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10 Of The Best Pickleball Shoes, According To Experts

10 Of The Best Pickleball Shoes, According To Experts
Posted at 12:23 PM, Feb 05, 2024

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Pickleball may have started out as a popular sport in retirement communities, but there’s no question that it’s now gone fully mainstream. In fact, it’s so popular that our local tennis club ended up converting several courts to pickleball courts in an effort to keep their members from leaving!

You don’t need a lot of equipment to take up pickleball, but as with any sport, you will want a great pair of shoes. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed about which shoes to buy, or you’re not satisfied with the current pair you’ve been sporting, we interviewed 20 devoted pickleball players and a podiatrist (and I even fell down a reddit pickleball hole) to get the low down on the best pickleball shoes for every type of feet.

Jump To: Best Overall | Best for Outdoor Pickleball | Best for Plus Sized Players | Best for Wide Feet | Best Nike Pickleball Shoes | Best for Seniors | Best for Plantar Fascitis | Best for Flat Feet | Best for Achilles Tendonitis | Best for Indoor Pickleball

Here are the main factors to take into account when selecting the best pickleball shoes for your particular feet. The experts interviewed had these considerations in mind as they made recommendations for pickleball shoes for both indoor and outdoor courts, as well as a variety of foot problems.


What To Look For

Fit

If your shoes don’t fit, they’re not going to be comfortable for long pickleball matches. When buying a new pair of pickleball shoes, “go later in the day when your feet are most swollen, take the socks you play with, and if you wear orthotics take them also,” recommends Allan I. Rosenthal DPM, a Sports Podiatrist who is himself a pickleball player.  If your shoes fit correctly, when you slide a finger between your heel and the back of the shoe it should feel snug but not too tight.

Soles

Depending on whether you play pickleball at an indoor gym or on an outside hard court, your shoe needs will differ. Indoor court shoes tend to have a thinner and softer sole, and they are often lighter as well.  Indoor pickleball shoes are likely to be too soft for outdoor court play, and you run the risk of wearing them out too quickly. Plus, points out Rosenthal, “it might lose its shock absorption quicker. The sole might appear good, but the shock absorption in the shoe goes first.”

Support

According to Rosenthal, “the ideal pickleball shoe has a stable heel counter, a stiff shank, and some aeration for hot, humid days.” He also urges players not to wear running shoes for pickleball play, since the motion of the sports are so different. Whereas running is a straight ahead motion, pickleball is both side-to-side and forward, which requires more ankle support.

Keep in mind that standard pickleball shoes might not work for every player, especially since they tend to be pretty flat. Bayne Gibby , a writer, actress, and avid pickleball player, says she prefers a more traditional tennis shoe with arch support.
“I have insanely high arches and less supportive shoes are a nightmare,” said Gibby. “My feet get so sore. So, do your own thing. Do your feet still feel great after playing for 2 hours? Then your shoes work!”

Price

Pickleball shoes range in price from about $50 to $180. The average price is around $89.

Can You Wear Pickleball Shoes for Walking and Other Activities?

You certainly can, but it’s not recommended. The more you wear a pair of shoes, the more quickly they wear out, and if you want your pickleball shoes to provide the best performance for as long as possible, use them just for your pickleball matches, and nothing else. As Rosenthal points out, “if you wear them for other activities, they will wear out too soon and lose [both] their grip on the sole and [the] shock absorption.” The moral of the story? If you’re serious about pickleball invest in a pair of shoes that you only wear to play, and change into a pair of street shoes (or other tennis shoes) once you leave the court.

How Long Do Pickleball Shoes Last?

Christopher Cooper, a longtime pickleball player, is serious about the lifespan of his pickleball shoes.

I have found one of the keys to healthy feet and joint health is to rotate through several pairs of quality shoes with each play date,” said Cooper. “I also mark the date I start using a new pair of shoes, to monitor how long they last and to consider replacing them at or around the 6 month mark. I also use a set of quality insoles to provide more cushion, and to absorb shock.”

What’s the Difference Between Pickleball Shoes and Tennis Shoes?

Pickleball shoes and tennis shoes are both court shoes, but, as Rosenthal points out, “like shovels are to gardening and snow, there are different design features.  Pickleball shoes are designed to be more stable, specifically for pickleball’s  more abrupt short lateral motions, by incorporating extra cushioning in lateral motion stress points.” Shoes for pickleball also tend to have heavier, thicker soles, while tennis shoes are usually lighter weight and may provide less stability.


Our Recommendations for the Best Pickleball Shoes

1. Best Overall — Skechers Viper Court Pro

Sketchers

$115 at Sketchers $110 at Dick's Sporting Goods

Weight: 13 ounces | Size range: 5 to 10 (women) 7 to 13 (men) | The lowdown: A stylish sneaker that also provides good performance. | Value: $110 at Dick’s Sporting Goods 

A number of the players that we interviewed raved about the Skechers Viper Court Pro for pickleball play. With a removable insole and lightweight cushioning, these shoes are designed for peak pickleball performance.

“I was playing in tennis sneakers and these are so much better — lighter, flexible, move well, great bounce. Also they look cooler,” says Kate Spencer, an author, podcast host and pickleball devotee.

  • Pros: Stylish, lightweight, durable
  • Cons: Upper isn’t super breathable

2. Best for Outdoor Pickleball – Acacia Pro Signature II

Amazon

$130 at Amazon $110 at Walmart

Weight: 12.8 ounces | Size range: 7.5 to 14 | The lowdown: The choice for outdoor pickleball thanks to its great traction. | Value: $120 at Amazon

For devoted outdoor pickleball players who stick to outdoor courts, the Acacia Pro Signature II offers all the features one could want, says Cooper. “Made expressly for pickleball, [the Acacia Pro Signature II has] outstanding cushion, great arch support, the outer sole wears well, excellent traction, comfortable toe box and terrific styling.”

  • Pros: Wide toe box, lightweight, unisex
  • Cons: Not available in wide sizes

3. Best for Plus Sized Players — On – The Roger Pro

On

$200 at On

Weight: 12.9 ounces | Size range: 5 to 11 (women) 7 to 14 (men) | The lowdown: A court shoe that offers plenty of support for players of every size | Value: $199.99 at On-Running

While not technically just for pickleball, the On Roger Pro is a court shoe co-created by Roger Federer, so you know these can stand up to some seriously hard use. The plus sized pickleball players I interviewed all deemed these shoes to be ideal for those who are heavier on their feet thanks to the padded heel and the midfoot cage that locks the foot into place.

Weekly pickleball player, Lori Elberg, says “these helped prevent ankle and knee injuries that I was getting with my old shoes.” Since switching to Roger Pro she’s injury-free—and her game has improved.

  • Pros: Padded heel, midfoot cage, breathable
  • Cons: Expensive

4. Best for Wide Feet — FitVille Amadeus Tennis & Pickleball Court Shoes 

FitVille

$79 at Fitville

Weight: 11.8 ounces | Size range: 6 to 14, wide and extra wide only | The lowdown: A court shoe designed just for wide feet | Value: $79 at  FitVille (Save 20% with coupon code)

Multiple pickleball players I interviewed all raved about FitVille shoes for players with wide feet. Available in both wide and extra wide sizes, FitVille shoes have a large toe box, moisture-wicking insoles, and a heel ring to stabilize the foot and prevent ankle sprains.

    • Pros: Durable, excellent arch support, reasonably priced
    • Cons: Only two colors available, soles wear quickly

    5. Best Nike Pickleball Shoes — NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro 2

    Nike

    $130 at Nike

  • Weight: 14.2 ounces | Size range: 5 to 12 (women) 6 to 15 (men) | The lowdown: With its enhanced traction, the Vapor Pro was the preferred Nike pickleball shoe.  | Value: $130 at Nike 

    The NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro was the preferred Nike shoe of six different pickleball players I polled. The features they raved about include enhanced traction even on a wet court, light weight, and the low-to-the-court design for faster movement.

    • Pros: Superior traction, lots of spring, low to the ground
    • Cons: Short laces, may be too low for some players

    6. Best for Seniors— Adidas Court Jam Control

    Adidas

    $90 at Zappos $127 at Amazon

    Weight: 13 ounces | Size range: 5 to 10 (women) 6.5 to 16 (men) | The lowdown: An affordable shoe that seniors love thanks to the large toe box and great ankle support| Value: Ranges from just over $66 on Amazon to $90 at Adidas 

    The majority of the senior players we interviewed had yet to find a great pair of pickleball shoes. In fact, most of them told me how much they disliked their pickleball shoes (hot tip: avoid Fila)! The seniors who did like their shoes, however, all agreed that the reasonably priced Adidas Court Jam Control are great. The large toe box, narrow heel, and high surround for ankle support are all features that seniors raved about. Plus you can’t beat the affordable price.

    • Pros: Affordable, large toe box, good ankle support
    • Cons: Runs large

7. Best for Plantar Fascitis — Asics Gel-Renma

Asics

$85 at Amazon $80 at Zappos

  • Weight: 12 ounces | Size range: 6 to 12 (women) 6 to 14 (men) | The lowdown: Built-in gel cushioning reduces impact, making these great for players with foot issues  | Value: $85

    Foot pain is the pits, especially when all you want to do is play pickleball. If you’re prone to plantar fasciitis or other foot problems, you may want to look into a pair of Asics Gel-Renma shoes. The built-in gel cushioning reduces the impact of landings, and the thick sole means they are comfortable for hours on the court. Several players loved that they have a leather upper, too, rather than the more common mesh.

    • Pros: Good for narrow feet, sturdy, affordable
    • Cons: Runs small, stiff

  • 8. Best for Flat Feet — New Balance Fresh Foam X Lav V2

    New Balance

$145 at Amazon

  • Weight: 10.2 ounces  | Size range: 5 to 12 (women) 5 to 15 (men); also available in wide widths | The lowdown: Players with flat feet will appreciate the superior cushioning at the midsole and heel | Value: $145 

    Pickleball players with flat feet need plenty of cushioning, and the New Balance Fresh Foam shoes provide just that. Not only are the midsoles cushioned, but the heel has plenty of support, too, so you won’t find yourself limping off the court after a few matches. It’s worth noting, however, that the flat-footed pickleball players we polled all agreed that it’s also worth investing in custom insoles.

    • Pros: Great color combinations, lots of cushioning
    • Cons: Runs large, no padding under laces
  • 9. Best for Achilles Tendonitis — Asics Gel Resolution

    Asics

$150 at Amazon $120 at Asics

  • Weight: 23 ounces | Size range: 5 to 12 (women) 6 to 15 (men)  | The lowdown: The ultimate shoe for stability, from midsole to heel. | Best Price:  $120

    If you’re suffering from Achilles tendonitis, you need a pair of pickleball shoes that offer plenty of support for the ankle and tendon area. The Asics Gel Resolution extends the stability and cushioning from the midsole all the way to heel, so players have even more support where they need it.

    • Pros: Excellent stability, stylish
    • Cons: Heavy, run narrow

$65 at Amazon

 

Weight: 14.8 ounces | Size range: 5 to 12 (women) 6 to 14 (men) | The lowdown: Ideal for indoor pickleball courts, these shoes can do double duty for outdoors, too.  | Value: $67  (Amazon)

When you’re playing pickleball on an indoor gym court, you’ll want all the features that an indoor shoe provides, says Rosenthal, including “being lighter [weight], and different traction.” The Asics Gel Dedicate 7 scored plenty of points with the indoor pickleball players I interviewed thanks to the gel cushioning and reasonable price. Need even more reason to invest in these? They work well on outdoor pickleball courts, too.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.