Let’s get right into it. Here are the things that you need in a pickleball shoe:
- Lateral support and stability (side to side movements).
- Flat sole.
- Fully enclosed.
Those are the requirements for a pickleball shoe. That’s it! Now, although that may not seem like a lot, it actually cuts out the vast majority of footwear. It only leaves two options, tennis shoes and court shoes.
Tennis shoes aren’t the athletic looking shoes that you would find at a shoe apparel store. Tennis shoes are bulky, heavy and designed specifically to play tennis in. Furthermore, they are designed for sliding which you see a lot in tennis.
Court shoes, on the other hand, aren’t as heavy as tennis, give you great flexibility, but still give great support for the lateral movements that you see constantly in pickleball. If you’re playing pickleball primarily indoors, this is your best option. But if you’re playing outdoors, especially if you’re playing singles pickleball, then tennis shoes would be a good fit.
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Barrett’s #1 pick for indoor court shoes
If you’re mostly playing pickleball indoors, then your best bet is to get a good court shoe. These types of shoes are great because they’re a balance between the lightness and flexibility of a running shoe and the bulkiness and stability of a tennis shoe. This is perfect for pickleball.
One of the best court shoes that I’ve found is the ASICS Gel-Rocket 8. It’s got that great support for those lateral movements that I’ve been talking about.
I love these shoes because they give me great traction on the court without risking rolling my ankle. The other great thing is that they are significantly cheaper than most tennis shoes. My game changed significantly when I started wearing court shoes. It helped me to stop thinking about what was going on with my feet and instead helped me to focus on the game.
Barrett’s #1 pick for outdoor tennis shoes
This is my personal favorite for outdoor play. You’ve probably seen me use them in videos and articles. They are great. This is one of the highest quality shoes out there, however, there are cheaper options. You’ll definitely want to take a look around if these don’t fit within your budget.
The great thing about these shoes is that they are relatively lightweight compared to most tennis shoes. This is great for us pickleball players because we don’t need our shoes to be too bulky. We want them to be bulky enough to get that lateral support.
Keep in mind that if you’ve never worn a tennis shoe, it will take a few games or sessions to get used to the way it feels on your foot.