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One of the great things about pickleball is that it’s an easy game to pick up. All you need is a pickleball paddle, a few balls, pickleball nets and posts, and a great pair of tennis shoes packed into one of these stylish pickleball sling bags. But while the list of equipment needed is slim, it’s deceptively simple.
One of the worst mistakes beginner pickleball players can make is stepping onto the court with an ordinary pair of running shoes or sneakers. Ordinary shoes aren’t cut out for the type of movement and footwork required in pickleball. The right pair of shoes can reduce your risk of injury and sharpen your playing skills, so it’s important to invest in a good pair from the beginning.
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We’d even like to argue that a good pair of shoes is more important than a good paddle. Before your paddle even hits a ball, your shoes will affect your mobility and support. You want to be sure they’re broken in, so you’re not competing against blisters, only your competitor. While a paddle makes the ball fly, the shoes make the player able to play their best.
Men and women alike are flocking to the game of pickleball, and it’s quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. Shoe selection for men and women is different, and with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which pairs are best.
We’ve done our research and compiled for you the best shoes for pickleball for both men and women. Continue reading below for your best options!
1. ASICS Women’s Gel Rocket 7
2. K-Swiss Women's Hypercourt Express
3. ASICS Women’s Gel Dedicate 5
1. ASICS Men’s Gel Dedicate 5
2. Adidas Men's Gamecourt
3. Asics Men’s GEL Rocket 9
- Best Pickleball Shoes for Women
- Best Pickleball Shoes for Men
- Why Pickleball Shoes Are Important for the Player
- Why Pickleball Shoes Are a Good Investment
- What Makes a Shoe Good for Pickleball
- A Key to a Great Performance
Best Pickleball Shoes for Women
The best pickleball shoes for women will have a certain set of qualities. They should be durable, well-made, and comfortable first and foremost. Beyond that, look for smooth soles that will allow for lateral movement and multi-angle mobility. Special cushioning will aid longevity on the court and any extra padding on top will provide extra comfort. A toe guard is always a nice touch as well.
The top three ladies pickleball shoes on our list are:
- The ASICS Women’s Gel Rocket 7
- K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt Express
- ASICS Women’s Gel-Dedicate 5
Without further ado, here are brief reviews of the best pickleball shoes for women.
ASICS is a great brand for ladies pickleball shoes, and the Gel Rocket 7s stand out among their options due to their smart technology and close customization.
ASICS pickleball shoes, including these Gel Rocket 7s, use a trusstic system for a lighter sole. This trademarked material gives stability to the shoe, preventing twisting. It also reduces the weight of the sole unit of the shoe while keeping the shoe’s structure sound. The shoe is tailored to the particular types of movement common in the sport, so it anticipates the pickleball players’ needs and possible issues. This shoe also features a rubber outsole to help grip without slipping. It also boasts a gel cushion and has been granted the American Podiatric Seal of Approval. The shoes come in a variety of fun and bright colors, which makes an already fun game that much more fun! With all these fancy features and customization perfect for pickleball, the Gel Rocket 7s are our top choice for the best women’s pickleball shoes.
Blending style, performance, and innovation, this K-Swiss women’s tennis shoe makes a great option for women’s pickleball, landing it at the #2 spot on our list.
Starting with the outside of the shoe, its durable rubber outsole helps keep a player light on their feet and ready to move. It features a 180 PCS mid-foot support chassis that both stabilizes and supports the foot in the heat of a game. Its midsole absorbs shock, minimizing the impact of harsh movements on the foot. This shoe is for the serious pickleball player, even offering a toe guard. Reviewers rave about the support this shoe offers on an outdoor tennis court, which goes for pickleball as well. This shoe merges the quickness allowed by a running shoe with the long-lasting comfort and support of a tennis shoe that makes this a perfect solution for pickleball wear.
Asics again! The proprietary technology used in Asics shoes is responsible for its repeat appearance on this list. The brand is loved by tennis players, pickleball players, volleyball players, and a variety of other indoor sports players. The cushioning and trusstic system help the tennis (or in this case, pickleball) player maintain speed, accuracy, and mobility on the court. This shoe has a leather outer material and a synthetic sole, making this shoe much different than the first model on this list. The look of the shoe is also different, with cleaner and more subtle color options like white, silver, and mint. The Gel Dedicate 5 are a great option for indoor pickleball; their sole performs well on a court floor for a pretty good price, too.
Best Pickleball Shoes for Men
Men are looking for the same reliable features in their pickleball shoes that women are. They want long-lasting support, free mobility, and comfort. Men should look for flat soles as well and shoes that support their foot from the heel, through the midfoot and the arch, all the way to the tip top of the toes.
The top three options for men’s pickleball shoes are:
- ASICS Men’s Gel Dedicate 5
- Adidas Men’s Gamecourt
- ASICS Men’s GEL Rocket 9
Let’s take a look at these three shoes and explore what makes them the best pickleball shoes for men.
ASICS provides some top-of-the-line quality pickleball shoes at entry-level prices, including their Men’s Gel-Dedicate 5s. The male counterpart to the women’s Gel Dedicates, these synthetic shoes with a rubberized sole enhance traction, reduce shock, and provide unrivaled foot support that will take a pickleball player’s game to the next level. Not unlike the other ASICS options listed in this article, the Gel Dedicate 5s feature the trusstic system technology and gel cushioning that only ASICS can provide. The affordability of this shoe matches its performance enhancement, confirming these as the best men’s pickleball shoes on the market.
Adidas earns its first spot on this list with their men’s Gamecourt shoe. This shoe offers fantastic cushioning that is responsive to shock and intense movement, perfect for an intense pickleball game. The midfoot torsion system will support the player while the extra layer of guard around the toes and forefoot protect against inevitable drags or blunt force. The high durability of this shoe makes it perfect for outdoor games and players who prefer an outdoor court, but they are versatile enough to offer superior performance indoors as well. They are comfortable and stylish, as if you needed more features to convince you of the quality of these men’s pickleball shoes.
Technically a volleyball shoe, the men’s Gel Rocket 9 also perform great on an indoor pickleball court. The durable gel sole made for indoor courts is also strong and long-lasting enough for an outdoor court, and the lightweight material won’t weigh you down or make your feeble movements more difficult to make. They also have the trusstic system technology and gel cushioning that provide unparalleled support. The mesh material on top of the shoe keeps it breathable whether playing indoors or out, and their low-profile colors keep the focus on the game, not the shoes.
Why Pickleball Shoes Are Important for the Player
Proper shoes for pickleball are important for two main reasons:
- They protect the player from injury.
- They enhance the performance of the player.
Firstly, and most importantly, proper shoes will protect the player from injury. Obviously, they help protect the foot and ankle the most. With specialty padding on the front of the shoe and on the sole, the shoes will protect the toes from blunt force that may result from running forward. They also feature cushioning along the sole that will keep the arch and balls of the feet comfortable even after hours of playing. Some shoes will feature special ankle features designed to keep the ankle in line and prevent spraining or unnatural bending.
Proper shoes will also prevent injury in general, not just injuries of the foot or ankle. You see, if a player is wearing improper shoes, they may fall and injure other parts of their body that could be just as serious or even more serious than a foot injury. If you think you’re saving money by not buying a new pair of court shoes specifically for pickleball, you’re not considering the medical costs that might be associated with a fall due to wearing the improper tennis shoes you already own.
Secondly, pickleball shoes are important because they enhance a player’s performance. No one that has blisters or pain in their feet is going to play their best. If a player is wearing unsupportive shoes, their arches or balls may experience more pressure and eventually become painful after too much activity.
Not only will uncomfortable shoes hinder performance, but improperly designed shoes will also be limiting. A pair of running shoes will not allow for full lateral movement or long-lasting support, so your quick left-to-right jukes to reach the ball may be worse than usual with the wrong shoes.
Correct shoes will stand up against the test of time and allow a player to continue playing comfortably and successfully for longer. The more time you’re able to spend on the court, the better player you will be. Thus, a quality shoe makes for a much better player.
Why Pickleball Shoes Are a Good Investment
It may seem like forking over a hundred dollars or so for a pair of pickleball shoes is financially frivolous and unnecessary. However, considering the monetary burden that an injury or useless shoes could impose, it actually is a better investment in the long run.
Proper shoes will hold up longer, and you will end up purchasing fewer pairs. While a cheaper, lower-quality shoe may be attractive in the store, you will likely end up back at the store to get a new pair much sooner than you would if you paid a couple extra dollars for the right kind of high-quality footwear.
You can get years of enjoyment and support out of one pair of shoes, or waste money on shoes that do nothing but reduce performance and protection.
What Makes a Shoe Good for Pickleball
You might want to argue that as long as you have a high-quality athletic shoe, you’ll be fine to play on a pickleball court. That is not the case, however.
Running shoes have ridged soles that help propel motion forward. Cross-training sneakers have grooves or nibs on the bottom that can stick to the court’s surface. Only proper pickleball shoes will allow for clean and unobstructed motion from all angles and traction that will keep from sliding or slipping.
Court shoes will have a smooth surface that facilitates lateral movement, common in pickleball. They’ll have proper padding on the top and front areas of the shoe, providing long-lasting comfort and durability for the player.
A Key to a Great Performance
Whether you’re an entry-level player or a seasoned veteran, you should take to heart that proper shoes are incredibly important to the game of pickleball. Not only will great shoes prevent unnecessary injuries from occurring, it will also enhance the quality of your game performance.
Here is a YouTube video giving more insight into which shoes to choose for pickleball:
With so many great brands, styles, colors, and features available in the shoe market today, there’s no reason why every pickleball player shouldn’t have a pair of shoes that can keep up with them on the court. Keep this list in mind when finding the best pickleball shoes for you, and you might end up with a pair that plays with you for years to come.
Last Updated on January 4, 2021