Pickleball Shoes: Why They Matter

In the world of pickleball, where agility, stability, and comfort are essential, choosing the right pair of shoes can make a significant difference in your performance on the court. Understanding what you need to look for in a pair of shoes is crucial to your progress. Let’s discuss the importance of pickleball shoes and why they matter.

Do You Have to Wear Special Shoes for Pickleball?

While special pickleball shoes are not mandatory, wearing appropriate footwear can significantly enhance your performance and minimize the risk of injuries. Pickleball involves quick lateral movements, sudden stops, and changes in direction, which can strain your feet, ankles, and knees.

What is Different About Pickleball Shoes?

Thankfully, specialized pickleball shoes typically feature court-friendly features like non-marking outsoles. These unique outsoles provide optimal traction on indoor and outdoor courts, lateral stability during side-to-side movements, cushioning for shock absorption, and reinforced toe areas for durability. Designers tailor these shoes to meet the specific demands of the sport, providing players with the necessary grip, agility, and comfort for an enjoyable and safe pickleball experience.

Let’s take a closer look at the individual benefits of pickleball shoes.

Non-Marking Outsoles

  • Pickleball shoes typically have non-marking outsoles, essential for indoor courts to prevent scuffing or leaving marks. These outsoles provide the right balance of grip and glide, allowing players to make quick movements while maintaining stability.

Lateral Support

  • Given the side-to-side movements in pickleball, shoes for this sport often have reinforced sides or added support around the midfoot and heel. This lateral support helps prevent excessive ankle rolling and provides stability during quick directional changes.

Impact Absorption

  • Pickleball shoes feature cushioning technologies that help absorb impact and reduce the strain on your feet and joints. This cushioning helps alleviate stress during jumps, lunges, and sudden stops, improving overall comfort and reducing the risk of injuries.

Toe Protection

  • As pickleball involves fast-paced movements and frequent toe drag, many pickleball shoes incorporate reinforced toe areas or rubber toe guards. These features enhance durability and protect your toes from abrasions and impact.


  • Pickleball shoes are often designed with breathable materials and mesh panels to promote airflow and keep your feet cool and dry during intense play. Additionally, lightweight construction helps reduce fatigue and allows for swift movements on the court.

What Else Do You Need to Play Pickleball?

Pickleball shoes matter, but they are not the only court tool on the market.

First and foremost, you will need a pickleball paddle, which players use to hit the ball over the net. Paddles come in various materials and sizes, so choose one that suits your preferences. They cost anywhere from $20 to $90. This price range may seem significant; however, remember that you get what you pay for when you purchase a higher-quality paddle. If you are unsure what paddle to get, start with an inexpensive one and buy a more expensive one once you have a handle on the game!

Next, you will need pickleball balls specifically designed for the sport. These balls have smaller holes and are slower in flight, allowing for better control during gameplay. These balls come in indoor- or outdoor-specific variants. Consider the type of court you will be playing on before purchasing them. Otherwise, they will not be able to bounce correctly. 

Optional accessories like wristbands, hats or visors, sunglasses, and bags or backpacks for carrying your equipment can also be helpful. Always check any additional requirements or regulations at your chosen pickleball venue. With these items in hand, you will be ready to enjoy a thrilling game of pickleball.

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