Best Pickleball and Court Shoes Reviewed for Performance
Although pickleball was developed way back in the 1960s as a fun backyard activity for children, today it has become one of the most sought after sports for adults in America. The game itself is a combination of tennis and badminton, and it’s played on smaller courts which enables even older adults to participate without risk of injury. If you are considering taking up pickleball as a fun way to get a good workout, you need to think about the type of footwear you choose to play in. Not only will this affect your game, but even more importantly, it is crucial for your safety to have a pair of shoes with the right grip in order to prevent any possible injuries.
The type of pickleball sneakers you need will depend on the type of court you play on. Indoor courts need shoes with more grip, and volleyball shoes are an excellent choice for this type of play as they are made with natural rubber soles offering stability and preventing slips. Note that most indoor courts require non-marking soles, which will be another important criterion when making your selection. Outdoor courts, however, are much harder on the feet and joints, and in these cases, tennis court shoes will work best seeing that they have durable soles. If you are unsure of the type of terrain you will be playing on, your safest bet is to have both kinds of shoes on hand, and wear the ones suitable at each game. Not only will this allow your shoes to last longer, but more importantly, it will keep you safe and ready to have some fun.
10 Best Pickleball and Court Shoes
1. ASICS GEL-Flashpoint
In addition to the breathable mesh lining, these shoes feature an anatomically-correct asymmetrical lacing system that was developed in order to reduce irritation and to provide a better fit. What is more, most users do not require any break in time with the ASICS Gel-Flashpoint, so you can look forward to wearing them as soon as they arrive in your mailbox.
These shoes take into consideration your comfort and go above and beyond to provide you with a great fit. This includes lightweight midsoles made out of SpEVA that increases bounce-back ability and cushioning, and which extends the lifespan of your shoes. Additionally, this pair of volleyball shoes includes Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL Cushioning Systems which reduce impact through adjusting to your gait.
Cost and Value
This pair of indoor court shoes is probably the highest rated and best pair of sneakers you can get if you need new pickleball shoes. They provide excellent comfort, durability and a superior grip for a fairly reasonable price, all while giving you a stylish and fun look to rock during your next game.
- GEL cushioning
- Lightweight SpEVA midsoles
- Non-marking soles
- Anatomically correct lacing system
- Colorful fun design
- Run big, so make sure to consult size chart before ordering
- Some users have reported discoloration of parts of the upper
2. ASICS GEL-Rocket 7
These court shoes include a molded EVA midsole which uses Trusstic System to reduce the weight. They have excellent shock absorbing and cushioning qualities thanks to the Forefoot GEL System that helps absorb shocks from impact.
Mesh for Breathability
The uppers of these shoes are made out of mesh, with synthetic overlays, providing a high level of breathability. Comfort is further achieved by a padded tongue and collar, while the inner is lined with more mesh that allows for maximum air flow inside the shoes.
Cost and Value
The cost of the ASICS Gel Rocket 7 is average, with prices on Amazon often being lower than most local retailers. They come in various colors, from colorful to more sensible, and could prove to be the best choice for all recreational pickleball players who want a quality pair of sneakers for indoor play.
- Forefoot GEL System
- Breathable mesh upper
- Natural rubber outsoles for improved grip
- Various designs appropriate for all tastes
- Padded tongue and classic lacing system
- Run small, so you may want to go a size up
- Not extremely supportive, so you may need inserts
3. Adidas Barricade Club
These shoes were designed to provide good cushioning that can stand up to rough terrains such as concrete. The heel features ADIPRENE to lessen the shock of landing, while the forefoot has ADIPRENE+ to maintain propulsion and efficiency. The toe area includes reinforcements to reduce abrasion.
ADIWEAR 6 Outsoles
These outsoles have proven to be a huge improvement on the adidas Barricade line, as they help with the elimination of slipping and sliding during gameplay. These are some of the best adidas outsoles, and professional tennis players such as Novak Djokovic has often worn shoes featuring them. As with pickleball you are expected to exert yourself in ways similar to tennis, this means that the Barricade Club shoes could be a perfect choice for you.
Cost and Value
These shoes will require you to cash out more than your average pair of shoes intended for recreational use, but rest assured that they will serve you well. They offer great stability, and the soles are perfect for outside play, with the addition of non-marking features which means you can even use them indoors.
- Excellent heel and forefoot cushioning
- Torsion system support
- Reinforced toe
- Non-marking soles
- Excellent stability
- Upper will wear down more easily with aggressive use
- Low profile
4. ASICS GEL-Solution Speed 3
The upper of these shoes is made with Flexion Fit technology which allows both comfort and support. The colar is lined with two layers of memory foam that will mold to the wearers foot, allowing for maximum comfort and a superior feel.
High Abrasion Rubber Outsole
The AHAR outsole on these shoes is perfect for hard outdoor courts, and it is reinforced in critical areas that will ensure that your pair of shoes last you a longer time. In addition to this, the PGuard Toe Protector further improves durability.
Cost and Value
These are not entry level tennis shoes, so you will have to shell out a bit more when you purchase them, but the investment is sure to be worth it. With comfort and durability being the two main features of these shoes, they are highly recommended by users everywhere.
- High Abrasion Rubber outsole is excellent for outside play
- Memory foam collar
- 12.4 oz
- Gel cushioning for added comfort
- Narrow toe box
- Non-removable inserts
5. Prince T22
The Prince T22 is excellent for pickleball players because it takes into consideration the fast lateral movements that are made by players during the game. The wYshbone TPU shank is injected into the sole and allows a more stable gameplay, lowering the risk of injury.
Front and Rear Shock Absorption
The midsole of these shoes is made out of EVA with a ShockEraser heel insert in the back and SoftSpring PU forefoot insert in the front that work together to eliminate the beating that your feet and joints take while landing. In addition, the outsole is a PRC 1000 compound in a herringbone pattern that is designed to give you a good grip of the surface below.
Cost and Value
These shoes are not the cheapest or most expensive on this list, but come at an average price that is well worth it if you are looking for durable, high quality shoes for court play.
- wYshbone TPU shank stabilization
- Excellent shock absorption
- Durable outsole
- Breathable, synthetic upper that is flexible for comfort
- RASH toe cap prevents abrasion
- Isn’t suitable for people with wide feet
- Will need breaking in
6. K-Swiss Hypercourt Express
The inside of these shoes is what people love about them most. They will give you a soft fit that molds to your feet, while still allowing for great ventilation due to the mesh uppers. The dual density Guideglide EVA midsole is great for shock absorption, and it offers good arch support for most types of feet.
Light but Durable Outsoles
These shoes are lighter than the average court shoes, which would have you expecting less durability. However, while you may notice some flattening on the grooves after wearing them for the first few times, this pair of shoes will hold up pretty nicely after that. The Durawrap toe guard is an excellent addition if you tend to drag your toes.
Cost and Value
These shoes do not come cheap which is why we recommend them to users who are happy to invest more in order to get a lightweight pair of shoes more suitable for wide feet. You will love them if you drag your toes, as the material on the front of the outsole is of excellent quality and doesn’t break down easily.
- Beautiful design
- Good for both outdoor and indoor use
- No break in time required
- Excellent for wide feet
- Well padded ankle collar
- Due to being lightweight, the outsoles won’t last you forever
- Don’t offer enough stability for narrow or flat feet
7. Mizuno Wave Bolt 6
The outsoles of these shoes are like no others, using unique grooves developed to give you a good grip of gym floor surfaces. In addition, they are non-marking, and include Dura Shield toe guards for improved durability.
Parallel Wave Plate
The lateral stability you need during quick movements is one of the highlights of this pair of indoor shoes, and it is provided by Mizuno’s unique parallel wave plate. In addition, the upper is made out of mesh for great breathability and comfort even during strenuous games and in hot weather.
Cost and Value
This pair of shoes will cost you more than most pickleball and court shoes, but the extra cost is well worth it. What you will love most about these shoes is the durability, as well as the lateral support during quick movements.
- Great traction on gym floors
- Lightweight for quick gameplay
- Enhanced stability features
- Breathable upper
- For wide feet you will need to order a ½ size up
- High price
8. New Balance mc806
Yes, everyone loves the ABZORB midosles in New Balance shoes because of the shock absorption and support they provide, but what is innovative about the mc806 is the Rollbar technology that serves to keep your heel in place during all types of play, considerably lowering the risk of injury due to twisted ankles.
High Quality Upper and Inner
These shoes are made out of full grain leather which is perforated in order to increase breathability. On the inside, they are lined with LIGHTNING DRY, a material that wicks moisture and keeps your feet dry throughout your training sessions.
Cost and Value
The price of these court shoes is about average. When you combine that with the comfort, stability and support they provide, it already pays off to opt for these as your go to outside pickleball shoes. An added bonus are the durable outsoles and toe guards, designed to maximize the wear time of the New Balance mc806.
- Excellent comfort with plenty of toe room
- Herringbone patterned outsole
- Can be used for wooden floor
- Rollbar technology for heel stability
- Medicare / HCPCS code = A5500, may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement
- Run slightly small
- Leather upper can get hot despite perforation
9. ASICS GEL-Resolution 6
The upper of these shoes will provide you with a level of comfort that is high due to the fact that they fit to your feet. What this also means that they don’t require any breaking in, so you can wear them to the court right out of the box.
Personal Heel Fit Collar
Like many other ASICS shoes, these also feature the PHF technology which comprises of two layers of memory foam lining the collar of the shoes in order to provide the player with a completely personalized fit on the back of the foot.
Cost and Value
These shoes may cost more than what you would generally pay for, but they are worth every penny. The outsoles are durable, the upper fits like a glove, and you can expect good shock absorption and stability. Do note that these are usually more comfortable for users with narrow feet.
- Good for plantar fasciitis
- Come in different widths
- Trusstic System reduces the weight of the shoes without compromising durability
- Promote natural gait
- Form fitting upper
- Run ½ size large in length
- Lining may deteriorate more quickly than upper
10. New Balance 786v2
These shoes are an update of the New Balance 786, and they feature an upper that is made out of leather with lateral forefoot overlays to maximize stability during fast movement - something that all pickleball players will appreciate.
Focused on Cushioning
These shoes feature the ABZORB midsoles with rubber components to increase cushioning and absorption of forceful impacts. The addition of C-CAP technology that uses EVA foam provides with a layer that offers excellent support for all types of feet.
Cost and Value
These shoes come at an excellent price, and are a great choice if you are just getting into pickleball. In addition to all their comfort-focused features, you also get a shoe with an outsole that will serve you both on outdoors and indoors courts.
- Non-marking outsole for outdoor and indoor play
- Excellent grip on all surfaces
- Lateral foot support
- No break in time required
- Excellent price
- Won’t last as long as other shoes on this list
- Pointed toe area is not as comfortable as other styles by New Balance
And that’s it: our top ten choices for pickleball and court shoes. With plenty of varied pros and cons for all footwear on this list, you are sure to find the pair of shoes that will bring your game to the next level. Keep in mind that you should always try to purchase shoes that are made for the type of surface you intend to play on – tennis shoes for outdoor play and volleyball shoes for gym floors; but if you are trying to save some money, you can get one of the models which will do well enough on both types of terrain.
When it comes to other features such as cushioning, shock absorption, moisture wicking inner lining or memory foam components, those are entirely up to what you prefer in footwear. As pickleball requires you to change directions quickly, you will want shoes that will grip the surface, but also offer lateral stability so you are not at risk of twisting an ankle. Your laces should always be securely tied, and you need to be wearing the right socks for your chosen shoes in order to prevent blisters. If you still feel like you need more information about shoes for pickleball, make sure to read up on the Criteria for Evaluation and Frequently Asked Questions sections of this article to learn up on all other things you should be looking out for before you make your next purchase.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Pickleball & Court Shoes
Although pickleball has been around for quite some time, the popularity of the sport has only started to pick up in the last decade, with tennis courts starting to be adapted for pickleball use. This means that equipment can be hard to come by, unless you know what you are looking for. In addition to a good paddle, the most important item you need to have in your gym bag is a pair of quality shoes that will allow you to play at your best.
If you search for pickleball shoes on Amazon, you will only get a few results, and these will confirm the fact that there is, as of yet, no shoe designed exclusively for pickleball players. This means that you have to look at the alternatives, which may bring you to the conclusion that badminton, volleyball, racquetball or squash shoes will do, as well as tennis court shoes. But how do you choose from these? What is the difference between these shoes? And how will they impact your game? If you want to choose the absolute best pair of shoes, you need to look into them past the price and design, so here are a few things you need to have in mind before making a purchase.
Composition of Outsoles
The single most important part of your shoe that will be keeping you safe from heel, ankle and Achilles tendon injuries are the outsoles of your pickleball shoes. Even though you are playing on a relatively small surface (at least smaller than tennis), you will still be expected to move quickly, stop quickly, and to do all of this sideways as well as forward and backward. What this requires of your shoes is to give you the ability to grip the surface underneath with security and precision, eliminating the chances of slipping, or of overusing your heels which would inevitably lead to injury over time.
But, if you are thinking of taking up pickleball, you know that there are two kinds of courts available. The ones outside, usually tennis courts with asphalt or concrete under your feet, and then there are the indoor courts with wood or more modern gym flooring. These two different surfaces require different shoes, and we cannot stress this enough. Even though some shoes will perform adequately on both, if you are serious about your game, you need two different pairs of pickleball shoes.
- Outdoor pickleball shoes – If your club has outdoor courts, you want to look into tennis court shoes. These are made with harder soles that will stand up to the wear of asphalt or concrete underfoot. The pattern on the soles is made so as to facilitate quick lateral movement, and they will often have toe guards as some players tend to drag their toes during serve and volley. You should expect about 60 hours of play from a court shoe.
- Indoor pickleball shoes – Indoor courts will usually be wooden gym floors, similar to those for volleyball. The wood of these floors is much more slippery than asphalt and concrete, and requires different grooves on your soles. In addition, the hard rubber of tennis shoes won’t do as well, so you need to look into shoes that have outsoles made out of natural, gum rubber for the best grip. Unfortunately, these types of soles will quickly wear out on outdoor courts, ruining them for indoor use.
- Leave the running shoes at home – Never, ever, play pickleball in a pair of shoes designed for running or cross training. These do not offer the lateral support you need for pickleball, which means that you are exposing yourself to serious ankle and heel injury.
Your playing style can greatly influence the type of shoes you need. For example, if you are into aggressive baseline play, your pickleball shoes need to offer you plenty of lateral support that will accommodate the sideways movement you will be doing. Look for shoes with reinforcements in the upper that will give you strong and stable support so you don’t end up rolling your ankles. If you play near the net with plenty of volleys, you will inevitably wear out the toes of your shoes faster than the rest of the parts, especially on hard and gritty surfaces. If this is the case, you will want to get a pair of shoes that has toe guards, slightly raised parts made out of harder rubber that is more durable and resistant to wear. The same goes if you just generally tend to drag your feet. If you are not sure whether you do this, you can look at your current pair of pickleball shoes, and check how the fronts are holding up – if they are worn then toe guards are the way to go for you.
Midsole, Insole & Cushioning
The midsoles of your pickleball shoes can greatly affect the way in which you play. You want them to give you plenty of shock absorption, but stability comes first. EVA foam midsoles are a good option as they provide you with shock absorption without adding unnecessary bulk and weight – the lighter your shoes are, the faster you will be able to move. The places you want to protect from hard landings are the front and heel of the shoe, and some makers will also include special technology that helps with your spring, making jumps easier.
Different players will have different types of feet, which will also influence your choice of pickleball shoes. Most shoes on this list were not made for players who have low arches, are prone to overpronation or suffer from plantar fasciitis. If you fall into any of these categories, you want to look into pickleball shoes that will offer better support features, such as the ASICS GEL-Resolution 6 which offers plenty of arch support. Otherwise, you will want shoes with removable insoles which you can substitute with your own that you know will allow you to play without experiencing any unnecessary pain.
Most cushioning will be happening in the insoles of your, shoes, and what you want is to have the features in the right places. The most important of these is in the forefoot, as pickleball requires a type of play that will be seeing you land and take off from this part of the foot. Gel and similar features are an excellent solution as they will allow you to land softly, without absorbing all the force out of your takeoffs in jumps. Your heels will also need to be cushioned, but firmly held in place so as to avoid any risk of injury. While memory foam may not be ideal under your feet, some makers offer it in the heel and collar lining that will allow you to wear your pickleball shoes without having to think about sore spots where blisters may occur.
A padded tongue is another good feature to have, as this is what will allow you to adjust the laces on your shoes. In pickleball, your shoes need to be securely laced, tightly enough so as not to allow your feet to be slipping sideways or forward inside the shoes. A padded tongue will allow you to do just this, without causing any discomfort to the tops of your feet.
Although the outsoles of your shoes are the part at which you may look first for stability, the upper material of pickleball footwear can also make a huge impact on your performance. A solid shoe will keep your feet in place, and flimsy materials may not provide the required level of security.
Leather court shoes are an excellent choice because the material is flexible enough to allow for a good fit, but won’t allow your feet to slip out from under you. The downside of leather is that with athletic shoes, you are usually looking at a lot of heat and perspiration, and they simply may not be breathable enough. That’s why perforated leather is an excellent choice, or, even better, leather components placed in crucial areas, such as the sides of your shoes. This will allow for lateral stability without having your feet feel too hot and constricted.
Synthetic and mesh are also excellent choices because of their type of knit which allows for more breathability. These materials will mold to your feet much more easily than leather, allowing you to customize the fit so that it is snug, but not too tight. Another important thing is to purchase shoes that have flat stitching on the insides so as to avoid rubbing and developing blisters on your feet.
Finally, the lacing system of your shoes is crucial, as this is what can make or break a shoe, regardless of all other features. Laces that are not strong enough, that come undone or snap easily will simply not do. Your shoes need to be securely on your feet, with no excess materials flinging about you, as you do not want to trip on your own shoes mid-game. Some brands will offer anatomically correct lacing systems that will keep the shoes securely on your feet while avoiding pressure points that could cause you unwanted pain or strain. Others will come with laces that are below average in quality, or too short or too long. A great thing is that you can easily replace these should you need to.
The pair of shoes you choose for pickleball needs to have the correct features and offer the best traction and stability for your preferred court type. The period of time your shoes will last you greatly depends on how you use them. If you wear your shoes on the correct surface, they will last longer and give you the desired performance. As we already mentioned, tennis shoes will have harder, more resilient outsoles which will do well on concrete and asphalt courts. Indoor shoes are softer, and with just one game on an outside court you will have ruined the grooves on the soles, making them useless for further use on wooden floors. Many makers are aware of the wear that some parts of the outsole suffer, and will produce the shoes with reinforced critical points. Look for features such as abrasion resistant rubber so you can get the maximum out of your footwear.
If you tend to drag your toes, or have a playing style that requires you to use the fronts of your shoes more, you may see this part of your footwear wearing down too fast. Choosing a pair of pickleball shoes with toe guards can prolong the lifespan of your footwear and save you a serious amount of money.
The uppers of your shoes will also perform differently depending on the material they are made of. Leather is the most durable option, and can serve you for a long time, especially if you take good care of it. Synthetic and mesh are softer, and as a rule, will break more easily. If you value breathability and cooling features, you may want to look into a shoe that uses a mixture of these materials, so that you can use them for a longer period of time.
A fact that you will have to face, however, is that most athletic shoes will wear down as you are using them for a strenuous activity. The lifespan you can usually expect is around sixty hours, which, depending on how often you play, can last you anywhere from two months to over a year. Choosing higher quality shoes will ensure you get the most bang out of your buck, but so will wearing the correct type of shoes for different surfaces. After you’ve learned the basics of pickleball, you will find that the right pair of shoes can take you from beginner to winner, so make sure to choose wisely without trying to cut any corners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I wear any type of athletic footwear to play pickleball?
A: No you can’t. Just as a runner wouldn’t use basketball shoes, as a soccer player wouldn’t play in ballet shoes, a pickleball player also needs the right kind of footwear. Running shoes and regular gym shoes simply won’t give you the right traction or support, and this can lead to serious injury that may end your pickleball playing days before they even began. Choose the shoes that will perform best – tennis shoes for outdoor use, and volleyball shoes for playing on wooden and gym floors.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need for pickleball?
A: You will need a pair of shoes that has a solid grip, strong lateral support, a secure lacing system, and that is breathable enough to make you comfortable while you are playing. If you intend to play on asphalt or concrete ground, go for a tennis shoe with reinforced soles, a herringbone pattern and toe guards. If, on the other hand, you intend on playing inside, you will need a pair of shoes with natural rubber soles and grooves designed for wooden floors. Volleyball shoes will do best on indoor courts.
Q: Can I use my indoor shoes outside or vice versa?
A: You can, but only if you are ready to toss them in the trash after one wear. Indoor pickleball shoes have natural gum rubber soles which are not resistant to the high abrasion we see on outdoor courts. This means that the grooves will be ruined and flattened, ridding you of any grip that you would need for future use. If you play both indoors and outdoors, it is best to invest in two pairs of shoes. They will last longer, and you won’t risk injuring yourself.
Q: Is leather better than canvas or synthetic?
A: This depends on your personal preference. Do you want your shoes to be more or less flexible? Do you mind a hot sweaty shoe or do you prefer durability? Do you tend to rip the uppers of your shoes easily? Leather is more durable than other materials, but it is also less breathable, more difficult to break in, and heavier. So if you are okay with this kind of description, sure you can go for leather tennis shoes. Otherwise, choose something with a mesh upper, or even better, a combination of mesh and leather.