Many players arrive at the courts ready to play in a running or cross training shoe. Is that the best shoe or do you need to have special shoes to play pickleball?
You might be thinking back to your youth when most of us had one pair of sneakers for every sport we played. The best shoes for pickleball may not be the ones in your closet. Wearing the wrong shoe could put you at risk for injury.
Court Shoes are different
If this is your only take away from the post understand that running, walking and cross trainers are made for forward motion. Court shoes are designed for quick stops and starts and the lateral movement of pickleball.
Shoe technology is always changing and evolving. Sports specific shoes are designed to help us move more efficiently and protect our feet and bodies from the rigors of the games we play. As we look at the best shoes for pickleball keep in mind, your goal should be to find a pair of shoes that are comfortable and an optimal fit for your foot.
Let’s take a look at the design of court so you can better understand why they are the best choice for a pickleball shoe. (Don’t miss the FREE Shoe Resource Guide Below)
As a result of the quick stops and starts and lateral motion of court sports, your foot slides on the footbed. Court shoes have a thicker and heavier upper to keep the foot in place. If you have never worn court shoes before it feels like your foot is locked in place on the shoe. Conversely, the upper makes the shoe heavier and less breathable than many other styles of athletic shoes.
As you look at this picture below, the running shoe on the left has more cushion to the insole to protect the foot from impact. The midsole of a court shoe is much thinner than other athletic shoes, this keeps the foot lower to the ground and protects against ankle roll.
Tread patterns vary based on the manufacturer but are once again designed to enhance lateral motion. Many court shoes have non-marking soles, a requirement on most hardwood surfaces.
Who makes the best shoe?
All the major players make court shoes, Nike, Asics, Addidas, and New Balance just to name a few. Unless you are a racquet sports player, you may not have heard of Babolat, Prince, Yonex, and Lotto but they have several great options. Essentially the best shoe for you is the one that supports and cushions your foot and fits you most comfortably. My personal favorite is Asics because they don’t require any break-in time and fit my foot comfortably.
How much will I pay?
That depends. Most companies offer value, mid-range, and high-end models. A word to the wise: Don’t let price be your sole factor. A midsole may break down before the tread does. That could cause aches and pains in the knees and back. Remember, your goal is to find a well fitting comfortable shoe to protect your body and help you move more efficiently on the court. Is that worth the $50-$100 investment?
Want to learn a little more? This Youtube video on the Best Shoes for Pickleball will help.
Tony and I trust our feet to Tyrol Pickleball Shoes. The shoes are designed for pickleball and the only shoes Tyrol makes are, (you guessed it) pickleball shoes. If you are ready to try Tyrol, use the code BP10 at checkout to get 10% off.
Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)