The Rise of Sleeveless Volleyball Jerseys and Why Athletes Love Them

The Rise of Sleeveless Volleyball Jerseys and Why Athletes Love Them
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The Rise of Sleeveless Volleyball Jerseys

In recent years, sleeveless jerseys have become increasingly popular among volleyball players at all levels. Many high school, college, and professional players have made the switch from traditional sleeved jerseys to the sleeveless style.

Benefits of Sleeveless Volleyball Jerseys

There are several reasons why more and more volleyball players are choosing sleeveless jerseys:

  • Increased range of motion - Sleeveless jerseys allow for better shoulder and arm mobility since there is no fabric restricting the shoulders.
  • Cooling effect - Without sleeves, players stay cooler allowing them to perform at higher intensities for longer periods.
  • Lightweight feeling - The sleeveless style has a lightweight feel which many players prefer over bulkier, traditional sleeves.

The Trend Starts in College and Professional Volleyball

The sleeveless volleyball jersey trend originated at the college and professional levels before trickling down to high school and club players. Many top NCAA Division 1 college programs first began using sleeveless styles in the early 2010s.

By removing sleeves, college players reported feeling better arm swing mechanics on hits and serves. Cooler bodies also reduced muscle fatigue over the course of intense matches. Before long, nearly every top-25 ranked college team featured sleeveless home and away jersey designs.

Youth and High School Players Quickly Adopt the Style

Seeing their college and professional role models playing in sleeveless jerseys, many younger players wanted to emulate the same look. Sleeveless jerseys gave youth players a lightweight, athletic feel and professional look that resonated with both girls and boys.

Despite some initial school dress code restrictions, most high school teams allow sleeveless volleyball uniforms today. Club teams also frequently use creative sleeveless jersey designs to differentiate themselves and stay current with the latest trends.

Factors Driving the Sleeveless Volleyball Jersey Trend

Beyond just professional influence, there are some underlying performance and cultural factors explaining the surge in sleeveless volleyball jerseys:

The Growth of Volleyball Itself

As participation in volleyball grows every year, so does innovation in uniforms and apparel. With more people playing competitively, there is greater demand for performance-focused uniforms. Sleeveless jerseys have filled that need at all levels from youth to Olympic.

Focus on Shoulder Health

Volleyball players are very prone to overuse shoulder injuries. Rotator cuff, labrum, and other shoulder issues are common due to repetitive overhead motions. Removing sleeves reduces a potential source of irritation and inflammation during play.

Cultural Views Around Women in Sports

The traditional sleeved jerseys worn for generations symbolized a more antiquated view around women in sports. Sleeveless jerseys evoke images of confidence, strength and athleticism that more closely aligns with modern cultural norms.

The Future of the Sleeveless Volleyball Jersey

With sleeveless volleyball jerseys now common from youth levels to Olympic competition, it is highly unlikely the trend reverses anytime soon. As new generations grow up playing in sleeveless jerseys, they will likely expect the same uniform styles as players and coaches.

There also has yet to be any major innovation to replace the sleeveless advantage from a performance perspective. Expect sleeveless jerseys to dominate volleyball for the long term future.

However, some players may incorporate removable sleeves for cases where they prefer a little more coverage. Removable sleeve technology preserves the sleeveless look while providing flexibility around arm coverage preferences.

Sleeveless volleyball jerseys reflect the modern era of volleyball focused on confidence, self-expression, and high athletic performance above all else.


Are sleeveless volleyball jerseys allowed in high school play?

In most cases, yes. Though some more conservative school districts prohibited them early on, today the vast majority of high schools place no restrictions on sleeveless jersey designs.

Do Olympic volleyball players wear sleeveless jerseys?

Since first introduced in 2012, both men's and women's Olympic indoor volleyball teams now primarily wear sleeveless jerseys. The style allows top players full range of motion during intense tournament play.

Do all college volleyball programs use sleeveless jerseys?

Today the great majority of top NCAA Division 1 volleyball schools sport sleeveless home and away jerseys. A few lesser known programs still opt for sleeves, but sleeveless is undoubtedly the new norm.

Are there any downsides to sleeveless volleyball jerseys?

Some players feel too exposed wearing sleeveless jerseys and still prefer the traditional sleeve look. Removable sleeves allow these players the option of added arm coverage when desired without restricting motion.

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