As the person who manages the pickleball program at the local community center, I see first-hand the dangers of wearing the wrong kinds of shoes when playing pickleball. I’ve seen numerous injuries — rolled ankles, ruptured Achilles tendons, pulled hamstrings, strains, sprains and more — many of which may have been prevented with proper footwear.
Instead of grabbing the most convenient pair of athletic shoes, it is imperative to make sure the shoes are conducive to the forward, backward and lateral movements required on the pickleball court. Leave the walking shoes, running shoes and cross-trainers at home when playing pickleball. They are designed specifically to support your forward motion — not side-to-side movement with quick stops and starts. Likewise (this is for you, Tulip City Pickleball Club 🌷🌷🌷🌷), keep the wooden shoes reserved for klompen dancing as they tend to provide minimal ankle and arch support on the courts. 🙂
So What Makes for an Effective & Safe Shoe for Pickleball?
The best shoe for pickleball is a court shoe or tennis shoe — one that has great comfort, grip, ankle support, rubber soles and a tread pattern conducive to quick lateral movements. Keep in mind, a good pair of pickleball shoes will not last forever. A general rule-of-thumb is that pickleball shoes should be replaced after approximately 60 hours of play — or 3 to 4 months, depending on how often you play.
Best Pickleball Shoes for Women Outdoors or on Hard, Gritty Surfaces
If playing outdoors — or indoors on a tennis court or similar hard, gritty surface — tennis shoes are the best option. Tennis shoes provide the necessary support for quick lateral and forward-and-backward movements and they hold up best to the wear-and-tear of rough court surfaces.
Best Pickleball Shoes for Women on Indoor Wood/Composite Gym Floors
If playing indoors on a wood/composite gym floor — like at a local, recreation center — court, volleyball or tennis shoes — are great options. Mizuno and ASICS are two brands that both have some good “volleyball” (gum rubber) options in their shoe line-up that can be worn for pickleball.
Best Pickleball Shoes for Men Outdoors or on Hard, Gritty Surfaces
If playing outdoors — or indoors on a tennis court or similar hard, gritty surface — tennis shoes are the best option. I own several pairs of the Adidas Barricade tennis shoes — while others swear by the New Balance 806 tennis shoes. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the following options.
Best Pickleball Shoes for Men on Indoor Wood/Composite Gym Floors
If playing indoors on a wood/composite gym floor — like at a local, recreation center — court, volleyball or tennis shoes — are great options. While I use my tennis shoes to play indoors, here are several other options — specifically designed for the wood/composite gym floors.
With so much gear and accessories to buy for pickleball, please don’t skimp on the pickleball shoes. Having the right pair of pickleball shoes will not only enhance your comfort and performance — but could also very well minimize your chance for serious injury. It’s not necessary to purchase the “cutest” or “coolest” shoe. It is critical, however, to buy the right kind of shoe. If you currently don’t have the right kind of shoe for pickleball, please make it a priority to get new shoes before setting foot on the pickleball court again. That’s an order! See you on the courts!