Courtesy of Retailer
IN CASE you haven’t heard, pickleball is on the rage right now. America’s fastest growing sport (for the second year in a row) has created a full on boom train with the development of pickleball courts and playing facilities. And because of how friendly the sport is to all ages and levels of competition, private investors and local municipalities are rushing to build their own pickleball clubs and public courts.
Read more: Best Pickleball Paddles
This is all to say the exponential growth of pickleball is turning the sport into a legitimate business, which also means it’s time to start vetting the best products within the game. Yes, it’s true pickleball paddles and balls are the most important gear you need, but another major area to consider investing in is proper footwear. We’re talking about pickleball shoes.
When looking for a proper pickleball shoe, the two most important factors to consider are traction and lateral stability. You’re going to be making quick movements in all types of directions, so you want strong outsoles with responsive tread patterns and a midsole structure that’s made to for fast-twitch, side-to-side movements. A shoe with lateral stability is going to have a wider base, a stiff lower structure, and a special pocket for your heel to help prevent any ankle injuries. Other factors to consider in a proper pickleball shoe are comfort, weight, and breathability.
Read more: Best Pickleball Balls
What you’ll find below is there are several brands making shoes specifically for pickleball (a recent trend that’s helped legitimize the sport), plus other brand’s with sport models that have adjacent qualities (think tennis and volleyball shoes). Regardless of the shoe’s designation, all of these models below are the best-of-the-best for pickleball play. It’s time to optimize your game with a proper pair of kicks!
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Rush Pro Ace Pickleball
- Under $100
- Stylish minimalist design
- 4D Support Chassis
- Rubber drag pad
The Rush Pro Ace Pickleball is designed for court surfaces (indoor and outdoor) and has a 4D Support Chassis for controlled pivot movements and stability. Small features like a rubber drag pad and an R-DST+ midsole foam (to help create a bouncy rebound) are just a couple of reasons why this shoe is next level. Combine the fact it’s got a great aesthetic and only priced at $100, and you’ve got a pickleball shoe that’s bound to sell like hot cakes.
- Weight: 12 oz
- Outsole: High-density Duralast rubber
Read more: Best Moisture-wicking Shirts
Express Light Pickleball Shoe
- 180-degree Plantar Support Chassis
- Easy to purchase
- DURAWRAP cover
- Long lifespan
You might be suprised to find K-Swiss at the top of the pickleball shoe game, but the brand has quietly been creating trusted game-ready models for all types of price points. We like the wallet-friendly Express Light, as it’s made with a 180-degree Plantar Support Chassis and a DURAWRAP cover to help combat toe dragging. These kicks are typically readily available in several different colors, so you can count on them to get to your house fast when you need a pair ASAP.
- Weight: 12.7 oz
- Outsole: AÖSTA 7.0 Rubber Compound
Read more: Best Sunscreens
Best for Outdoor
- Trusted by pickleball players
- Lightweight design
- TRUSTIC tech helps reduce injury
The Gel-Renma is a favorite among the pickleball community. Like all of Asics’ trainers, these kicks have a strong traction (flex-grooved soles) and ample support. TRUSTIC technology is added to the shoe to help reduce harmful twisting and the brand’s signature GEL tech is added to help dampen abrupt landings.
- Weight: 12.6 oz
- Outsole: Smooth Wrap-up outsole
Read more: Best Athletic Shorts
Best for Indoor
Upcourt 5 Volleyball Shoes
- Only $60
- Supremely lightweight
- Supportive midfoot panels
The Upcourt 5 is the latest iteration of the top-selling model from Asics. Not only is this shoe loved by indoor volleyball players, but it’s also a must-have for indoor pickleball players. It’s lighweight, sturdy, and optimized to have some of the strongest traction in the game. It’s safe to say you won’t be slipping and sliding on a gym floor in these bad boys.
- Weight: 10 oz
- Outsole: Synthetic rubber
Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa
- Premium support
- Wide array of unique colorways
- Optimized for fast-twitch lateral movements
These shoes are not pickleball-specific, but they are one of the best tennis shoes that Nike makes. The Cage 4 Rafa has excellent style thanks to a slim silhouette and a unique offering of different colorways. As far as the build goes, a stiff frame for lateral movements and a breathable sock-liner set under medial lace eyestays keep your feet wonderfully locked-in and ready for fast-twitch movements.
- Weight: 15.48 oz
- Outsole: Durable rubber
Read more: Best Tennis Rackets
Best for Ankle Support
Wave Momentum 2
- Lightweight for a mid-top
- Excellent ankle support
- Long lifespan
Another volleyball shoe that’s easily transferrable to pickleball, the Wave Momentum is made to prioritize traction and support. What’s great about this pair is they come in a stylish mid-top silhouette, which is perfect for those looking for additional ankle support.
- Weight: ~11 oz
- Outsole: XG (extra-grade) rubber
Read more: Best Slides
Say hello to Ol’ Reliable. The 806v1 is a tried-and-true model that’s been noted for years in the pickleball community. There’s a strong possibility your dad wore these while playing pickleball at summer camp. A full-grain leather upper and ROLLBAR technology make these puppies able to withstand months of play and keep injuries at bay.
- Weight: 15.5 oz
- Outsole: Strong rubber
Adizero Ubersonic 4 Tennis Shoes
Clean style, supreme cushioning, and a breathable upper make the Ubersonic 4 an excellent carry-over from tennis shoe to pickleball shoe. A hard Adicourt outsole and a mesh upper with lateral side reinforcements are some of the specs that stand out to us the most. Until adidas makes a pickleball-specific shoe (it’s only a matter of time), this is the the model you want if you’re loyal to the three stripes.
- Weight: 13.5 oz
- Outsole: Adiwear hard court
Volley Zone Pickleball Shoes
FILA is another player in the pickleball space you might not have expected to see. The Volley Zone is a common favorite among players thanks to a thick EVA midsole and TPU shank that keeps the foot locked in place. And how could we not mention the awesome pickleball graphic on the side of the shoe? Yeah, these are going to turn some heads on the court.
- Weight: 13.6 oz
- Outsole: Strong rubber with herringbone pattern
Court Zoom Pro Tennis Shoes
While Nike doesn’t have a dedicated pickleball shoe yet, a lot of their tennis-only shoe models are solid choices for play. The Zoom Pro is made to be breathable and highly cushioned and comes in a wide array of cool colors. And considering it’s only $100, this is a shoe made with premium materials that won’t break the bank.
- Weight: 14.5 oz
- Outsole: Zoom with waffle pattern
What are the best shoes for playing pickleball?
The best shoes for playing pickleball are optimized for fast lateral movements and are made to withstand wear and tear on outdoor and indoor courts.
In general, a quality pickleball shoe is going to have a wider base and be more sturdy in the midsole and outsole. Most pickleball shoes mimic quality tennis shoes (made for tennis only) and volleyball trainers. The latter shoe is especially great for indoor use, as volleyball trainers promise ample support and premium traction on indoor surfaces and gym floors.
Read more: Best Workout Shoes
It’s also worth mentioning pickleball shoes require more stability and build, so you can expect them to be a tad bit heavier than a pair of lightweight everyday sneakers. Pickleball demands quick movements and endurance, so the features we mentioned above are going to help maximize your playing abilities while staying comfortable and injury-free.
Can you wear running shoes for pickleball?
If you’re someone who’s going to play pickleball every once in a blue moon, then we won’t knock you for wearing running shoes or sneakers. But if you’re expecting to play pickleball frequently, you certainly want to avoid running shoes.
Read more: Best Running Shoes
Most running shoes are made only for forward motion, so there’s often less emphasis on reinforcing the shoe for side-to-side movements. Running shoes also have less structure and stability than what you want in a pickleball shoe, as the running styles these days are made to be as lightweight and breathable as possible (which means less focus on support).
So to be clear, you should not wear running shoes for pickleball if you expect to play the game on a regular basis. A proper pickleball shoe is a worthy investment that will help give you traction and stability while greatly decreasing the chance of rolling a ankle or spraining a knee.
For the past six months, we consulted with Men’s Health‘s editors and writers on the top pickleball shoes. Experts, including our Gear and Commerce Editor John Thompson, put a number pickleball shoes to the test and evaluated their stability, durability, and weight. We also considered top-reviewed pickleball shoes that had high customer ratings on e-commerce websites we trust.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below