No manufacturer makes an actual “pickleball shoe.” If you play pickleball, you will find yourself wearing a court or tennis shoe that feels comfortable, allows you the greatest mobility, and does not make your feet sore or tired.
Some pickleball players prefer ankle-supporting hiking shoes or lighter weight running shoes, but they are not court shoes or recommended.
The Best Court Shoes for Pickleball
The best pickleball shoes are court shoes that are permitted on indoor or outdoor pickleball courts. ASICS and New Balance are popular court shoe brands to play pickleball.
They are durable and have high-impact, skid-resistant soles with grip, extra cushioning, and good foot, ankle, and arch support.
Regardless of the court you play on (indoor or outdoor), your shoes should have:
- stiff support around the front toe area. Extra stability is needed to aid balance. This is important since your foot creates a dragging motion during play.
- flexibility around the front laces and toe joint allows your foot to freely bend as you move.
- a strong support system that surrounds and protects your arch, foot, and ankle from twisting and rolls upon impact during play.
Your shoe should be comfortable. It is important your shoe has enough insole cushion to support your arch as it causes discomfort when it breaks down and wears out.
Your shoe must also have sufficient midsole support to reduce pressure and stress on your joints. It serves as a cushion for your knees and ankles.
Best Indoor Pickleball Court Shoes
Indoor court shoes are made with slip-resistant non-marking soles with extra grip that do not mark today’s synthetic wood floors.
Toe protection is important as you move, creating friction between your shoe and the floor surface.
Best Outdoor Pickleball Court Shoes
Outdoor court shoes must provide additional cushion to protect your feet from the impact feet and joints experience as you play on hard surfaced courts that are typically asphalt, concrete, or clay. Durable tennis shoes are your best choice for outdoor courts.
What Is the Best Shoe Material?
The best pickleball shoe material is durable and breathes. Synthetic and mesh materials allow more air flow and mold to your feet allowing you to customize your shoe fit. An upper made from leather provides more support but tends to overheat your feet. An upper made of synthetic leather with mesh/fabric is the preferred construction for the pickleball court.
Fewer court shoes are made from leather because it is heavier and softens and loses stability over time. Synthetic leather is less expensive and offers longer lasting stability and safer performance.
Soft Court Shoe Construction
Shoes used on soft courts tend to have a flexible upper and an outsole that is flatter and grips the surface well. There is less need for durability and a greater need to have a non-marking outsole to ensure smooth indoor court flooring is not scuffed or marred.
Hard Court Shoe Construction
Shoes used on hard courts should have durable outsoles and substantial cushioning to support your feet from constant impact during play. Tough upper shoe material such as leather or synthetic leather provides foot and ankle stability.
What Are the Most Comfortable Pickleball Shoes?
Correctly-fitting court shoes are necessary for comfort and performance. The best performance shoes must support your foot as your weight shifts side-to-side, forward, and backward.
The sole under the ball of your foot must be flexible to comfortably adjust to your quick movements. A padded tongue also allows you to tighten shoelaces without squeezing the top of your foot.
Foot discomfort can result as your shoe soles, midsoles, and heel cushioning begin to stretch and wear out.
Foot Support & Cushioning Technologies
NC rubber improves performance by providing durability, support, and grip for instant and repetitive stepping movements.
Lightweight memory foam may be used to cushion heels and the collar lining where blisters are more likely to occur.
Shock-absorbing GEL-cushioning protects feet and heels and ensures long-lasting cushioning during play. It does not deflate like air cushioning and is less prone to defects.
ABZORB Cushioning (by New Balance) consists of silicone pads the full length of the midsole.
Trinomic technology (by PUMA) is a shock-absorbing honeycomb cell structure that maintains lateral stability.
FluidRide® cushioning provides lightweight, dual layer, impact absorbing support to midsoles.
What Is the Best Sole for a Pickleball Shoe?
The best sole for a pickleball shoe provides stability during movement. Its tread texture is designed to grip the surface and prevent slipping. It must be durable and not wear out quickly. It must also endure constant friction from foot dragging, stops, and starts. Hard courts require shoe soles designed with greater tread.
Solid rubber is the most durable outsole material that withstands hard surfaces.
Outdoor court shoe soles are typically made of lighter weight synthetic rubber. Indoor court shoes require less rubber due to less surface friction but must be non-marking. Slip-resistant gum rubber outsoles provide more traction.
How Do You Wear Pickleball Court Shoes?
Sole traction and lateral support help prevent injury, discomfort, and pain. It is not only important to wear the correct shoes for the court you intend to play on, but also according to how you play the game.
Wear court shoes with durable soles and extra lateral support for side-to-side movement if you play a power game hitting long shots from the baseline.
Wear court shoes with substantially reinforced toe-caps and soles for support if you work the net and control the game with dink shots since most of your weight is on your toes and balls of your feet.
A good pair of pickleball shoes only lasts 3-4 months (approximately 60 hours of play).
The worn areas on the shoes you’ve been playing in will tell you what parts of your court shoes you need reinforced.
How Much Does a Pickleball Shoe Weigh?
How much your pickleball shoes weigh affects your overall performance. The lighter your shoes, the faster you can move and naturally larger shoes weigh more.
Tennis shoes are typically heavier than other types of court shoes (12+ oz.) due to their substantial rubber outsoles that are made for durability. Lighter volleyball shoes are comparatively 9 oz. or less on average.
Top 10 Best Pickleball Shoes of 2019
The best court shoes for playing pickleball on outdoor courts are sturdy and resist constant friction and drag. Shoes with non-marking natural gum rubber outsoles are used for added traction on indoor courts. The best women’s and best men’s shoes for pickleball also have features that promote air flow and moisture absorption.