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What Shoes Should I Wear For Pickleball?

What Shoes Should I Wear for Pickleball

One trip to the local courts and you’ll see all different types of “pickleball” shoes flying around the courts. Running shoes, tennis shoes, training shoes, and maybe even the occasional pair of flip-flops. But what are the best types of shoes for pickleball? Let’s walk through the do's and don’ts of footwear on the courts.  

Paddle Assurance Program


When looking for shoes that perform the best while keeping your safety as a priority, you’ll always want to look for shoes that are built for lateral movements AND a hard surface. 

Pickleball Shoes

Shoe companies have finally determined that pickleball is the real deal and have started to design shoes specifically for our sport. Now I know what you’re going to say, “those are tennis shoes that just say pickleball!” And you’re probably right for the most part, but hey, at least they say pickleball on them! 

In all honesty, pickleball and tennis movements are very similar, and so the needed durability and ankle protection are similar whether playing tennis or pickleball. But if you want to show companies that have shoes specific for pickleball some love, they’re a fantastic option to slide into for your matches! 

Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes (meaning shoes that are made for the sport of tennis) are designed for movements just like pickleball. Forward, backward, and lateral movements are key elements of tennis and pickleball and support in those areas is important when looking for a shoe. Beyond protecting your ankles, tennis shoes are built with sturdy rubber outsoles that last when put to the test against the gritty pickleball court surface. You can never go wrong when choosing shoes that were designed specifically for tennis. 

Pickleball Vs. Tennis


Indoor Court Shoes (Racquetball, Volleyball, or Basketball) 

If you’re like me, you love the look of indoor court shoes, especially hoop shoes. You’ll find every big brand making basketball shoes, and some awesome brands making racquetball, volleyball, and other indoor court shoes. 

Yes, these shoes will protect your ankles and are a great option for lateral support and quick reactions. These shoes are usually lightweight and offer the same protection as pickleball and tennis shoes, simply because they’re designed for sports that share the same core movements as pickleball. The downside is that these shoes are made with a gum rubber outsole designed for an indoor wood floor, so the durability is probably 20% of that of a tennis or pickleball shoe. If you don’t mind replacing your shoes often, there’s nothing wrong with going with an indoor option, but just prepare yourself to see wear and tear right out of the gate, and plan to replace your shoes (most likely) 4 or 5 times more frequently than pickleball or tennis shoes. 


Training shoes (or weight-lifting shoes) can often work for pickleball because they’re designed to protect your ankles when training. In today’s world, with the popularity of HIIT workouts (like Crossfit), lateral movements are a big part of training in the 21st century! The downside to wearing a training shoe outdoors is the same as wearing an indoor court shoe -many times they’re designed with gum rubber outsoles and a lot of mesh on the upper portion of the shoe, leaving it susceptible to wear and tear. Just like indoor court shoes, you’ll be safe when it comes to ankle support, but you might be at the store a lot sooner than you’d expect looking to pick up another pair!  


Running Shoes!

The most common injury you’ll see when someone wears running shoes on the court is a sprained, twisted, turned, tweaked, (you get the point) ankle. That’s because if you wear running shoes to play pickleball, you’re wearing shoes that are designed with no lateral support built into the shoe. Think about the nature of running shoes - they’re designed to run forward and forward only. So the incredibly lightweight and thin lateral and medial part of the shoe is usually mesh to maximize breathability and airflow to keep you cool when running. They aren’t made to keep your ankles secure while moving laterally. This means it’s an easy and hard “no” when it comes to running shoes on the pickleball court!


Well, there you have it. A quick guide to ensure you’re getting shoes that protect your feet and ankles but also protect your wallet! Although we can’t help you with shoes, we can certainly help you pick out a pickleball paddle! There are hundreds of paddles on the market, which is why we have an entire page dedicated to Pickleball Paddle Reviews! If you need more information, give us a call at 1-866-382-3465, email us at, or click here and live chat with a Paddle Expert today. We’re JustPaddles, and we’re with you from Click to Court!

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