Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the US. One of the great things about pickleball is that it attracts men and women of all ages. According to recent reports, almost 40% of players in the US are women.
Pickleball really doesn’t require much equipment to get started other than a paddle, a ball and a good pair of shoes for pickleball. We explain below why we think good pickleball shoes are actually more important that your paddle. We reviewed the shoes on the market and picked the ASICS Women's GEL-Resolution 6 as our overall best OUTDOOR pickleball shoe for women and the ASICS Women's GEL-Flashpoint as top pick for best INDOOR women's pickleball shoe.
As I explained below, both my wife and I have both been huge Asics fans for years so we admit we may be a little biased. Scroll down to see our other top picks for women's pickleball shoes and our full reviews including several other major shoe brands. At the end, I also threw in my top choice for men's pickleball shoes.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews; you can also click the links above to read customer reviews and more product details on Amazon.
Although a good quality paddle can definitely impact your game, I would say that when starting out GOOD FOOTWEAR is even more important. Before you head out on the courts, make sure you are wearing a properly fitting pair of shoes that will provide the support you need.
Your shoes may not only improve your ability to move well on the pickleball court but could also prevent injury to your joints. Before we go any further we really should clarify that as of 2017 we have not seen any “real” pickleball shoes on the market that are manufactured specifically for the sport -so we are really referring to good shoes to wear for playing pickleball.
Your best options are tennis court shoes for outdoor pickleball and volleyball shoes (for indoor courts). Because there are currently not specific pickleball shoes on the market, we must look to other sports that are similar to pickleball to find the best shoes to wear. We’ve analyzed similar sports and reviewed the best shoes that best match the features needed for a solid pickleball shoe.
Many outdoor courts are converted tennis hard courts while indoor courts are often used for multiple shared sports including badminton and volleyball. Therefore, indoor court shoes designed for these sports will work well since the court surface and movements during play are similar to pickleball.
The lateral movement of pickleball and quick change of direction closely resembles other racket sports like racquetball and squash. Because of this, the most logical shoes for pickleball are quality shoes designed for these sports.
So, when looking for women's pickleball shoes there are plenty of quality options including indoor courts shoes designed for: badminton, squash, racquetball. The best options are volleyball shoes for indoor pickleball for two main reasons: the shoes are specifically designed for indoor courts with natural gum rubber soles that will grip the smooth gym surface and prevent injury and secondly the movements in volleyball are similar (lateral movement and quick stops) so they offer the support needed for racket sports.
Top Buying Tip: Consider the weight!
Light shoes can make a huge difference on your game. Some volleyball shoes are 9 ounces or even less, whereas heavier tennis shoes can be over a pound. Those extra ounces add up and can add to fatigue and slow you down enough to make an impact on your game-especially after a long time on the court. It could be the difference between reaching that game winning return or missing the shot!
*Note: Shoe weights vary by size (a size 6 can be several ounces lighter than a size 12), average shoe weights given are based on woman's size 8.
Indoor: Indoor courts are generally made of wood (or some newer courts are made of flooring that mimics wood) which is slippery compared to outdoor tennis courts. You'll need a good shoe with soles that grips. Volleyball shoes are the best option for indoor courts.
Outdoor: Asphalt or concrete outdoor tennis courts will wear the soles down quickest. If you regularly play on concrete, look for reinforced durable soles. Tennis court shoes are your best option.
Avoid running shoes regardless if you play pickleball indoors or outdoors. They are not made for racket sports and the soles can easily catch and cause injury (i.e. twisted or sprained ankle). I've seen beginners wear everything from hiking boots to dock shoes!
**Please do yourself (and your ankles) a favor and invest in a decent pair of shoes for pickleball! **
Non-Marking: Many facilities require non-marking shoes to prevent damage to the floors. Many top shoes are non-marking but if you know that it’s a requirement where you regularly play, make sure you choose wisely.
Baseline Play: If your playing style more of a power game, driving long shots from the baseline (many beginning pickleball players play this style) then you’re going to be doing lots of lateral movement (side-to-side)- so look for shoes that have extra lateral support and durable soles.Serve-and-Volley: Do you approach the net all the time, are you dinking tons of shots and play a control game? If so, your shoes will take a toll especially the toes. A lot of those shots require players to bring weight up on the front of their feet and also increase tendency to drag feet. Look for pickleball shoes with reinforced soles and toecaps.
Do you drag your feet when approaching the net or coming to a stop? If so, you’ll want to make sure you buy pickleball shoes with reinforced toecaps. If you have already been playing pickleball for some time (or are coming from tennis), look at your used shoes to see if the toecaps are worn.
Running shoes have soft, flexible soles designed to shock absorb the impact of heel strike, they lack the lateral support needed for quick stops and starts and lunging after pickleballs. Also the deep pattern on the sole can catch and easily turn an ankle compared to flat soled shoes designed for racket sports.
Cross training shoes will likely wear out quickly on hardcourts. For these reasons, we recommend you have a proper pair of hard soled shoes for playing outdoor pickleball.
Although the Asics Flashpoint shoe is specifically designed for volleyball, they are a great match for other indoor sports played on wood or similar gym flooring. Many users have commented that they wear these for badminton, racquetball, squash and even gym classes like Zumba and aerobics.
Because the shoes are designed for indoor gym flooring we think they are a great match for indoor pickleball. They are the lightest volleyball shoes in the Asics line weighing in at just 10 oz.
The shoe comes in a 3 wild and fun looking color combinations. Although most people find the shoes fit as expected, about 20% report that they were slightly larger than expected so if it's your first time buying Asics it would be best to refer to the sizing chart before ordering online.
If you want to check the sizing, click here to see the Asics Gel-Flashpoint on Amazon, once there click on the "Size Chart" next to the size button. This will open a pop-up showing the sizes, you would just need to measure your foot (heel-to-toe) to find your correct Asics shoe size.
If the wild look of Gel Flashpoint isn't your style, another top pick for indoor pickleball shoes would be the ASICS Women's Gel-Rocket 8. The Rockets feature Asics signature GEL® technology cushioning system coupled with the "Trusstic", the brands proprietary technology for stabilizing the shoe. These two Asics-only features make the Rockets a comfortable and stable shoe. These are not high performance shoes but do have a sturdy design and seem like good value at this price point. They are intended for beginner and intermediate volleyball players -and for the reasons we already discussed, these features convert over well to pickleball -especially the gum rubber- when played on slick indoor courts.
Moving away from Asics, a quality (and somewhat more pricey option) for indoor pickleball would be the Mizuno Women's Wave Lightning Z2 Volleyball Shoe. The Lightning boasts the "Parallel Wave". All these shoe brands have their own marketing (Wave, Gel, etc)...but basically "Wave" is Mizuno's shock absorption and cushioning system. There are a few different versions of the Wave technology, this shoe is constructed with one (Parellel Wave) designed to provide lateral stability that pickleball players need on the court for quick movements during play. It also cushions impact and aligns foot on impact to maximize stability while minimizing shock.
Mizuno and Asics both make quality shoes and the GEL vs Wave debate (on which delivers more stability and shock protection is in large part a personal preference).
A nice small feature (which Asics did have on the Rocket 7s but took off the most recent 8s for unknown reasons) is the extra lace eyelet in the high position on the ankle collar. Some people don't use this but if do you have any issues with heel slippage, suffer from tendonitis or need an extra snug fit for extra ankle support this simple feature can be a huge benefit on a court shoe. Both the Flashpoint 2 and the Mizuno Lightning Z2s do have this feature.
Asics is back with their second shoe on our list, the Resolution GEL 6. As the name describes, this is the 6th update by Asics to the Gel Resolution women's tennis shoe. With new technology and features, this is even more stable and comfortable than past versions of the shoe.
GEL® cushioning provides cushioning across the whole shoe for optimal court response. Solyte® Midsole Material adds support and stability while keep the shoe from getting too heavy. Size 8 wights in at 11.6 ounces.
This may feel like a slightly narrow shoe, especially compared to the K-Swiss we just reviewed. Unless you have a narrow foot, these Asics might feel snug throughout the mid-foot and toe when you first try them on. Expect and extended break-in period of several hours on the court to break the shoes in properly -so it's best to ease into these shoes.
Once they are properly broken-in, the comfort is great. The GEL ® cushioning is where Asics excels with unmatched comfort which is one of the two top reasons these are out top pick. Secondly, these shoes are constructed with "AHAR+" (ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber), which is a fancy way of saying they are made with highly durable rubber which is perfect for the rough surface of outdoor pickleball courts.
This new Hypercourt Express by K-Swiss is based off the earlier K-Swiss Ultra Express. Similar to the Ultra Express, s soon as you put these on you'll notice the the plush feel especially on the tongue and ankle collar. The shoe has lots of cushion and immediate "step in comfort" feel.
The Hypercourt weighs in at 11.5 ounces so for a tennis shoe is still within the average range, although noticeable heavier that then previous volleyball shoes we reviewed.
Also in our opinion they have a "heavier feel" than the actual weight and may feel a little clunky, especially after you've been playing for an extended time.
The Hypercourts are wide, most noticeably in the toe-box. This will be a welcomed feature for anyone with wide feet especially if you have a wide forefoot. However, for players that don't have a very wide foot the forefoot could be problematic, especially with quick stops where your foot can slide forward and jam your toes.
You may even have to retie the laces during play and even doing so it might be hard for you to get a stable fit in the toe box if you have narrow foot. But these could be a great ladies pickleball shoe for a woman with wider feet.
The second version of the 786 New Balance tennis shoe for women features FantomFit- a combination of a lightweight mesh with a thicker synthetic layer to add support and while keeping the fabric breathable.
The herringbone patterned sole increases court traction and helps with quick stops and lateral movements. The size 8 weights 11 oz, making it a manageable weight compared to other female shoes. Generally New Balance run true to size. They require some break-in as expected with a new shoe but normally do not require extended break in.
The Adidas Barricade 2017 features and extra soft knit upper which provides extra comfort as it naturally adjusts to your foot shape. This is especially useful in the toe box area for people with wider feet.
The Barricade is part of the 2017 Adidas by Stella collection by English fashion designer Stella Nina McCartney.
A little side trivia... Stella is the daughter of former Beatles member Paul McCartney and - American musician, animal rights activist and photographer a Linda McCartney
Ok, back to the 2017 Barricade by Adidas... The outer upper of this shoe is made with Adituff - Adidas proprietary abrasion resistant material which they use on the outer around the toe box and mid foot to prevent excessive wear to the outside of the shoe. This is a big plus for players who foot drag after the serve and during volleys. The feature adds durability and lifespan to the 2017 Barricade helping make it one of the best ladies pickleball shoes available.
The interior features a seamless booty with plush interior around the ankle collar. The foam insoles are very comfortable and provide plenty of cushion.
An added bonus is that the shoe's insoles are also removable which is a good option for anyone looking to swap those out for custom orthotic inserts. Most shoes now come with removable inserts but as someone who does have custom insoles, you definitely don't want to have to try remove the shoe glue used to keep the permanent insoles in place, it can become a sticky mess.
I'll admit, I am biased towards Asics! I discovered ASICS GEL® Kayano running shoes over a decade ago and became an Asics fan. Whenever I need a new pair of running shoes I just upgrade to the most recent Kayano model....currently the Gel-Kayano 24. Anyway, enough about running, for pickleball I wear the ASICS Gel-Court FF Tennis Shoe which is currently my personal top choice for Best Pickleball Shoes for Men.
But for this article on women's shoes I turned to a someone with a woman's expertise-my wife!
She has tried lots of different shoes and brands before settling on the ones she currently wears. We reviewed the all the models together and also asked a lot of her friends on the courts to rate their shoes and tell us what they liked (and disliked) about their shoes. A lot of honest feedback we get on the courts from other players goes into these reviews.
We both personally find the Asics are a great fit and very comfortable (we have many pairs in our house!) That said, there are other quality shoes on the list and a lot will depend on how they fit your feet and your personal preference.
If we hear of any shoe company coming out with a dedicated pickleball shoe we’ll be sure to let you know or if you find out before we do, please drop us a quick note.
Source for pickleball demographics: