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Pickleball is a fun game to play. It’s been gaining traction among people, especially senior citizens, over the last few years. It’s been found in this research that playing pickleball can be a crucial leisure pursuit that contributes to the well-being of senior people.
The sport of pickleball requires just three simple gears, namely, a paddle, ball, and shoes. Of all the three, the paddle is considered the most essential gear, according to some pickleball players.
However, this is not entirely true. Although a paddle is critical for excellent performance, the right pair of shoes is an equally important contributor to such performance.
It is like the two sides of the same coin. Without the best pickleball shoes, you as the player just do not get the expected mobility as well as support to reach the ball along with proper cushioning to the ankles and feet. At the same time, you may end up facing blisters or aching ankle.
Thus, you would consider it worth to give a little more thought to the pickleball shoes. This is regardless of whether you are a beginner, professional, or an advanced player.
Many enthusiasts who watch sport tend to think that a pair of athletic shoes is just fine for any sport. However, it is vital to comprehend that each sport has its own dedicated and corresponding pair of shoes that perform well only for that sport.
If you are an athlete who can move effortlessly on the court, it is wise to focus on which footwear you wear. The more you move on the court, the higher will be the stress on your body. Thus, it is essential to get the right pair of shoes that minimize this stress as much as possible.
So, even for pickleball, you need a pair that improves your performance, lasts long, gives sufficient support, and keeps injuries at bay. Pickleball is a sport of lateral movements, precision, speed, and energy. Thus, it needs a pair of shoes that can facilitate and improve these aspects.
In other words, the exclusive footwear should give great support and grip, improve side-to-side movements, and should be comfortable. This guide helps you choose the right shoes for pickleball by introducing the reviews of the top 5 and revealing the essential buying factors.
Any Pair of Sports Shoes Ideal for Playing Pickleball?
A common mistake that most beginners make is to wear any standard pair of running shoes or sneakers and play on the dedicated court. Well, running shoes or cross-trainers are designed to offer different functionality as compared to shoes designed for pickleball.
Running shoes boast front-to-back grip soles that are responsible for facilitating only forward motion.
The tread design on the outsole, as well as the rubber soles, do not support horizontal and lateral moves required in pickleball. This can result in an injury to Achilles, ankles, and knees. Such a pair of shoes also make you feel uncomfortable during the play.
Pickleball is a fast and frantic game. It involves a lot of twisting, turning, shuffling, and buckling. Of all the movements involved, the most common type is the side-to-side ones, which are known as the lateral movements.
The pickleball players tend to perform them regularly. This is the main reason why special shoes are designed for pickleball and why any sports shoes will not do.
Are There Dedicated Pickleball Shoes?
At present, there are no shoes tagged or designated as pickleball shoes. So, you will not find the ‘pickleball shoe’ phrase in any names or titles while searching online. However, this does not mean that you cannot get the best pickleball footwear these days.
Seasoned players prefer a pair of court shoes for this sport, as they are designed to facilitate side-to-side and forward-back movements. They do so by providing support to these movements. Unlike running shoes, tennis and court shoes are exclusively designed for the lateral movements.
Court shoes usually have soles of rubber, which are designed to endure the wear and tear arising due to the diverse pickleball moves. More specifically, the tread pattern in a pair of tennis shoes is designed to endure as well as improve the lateral cutting.
The court shoes tend to carry more bulk in their middle to support you while making the side moves efficiently. They also deliver the required grip to support the feet while making those fast movements close to the net.
They also render ample cushioning to the back as well as knees, which is more useful than you can visualize. Good court shoes have conducive outsoles to ensure a lined pattern for lateral strength as well as stability.
They also have strong ankle support to prevent ankle rolls away, possess a stiff toe box to facilitate toe hauling, and are flexible at the point from where you will bend the shoe. We suggest going for an option with a generous bend in front of the laces.
Tennis and court shoes ensure movement flexibility, lasting cushioning, and grip. These are the must-have qualities of any pickleball shoes.
Court shoes are commonly used to play racquetball, tennis, and squash. Some of these shoes are effective for pickleball too. However, some players do not prefer court shoes due to the heavy feeling that they impart.
Reviews of 5 Best Pickleball Shoes of 2019
This list has three recommendations for women and two for men. As already discussed, there are no shoes made just for pickleball games.
ASICS Women’s Gel-Rocket 8 Volleyball Shoe – Best value for money pickleball shoes for women
ASICS is one of the esteemed brands known for its quality shoes for volleyball, tennis, and hence pickleball. Available for both men and women, the Gel-Rocket 8 is just one more quality shoe pair, which is the choice of several recreational players whose top priorities are traction, flexibility, and comfort.
Buyers or users wear them not only for pickleball but also for performing fitness routine on an indoor gym floor. This volleyball footwear comes with gum rubber outsoles. This material is placed at tactical points to boost the grip on indoor courts.
The gum rubber outsole is responsible for offering a great amount of traction support so that you can bounce back securely while putting maximum force for hitting hard. At the same time, the low-top design ensures arch support as well as excellent toe-off support.
A noteworthy, distinct feature of this indoor pickleball shoe pair is the branded Trusstic technology that minimizes the outsole’s weight as well as maintains the structural integrity. This technology evenly spreads the weight in the outsole to ensure better control and comfortable performance.
One more remarkable feature of this pair from ASICS is the gel cushioning system in the forefoot. This system is capable of absorbing sudden shocks as well as sharp impacts. Thus, your feet remain protected from any injury. The system also helps in maintaining the desired balance while upholding the desired cushioning level.
The upper is entirely composed of mesh and synthetic overlays to ensure breathability and comfort. An inner mesh lining provides maximum air circulation inside. A padded tongue and a collar for further comfort are also added.
- For beginners and intermediates both
- Fit to size
- Traction and control
- Excellent grip even on gym floors
- Superb arch support
- Better grip on the court
- Available in different colors
- Runs small
Adidas Originals Women’s Crazyflight Bounce 2 Volleyball Shoe – High-quality pickleball shoes for women
Designed for female players, this indoor pickleball footwear is the recent addition to the Adidas’ famous Bounce collection. The bounce midsole material is admired for its two significant benefits, namely, comfort and cushioning.
The Bounce technology for cushioning is capable of giving better comfort as well as flexibility. It makes you feel empowered and insert a spring in each step to achieve your game goal quite comfortably. While Bounce aids in making smooth high-impact landings, the outsole takes care of providing great control on indoor surfaces.
Both midsole and outsole contribute to safe and stable lateral movements. Lateral support and mobility also come from the wide forefoot platform.
Another useful feature of this footwear is its top-grip asymmetrical outsole made up of rubber. It gives optimal control and lateral support while you play hard on the court.
At the same time, the upper balances by giving great support. The latter is known for its high level of versatility due to its mix of quality materials that facilitate excellent performance on any indoor floor.
The upper is made up of feather-light mesh and is fortified using Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) fiber. This combination results in instability and less abrasion at the time of play.
The shoes come with a lockdown lacing system. Its shaft gauges around low-top from arch.
- Fit to size
- Traction and control
- Better grip on the court
- Lateral support
- Very stable
- Good ankle support
- Available in different colors
- Runs big
Saucony Women’s Grid Stratos 5 – Versions available for both men and women
Available for both men and women, Saucony Grid Stratos 5 is a fully-functioning pair of pickleball court shoes. Although famous for running and as sneakers, this pair is worth a try for pickleball. The credit for this versatility goes to its several features.
Heel strikes are pretty common in pickleball, which can end up taking a toll on your feet in the absence of a good support system. To provide sufficient support and keep heel strikes at bay, this pair of shoes from Saucony has the HeelGRID system. Through it, the footwear offers dynamic cushioning at the time of heel strike, a must-wanted feature from any pickleball shoes.
The shoes also come with a light outsole made up of rubber to ensure extra traction and sufficient control. The rubber sole is also ideal for absorbing shocks. While a rubber outsole’s design takes care of traction, the fabric lining retains coolness inside.
Further, you get good support, compatible tread, and proper ventilation for smooth lateral movements. The upper part is composed of breathable mesh. There is also a lace-up closure due to which you enjoy a perfect fit. Thus, these shoes have all the abilities of a good pickleball shoe.
- No heel strikes
- Fit to width and size
- High-tech cushioning
- Lateral support
- Great arch support
- Small toe box
Prince Men’s T22
Available for both men and women, this pair of tennis shoes is among the most popular outdoor pickleball shoes and for a good reason. It comes with the desired amount of flexibility, traction, and comfort. It is breathable, light, and is capable of absorbing shocks on hard courts.
Above all, the shoes come with the stabilization properties for ensuring smooth lateral moves. This feature is perhaps the best seller and appeals to several pickleball players. It considers the quick lateral movements that players perform while playing on the court.
The sole of these shoes contains wishbone TPU shank, which facilitates a more stable play and reduces the injury risk. The midsole is composed of EVA, the rear has a ShockEraser heel insert, and the forefoot has PU inserts. All these three features together minimize the beating that joints and feet take at the time of landing.
The outsole is made up of PRC 1000 compound that is inserted in the herringbone pattern. This provides a good amount of grip.
- Shock absorption
- Better fit due to round design
- Cooling in summer
- Toe cap
- Good arch support
- Lateral movement stabilization
- Runs narrow
- Break-in period
Adidas Men’s Barricade 2018 Tennis Shoe
If you want a smooth transition from tennis to pickleball by investing a bit more to enjoy the best comfort and support levels, this pair from Adidas is for you. Available for men and women, this outdoor pickleball pair comes with a seamless mesh upper featuring tactical areas of stretch and support to facilitate a custom fit to contour to all moves.
The GEOFIT build paves the way for a structural fit and comfort. It comes with a lace-up closure for that typical locked-down fit. The shoes feature a seamless construction with soft fabric lining and a spacious toe box to offer flexibility and stability to the forefoot.
Further, ADIPRENE+ in the forefoot boosts rebound abilities, retains momentum, and maintains efficiency. Under the heel, it provides superior cushioning during impacts; dynamic cushioning results in a responsive boost. Synthetic overlays take care of abrasion resistance as well as structural support.
On the upper, Adituff enfolds the toe and medial forefoot so that the toe drags during the extreme lateral moves do not harm them in any way. The shoes come with barricade chassis to ensure boosted stability as well as support to the midfoot, extra flexibility to the forefoot, and freedom of balanced movements in all possible areas.
Further, ADIWEAR 6 outsole is resistant to wear and tear. The shaft gauges are nearly low-top from arch.
- Structural support
- Fits to size and width
- Average arch support
- Available in different colors
How to Choose the Best Pickleball Shoes for you
It is already clear that there are no exclusive pickleball shoes. Tennis or volleyball shoes are just fine for pickleball. So, which pair of shoes would you choose? How would you choose? The answer to this is to know the buying factors that help you decide the best pickleball shoes.
These factors allow comparing the different promising shoes for pickleball based on your requirements. This finally tells you which pair is the most suitable one for you to play pickleball. So, let’s look at these buying factors in the form of answers to commonly asked questions.
Can I choose the same pickleball shoes for both indoor and outdoor courts?
For an indoor pickleball court, tennis or court shoes are preferable. However, for the outdoor pickleball court, tennis shoes are the only option. This is not a strict rule but will help you be on the right selection track.
If you are living in areas where the weather is usually cold, playing pickleball on an indoor pickleball court will be more common. Thus, your selection is dependent on whether you will be playing inside or outside under the sun.
The type of court you choose to play also influences the type of pickleball shoes you should select. Indoor courts are usually wooden floors similar to those of gyms or volleyball. They are more slippery than the outdoor courts and demand different grooves on soles.
Thus, they need a pair of shoes with more grip. Thus, volleyball shoes are ideal for such courts, as they have natural rubber soles to keep slippage away as well as improve stability. Indoor court shoes do not last on outdoor courts, as they tend to wear out quickly on such surfaces.
On the other hand, an outdoor court needs a pair of tennis court shoes. It is composed of harder soles to endure the wear of a solid or hard outdoor underfoot surface. The sole pattern facilitates quick lateral movement.
Most tennis shoes come with toe guards that protect from the impact of tow dragging during volleys and serves. Outdoor courts tend to be harder on joints and feet due to which tennis shoes are ideal. They come with durable soles that keep you safe.
The floor of outside tennis courts is usually made using asphalt or concrete, while that of the indoor courts are of wood or reflect a modern gym surface. Both these floors need different shoes. Although a few shoes are likely to work well on both surfaces, it is wise to select two different options if you are an avid player.
Almost all indoor courts now allow only non-marking soles, which is another critical criterion to keep in mind while selecting the best pickleball shoes.
Which one should I choose: tennis shoes, court shoes, or volleyball shoes?
The court shoes are ideally for playing indoors, while the tennis shoes are for outdoors. As pickleball is played outdoors or indoors, it is totally on you to identify which one you require.
Tennis shoes are relatively more lasting, while the court shoes are lighter. None of the two influences your game significantly. Thus, it is your personal preference to choose one of the two.
In some cases, players prefer enjoying the game indoors, where the floor is made up of wood. For such a floor, a pair of volleyball shoes is recommended for enjoying a better grip. Thanks to the sticky sole of such shoes that facilitates better movement on a floor of wood.
However, they crumble more quickly on a tennis court. For playing on such a court, you need a pair of tennis or court shoes.
Should I pay attention to the weight of pickleball shoes?
Yes, it is wise to look for pickleball shoes’ weight, which is an important factor in performance. It is vital to know that the weight tends to vary according to the gender, size, and model of the pickleball shoes. For a woman, a weight of 9 to 11 ounces is fine. Similarly, for a man, a weight of 11 to 15 ounces is fine.
How do I know whether a pair of pickleball shoes is breathable or not?
Sweating is healthy due to its ability to discard toxins. However, this is not something that pickleball players would want to experience while playing. This is because sweating affects performance negatively.
Thus, most pickleball shoes come with a mesh upper layer to ensure optimal airflow. This is how the vents allow the air to penetrate the required area of the foot. It is recommended to invest one such pair of shoes.
Which fabric or material should I choose to have the best pickleball shoes?
The material or fabric plays an important role in giving you comfort. In case you end up selecting an unsuitable fabric, it is likely to result in foot pain. Following are the vital fabrics to keep in mind for comparison and selection:
- Leather that is flexible facilitates a good fit and prevents slippage. However, this material is not sufficiently breathable, as it contributes to much heat, sweat, and constriction. Due to the involved animal cruelty, many players have started choosing other materials.
- Synthetic and mesh are superb options, as they are knitted so well such that they facilitate more breathability. They mold to your feet more effortlessly than leather. This enables you to tailor the fit such that it is not too tight.
You should look for synthetic and mesh shoes with flat stitching inside to keep blisters and to rub away. It is actually wise to select a pair that has a mix of different materials. Considering this in mind, the upper area should be of mesh, the midsole can have a mix of stuff to retain the foot in shape, and the outsole should be of natural rubber.
The outsole material is responsible for stability, while the upper material directly affects your performance. While a solid build will retain the feet in place, a flimsy build can put safety at risk.
How should be the upper area of my pickleball shoes?
Selecting the right upper is critical. You should search for the upper that is made up of mesh or a mix of fabric and mesh. Yes, expensive leather or cheaper synthetic leather is also an option and is ideally chosen for stability without compromising durability. However, this material finally softens with time due to which stability ultimately gets a setback.
When it is the matter of upper, it is the area from which you should expect maximum stability. If this does not ensure stability, then you are at the risk of harming yourself.
Many court shoes come with a structural component on the upper sides to give extra support. Such shoes are truly worth considering for ensuring stability. At the same time, see if you can wear the locked-in footwear to know how do you feel while moving side to side.
How the midsole and outsole of my pickleball shoes be?
The choice of the midsole is totally dependent on your feet as well as preference. While checking the midsole, just focus on the arch’s height and the width of mid-portion. The arch check is perhaps wise, as it is what that supports your foot’s shape. An ideal to do so is to try the pair.
The midsole tends to affect the way you play. It is responsible for absorbing all types of shocks and impacts without compromising stability. One option that fits this criterion is the EVA foam midsole, as it absorbs the shocks without much weight. After all, the lighter the pair is, the faster your move shall be.
You want to protect your foot from hard landings, especially the heel and the front part. For this, some brands implement de special technology that aids you in making easier jumps.
Choosing the outsole is important, as it is the only part responsible for protecting your ankle, heel, and tendons from the different possible injuries. Even if the surface on which you are playing is smaller than the tennis court, it is expected from you to perform all side, backward, and forward moves; stop fast, and move quickly.
This expectation is only fulfilled is the shoes you wear give you the proper grip to stick to the underneath surface with precision and safety such that there is no probability of slipping or overusing your heels. This is something that only rubber outsoles can do for you. The rubber outsoles are designed to last longer.
While checking for outsoles, do ensure that the pair is non-marking. In simple words, this indicates that the shoes do not leave slip marks on the playing surface. This is something that most courts have not made it mandatory.
Luckily, dedicated pickleball courts do not put much pressure on the outsoles. Thus, durability should not be a major issue. However, you need to check the insole’s durability. In case your knees or back begins to ache, just switch to new shoes.
How do I check the comfort level of my pickleball shoes?
The term ‘comfort’ encompasses a few aspects or shoe parts to consider. The topmost feature is cushioning. Most of it occurs in the insoles that give maximum comfort.
Broadly, the shoe’s comfort is directly proportional to the quality of the insole and midsole. The insole is the one that supports the arch from inside, whereas the midsole gives sufficient cushioning to the knees and ankles. The more midsole support and cushioning are, the less wear and tear your joints will face.
Typically, it is the insole that wears out first. This means you are about to compromise comfort. According to how much you play, you will have to change the shoes almost every three to four months for retaining the comfort level.
The next feature or part to consider is the forefoot, as this is a useful area of your foot using which you will be landing and taking off. For having a comfortable forefoot, gel technology is a great solution. This is because, with it, you can land gently without enduring all takeoff force while jumping.
Then, even the heel area of the shoe must be cushioned as well as firmly held in place to keep injury risk away. Memory foam is an option here for getting added under the feet. However, it is not an ideal choice. Thus, many brands add it only to the collar and heel lining so that you can wear the pair without considering those spots where blisters are likely to happen.
Another good feature to have is a padded tongue that enables you to adjust the shoelaces without disturbing the comfort level at the feet’s top. It is important that the pickleball shoes are securely laced to keep sideways or forward slipping inside the shoes at bay.
Each player has distinct feet, which also plays a major role in deciding the comfort level while choosing the best pickleball shoes. If you have low arches, have plantar fasciitis, or are subject to overpronation, you should look for pickleball shoes providing better arch support.
Otherwise, it is fine to go with the shoes with detachable insoles so that you can replace them with your own to avoid unnecessary discomfort. Almost all brands have pickleball shoes that have some technology to help players with plantar fasciitis. Especially, those from ASICS come with features that prevent the worsening of this condition.
How flexible my pickleball shoes should be?
The flexibility of your shoes’ sole is a critical factor. After all, you do not want your pickleball shoe to be rigid just to find out that it has seriously hurt your foot. Such harms can then convert into bone disorders or muscle aches. It is recommended to select a pair that can flex up to 90 degrees.
Should my pickleball shoes have traction?
If you will be playing the game indoors wherein the surface is likely to be very smooth to invite slippage, traction is a must-have feature. It indicates that traction will keep a watch on the shoes’ friction for making a fast movement without any accident or slippage. No traction means no performance! In that case, the pickleball shoes must have a traction-facilitating material such as rubber.
Which pickleball shoes come with shock-absorbing ability?
These shoes come with gel or soft pads to diminish the shock impact. So, check for these shoes.
How to know whether my pickleball shoes are durable or not?
A durable pair of pickleball shoes will have the right mix of material, quick lateral movement, and grip. It will last for years to come without any need for replacement. However, durability is also reliant on how you use the shoes. If the same pair is used both indoors and outdoors, its durability is affected.
The best way to check out how durable the pickleball shoes are is to check out some reliable customer reviews.
How should be the lacing system on my pickleball shoes?
The lacing system is another important factor to consider, as it either makes or breaks the footwear irrespective of the other features available. It just does not suffice to have fragile laces. Rather, the laces should ensure a secure fit without any surplus materials out and without any risk of stumbling.
A few shoes come with an anatomically-adjustable lacing system that ensures a secure fit while keeping pressure points at bay. Others have laces that can be short or long. However, you can replace these laces to ensure the right length.
It is essential to choose the right pickleball shoes as per the court type and comfort level. While there is no dedicated pickleball shoe, the best pickleball shoes are either tennis or volleyball shoes. By going through this guide, we hope that you can easily select a suitable pair of shoes to switch from the beginner to the professional level.
All the shoes in the aforementioned list are comfortable and supportive. If you are still confused, we recommend getting started with the ASICS Gel-Rocket pair for an indoor court and Prince T22 tennis shoes for an outdoor court.