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6 Tips for Finding the Right Pickleball Shoes


When you first get into pickleball, you spend a lot of time considering different rackets and the pickleball you want. You may even ponder buying a temporary pickleball net, but have you thought about pickleball shoes? Keep in mind that shoe manufacturers haven’t designed the perfect pickleball shoe yet, but there are certain shoes that help you play better and protect you from injury.

Can’t I Wear My Running Shoes To Play Pickleball?

You might be tempted to use your running shoes when you first start playing. However, those running shoes will wear out pretty quickly, especially along the sides because of all the lateral movements you make while playing pickleball. You’ll also wear out the treads and put holes in the sides of your shoes. That’s why investing in the right footwear is crucial if you plan on playing pickleball regularly.

Why Do I Need Pickleball Shoes?

Not only does wearing the right shoes protect you from injury, but they also help your performance. You’ll play a better game when you wear the right shoes, and you won’t tire out as quickly. 

1. Pickleball Shoes Improve Your Play

Court shoes are specifically designed for movement on the court. The tread grips the flooring better, giving you more control over your steps. Balance is everything in pickleball. You need to get to the ball quickly and then be ready for the next shot. Taking large steps helps you play better, but your feet need to be grounded so you don’t lose your balance. Pickleball shoes do a great job of keeping you centered.

2. Pickleball Shoes Are Safer

Play pickleball for very long while wearing ordinary shoes, and you’ll experience foot and knee pain. The upper portions of pickleball shoes are designed to protect your feet during those repetitive side-to-side motions. Court shoes tend to be heavier and thicker than running shoes. They’ll protect you from ankle roll and cushion the sides of your feet.

Court shoes also keep your feet stable so you’re less likely to fall. They provide better support for your ankles to prevent a sprain. Your knees and lower back also absorb less shock while taking those pounding steps.

What Should I Look For When Buying Pickleball Shoes?

When playing indoors, you need shoes with sturdy soles that give you traction without marking up hardwood flooring. You also want shoes that protect you from turning an ankle, as well as absorbing shock to prevent injuries. We’ve got a great selection of pickleball shoes here.

What Makes a Good Pickleball Shoe?

If you plan on playing pickleball outdoors, then you need shoes with a sturdy rubber outsole. When playing indoors, you need shoes that can give you traction on wooden flooring without leaving marks. Both types of shoes should support your ankle so your shoe doesn’t roll out from under you. Here are some other things to consider when looking for pickleball shoes.

1. Don’t Go Cheap

You may be tempted to buy cheaper shoes to save money, but you’ll run through them quickly and then have to buy another pair. You’re better off buying quality shoes the first time around. Well-built pickleball shoes last you far longer and protect you from costly injuries. You’ll find they are worth the extra cost.

2. Choose Quality Over Looks

Save the pretty shoes for visiting with friends or strolling through the mall. You want shoes that protect your feet. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for ugly pickleball shoes. There are some great court shoes out there that look just as fabulous as they feel.

3. Opt for Lighter Shoes

The heavier your shoes, the poorer the game you’ll play. Heavy shoes put an extra burden on your feet and tire you out. You’ll perform better with shoes that don’t weigh as much. Look for some under 9 ounces when playing indoors. For outdoor shoes, make sure they weigh less than 13 ounces.

4. Racquetball or Volleyball Shoes Are Best for Playing Indoors

Tennis shoes are designed for asphalt surfaces. You won’t have good traction if you wear tennis shoes while playing pickleball in a gymnasium. Plus, a gym floor that gets dusty becomes slippery, which means an increased need for traction. Wear volleyball shoes instead. 

5. Look for Gels or Air Cushions

It’s important to have effective cushioning in the right place so you don’t put undue stress on your knees and your lower back. Look for court shoes that provide either gel or air cushioning to protect your joints.

6. Select Comfortable Shoes

Make sure the shoes are comfortable. They should be well-made and have smooth soles so you can easily move from side to side without difficulty.

What Questions Should You Ask When Choosing Pickleball Shoes?

You need to look for shoes that meet the specific needs of pickleball playing. Keep these questions in mind when choosing your shoes:

1. What Does the Outsole Look Like?

The outsole is the bottom of the shoe and is typically made of rubber. Does the outsole look durable enough? If the outsole is thin, look for another shoe.

2. What About the Insole?

The insole is the insert that cushions your foot. The better the quality of the insole, the more protection your feet have, so make sure the insole is well made.

3. What Are the Uppers Made Of?

The uppers are the materials that cover your feet. What kind of fabric did the manufacturer use? Is it suede? Will the material allow your feet to breathe?

4. Will the Shoe Protect Your Ankle?

Does the shoe adequately protect your ankles? Will it give you the support you need? If your ankles tend to be weak, look for shoes that are taller around your ankles.

How Can I Find the Right Pickleball Shoes for Me?

Here at Pickleball Empire, we have all the information you need to find the right pickleball equipment for your best game ever, including finding the best shoes. When you’re ready to learn more about playing your best game, get started here.

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About Dan Langston

With experience in the ecotourism industry and time well spent as a fly fishing guide in the remote absaroka mountain range for 6 years, Dan brings a unique perspective on customer service to the digital world. As the operator, Dan is now committed to revitalizing Pickleball Portal and plans to build a support system for content creators and provide helpful information for the pickleball community. dan@pickleballportal.com

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