by extra fabric as well.
The burning question now is, why are men’s shorts not the same as women’s? Why do women have to wear shorter ones?
This is because of men’s anatomy. For male volleyball players, longer shorts are more convenient because the structure of their thighs makes it less likely that the bottoms would ride up. Rather, extremely short and tight spandex shorts would be counter-productive for men!
To add to this, men and women play the game in different manners. While volleyball is about flexibility and agility for women, it is more about power and strength for men. The majority of motions used by both are different in nature and call for different uniforms.
How long are volleyball shorts?
The length of volleyball shorts differs from team to team and region to region.
For women, the current and widely used length has inseams running from 2 to 4 inches. The shorts can either be long enough to reach the mid-thigh level, or high-cut enough to be ‘bun-huggers.’
The FIVB has provisions for women to wear other uniforms instead of the brief, tight shorts. These include knee-length pants, which should be around 3 cm above the knee, and general shorts, which should be 26 cm above the knee.
Both of these bottom alternatives come with respective tops as well.
When it comes to men’s volleyball shorts, the standard size is usually up to the knee. The inseams should ideally be between 5 and 7 inches. This differs according to various regulating bodies, though.
For instance, the FIVB states that men’s volleyball shorts should not have inseams exceeding 3.9 inches. The length should be at least 10 cm above the kneecap.
How to get the right size volleyball shorts
Volleyball requires the players to have maximum freedom of movement. This is why it is important to get the right size of volleyball shorts.
Sizes are slightly different depending upon the region, so make sure you have the size guide of your location on hand.
The first step is to use a measuring tape to measure the length around your hips. You must also measure the length of your legs before buying volleyball shorts.
For women, the average length of the inseam for a size Small spandex shorts is 2 ¾ inches, for a Medium, it is 3 ¼, and for a Large, it can reach up to 3 ¾. The US Sizes for them are 2-6, 8-10, and 12-14, respectively.
Men should also keep track of their measurements while shopping for volleyball shorts. The sizes for men will differ, as will the inseam lengths.
You will most likely find a sizing chart for the brand of volleyball shorts you are looking to buy. You must have the measurements of your hip, leg, and thigh length. This way, you will find it relatively easy to match the sizes and get the right one for yourself.
The best way to get the exact size you need is to visit a sports apparel store and try some shorts on!
Why do volleyball players wear spandex?
Do you wonder why other fabrics are not worn by volleyball players in place of spandex? This is because spandex is the most convenient and widely used material for volleyball shorts.
It provides an incredible range of motion, is light and non-intrusive, and does not constrict the wearers.
Spandex is a tight material that does not bunch up with varied and extreme movements. It also has better parameters than other fabrics in terms of dealing with moisture. Spandex is a compact fabric and clings to the skin. This means that it does not touch the net either.
This synthetic material has been at the forefront of volleyball apparel because of the practicality it offers. Players can move around freely and focus entirely on the game while playing in full comfort.
Spandex can also withstand rough wear and tear. It is a long-lasting material and suits a game like a volleyball well.
Volleyball shorts have been questioned by many people for being incredibly short. However, this is a purely tactical and practical decision. Players all over the world prefer short, tight spandex shorts because they offer increased mobility.
Volleyball is an extremely intense sport and demands high speed and agility from the players. The clothing worn by volleyball players must be in stride with the requirements of the game. This is why spandex is the most convenient fabric for shorts.
It is of utmost importance to have a background of sports uniforms and get the right size. This will allow you can wear them mindfully and perform to the best of your abilities!