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11/01/2023

What To Wear To Play Pickleball

pickleball players wearing athletic gear

Pickleball continues to grow at a rapid pace, as do the options of garments worn during play. Gone are the days of blue jeans and no shirts, although we love the classic look (see image below). On the courts today, you can see performance, style, and personality in a player’s attire. In this article, the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles outline everything you need to know and more about the types of clothes you can and should wear during your next pickleball match or tournament. 

What To Wear When Playing Pickleball

As the level of play in pickleball continues to rise, it is even more important to wear attire that enhances rather than limits your ability on the courts. Pickleball is an active sport that involves quick spurts of athletic ability, mobility, and body awareness. With that being said, it’s important to ask what you move in comfortably. Think comfort and mobility. Whether that is some baggy shorts and an old high school sports tee, or the latest and greatest Dri Fit Pickleball Kit; play in the clothes that help you move well. Being able to bend down at the kitchen line, chase after a lob, or finish a match-winning slam, comfort and mobility reign supreme. Pick an attire that you feel comfortable and confident in and head to the courts.

Does Pickleball Have a Dress Code?

The short answer is…no, the sport of pickleball does not have a dress code. By and large, you can wear what you want although some pickleball clubs have adopted the tennis rule book as far as dress code! Jeans, dri fits, cowboy hats - the choice is yours to wear what you would like. Before wearing a new suit to the pickleball court though, be sure to read the above recommendation on comfort and mobility. 

Although there isn’t a set dress code, there is a new USAP rule that impacts those playing in tournaments. According to the Official USAP Rulebook section (2.G.1/2.G.4), “Inappropriate apparel may now include apparel that approximates the color of the tournament ball. Section 1 encourages players to avoid wearing apparel that approximates the color of the ball. The Tournament Director retains the right to require an apparel change during a non-chargeable time-out.” Because of this, we would avoid wearing neon in sanctioned USAP tournaments. 

What Shoes To Wear in Pickleball? Can You Wear Regular Sneakers for Pickleball?

If you don’t know, you will soon find out - pickleball can take a hefty toll on your feet and shoes. For comfort on the court, your footwear is key. With rapid movement on hard surfaces, while staying on the balls of your feet, you want to have the correct footwear. We recommend going with a court shoe of any kind, and personally, we like a court shoe with a large toe box. Allowing for movement of the toes can add a bit more comfort. 

If you’re not ready to get into the nitty gritty of pickleball shoes, remember to AVOID RUNNING SHOES. Pickleball is a game of side-to-side and quick movements. Because of this, running shoes can sometimes cause more harm than good on the pickleball court. A twisted ankle is almost guaranteed if you play pickleball with running shoes. 

Can You Wear Leggings To Play Pickleball?

Wondering if leggings are great options for the court? We say “yes,” for both male and female players. Leggings provide compression, comfort, and mobility on the pickleball court and are great options. Keeping your legs warm and ready for play is important, especially in those midwest winter outdoor games (pickleball outside in the winter, we’re crazy, I know). While leggings are quite the look, they also serve athletic wear purposes, and honestly, there isn’t much that works better for the game of pickleball, whether that be indoor or outdoor. Keep your body compressed and impress with a pair of leggings on the pickleball court.

What To Look For in Pickleball Clothing

Are anyone else’s closets starting to look like a pickleball clothing store? If you’re reading this, yours may or soon will be. So, you’re building your own pickleball closet. What do you look for? When looking for pickleball-specific clothing, there are a couple of points to keep in mind:

  • Breathability
    • If you haven’t found out yet, you’ll soon learn that pickleball will make you sweat. If you think differently, head to an indoor court, then report back. Because pickleball is a sweat-inducing sport, I find it important to find breathable clothing and, of course, comfortable on the skin. Not only do you want to minimize the amount of sweat, but once you do start sweating, you want to make sure your shirt, pants, or shorts dry out. 
  • Moisture-Wicking
    • Another key point for me in selecting my pickleball clothing is moisture-wicking capability. I avoid cotton at all costs as sweat will start sticking to you like a bad pickleball habit. Getting rid of the incoming sweat is key to your comfort on the court. For those like myself, keep a spare outfit in your bag. You never know when the game will get sweaty, and an extra moisture-wicking shirt will give you and your paddles the upper hand. Expert Tip - If you still have trouble with a grip slip, check our PickleSkins and Protect Your Game.
  • Pockets
    • Playing on a court without court blockers or tired of chasing after loose balls? Pockets may not always seem necessary, but once you run the length of a basketball court to grab one ball, you might start adding it to your pickleball clothing checklist. Pockets are great to have in general, but in pickleball, they certainly come in handy (get it??). Stick a couple of pickleballs in your pockets and stop chasing them around the court. It’s crazy how far a small plastic ball can get away from you, but if you have pockets, you can grab another one. Plus if your opponents don’t have pockets, you get to pick your favorite ball to play with.
  • Stretchy Fabric
    • Pickleball and yoga have many things in common, primarily putting me in positions I had no idea my body could bend into. Just as in yoga, flexibility can become a major factor in success on the court. With that being said, stretchy clothing on the court can be clutch. Playing with the utmost freedom of mobility on the court is a goal and if your clothing can have you bending, squatting, and running without a second thought, then you are prepared. Stretchy clothing such as leggings, shorts, and shirts will help you move seamlessly on the pickleball court. 
  • Preparing for Weather
    • Unfortunately, not all of us pickleballers live in sunny San Diego, where pickleball lives 365 days a year. The majority of players are battling the elements, whether that’s the temperature, wind, rain, sleet, and even snow. See the image below. insert shoveling snow off courts image. Preparing for the weather can be trickier than returning an ATP. 

In preparation for the weather, anticipate the worst.  You can always remove layers of clothing, but you can’t put it on if you don’t have it. Layer up, and once you get warmed up, you can shed a few layers. If I am playing outside, I typically start with a warm coat/jacket, a playing hoodie, and a long-sleeve moisture-wicking shirt. On my legs, I wear a pair of sweats, shorts, and leggings. Once the games get going and I am fully warmed up, I tend to shed layers. It’s better to have it and not need it rather than to need it and not have it. We might not all be snowbirds but with the right clothing preparation, we can still play 52 weeks of the year.

In conclusion, what you wear in pickleball is up to you. Wear what is comfortable, whatever that might be. Keep in mind the above suggestions and as a two-sport professional athlete once said “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good." 

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Still trying to figure out pickleball’s ins and outs? Check out our Ultimate Pickleball Guide: Learn How to Play Pickleball. As always, if you have any pickleball paddle questions, don't hesitate to contact our friendly Paddle Experts at 866-382-3465, email at experts@justpaddles.com, or you can click here to live chat. We're JustPaddles, and we'll be here for you from Click To Court!

 
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