Do You Need Special Shoes for Pickleball?

Pickleball is a game that is quickly gaining popularity all over the world. It’s a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Playing pickleball is an excellent way to stay active and engage in a fun and competitive sport. One of the most important things that every pickleball player should have is the proper gear, including the right shoes.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of having the right shoes for pickleball and what you should look out for when buying pickleball shoes.

Do You Need Special Shoes for Pickleball?

The answer is YES. To maximize your performance on different court surfaces, it’s crucial to wear pickleball shoes specifically designed for each surface.

do you need special shoes for pickleball

The reasons why are regarding the below:


One of the primary reasons why having the right shoes is essential is to provide support. When playing pickleball, players tend to make quick and sudden lateral movements, which can put a lot of stress on the feet and ankles. Wearing regular athletic shoes may not provide the right amount of support needed for the game. A good pickleball shoe should have a wide base, a firm sole, and provide excellent lateral support.


Another important factor to consider when buying pickleball shoes is traction. The sport is played on a variety of surfaces, including concrete, wood, or even a gymnasium floor. The right shoes should provide enough grip to prevent slipping while still allowing the player to move quickly in different directions. A pair of shoes with a good grip can give a player a significant advantage on the court.


Since pickleball involves a lot of sudden stops, starts, and direction changes, it puts a lot of pressure on the shoes. Regular athletic shoes may not be durable enough for the sport. A good pair of pickleball shoes should be robust and durable, able to withstand the demands of court play.


Finally, comfort is an essential factor to consider when buying pickleball shoes. Since pickleball can be played for a long time, it’s important that the shoes are comfortable to wear. The right pickleball shoes should provide a snug fit without being too tight. They should also be breathable to avoid sweaty feet and blisters.

Pickleball Shoes vs. Other Athletic Shoes: Key Differences Explained

Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that requires agility, quick movements, and stability on the court. While it may be tempting to use your existing athletic shoes for pickleball, there are specific features and differences that make pickleball shoes a better choice for optimal performance and injury prevention.

1. Traction

Pickleball shoes are designed with a herringbone or modified herringbone pattern on the outsole, which provides excellent traction on various court surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, and indoor gym floors. This pattern allows for quick lateral movements and sudden stops without slipping. In contrast, running shoes often have a linear tread pattern designed for forward motion, making them less suitable for pickleball’s multidirectional movement.

2. Lateral Support

Pickleball involves many side-to-side movements, making lateral support crucial for players. Pickleball shoes typically have a wider base and sturdier construction in the midsole and upper to provide better stability and prevent ankle rolls. Running shoes, on the other hand, are designed for forward motion and may lack the necessary lateral support, increasing the risk of injury during play.

3. Cushioning

Wile both pickleball and running shoes offer cushioning, the level and placement of cushioning differ. Pickleball shoes focus on providing cushioning in the forefoot area, where players spend most of their time on the balls of their feet. Running shoes tend to have more heel cushioning, as runners strike the ground with their heels first.

4. Toe Protection

Due to the nature of pickleball, players may frequently find themselves dragging their toes along the court surface during play. Pickleball shoes often feature a reinforced toe cap or durable material in the toe area to protect against wear and prolong the life of the shoes. This feature is typically not present in running or general athletic shoes.

5. Weight and Flexibility

Pickleball shoes strike a balance between lightweight construction and support, allowing players to move quickly without compromising stability. Running shoes are generally lighter but may not provide the necessary support and structure for pickleball.

In conclusion, while it is possible to play pickleball in other athletic shoes, investing in a quality pair of pickleball shoes will provide better traction, support, and protection, ultimately enhancing your performance on the court and reducing the risk of injury.


Choosing the right shoes for pickleball is an important decision that can impact your performance on the court and prevent injuries. Make sure to find a pair of shoes that provide adequate support, traction, durability, and comfort to avoid any issues during the game.

It’s worth investing in a good pair of shoes to help enhance your pickleball experience and overall performance on the court. Be sure to check out various brands and models to find the perfect pickleball shoes that work best for you.

About the author

John's love for pickleball began when his wife bought him a set for Christmas one year. He quickly became obsessed with the game, and now plays several times a week.

John loves nothing more than spending an afternoon on the court with friends, whacking balls back and forth.

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