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Tips To Choose the Right Court Shoes for Pickleball


Pickleball is a fast-paced, high-energy game that’s great for a workout and a lot of fun. If you are looking for court shoes for pickleball, remember that the amount of movement and activity involved in the game demands shoes that are a cut above your standard athletic shoe. Choosing the wrong shoe can lead to premature wear and may negatively affect your gameplay. Here are some things you should understand about pickleball shoes before you choose that first pair.

Why Do You Need Pickleball Shoes?

You might wonder why you can’t just buy any athletic shoes to play pickleball. You certainly could, and some athletic shoes are viable alternatives to pickleball shoes. However, there are two key reasons why most pickleball players are choosy about the shoes that they wear on the court.

  • Game Play and Performance — The right shoes can make a difference in your ability to play the game well. Pickleball shoes are designed specifically for the game, with thicker soles on the insides of your feet and tread designed specifically for traction, grip, and fast lateral movement response. The right court shoes for pickleball allow you to move freely and comfortably with the extra grip where you need it for peak game performance.
  • Overall Safety on the Court — Pickleball is a fast-moving game, and sometimes those movements put your feet and ankles at risk. Quick stops, sudden direction changes, and similar movements can increase your risk not only of twisting an ankle but also of falling and suffering other injuries. The right pickleball shoes are heavier to provide you with a stronger anchor and reduce the risk of falls. They are also crafted for greater support and impact absorption to protect your ankles and to ease impact strain on your back, knees, and hips.

Where Do You Play Pickleball?

When you start looking at the options for your pickleball shoes, you need to consider where you play. Indoor pickleball courts require different shoes than outdoor courts because they are made of different materials. Outdoor court shoes for pickleball should be made for harder surfaces, which require greater impact absorption and more durable tread than those shoes made for indoor courts.

Shoes crafted for outdoor pickleball courts resemble those made for tennis in their construction because they are both designed for the same type of court. The only difference is that pickleball shoes have added reinforcement in the soles in different places than tennis shoes.

Pickleball shoes made for indoor courts are a lot like indoor volleyball shoes because the court is very similar. The tread pattern is different, though, because the footwork and movement response are different between the two games. However, in a pinch, a volleyball shoe will work. You may just have to replace them sooner because the soles are not reinforced on the inside of the foot like pickleball shoes are.

Is It Time for New Court Shoes for Pickleball?

If you aren’t sure whether it’s really time for new pickleball shoes, there are a few easy ways to tell. You’ll start to notice a change in your gameplay as your pickleball shoes wear out. You may have less traction and find yourself slipping a little more on the court. You may also notice that the soles of your shoes aren’t as thick and supportive as they once were, which can affect not only how you play but also how you feel after you play.

If you’re seeing blisters on your feet after pickleball games, that’s a sign your shoes are wearing out and aren’t protecting your feet as they should. The same is true if you feel more discomfort after play, with pain in your joints, lower back, and feet. Pickleball shoes in good condition provide enough support and impact distribution to reduce these issues.

How Do You Choose Your New Court Shoes for Pickleball?

When it is time to start shopping for your new pickleball shoes, you need to be prepared to make the right selection. There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right shoes, and each is important to your comfort and gameplay.

Sole Construction

Pickleball shoes should have a non-marking sole. You don’t want to leave streaks and marks on the court when you play. Most places will have a requirement that your shoes be non-marking, so make sure you consider that when you choose. Additionally, the soles should be heavy for an athletic shoe. That added weight provides stability on the court, which is important.

Tread Pattern

Your pickleball shoes need a tread pattern specifically for the game. Herringbone tread patterns are popular because of the grip, traction, and support they provide. The tread should also show clear reinforcement along the outer edges and support for quick, easy lateral movements.

Upper Material

As with any athletic shoe, your court shoes for pickleball should be breathable. The pace of the game and the workout you get can leave you hot, and you want to be sure that your feet are able to breathe and stay comfortable. Mesh uppers are great for breathability in shoe construction and are a popular solution for pickleball shoes.

Proper Fit

When you buy pickleball shoes, don’t just grab a pair off the rack in your normal size. You need to try them on and assess the fit. Proper fit is crucial with pickleball shoes because pinching, rubbing, cramping, or other problems can affect your maneuverability. Look for something well-cushioned and supportive as well as comfortable.

Outsole Guarantee

Quality pickleball shoes are made to last under demanding circumstances. Choose shoes that come with an outsole guarantee so you know the company stands behind the construction of that shoe.

Buying court shoes for pickleball is more complicated than you might think. If you want to perform at your best, you need to understand the shoes, know when they need replacement, and be able to choose the right option for your needs. Visit us at Pickleball Portal for more tips and information about the game.

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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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