How to Pick Pickleball Shoes

Picking pickleball shoes doesn’t have to be complicated. At Tennis Express, we carry a variety of innovative Pickleball Shoes for women and men of all playing levels. Pickleball shoes are specialty shoes. Considered performance shoes, whether that’s recreationally or at a competitively level, they are designed for on-court action. 

Their primary purpose is to lend stability, increase responsiveness, and provide maximum comfort so you can play pickleball for as long as the point and match last.  At first glance, pickleball shoes look similar to traditional tennis shoes. However, they have minor design elements that add stamina and agility to your pickleball game. Some people might compare pickleball shoes to basketball shoes or running shoes. But you wouldn’t run a marathon in an ordinary pair of gym shoes. In the same way, you shouldn’t wear basketball shoes to play pickleball, even when it is on an indoor gym surface.  

Playing pickleball involves twisting, turning, bending, jumping, and stretching to get the ball. The right pair of shoes will offer assistance with all of these aspects, and help you play your best whether that’s indoors, outdoors, or both. 

Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball Shoes

If you’re new to pickleball it won’t take you long to figure out there’s a huge contrast playing pickleball indoors verses outdoors. Most notably are the different surfaces. Indoor play is typically on a polished gymnasium floor. Outdoor play is on a hard-court or concrete surface. Because the two are dramatically different, so are the shoes.

Indoor pickleball shoes have a softer, tackier outsole for better grip on slick surfaces like gym floors. With a slightly thinner outsole, they are a little lighter than outdoor shoes but will not be as durable.

Likewise, their outdoor counterparts are made with a firmer, more durable outsole that adapts to abrasive surfaces exposed to natural elements such as wind, water, sunlight, plants, and animals. Most people feel these shoes are a little stiffer, however, there is a break-in period.   

Buying Criteria

Next to durability, comfort is the most critical element to select the right pickleball shoes. Keep in mind, they will not feel the same as casual or walking shoes. But that shouldn’t stop you from choosing a pair that have a shorter break-in period.   

Weight, length, and width will be equivalent to other sports shoes, although runners typically purchase a half-size bigger to accommodate for swelling in the feet.  This is not the case for pickleball shoes. Most run true to size. If you have a favorite brand, be sure to give them a try.

Also, look beyond colorways and identify qualities that will maximize your play time like better arch support, breathability, and special memory-foam cushioning. If you find a unisex pickleball shoe, be sure to adjust your shoe size accordingly, since the width leans toward the men’s side of the scale and it will have a wider toe box. 

Pickleball shoes will not only improve your reaction time on the court, but they can reduce injuries. Unlike running shoes whose only purpose is to go forward, pickleball shoes are engineered for quick, side-to-side movements. They have a tight outsole tread pattern that adds traction and stability so you can safely and efficiently move from the backcourt to “the kitchen” and grab the elusive “dink-shot”.  With better balance and improved control, you can prevent erratic shifts and potential injuries to your knees, back, and ankles.    

A Solid Investment

Quality pickleball shoes are a great investment. Durability should be near the top of the “must have list”. Depending on how frequently you play and how often, you’ll want a shoe that has some longevity. Added toe guards, heal guards, or other construction elements are imperative, and materials matter.

Most offer abrasion protection on the medial side of the toe box.  Quality rubber and mesh will go a long way, as will the overall weight of a pickleball shoe. But lifespan isn’t just determined by outward appearances. Many shoes have built-in technologies from the mid-sole to the intricate lacing system.  

One way to extend the life of your pickleball shoes is to purchase multiple pairs and rotate which ones you use on any given day. On average, pickleball shoes should last between 3 and 6 months, and should be replaced after approximately 60 hours of competitive play.  

Some of the best pickleball shoe manufacturers include K-Swiss, Fila, Wilson, Diadora, and Acacia. 

Check out our Pickleball Shoes on Sale or find more pickleball gear including paddles, balls, bags, and more at 


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