All you need in pickleball is a paddle, a ball and a pair of tennis shoes. Not a huge list of equipment and one of the reasons why pickleball is such an easy game to pickup and play.
But you might want to put a little more thought in to that last item, as a mistake that many new players make is thinking they can take to the court in any old pair of sneakers or running shoes. Unfortunately, this is a mistake that can cost you as normal shoes are just not made for the types of movement and footwork needed with pickleball. Having the right pair of shoes can not only help your playing skills, as you have the right cushioning to support your feet and ankles but they can reduce the risk of you injuring yourself and having to finish the game early.
Some might say that the paddle is the most important piece of equipment for any player, but I would tend to disagree. Whilst a paddle is obviously crucial to playing, without the right footwear, you are not going to have the support and mobility to reach the ball in the first place, never mind hit it with a paddle. So before you take a the court, even with the correct shoes, make sure they are broken in and ready to give you their best, as playing with blisters is not going to help you win any points!
Pickleball is growing at an extremely fast pace in the US, with the amount of men and women swelling the ranks everyday, making it the fastest growing sport. Because of this growth, the shoe market has produced a vast array of footwear for both men and women, and as such it can be confusing to know which pairs are best as there are a lot of options to consider.
To help, I have reviewed the most popular options and created a list of the best pickleball shoes for men and women, so you can find the perfect fit for your feet.
- Best Pickleball Shoes for Women
- Best Pickleball Shoes for Men
- Why Pickleball Shoes Are a Good Investment
- A Key to a Great Performance
Best Pickleball Shoes for Women
The best pickleball shoes for women should firstly be comfortable, they should also be well made and durable. The soles should allow you good multi angle mobility and movement and there should be good cushioning and padding to provide support and comfort.
With these features in mind, the top three ladies pickleball shoes are:
By clicking the more details button on any of the shoes, you can see reviews from other buyers and get additional specifications from Amazon.
If you are still with me, lets take a look at the different shoes that pickleball players use in detail, and weigh up the pros and cons of each.
ASICS have created some excellent ladies pickleball shoes in the past, anyone who has a pair of Gel Rocket 6’s will attest to that, and they have done it again with the Gel Rocket 7’s.
The ASICS GEL-Rocket 7 is constructed out of a very lightweight mesh upper with durable synthetic overlays throughout the shoe. This Trusstic system removes the unnecessary weight from the shoe, whilst still maintaining a great structure and overall balance.
They have a molded EVA midsole that is nice and lightweight but also very shock absorbent, and a very durable rubber outsole that is very flexible and delivers excellent grip.
The Gel Rocket 7’s also have gel cushioning in the forefoot which reduces shocks to your feet when impacting with the court. Essentially, they feel comfortable for longer and reduce the risk of added wear and tear on your joints from hard court impacts.
The outsole is actually a NC rubber outsole which contains more rubber content than the traditional solid rubber sole, which helps you get good traction on hard surfaces, both indoor and outdoor pickleball courts.Padding around the tongue and ankle areas give you a really firm fit and confidence that as you move around the court, lunging and twisting, your feet are solid and you are less likely to roll your ankle accidentally.
89% of 731 customer reviews on Amazon rated the 7’s as 4 or 5 stars. That is a lot of love for a great pair of pickleball shoes. Some of the comments left were “I wear these shoes to play pickleball. They have good stability but are light and comfortable. My local sporting-goods store carries the Rocket by Asics, but they were more expensive and I didn’t care for the color. Lower price and better color on Amazon? It’s a slam!”, way to go Amazon, and “Great pickleball shoes, no break in period”.
So what exactly is Gel technology? Take a look at the below video which shows you how it works in the shoes and the benefits to your body and feet.
Overall a solid choice for any player and these sit nicely in the middle of the price vs quality tradeoff. Great buy and very much recommended.
Make a statement with the K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt pickleball shoe.
This update to the K-Swiss Ultra Express adds a newly designed upper for added support and a fresh new look. The rest of the shoe is virtually unchanged from the Ultra Express and continues to provide plush cushioning and a running inspired feel.
It does feel a little heavier than the Ultra Express, but what you are feeling is added durability, as this is a pickleball shoe which is built to last, even if used several times a week. Also, although it feels a little heavier than previous K-Swiss models, it is actually quite a lightweight shoe and would be classed as lightweight-average when compared against other brands.
You feel an immediate comfort when you wear the Hypercourt’s, as soon as you slip on the shoe you notice the cushioning. It is really plush and has a gel like feel under the heel as well as the forefoot, so very supporting as well. It is very plush around the ankle, offering superb support but your ankle still feels free, not restricted. The K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt shoe felt like it did not need any break-in, it is comfortable to wear straight out of the box, though it might be a good idea to wear them in a little bit, just to be on the safe side.
The upper is made from 100% synthetic mesh and provides great ventilation whilst playing, as well as contributing to the overall lightness of the shoe.On the court, the cushioning really helps, especially providing support around the ankle and in minimizing the court impacts on your foot, ankle, knee etc. The traction you get with the solid rubber outsole of the xxxx is really good also, especially on hard courts, which is perfect for indoor and outdoor pickleball players.
There is a lot of love on Amazon for these shoes, with 94% of buyers rating them as 4 or 5 stars. Some of the comments left include “Great product. Nice arch support. Grips heel. Cushioned ball of foot for impact.” and “Love Kswiss hypercourts. Having an extra wide foot, I’m a bit sensitive about having too small of a shoe especially on the courts so I usually buy a size bigger than my normal size 6 but I tried these in 6.5 instead of the 7’s that I normally get and they work out fine.”
However, it should be noted that some users complained of feeling their foot sliding forwards on hard stops, so had to stop to retie their laces to get a tighter fit, but I guess that all depends on the width of your foot. If you have narrow feet, this particular shoe might not be the best fit, or at least you may need to wear it tight.
All in all, these are great shoes for serious pickleball players and offer great value with their durability and comfort they provide on the court.
The ASICS Women’s Gel-Dedicate 4 pickleball shoe, slots in to the ASICS range a little bit under their gel series shoe. So it has some of the performance features and looks of their higher-end shoes but at a price point that’s probably better for a player that’s maybe playing casually, one or maybe two times a week.
As it is aimed at the casual player, it does not come with the six month warranty or anything like that, but when you see the price of the Gel Dedicate 4’s, you can live with that, as it is aimed at the performance value end of the range.
They have a solid rubber outsole which has great traction on hard courts, and the midsole and forefoot still use the Gel technology which is a hallmark of Asics and provides plenty of comfort.
The Gel Dedicate 4 has a lightweight design, with the upper made out of synthetic mesh materials, which gives you a nice blend of breathability and makes them easier to break in when you first try them out.They are a medium width shoe, which means that they are going to be pretty much the same size as what you would wear with other brands.
Given that these are at the cheaper end of the market, you would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps there were some customer complaints. But in general, they are very well received, with customers on Amazon leaving comments like “These are the most comfortable tennis shoes I’ve ever worn” and “I used these for pickleball and they are excellent court shoes. Needed no break-in period. Felt good from the beginning.”
The Dedicate 4’s are a very clean looking shoe, and come in a variety of colors, so something for everyone and if you are looking for something to play in a couple of times a week, they are a great choice for any pickleball player.
Best Pickleball Shoes for Men
The features that men require in their pickleball shoes are the same as the women. They need comfort, mobility and support for their ankles and instep. Flat soles are recommended for both indoors and outdoors pickleball shoes and ideally there should be support from the tips of the toes back through the arch and midfoot, to the heal of the foot.
Again, with these features in mind, the top three mens pickleball shoes are:
The ASICS Men’s Gel Dedicate 5 shoes have a solid rubber outsole which provides stability in the arch area and also allows for some of the midsole material to be removed which lightens the weight of the shoe and provides great stability.
Like the Gel Rocket 7’s, the Dedicate 5’s also have the Trusstic system which is basically a thermal plastic, semi flexible piece of material built in to the mid section of the shoe, in the arch area, to provide stability.
The solid rubber outsole provides excellent traction on all court surfaces, and you really feel the grip when you first try them out.
The midsole material is SEVA, or special EVA and is excellent for cushioning, control and durability, providing a great overall feel and comfort to the shoe.
The upper is made from 100% synthetic mesh material which is extremely lightweight and provides great breathability, keeping your feet cold and comfortable.The Dedicate 5’s have great padding and cushioning around the ankle and heel area, without making you feel restricted or tight. So you can be fairly confident in playing your game and not worrying about if you are going to roll your ankle accidentally.
Another much loved pickleball shoe on Amazon, the Asics men’s Dedicate 5’s score 4 or 5 stars with 74% of the reviewers. Comments like “A very good shoe that was just right” and “I use these for indoor pickleball, and was impressed with the combination of light, firm construction that handled the pounding I put on them, a roomy toe box and immediate break-in.” show just how good these shoes are for pickleball players.
Aimed at the lower end of the market, this is perfect for the casual pickleball player who might be only playing a couple of times a week. Still a great shoe but if you are playing several times a week, you might want to look at the higher end options.
The Adidas Barricade Club is the Barricades little brother so it has a lot of the same performance components, but without a six-month outsole warranty at a wallet friendlier price.
The Barricade Club retains the nice adiwear outsole which is very durable and provides great traction, but remember, there is no six month outsole warranty of the Clubs but for the semi serious pickleball player, this is not an issue and these shoes will keep you playing a long time.
The midsole uses Adidas’ adiprene and the heel has adiprene plus, which provides comfort and gives you a great feeling of resilience and stability.
The Barricade Clubs really do feel very comfortable straight out of the box and although you could get away with not breaking them in, it is always worth being a little prudent and wearing them around the house or going for a walk, before playing a game in them.
The upper has a nice blend of (thermoplastic upper) TPU and mesh, so you get good breathability and they stay lightweight, with lots of stability.There is a technical look to their design which makes them look a lot more expensive than they actually are, but do not be fooled, just because the price point is good, does not mean they are a cheap shoe. They are solid performers that most players would be happy with wearing for a long period of time and they look great.
Again, another high satisfaction rating on Amazon, with 86% of buyers rating the Clubs as 4 or 5 stars. These pickleball shoes really are good for anyone with old injuries (nor new ones), with customers saying “Great for my injured ankle”, “Great fit, comfort and support” and “I have a bad knee, arthritis from an old skiing accident. They are comfortable and provide good support. After two hours of play, my knee feels petty good.”
Overall, these are a really solid choice if you are considering a new pair of pickleball shoes. I quite like the Asics 7’s myself, but I also have a pair of clubs for when I am feeling a few niggles and want some extra reassurance.
The Asics Gel Rocket 7 is extremely competitively priced and is sure to impress any pickleball player.
Featuring high performance technologies such as NC rubber outsole for maximum traction, the Asics Trusstic system which removes unnecessary weight in the shoe while maintaining structural integrity. And forefoot gel cushioning, that reduces shock during court impacts for smooth and comfortable play.
I was pretty excited when I heard they were bringing out the Gel Rocket 7’s, as I am a huge fan of the 6’s, and I can tell you that I was not disappointed when I put them on.
They feel great and play even better! When I put them on my feet, I could feel the gel cushioning system, it’s just super comfortable right out of the box, so you could probably get away with not breaking them in, if pushed.
When I stepped on to the pickleball court, there was no break-in period, the NC rubber outsole felt instantly grippy, I could tell right away that I was going to get a lot of traction from these shoes.
The upper is made from 100% synthetic mesh material and is breathable, keeping you cool, well ventilated and comfortable. They are lightweight, only 12.4 ounces, so you can really move around the court quickly but the stability is excellent, especially for lateral movements.All of this stability made me feel much more confident on the court and I had no worries that I was going to roll my ankle accidentally.
Out of 1000 customers on Amazon, 92% have rated these shoes as 4 or 5 stars, that pretty much tells you all you need to know. But some of the feedback received said “Best court shoe I’ve ever owned” and “Great shoes for Pickleball”. Don’t take my word for it, take a look yourself.
Overall, the Asics Gel Rocket 7’s are some of the most stable, breathable and comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn for pickleball.
Why Pickleball Shoes Are a Good Investment
Spending upwards of $60 on a pair of pickleball shoes might seem like a luxury rather than a necessity. However, what is the cost to you if you injure your feet or ankles, even to the point of not being able to walk or drive for a few days? Investing in a good pair of pickleball shoes is a wise decision and one you will not regret, certainly your feet will not!
You know the old adage, quality lasts longer. If you buy cheap shoes, they are going to fall to pieces quicker and require replacing more frequently. It is counter intuitive as you will only end up paying more money in the long run and not have had the comfort and support that a good pair of shoes will have given you.
It really is not worth trying to save a couple of dollars when it comes to your feet. In all honesty, my advice to anyone is to buy a cheaper paddle, rather than end up with a low quality pair of pickleball shoes. It just is not worth the pain and hassle.
So, show your feet some love and treat them to some proper comfort and support and not only will they thank you but your game performance will likely improve as at least you will be confident on your feet.
A Key to a Great Performance
It does not make any difference if you are an advanced player or a beginner, a professional or a novice, having the proper pair of shoes is vital to your health and game. A good pair of pickleball shoes will not only improve the quality of your game, but also prevent unnecessary injuries from happening and stopping your enjoyment of the game.
In this video, Neil Friedenberg from Pro Lite sports talks to use about how to choose the best shoes for pickleball:
With the huge variety of great shoes available on the market, at some very affordable prices, there really is no reason why everyone should not be using a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes on the pickleball court. Making the right choice now, will most likely mean you will not have to think about getting another pair for a few years!