Pickleball is among the fastest-growing sports in the United States, thanks to its popularity in many community centres, retirement homes, YMCA facilities and health clubs. While most people starting to play the game think about paddles, we believe that getting the best pickleball shoes is much more important.
Your shoes not only impact how you play the game but also prevent you from injuring yourself. Like with any other court game, wearing the wrong shoes can cause rolled ankles, pulled hamstrings, ruptured tendons and sprains. Before you even start buying paddles and balls, you must get yourself a good pair of pickleball shoes.
As we start this review, it’s important to mention that the market has maybe one or two shoes made specifically for pickleball. Many of the court shoes we will review here are tennis shoes because the two games are quite similar in how they are played. The things to keep in mind here are support for side-to-side movement, traction and stability.
Our Top 5 Pickleball Shoes
1. K-Swiss Men’s Express Light Pickleball Shoe- Best Overall
- K-EVA: Special formula EVA to provide maximized cushioning and enhance durability of the midsole.
- ORTHOLITE: Sock liner providing moisture management with properties to keep feet cool and minimize...
- EVA: Cushioning and support under the sock liner.
- HEEL GRIP LINING: Made of interlocking fibers that grip the sock to minimize heel slippage
- 180 PSC PLANTAR: A 180 degree thermal plastic Plantar Support Chassis that enhances mid-foot...
K-Swiss did what most companies haven’t done; they designed a dedicated pickleball shoe and a good one for that matter. If the name doesn't already give it away, this Men's Express shoe is pretty light and extremely comfortable. Our favorite thing, however, is how roomy the toebox is, which adds to the overall comfort.
If you have somewhat wide feet, you will appreciate every aspect of these pickleball shoes. Their patented DuraWrap technology, which is a simple rubber lining that blends perfectly with the breathable mesh, adds a layer of protection around the entire shoe. It's still a wonder how K-Swiss managed to make the shoes so breathable and light with all that lining inside.
The best pickleball shoes should provide maximum traction, support and cushioning. This shoe ticks all the boxes thanks to their special formula EVA, which provides maximum cushioning and enhanced midsole durability. The sneaker also comes with an Ortholite sock liner for moisture management and heel grip lining to minimize heel slippage when playing.
2. ASICS Gel-Rocket 8- Best Indoor Pickleball Shoes
- Forefoot GEL Cushioning System (COURT): Attenuates shock during impact phase.
- Trusstic System Technology: Reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural...
The ASICS Men's Gel-Rocket shoe is a popular tennis shoe that’s also available for women. Over the years, the shoe has gone through several upgrades from version 7, 8 and now 9, which is technically a volleyball shoe. It is perfect for indoor pickleball games because of its grippy, gum rubber outsoles, which provide excellent traction on hardwood floors.
Tractions aside, these beautiful court shoes also provide exceptional comfort and flexibility. This is rare because most tennis shoes have a stiff sole and toe area. The ASICS Gel-Rocket 8 allows you to have the same agility as you would if you were not wearing shoes, and this is good when playing court games. Another feature that adds to its comfort is its patented gel cushioning system which provides fantastic shock absorption.
As if that wasn’t enough, this shoe also boasts the stabilizing Trusstic system technology, which helps reduce the weight of the sole unit without messing with the shoe's structural integrity. To protect you from all that bouncing, the ASICS gel-rocket feature their cool EVA midsole to provide extra cushioning and added rebound effect.
3. K-Swiss Women's Hypercourt Express- Best Pickleball Shoes for Women
Back to K-Swiss, this women's Hypercourt Express shoe features the same wide toe box the men's Express Light does. If you have wide feet, it's the perfect pickleball shoes for women because the toes will be comfortable. Speaking of comfort, the insides of the shoe are wonderfully soft and plushy, which makes them stand out from the pack.
You would think so much cushioning would mess with the shoe's breathability level, but it does not. In fact, the Hypercourt Express offers a level of ventilation and breathability that surpasses many tennis shoes in the market. You can still enjoy a great level of gel cushioning system and have your feet cool and airy at the same time.
Another surprising factor about this tennis shoe is how lightweight it is for a court shoe. Despite the increased support, the K-Swiss Women's Hypercourt Express pickleball shoe is one of the lightest shoes around. The shoe also features a rigid 180 PCS mid-foot support chassis for extra support and stability combined with the Durawrap toe guard to ensure you don’t hurt your feet when playing.
4. New Balance 806- Most Durable Pickleball Shoe
- For the ultimate in on-court stability and support, the New Balance 806 delivers. With C-CAP®,...
- Full grain leather upper
- Herringbone-pattern outsole for added traction during lateral movements
- LIGHTNING DRY® wicks moisture away to help keep your feet dry and comfortable
- Medicare / HCPCS code = A5500, may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement
When it comes to budget-friendly pickleball shoes, nothing comes close to the New Balance MC806. The shoes are sturdy, durable and provide outstanding midfoot and arch support. Like the K-Swiss line of shoes, this MC806 is perfect for people with wide feet because the toebox is very spacious.
New Balance 806 are made of 90% synthetic leather that gives it that classic polished look and exceptional durability. But even with all this leather, the shoe remains cool and dry throughout the game. This is thanks to their Lightning Dry technology, which helps disperse the moisture out through the inner lining and keep your feet dry.
What about comfort? Well, the 806 is nothing if not comfortable, and New Balance has utilized three technologies to provide you pillow-like comfort, support and stability as you play the game. With C-CAP®, ABZORB® and their exclusive ROLLBAR technology, the popular tennis shoes provides unrivalled motion control and stability.
The shoe also features extra toe guard protections to cover your toes when you drag your feet across the court and go for long shots. What’s more, the Herringbone pattern outsole adds some traction during lateral movements, so you don't hurt yourself.
5. Wilson Men's Rush Pro 3.0- Best Outdoor Pickleball and Tennis Shoes
- 4D support chassis limits supination and torsion to help control pivot movements while loading up...
- Sensifeel 2.0 features a minimally layered upper with an engineered mesh for enhanced breathability,...
- Endofit provides enhanced comfort, stability and an intuitive fit through a full inner sock...
- Df2 provides cushioned court feel, yielding compromise between comfort and performance (Df2 = heel...
- Duralast consists of a high-density, consummately durable rubber compound that provides abrasion...
One of the things that separate indoor and outdoor pickleball shoes is toughness and durability. These Wilson Men's Rush Pro 3.0 are the most durable outdoor courts shoes you can find. The Rush Pro series is not anything new, and it's known for exceptional durability, but this 3.0 version has added stability, a more comfortable feel, and it's lighter.
These shoes' supreme durability and stability come from the advanced 4D chassis they have incorporated into the shoe. This technology provides better grip during take-off and more stopping power. You can feel the added traction when you wear these shoes as they have a sticky feel to them.
For a shoe that tough, it's very shocking how soft and plush the inside feels, especially around the forefoot. The upper side is also pleasantly ventilated to keep your feet nice and cool but don't expect the same amount of breathability you get with featherweight shoes. Speaking of weight, these pickleball shoes are very light on your feet and extremely comfortable.
Unlike all the other pickleball shoes we have discussed here, these Wilson Men's Rush Pro 3.0 are not meant for wide feet. In fact, you need to have narrow or average-sized feet to feel comfortable in them.
What to Look for When Buying Pickleball Shoes
When choosing the best pickleball shoes, you have to consider whether you will be playing the game indoors or outdoors. If you are playing indoors, keep in mind that the floor is much smoother, so you'll need a shoe with better grip and traction to avoid falling. The best soles for indoor pickleball shoes are natural gum rubber because they provide more traction than most synthetic materials. Since there are no dedicated pickleball shoes yet, go for volleyball shoes because it’s played on the same flooring as indoor pickleball, and they share similar movements.
For outdoor pickleball, you need shoes that can withstand the rough ground and protect you from injury, so durability and shock absorption are very important. Synthetic rubber outsoles tend to do better with outdoor shoes because they are durable and can handle the abuse. Tennis shoes are the best for outdoor pickleball games since they are designed to be durable, stable and shock absorbing.
If you want to play both indoor and outdoor pickleball, buy two pairs of shoes, each dedicated to its specific purpose.
Other features to look for include;
The best pickleball shoes should be lightweight and easy on your feet. Most volleyball shoes weigh 9 ounces or less, while the heaviest tennis shoes go just over a pound. Heavy shoes can cause fatigue and slow you down when playing. What’s more, they can cause pain in your legs because of too much pressure.
2. Ankle support
The most common pickleball injury is a twisted ankle which can be prevented with proper ankle support. Seeing that ankles are very vulnerable and challenging to heal, you will want to choose shoes with solid ankle construction to ensure you are safe as you sprint back and forth.
Most outdoor pickleball shoes are made with strong synthetic leather material for durability. Unfortunately, this material can make the shoe rigid and uncomfortable to play with. The best pickleball shoes must have a flexible upper and a responsive sole to ensure you can easily move around and bend your feet when playing.
Why Good Pickleball Shoes Matter
As we stated in the beginning, footwear can be the difference between successful pickleball games and a trip to the emergency room. Many sports injuries like sprains, ankle twists, stress fracture and tendonitis can be prevented with the right shoe.
To understand how vital the right pickleball shoes are, think of your feet as the foundation of your body. The feet bear all your body weight, gives it stability, support, balance and absorb shock. As you jump up and down and back and forth, hitting the pickle ball, you put an enormous amount of weight and pressure on your joints. The best pickleball shoes minimizes this pressure by absorbing some of it and distributing it equally so you can have stability and balance.
These shoes for pickleball provide extra cushioning for shock absorption and the right amount of traction for safety. They also provide support for your ankles and toes so you can land safely without twisting your legs.
Now that you've learnt the importance of wearing the proper footwear when playing Pickleball, you can choose the most suitable shoe among the ones we have reviewed, among others. The most important thing is to know what to look for when choosing the right shoe and stick to court shoes only.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are tennis shoes good for pickleball?
If you play outdoor pickleball, tennis shoes are a perfect choice. Tennis is a game that’s played exactly like pickleball, and their courts are similar. Since there are very few dedicated shoes for pickleball, tennis shoes are the next best option.
2. What clothing and shoes are recommended for pickleball?
Pickleball is an easy and fun game that combines aspects of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. As you can imagine from any of these games, wearing comfortable attire is crucial because there is a lot of jumping and manoeuvrability required. For clothing, athletic shorts, t-shirts, wicking apparel and tennis-style dresses/skirts are perfect. These can be worn with accessories like hats, sweatbands and visors. However, the most essential part of this attire would be the shoes which must provide proper support, traction and comfort.
3. Is Pickleball good for seniors?
Absolutely. Pickleball is easy to play and less stressful on joints and muscles. It's also a very social game that provides an excellent aerobic workout, making it the perfect game for seniors. In fact, the rapid growth of pickleball can be attributed to its popularity in senior community homes, and it helps improve their fitness levels.