Pickleball. Ten years ago, you may not have even known what it was, such has been the emphatic emergence of the sport on the scene in the time since then. With such popularity growing right before our eyes, this fun, yet demanding sport has seen all sorts of newcomers come in that have tons of questions to ask. The chief one is going to relate to their footwear. Today, we are going to be helping to answer that question and a whole lot more by breaking down everything you need to know about Pickleball shoes. The game can be played both indoors and outdoors as well, so this is going to make things a little bit complicated. Don’t fret, however, we have your back and will give you all the information you need in our buying guide. We’ll also be reviewing ten of the best, most popular pairs available on the market in 2019 so that we can help you know where to begin.
Top Pickleball and Court Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Tyrol Men’s Volley Series Pickleball Shoes||Mesh||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. Asics Men’s Gel Rocket 8 Volleyball Shoes||Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. Asics Men’s Gel Game 6 Tennis Shoes||Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt Express Tennis Shoes||Synthetic||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Adidas Originals Women’s Crazyflight Bounce 2 Volleyball Shoes||Textile & Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. Prince T22 Women’s Tennis Shoes||Synthetic/Mesh||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. Asics Women’s Gel Dedicate 5 Tennis Shoes||Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. New Balance Men’s mc806 Tennis Shoes||Leather & Synthetic||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|9. HEAD Men’s Grid 2.0 Low Indoor Court Shoes||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|10. Babolat Men’s Jet Team All Court Tennis Shoes||Mesh||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Pickleball and Court Shoes Buying Guide
Figuring Your Surroundings
For the most part, players will know what type of setting they are going to be playing on most often. In some cases, you may not know this, but if you are a more serious player, it’s probably not going to be the issue that it is for less experienced and more ‘fun’ types of players. There are two main places where the game of Pickleball can be played: indoor and outdoor. This can drastically change the type of footwear that you need, and it should be changing it as well. You don’t want to end up not having full protection or a lack of durability, so you will want to choose the one that is right for you.
For indoor play, there are a couple of main things you have to look for. First, you need to almost always have a non-marking pair of shoes. If you have anything that leaves marks, you’re likely to be dismissed. A lot of times, volleyball shoes are ideal for this because they are super supportive and stable, think of all the side to side movements AND the jumping they partake in. Squash and racquetball shoes are also good for this because they are going to also be supportive and will not mark.
For outdoor play, there are other challenges that you have to overcome. The ground is even harder and more coarse in most circumstances, meaning you are going to be needing a much, much tougher pair of shoes. Not only will their durability be called into question but the soles of your own feet will be as well. This is why tennis shoes are so common for outdoor Pickleball play. They are supportive and offer the best durability for that specific setting, giving you the utmost for your money.
It will be fine to use something other than what is recommended for play, but just let it be known that this should be kept to a minimum. Sometimes you get invited to play and you don’t have the proper equipment right off the bat. So, you go and play. Maybe you figure out that you really love it, and then you get the proper stuff to play with. That sort of thing is fine, but you should be wary of playing with not so good equipment for too long. It can and will put strain on your joints, muscles, and bones.
What Is (and Isn’t) A Court Shoe?
You might have been a little bit confused when you saw the title or read the opening couple of salvos above about what exactly a ‘court shoe’ is. This term is not the easiest to grasp, but it’s really not all that hard once you know what it means, and also what it does not mean. A court shoe is a type of shoe that is made for various sports that are played on a court. The thing that all court shoes have in common is that they have excellent lateral support and are not going to leave marks. These kinds of shoes can be found in a ton of different sports, most of which are played inside. However, not all sports that are played on a court really fall into the category of court shoes. There are some specifically that certainly do not: basketball and tennis. Basketball shoes are great, but they are so restrictive and bulky that they should and are not contenders for genuinely serious Pickleball or court sport players. Tennis shoes are also not good picks, either. So many of them are also bulky when compared with the other court sport shoes, and they can also leave marks as well. They are better off being used outside on the hard court where they belong!
What About Other Athletic Shoes?
Besides the examples we gave you above, there really aren’t going to be many good choices for you to turn to for your Pickleball footwear. Wearing shoes that aren’t so good for traction and lateral support are absolute no-go’s that must be avoided. One such type of shoe is that of the running shoe. Everyone today assumes that these are pieces of mechanical wonder that can accomplish every single task put in front of it. But that’s just not true. Running shoes are made with one goal in mind: to help you move forward. Try going from side to side in them. They will bend over onto themselves and your feet will pay the price. Furthermore, just think about jumping with them. It’s not a pretty sight, is it? The same can be said of other types of shoes, including indoor soccer shoes. They look like they could do the job, but they are made for other purposes. So, it’s best to stick with a court shoe or a tennis shoe, depending on where you find yourself playing Pickleball!
Must Haves For A Pickleball Shoe
We have hinted briefly at some of the things that a Pickleball shoe must have in order to be a success for you, but here is the section where we are going to break it down in one concise package. These are absolute must-haves in a Pickleball shoe. If you don’t see these features present, then you need to say no and go to the next thing, lest you end up seriously injured.
It may sound a little bit fanciful and ridiculous, but lateral support is a very necessary part of any sport that requires you to go from one side to another. Pickleball is one such sport, and that means you need a pair of shoes that are strong and sturdy not only when you move from front to back but also from side to side, too. Shoes that fold over onto themselves will not do the job. Even if shoes don’t appear to do this, your feet will let you know in short order that they don’t do a very good job at this. The chances of rolling your ankles goes up tremendously when you don’t have lateral support, too, which makes this the top feature we feel you have got to have.
Responsiveness is a big, fancy word that means a lot of things to a lot of people. But here, it’s going to be pretty simple. It’s how intuitive your shoes are. Do they take shocks well, and then how well do they allow you to get off the mark and make shots? If a shoe takes shocks well, but it’s slow to react and doesn’t allow you much ability to move around, then it’s just not very responsive. We all want to be as good as we can be, and if this isn’t had, then we will lag behind and never reach the potential level at which we could theoretically play at.
Another thing that a pair of Pickleball shoes must have is great traction. In order for that to be present, you have to make sure you have the right type of shoes. Shoes not made for the court are very unlikely to be able to keep you from sliding. It should be known that some shoes are better than others at doing this. It’s very possible to have a pair that is great at keeping you from sliding and slipping but only for a short time. It’s also possible for a pair to not be the greatest but last a very long time. Doing research is the best way for you to find this out, and we will make sure to clue you in on it in our reviews if it comes up.
Another area of the shoes that needs to be present is a stiff toe area. This is crucial because there will be a lot of toe dragging in the game and you will need that support and protection in order to get through the day. Without having that rigidness, you are going to have a bevy of problems. Not only will the shoes wear out faster, you are also going to see a lack of performance. If you can’t push off your toes as well as your opponent, serves and returns are going to be harder for you to win.
Lastly in our list of must-haves is the concept of flexibility. While you do need rigidity and support in certain areas, you also don’t need a pair of shoes that is too set in one place. You need to have shoes that will bend a little bit, letting you use your natural range of motion and helping you be much more free. If you are too tight, you’re going to end up losing out on some crucial points since you won’t be able to get to where you need to go. Sizing and the materials used play a very big role in how flexible- or inflexible- a shoe might be for you.
Don’t Forget Comfort
Just because comfort wasn’t listed in the above must-haves doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken very seriously. Let’s just face it right now. Which shoes do you wear on a regular basis? The ones that you find most comfortable right? Even if you have those stylish shoes sitting there, are you going to wear them if they hurt you badly? The answer here is a big time ‘no.’ You’re just not going to put them into use, nor should you. So, comfort should not be discounted. If you put on a pair of shoes for the first time and just don’t think you can commit to playing with them for months, then it’s best to just go ahead and decide to not go with them. You can send them back if you bought them online, after all, and you can find something else. Sizing, which we will get to, does play a role, but it’s about so much more than just that alone. You need to feel good all the way around, not just in one single spot. Support, or a lack thereof, is also going to contribute to comfort. If you don’t feel comfortable, then it might just have a ton to do with not having adequate support. Check for all sorts of things. Make sure the tongue is to your liking, that the uppers aren’t too tight to the top of your feet, and that the heel ‘counter’ isn’t digging into you. The laces are another area to keep watch on. Not only could it turn awful if they come undone too easily or break, but they also are a disaster waiting to happen if they are unable to spread the pressure evenly throughout the shoes. If they can’t do that, you might hurt in one small place, which is enough to quit wearing them altogether. All of these things are super annoying, and you’ll want to avoid them.
The ‘cut’ or ‘top’ of a shoe refers to the type of ankle support in which you will be getting. There are three main choices on the market today: the low, the mid, and the high top. The high top is the one that’s been around the longest in athletics. It has long been a staple in the game of basketball, though even that is being challenged by modern manufacturers as they respond to the demands of ever-changing athletes. This type is really awesome at protecting you from rolling over your ankles, but the issue with it is that it’s going to cause you to be weighed down more than others and will also be less freeing as you attempt to move. This type is not all that popular in court circles, but some people, particularly larger individuals and those that have had ankle and knee injuries in the past, very much need them. The low cut, or top, is a type that is going to be super freeing and allows for maximum range of motion. It has little to no resistance for keeping you from turning over an ankle but the lack of restriction and the lesser weight of it is appealing to a ton of people. This type is best for very quick players, young players, those that are relatively small, and also is best for anyone that has not had ankle issues in the past. The third type, the mid top, is the ideal middle ground between the two choices here. It gives you both a medium level of flexibility while still providing you with a medium level of protection as well. This, in a whole lot of cases, has become the new high top, so you might even get them confused with high tops. This is a much better option for many that have had ankle problems, since it still gives you some ability to move freely.
It might sound boring and repetitive, but trust us, it’s not and it’s vital to your game and increasing the level at which you play. It’s also massive at making sure you have the necessary support and the comfort that you so desperately crave. Here are some things to look out for as you size your feet.
- Take your ‘active feet’ into account. If you are playing Pickleball, you are going to notice some changes in your feet and ankles that occur as a direct result of playing the game. You will see swelling, a natural reaction of the body when you exercise, and this can cause discomfort if you don’t have the right size. In order to get a more accurate size, you need to be active ahead of figuring out what size you are. That way, you don’t get a size that restricts your movement by being too tight on you when you are playing. The other thing to consider is your socks. You will want to wear the same socks, or something close to them, that you will be wearing when you play. That way, there are no unexpected changes that cause your feet to be sore afterwards.
- Always make sure you have enough room. A lot of people don’t take this into consideration, but it should be a massive thought in the back of your mind. You need to have ample room between your toes and the ends of your shoes without going overboard. Should you have too much room, you will notice your feet sliding up and down inside of your shoes. This can cause you to get injured by falling, can cause the shoes to fly off embarrassingly, or it can cause joint problems from a result of adjusting your gait over time. Going too small can cause blistering to form, and that’s something you can’t and don’t want to deal with on the court. The length isn’t all there is to this, however, since you also have to take width into account. So many people forget about this and then realize they don’t like their shoes. Some companies run wide, some run narrow, and some are just right. A brand might not align with you. The idea of going up a size to get wider might not work since it will throw off the length, meaning you might have to go with a different choice entirely instead.
- When it comes to women’s and men’s shoes, our list will have each. Most of the offerings will have that specific model of shoe available in both genders. The reason this is worth pointing out is because it cuts down on redundancies on the list. It’s also worth noting that the differences between men’s and women’s athletic shoes, though seemingly not that great, are significant and need to be brought up. Women’s shoes are lighter, have less support, and are also more narrow. They tend to fit ladies better, so that is the main thing to look for. Men’s are typically wider on average and offer more support, but that’s only apples to apples. Relatively speaking, they each give the same support. It’s just that the average female doesn’t weigh as much as the male, so it is unnecessary for them to have the extra weight and support. This is all to say that sticking within your gender is probably the best bet for court shoes. You can get away with it with more casual types of footwear a little better, but the fit is going to be its best if you have something designed specifically for your foot. The shoe companies know what they are doing, otherwise there would only be unisex shoes on the shelves!
The materials that make up your shoes will help, along with brand name, determine how long they hold up and contribute greatly to the price. Here’s a quick look at some of the things you can and will see used and their benefits and detriments.
The upper part of the shoe is going to be the area we are most familiar with, and leather is a choice for it. It’s super flexible, durable, and you won’t be sliding anywhere. However, it’s not the best at keeping you cool by letting air in and can be expensive. Plus, it has the downside of also not being the best for animal-friendly folks.
This type of material has come to the fore in athletic footwear in recent years due to its ability to be like leather yet offer real solutions. It’s made by humans and can is flexible, breathable, and easy to clean. Plus, it can last a long time, too, all the while being cheaper
If you want to stay cool, then mesh is the way to go. Shoes with mesh will have plenty of ventilation for you so that you can breathe easier, though it does come at the cost of some durability due to it being so prone to tears. Shoes with too much mesh, then, are not ideal for persistent use and abuse.
The Top Ten Pickleball and Court Shoes of 2019 Reviews
Tyrol Men’s Volley Series Pickleball Shoes
There are very few Pickleball-only offerings out there at this time, but this is one of them from Tyrol. With the use of nylon and mesh on the upper, they are both flexible and breathable. This is reinforced by the insole, which has its own cooling unit to boot. They use a molded rubber toe in the front and reinforced padding in the back to increase durability and add to comfort, raising the profile of the heels a bit to give you much more cushioning there. The insole, which was briefly mentioned before, also is light but responsive and comfortable, all the while the outsole is made from high quality rubber to help you keep your feet. Because of all of these reasons, they are great for a new or intermediate player. They are probably best suited for an outdoor court, so that is something to keep an eye on.
- Very breathable
- Reinforced for durability
- Cushioned and comfy
Asics Men’s Gel Rocket 8 Volleyball Shoes
Following close behind is a great option for indoor use in this offering from Asics. These volleyball shoes will not mark, making you able to play on and not worry with marks. They are also, of course, super protective and supportive thanks to the tremendous strain that volleyball players have on them. That makes them go above and beyond compared to most regular shoe types. With Asics world renowned gel cushioning system, you will have plenty of shock absorption when you push off and make those tough shots. Through the use of their Trusstic technology, they have been able to make the shoes lighter and still keep the same level of support and integrity, making them last longer without weighting you down as heavily. With the use of synthetics and mesh, they are going to be breathable and offer you a better chance to air out that sweat.
- Absorbs shocks well
- Light but durable
- Breathable indoor shoe
Asics Men’s Gel Game 6 Tennis Shoes
If you are stepping onto the outdoor court but want to stick with Asics, then this is the way you can go. With the same great gel cushioning system that you always see from them, these are made to hold up well, support you, and to give you superb traction on the dirty outside courts. They, too, have that great Trusstic tech that will keep you feeling lighter, going longer without getting tired, but still having the same durability that you had in previous iterations. These are made from fully synthetic materials, but there is one problem that might seep in. They don’t have a ton of mesh or anything, so you might find yourself overheating a bit while playing on warmer days. This does, of course, ratchet up the durability some, but it does come at a price to you.
- Very, very durable
- Gel cushioning does a job
- Great traction
- Lack of breathability
K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt Express Tennis Shoes
K-Swiss might be known by you as a company that is more about style, but they are about a whole lot more. These are very fashionable and very functional, utilizing synthetics and mesh to give you a lot of flexibility, breathability, and protection as well. With a molded and comfy sockliner, you will be feeling good all the while it fits and conforms to you rather than to a general swath of people. With a reinforced dragguard rubberized toe area and a thick heel, these are made to last and hold up under tough challenges from everything you face. These are made to be a lot like running shoes, only they have a lot of responsiveness and lateral movement. If you have had issues with other, more inflexible shoes before, these are perfect for you and will give you just what you need to hit those winners time and time again.
- Very comfy sockliner
- Reinforced toe and heels
- Great lateral movement but light like a running shoe
Adidas Originals Women’s Crazyflight Bounce 2 Volleyball Shoes
If you want style and class, then this is the way to go for you on an indoor court. With a great ability to give you all of the necessary protection you need and then some, these are also going to be extremely functional. Made with synthetics and mesh, they are going to be flexible enough to get you through all the while also being breathable. With a mid top design, they will make sure your ankles don’t get rolled over easily. Thanks to their wider platform in the forefoot, you will have more mobility and lateral support than many others because of the extra space that takes pressure off. The use of their patented Bounce cushioning also ensures that they are plenty supportive and comfy, too, helping you feel like you are walking on clouds.
- Bounce is cushy AND comfy
- Extremely good looks
- Wide platform increases stability
Prince T22 Women’s Tennis Shoes
Prince is a big name in the tennis world, and it’s no shock to see them make the list here with this offering. With a thick sole that also has clear cushioning that can be viewed by the naked eye, you can count on them being supportive for you as you move from side to side. The toes are reinforced with a toe guard to keep you from getting them worn out from dragging your toes frequently, too, helping to increase the durability of them as a unit. They are so incredibly stable that a lot of people have flocked to them to ensure they will not be turning over ankles or getting needless injuries. They are even fairly wide in the toes, meaning they will be able to expand with you and give you plenty of room in doing so. With mesh and plenty of tiny holes all around, air gets in with a breeze. Some have found them to be too stiff on the outsole, so that is worth noting.
- Toe dragging no longer an issue
- Thick sole with cushioning
- Width in the toe box
- Too stiff for some
Asics Women’s Gel Dedicate 5 Tennis Shoes
Asics once again comes back onto the list with their Dedicate 5, which is going to provide a more clean and classic look to the game of Pickleball. These look like they could be used at Wimbledon, such is their lack of color. With a fully synthetic makeup, they are made to be very flexible. There is a lack of mesh here, so they will not be the all-time best at providing you with breathability. The forefoot is once again laced with their gel cushioning system, helping to make your push off easier and less impactful so you can retain as much energy as possible and play longer. They are light but still up for duty due to the Trusstic system as well, making them a good option for outdoor court use. The other negative is that they are tight in the instep area for many.
- Traditional tennis shoes
- Flexible and cushioned
- Light but protective
- Lacks some breathability
- Tight in insteps
New Balance Men’s mc806 Tennis Shoes
New Balance’s offering here rivals the previous Asics but has slightly more color, blending the new and the old together. The shoe itself, meanwhile has a reinforced toe area to keep dragging possible for longer. The toes are even perforated to help get air to them, a nice added touch they have thrown in for good measure. They use their ABZORB cushioning system in the heels, and it’s clear as they can be seen by the eye. The leather makeup of them makes them a little less breathable than many, but those that play on various types of courts won’t mind since they have a non-marking sole. This means you can use them both indoor and outdoor if needed, though you need to think about it before rushing in. With a herringbone pattern beneath them, they will keep you upright and moving with quick pivots.
- Very much cushioned
- Versatility at its finest
- Great for quick movements
- Not the most breathable
HEAD Men’s Grid 2.0 Low Indoor Court Shoes
These are excellent shoes that are very versatile, making them great for use in a multitude of indoor court sports. These shoes have a gum rubber sole that makes doubly sure there are no marks and that you can cut corners in the blink of an eye. Thanks to their upper that uses mesh, you’ll be getting plenty of air in and will not accumulate all of that yuckiness inside. By using their hybrasion compound on the rubber, they have reinforced it and ensured you’ll get the longer possible usage. One of the main strikes against these is the fact that they are heavier than most shoes you’ll find on the market. But this helps their durability greatly, so it can be overlooked by many for that alone.
- Highly resistant rubber
- Very, very durable build
- Versatile court shoes
- Heavier than most
Babolat Men’s Jet Team All Court Tennis Shoes
Babolat is a major, premium player in court sports, and as such, they have made the list with this great offering. These shoes are made with mesh that also uses Kevlar to help them remain light while still being breathable and supportive without tearing too easily. Thanks to their active flexion technology and their ‘kompressor,’ they will be comfy, supportive, and also responsive as you make moves and attempts to beat your opponent with an unstoppable volley. By using rubber that has been worked on in conjunction with Michelin, you can count on them to be super grippy and durable as you make cuts from one side to the next. The two things you might not like about these outdoor Pickleball shoes are going to be that they are heavier than most and that they are pretty expensive.
- Kevlar collaboration
- Excellent grip and durability on soles
- Incredibly responsive
- Pretty expensive choice
- Heavier than many out there
Conclusion And Final Pickleball Court Shoes Recommendations
When you type in the words “Pickleball shoes” or “court shoes” online, it can be dizzying to look at all of the choices. One after another floods in, and you can definitely be put off by it. There’s just so many choices and there’s so little true explanation for it all. Instead of forcing you to go through that, though, we have broken all of it down today in one place, right along with some of the products themselves, giving you a clear picture into what you need and what you definitely do not need. Pickleball is a diverse sport that requires a ton of patience and practice to get good at, as well as good old common sense when choosing your footwear. And after today, you’ll have that in abundance. Good luck out on the court!
FAQ’s About Pickleball Court Shoes
How Do You Clean Your Pickleball Shoes?
Cleaning your shoes is important, not only for making sure they look great for as long as possible but also to help them last as long as you can as well. One very simple thing to do to maintain them is to only wear them while playing Pickleball. Once the game is finished and preferably before you leave the court area, you should change. A lot of racquetball and squash clubs actually make this is a rule, since if you wear your shoes in it can dirty up the floor by bringing in dust and dirt. Another smart thing to do is to wipe the bottoms off as you go. Rather than waiting until they accumulate so much dust that they are slippery, you can wipe them off and keep on your feet. If you need to really clean them, then make sure to pay attention to any labels or instructions from the company themselves. Most of, if not all of the time, you will want to avoid using a washing machine and dryer. You can use a mild soap and brush to scrape out gunk.
When Should I Replace My Pickleball Shoes?
Replacing your Pickleball shoes every now and then is very much something you should be doing. Nothing lasts forever, and that will be the case with even the greatest of pairs out there. If you want to save your feet and joints a ton of pain, you need to not be afraid to upgrade or move on from time to time. One way to know is to go by feel. If you feel that you are getting much more sore than you used to, then it’s likely because the support has essentially ran out in the shoes. Another easy way to tell is if there are tears forming. These can take root in the upper part of the shoes, and it’s wise to keep an eye on that. You don’t want to have anything open to air! This is not to say that you should change your shoes solely based on the fact that they now look dirty. That’s going to naturally happen with time. If you notice a shift in traction, to the point where you are having problems staying on your feet, you also need to make a change. You can also look closely at the outside of the shoes. In a lot of shoes today, you will see a wide, possibly thick design that appears to maybe be for looks. This area, though, is a for cushioning and to extend the width and height of the shoes to alleviate pressure from you. If this area is crumpled up or cracked, then you need to make an alteration. The last thing you can do to keep track of them is totally the number of hours you have played in them. Professional players recommend that shoes be worn for 60 hours. This is difficult for some people to keep track of, for obvious reasons, so that’s why we put it last here.