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Selecting the Best Pickleball Shoes

Author: Andrew Gilman | May 2, 2024

Tyson Mcguffin Skechers Pickleball Shows

When it comes to picking the right shoe for pickleball, there are several factors to consider.

Everything from your playing style, fashion sense and support and safety features matter. 

Read on to see what things are important when it comes to selecting a shoe, as well as some of the best choices in the footwear market.

About the shoe

Selecting the best shoe, not the brand, but the shoe itself requires a bit of consideration. Here are some things you should look at:

Support and stability

Look for shoes with excellent support and stability to help prevent ankle injuries. Remember, while there’s an element of moving up and back in pickleball, a lot of the movement in the game is side-to-side. You’ll want a shoe with a solid base to help with these lateral movements. Shoes with strong sidewalls or reinforced support are ideal for stability. Running shoes are not a good option, as they likely don’t have the stability on the sides of the shoe that are a benefit for pickleball play.

Cushion and comfort

Pickleball requires a lot of quick movements and stops and starts. You’ll definitely want a shoe that has ample cushioning in the middle to help with the tension of all the shock. This is especially important for those long matches and long days on the hard court. A shoe that doesn’t have enough cushioning can ruin a good day of pickleball.

Grip and traction

If you’re gardening or walking the neighborhood, it might not matter, but if you’re getting ready to dink and drop, you’re definitely going to want a shoe with good traction. You can’t afford to have a misstep or slip in any way. Durable shoes with rubber outsoles and good tread makes a difference and will work on a number of surfaces, including indoor and outdoor courts.

Breathability

Make sure your feet stay cool and dry. The best way to do that is to find some mesh or ventilation panels to help. If you’re feet are continually sweaty, you’ll definitely feel it in those intense games.

Longevity

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Look for good quality shoes that last. Obviously, shoes will wear out, and based on how often you play or how hard you are on your shoes, they’ll eventually wear out. If possible, choose shoes made from durable materials that can withstand a bit of force. Reinforced toe caps and overlays can certainly help make your shoes last longer.

Comfort

Making sure the shoes fit just right is mandatory. You want to make sure your feet don’t slide too much inside the shoe, but you do want to make certain there is some room for your toes to move freely. Think about being secure without any discomfort on pressure points. Remember, different brands and styles fit differently, so be careful about buying shoes without trying them on first. Width is just as important as length, as well. Fitting correctly around the toes as well as the sides of the foot are both necessary. If you’re buying shoes online, make sure you understand how or if the company has a return policy in case the shoe doesn’t fit the way you want. 

Heavy or light

Shoes that are lighter can enhance agility and increase movement, but be careful. Oftentimes the lighter shoes aren’t as durable and might not last as long. A heavy shoe can definitely slow you down, so try and find a balance, if possible.

The best shoes for you are ones that you’re comfortable in, will last a decent amount of time and are affordable within your budget. Try on lots of different styles and brands to see what works for you and your playing style.


Take a look at some of these shoes that are popular in the pickleball market:

KSWISS Express Light

It’s an extremely popular shoe that breathes well and is comfortable and lightweight. There’s excellent midsole cushioning and the outsoles provide great traction for when you’re ready to dink, drive or drop.

Skechers Viper Court Pro

The extra mesh in the shoe makes it comfortable, breathable and lightweight. The Viper Court is perfect for quick springs and lateral movements during a match. The leather overlays help with comfort and durability. The midsole is cushioned well and the insole provides plenty of cushioning. As far as traction, the Goodyear Rubber Performance Outsoles are excellent peace of mind when it comes to slipping.

HEAD Sprint Pro 3.5

The HEAD Sprint Pro 3.5 Shoe offers a balanced feel with lightweight construction, featuring a breathable mesh upper and ventilated sole for comfort. Stabilization technology protects your feet, ankles, and knees, while the Hybrasion+ rubber outsole ensures durability on all court surfaces. Its sewn-in sock construction and DELTA STRAP keep your foot secure, while reinforced durability zones extend the shoe’s lifespan. With added features like a TPU heel counter and stability trigger, it’s designed for optimal performance and comfort on the court.

There are a number of different brands, shapes and styles of pickleball shoes in addition to the ones listed above. New Balance, Wilson, Adidas and even Nike now make pickleball shoes. Find a pair that’s right for you!

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