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How to find the best pickleball shoes (for you)


By Jaclyn Brandt

on May 15, 2024

There are dozens of pickleball shoes out there, from all different brands. But do you really need actual pickleball shoes, or can you wear your normal tennis shoes? Learn more about finding the best pickleball shoes for your game.

 

There are dozens of pickleball shoes out there, from all different brands. But do you really need actual pickleball shoes, or can you wear your normal tennis shoes? Learn more about finding the best pickleball shoes for your game.

What to look for in pickleball shoes

Pickleball is a sport unlike any other. Because you will be doing a lot of lateral movement, you will need a pickleball shoe that will support those moves. Some of the things you will want to look for:

- Traction
- Support
- Lightweight
- Durability
- Fit
- Comfort

    Can you wear running shoes to play pickleball?

    While you can wear tennis shoes or running shoes to play pickleball, there are some reasons you may want to consider wearing pickleball-specific shoes.

    Running shoes are made for runners: meaning that they are built to give you structure on the sides while also supporting your movement in a forward motion. Pickleball is a sport where you will be doing a lot of side-to-side movement, as well as regularly stepping forward and back.

    The best pickleball shoes are built to support the movement of pickleball, and running shoes have structure in places that may put you in a situation to injure your feet, ankles, or legs.

    Can you wear tennis shoes to play pickleball?

    However, if you only have running shoes or tennis shoes, you should definitely play in your tennis shoes — because they will be less rigid on the sides than running shoes will. Tennis shoes also allow for side-to-side movement.

    You can absolutely wear running shoes, tennis shoes, or other athletic shoes to play pickleball — at least when you first start playing. But if you plan to become a serious player and want to prevent injury, you should consider finding a pickleball shoe that is made for the game of pickleball.

    Indoor vs. outdoor pickleball shoes

    Pickleball takes place on both indoor and outdoor courts, and so you need different pickleball equipment for different situations.

    Indoor pickleball

    Indoor courts can include:

    - Gym floor
    - Sport court
    - Tennis court
    - Squash court

      Indoor pickleball shoes can include:

      - Pickleball shoes (your best option)
      - Volleyball shoes
      - Basketball shoes
      - Tennis shoes
      - Court shoes

        Outdoor pickleball

        Outdoor courts can include:

        - Asphalt/concrete
        - Tennis court
        - Sport court
        - Clay surface
        - Grass surface

          Outdoor pickleball shoes can include:

          - Pickleball shoes (your best option)
          - Court shoes
          - Tennis shoes

            Finding the best pickleball shoe for you

            As pickleball’s popularity continues to grow, more brands will release pickleball-specific shoes — making it easier to find one that is perfect for you. There are enough out there now that you should try out some pickleball shoes, as well as some tennis shoes, to see what works for you. But take injury prevention seriously and do not use shoes for pickleball that may cause a fall or twisted ankle (or worse). The best pickleball shoes will be the ones you don’t have to think about while you are out on the pickleball court, so you can focus on your game.

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