How to Play Pickleball & Love Pickleball

Pickleball Shoes: Why Every Pickleball Player Should Have a Pair

by Stacie Townsend 1 Comment

Pickleball Shoes: Why Every Pickleball Player Should Have Them | Pickler Pickleball

Pickleball shoes are highly recommended for every regular pickleball player. This includes the “weekend warrior” pickleball player, any player that plays pickleball about once per week or once every other week, and any player that plays pickleball more regularly than once per week. Unfortunately, proper footwear on the pickleball courts is the last thing on a lot of pickleball players’ minds (especially beginner pickleball players) as they are more worried about getting the a pickleball paddle and just getting out there and playing. I was one of those pickleball players, too…

When I first started playing pickleball, I wore running shoes to play pickleball. After playing consistently for a few weeks, I noticed three trends – (1) I was wearing out the sides and the soles of the running shoes so much that I had a hole in the side of my shoe and the bottoms were smooth with no tread; (2) I was not getting much traction between the running shoes and the pickleball court; and (3) my knees started to ache and throb with pain. I never played tennis or any other sport played on a court like a pickleball court, so I had no idea the importance of proper pickleball shoes or court shoes. However, even just after a couple weeks of playing pickleball, I quickly learned the importance of a good pair of court shoes. After switching to a new pair of court shoes, I felt more agile on the pickleball court, with better traction, and, more importantly, the pain in my knees disappeared almost immediately.

Pickleball Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

With that said, if you are starting to play pickleball more regularly, be sure to take pickleball shoes seriously and invest in proper footwear—in other words, buy a pair of court shoes.

Why Wear Pickleball Shoes

There are two dominant reasons why pickleball shoes or court shoes are preferred for pickleball play:

  1. Safety – Pickleball shoes are built specifically for playing pickleball. They are built for stability and the quick starts and stops on the pickleball court. They are also built for lateral movements. This means they are typically a sturdier shoe and a bit heavier, as compared to running shoes, which are built for forward, heel-to-toe movement. The stable, sturdier pickleball shoe improves safety on the pickleball courts—not only in terms of allowing you to be more stable when moving on the pickleball courts, so you do not have accidents like rolling your ankle, but also in terms of absorbing shock from the pounding on the pickleball courts. This shock absorption helps reduce the chance of any pain in your feet, knees, and lower back, making pickleball shoes better for your body.
  2. Performance – Not only are pickleball shoes safer and better for your body, but they are also better for your performance on the pickleball court. This is because pickleball shoes are specifically designed for movement on the pickleball court, as pickleball shoes have specially designed tread on the soles of the pickleball shoes to help you move on the pickleball court.

For these reasons—safety and performance—pickleball shoes are certainly worth the investment!

Pickleball Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

Pickleball Shoes v. Other Athletic Shoes

As mentioned above, pickleball shoes are built for playing pickleball—in other words, they are built for the quick start and stops on the pickleball court, built for lateral movement, built for stability, and built for use on a hard surface. Pickleball shoes typically are heavier, sturdier (while still allowing for quick, free mobility), have cushioning for shock absorption on the hard surface, and to keep your foot closer to the ground. Pickleball shoes also have a unique tread pattern on the bottom of the shoe to help with traction.

Pickleball Shoe Tread | Pickler Pickleball

In contrast, other athletic shoes, like running shoes, are specially designed for other purposes or activities. For instance, running shoes are lighter, designed for forward, heel-to-toe movement, and are generally built for speed (rather than stability). They also have a different tread pattern on the bottom of the shoes.

As a result, other athletic shoes are not preferred when playing pickleball, as they are not built for that activity. This is why other athletic shoes will be inferior to pickleball shoes in terms of your safety, effect on your body, and your performance on the pickleball court.

Also, on the flip side, pickleball shoes are made for playing pickleball—not for running or any other activity. As a result, only wear pickleball shoes when you are on the pickleball court and not for extended running, walking, or other workouts. By only wearing your pickleball shoes on the pickleball court, you will help increase the life span of your pickleball shoes, too!

Pickleball Shoes: Indoor v. Outdoor

When looking for pickleball shoes, the type of surface that you play pickleball on will matter. For instance, if you are an outdoor pickleball player, then, not only can you look for shoes specifically designed for pickleball, but you can also consider looking for tennis shoes, as the hard court surfaces are the same. However, beware that some tennis shoes are built for clay courts, rather than hard court surfaces.

Pickleball Court | Pickler Pickleball

Further, if you are an indoor pickleball player that only plays on a gym floor surface, you may also consider volleyball shoes, which are built for a similar surface. In other words, the surface of the pickleball court matters when selecting your preferred pair.

When to Change Pickleball Shoes

When to change your pickleball shoes or buy new pickleball shoes depends on how much you play. Generally speaking, pickleball shoes or court shoes last for about 60 hours of play before they break down. As a result, if you play pickleball about once per week, for two hours at a time, then you will need to buy a pair of pickleball shoes about twice per year. If you play more frequently, maybe every day, or you are extremely hard on your shoes, then you will need to buy a pair of pickleball shoes more often.

Another way to tell when you need to change your pickleball shoes or buy new pickleball shoes is when:

  • You start to feel soreness in your feet, knees, or back;
  • You start to have blisters on your feet; and/or
  • Your soles lose their tread (and, as a result, you start to lose traction on the pickleball court).

If you experience any of these things, it may be a good time to try a new pair of pickleball shoes or court shoes.

What to Consider When Buying a New Pair of Pickleball Shoes

If you are ready to buy a new pair of pickleball shoes, consider the following factors:

  1. Comfort – Are the pickleball shoes comfortable on your feet? Or, do they hurt your feet and give you blisters?
  2. Durability – Do the pickleball shoes last at least 60 hours of pickleball play? Or, are they falling apart?
  3. How They Look – Do the pickleball shoes go with your style? Everyone loves a little style on the pickleball courts!
  4. Price – Are the pickleball shoes in your price range?
  5. Size – Are the pickleball shoes your size?

    Finding the best pair of pickleball shoes or court shoes takes a little bit of trial-and-error, as everyone has a unique set of feet and everyone values the five factors above a little differently. The important thing is to find a pair of pickleball shoes or court shoes that work for you in order to help your safety and your performance on the pickleball court.

    With that said, some of our favorite pickleball shoes are…

    Best Women's Pickleball Shoes

    Some of our favorite women's pickleball shoes include:

    ASICS GEL-Resolution 8 Women's Shoes

    Asics GEL-Resolution 8 Women's Shoes have excellent cushion that absorbs the impact from every step on hard court surfaces. With its perfect blend of cushion, support, and durability, the Asics GEL-Resolution 8 helps players battle for every point!

    Asics GEL-Resolution 8 Women's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Babolat Women's Shoes

    Babolat Women's Shoes are cool, comfortable, and made for gliding around the court. Babolat Women's Shoes are also stylish!

    Babolat Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Fila Volley Zone Women's Shoes

    The Fila Volley Zone shoe is Fila's first-ever pickleball-specific shoe, which was specifically tested and designed for pickleball players. The Fila Volley Zone shoe supports lateral movements and has extra support in the midsole.

    Fila Pickleball Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    K-Swiss Express Light Women's Pickleball Shoes

    K-Swiss Express Light Women's Pickleball Shoes are the first pickleball-specific shoe for K-Swiss. These pickleball shoes provide soft cushion and great durability to give players an enjoyable experience. Whether you're a new or frequent player of the fastest growing sport in the United States, the K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball Shoes are an excellent all-around option.

    K-Swiss Express Light Women's Pickleball Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    New Balance Women's Shoes

    New Balance Women's Shoes are built for comfort and agility on the court. New Balance Women's Shoes have extra breathability and a lot of style! 

    New Balance Women's Shoes

    New Balance Wide Women's Shoes

    New Balance Wide Women's Shoes are built for comfort and agility on the court, but these have a bit of extra width for those needing the extra room. 

    New Balance Wide Women's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Nike React Vapor NXT Women's Shoes

    Nike React Vapor NXT Women's Shoes combines durability and comfort, as this court shoe has a soft, close-to-the-ground feel. Also, the herringbone outsole uses a data-driven design to help you move confidently on the court.

    Nike React Vapor NXT Women's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Best Men's Pickleball Shoes

    Some of our favorite men's pickleball shoes include:

    ASICS GEL-Resolution 8 Men's Shoes

    Asics GEL-Resolution 8 Men's Shoes have excellent cushion that absorbs the impact from every step on hard court surfaces. With its perfect blend of cushion, support, and durability, the Asics GEL-Resolution 8 helps players battle for every point!

    Asics GEL-Resolution 8 Men's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

     

    Babolat Men's Shoes

    Babolat Men's Shoes are cool, comfortable, and made for gliding around the court. Babolat Men's Shoes are also stylish!

    Babolat Men's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Fila Volley Zone Men's Shoes

    The Fila Volley Zone shoe is Fila's first-ever pickleball-specific shoe, which was specifically tested and designed for pickleball players. The Fila Volley Zone shoe supports lateral movements and has extra support in the midsole.

    Fila Pickleball Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    K-Swiss Express Light Men's Pickleball Shoes

    K-Swiss Express Light Men's Pickleball Shoes are the first pickleball-specific shoe for K-Swiss. These pickleball shoes provide soft cushion and great durability to give players an enjoyable experience. Whether you're a new or frequent player of the fastest growing sport in the United States, the K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball Shoes are an excellent all-around option.

    K-Swiss Express Light Men's Pickleball Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    New Balance Men's Shoes

    New Balance Men's Shoes are built for comfort and agility on the court. New Balance Men's Shoes have extra breathability and a lot of style! 

    New Balance Men's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    New Balance Wide Men's Shoes

    New Balance Wide Men's Shoes are built for comfort and agility on the court, but these have a bit of extra width for those needing the extra room. 

    New Balance Wide Men's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Nike React Vapor NXT Men's Shoes

    Nike React Vapor NXT Men's Shoes combines durability and comfort, as this court shoe has a soft, close-to-the-ground feel. Also, the herringbone outsole uses a data-driven design to help you move confidently on the court.

    Nike React Vapor NXT Men's Shoes | Pickler Pickleball

    Want More Pickleball Shoes?

    If you want to check out more pickleball shoes, visit HolabirdSports.com, which has a wide selection of pickleball shoes and tennis shoes. As a reminder, if you are an outdoor pickleball player or otherwise play on a hard court surface, consider both pickleball shoes and tennis shoes!




    Stacie Townsend
    Stacie Townsend

    Author



    1 Response

    Renee Peterschmidt
    Renee Peterschmidt

    May 06, 2021

    I haven’t found that court shoes have enough shock absorption.

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