You’ll serve in more ways than one.
Move over, beach volleyball and corn hole. Pickleball is *the* hottest sport of the summer season. As the fastest growing sport in the America for the past three years, pickleball is having a moment—one that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Why pickleball continues to be so dang popular is up for debate. But what’s not? The gear. Not the aesthetics (although, we admit, the pickleball outfits we’ve seen on TikTok are super cute and sporty), but for function. Specifically, pickleball shoes need to be supportive and stable enough for players to safely maneuver the court. Just like basketball, softball, and of course, tennis, the wrong shoes can make or break your game (or worse, your ankles…)
What to look for
“The best shoes for pickleball will be pickleball-specific shoes and/or tennis-court shoes,” says David Dutrieuille, national pickleball director at Life Time. Don’t confuse that with any old tennis shoes, though. While that term has been applied to sneakers at large, there are some athletic shoes that you’ll absolutely want to steer clear of when stepping onto a court.
“The biggest concern is cross-training and running shoes—do not wear these for pickleball,” says Ajay Pant, vice president of racquet sports at Life Time. “These shoes are not designed for the sudden side-to-side movement associated with pickleball, [and they] come with a huge risk of ankle injury.” Instead, he says to invest in a proper pair of shoes.
As for what to look for, Carly Llewellyn, co-founder of the pickleball paddle company Tangerine, says to prioritize comfort. “It’s important to find a shoe that has great support, is lightweight, and a good tread on the bo cttom,” she says.
Ready to pick your perfect pair? Ahead, find the seven best pickleball shoes according to the experts.
The 7 best pickleball shoes
Available sizes: 5-14, in half sizes
Despite technically being a volleyball shoe, Dutrieuille says the Asics Gel-Rocket 10 is a fantastic fit for pickleball. It’s designed for fast movement on the court and is supportive while still being flexible, so if you need to make quick, cutting movements to get to your ball, you can do so safely. The Gel-Rocket 10s are loaded with shock-absorbing features, too, specifically in the heel and outsole for more protection from concrete or asphalt. The bottom and sides of the outsole also feature flexible grooves that really stick to the court, allowing for better grip, no matter which way you move.
If you want a pickleball-specific shoe, though, the brand’s new Gel-Dedicate 8 Pickleball ($80) is another excellent option for cutting up and down the court.
- Flexible yet supportive upper
- Designed for side-to-side stability
- Grooves on the bottom and sides of outsole for grip
- Available in 18 colors
- Is a volleyball shoe—not technically designed for pickleball
Available sizes: 5-12
The New Balance FuelCell 996v5 is a breathable mesh sneaker with a lightweight PU overlay to offer extra durability (which helps to prevent scuffs), as well as stability. “With bright, bold colors, these shoes make a serious statement on the court,” Llewellyn says.
The springy FuelCell construction is great for propulsion, while the lateral supports in the upper and misole provide supreme stability. Like the Nikes, the outsole is designed with a herringbone pattern to prevent slipping and sliding, while reinforced rubber is placed throughout the outsole in high-impact areas (like the heel and toe) to prevent wear and tear.
- Breathable mesh
- Lightweight overlay for better durability
- Lateral supports for stability
- Herringbone outsole for grip
- Only one color option
Available sizes: 5-11
The Roger Clubhouse sneaker is designed with nostalgia and performance in mind. “We love that these shoes are super supportive and can easily take you from the court to lunch or errands,” Llewellyn says.
Tennis-inspired, it’s made with durable vegan leather for support on and off the court. Inside is the brand’s CloudTec cushioning that feels like you’re walking on a cloud, plus a speedboard for better propulsion when rebounding.
- Men’s and women’s options
- Recycled materials
- CloudTec cushioning for extra comfort
- Hidden speedboard to aid rebounding
- Only sold in neutral colors
Available sizes: 5-11, in half sizes
The K-Swiss Court Express Pickleball shoes are one of the few pairs of court sneakers specifically designed for the sport. “These come in a variety of fun colors and are great people that play pickleball on a weekly or daily basis,” Llewellyn says.
Problem is, they’re so popular, they’re almost entirely sold out. That’s likely because of how feature forward and how comfortable they are; all of the Court Express sneakers are lined with an Ortholite sock liner that’s positively dreamy to play in and also sport a padded ankle collar and stretchy lace closure. That said, check back regularly for restocks.
- Padded ankle collar
- Ortholite sock liner
- Cushy-yet-stable platform
- Grippy outsole
- Sold out in most sizes
Best men’s shoes:
Available sizes: Men’s sizes 6.5 to 13.5 (women’s 7.5 to 14.5)
“These shoes are lightweight and breathable, which is perfect for the quick motions and movements in pickleball,” Llewellyn says. While they’re only sold in men’s, at Adidas you can go up one size to find your fit in women’s.
True to the name, these shoes are speedy. They’re airy and breathable, so you won’t be weighed down while you play. The outsole provides fabulous traction while the reinforced toe protects both feet and the shoes from wear and tear. Bonus: They’re made with at least 50 percent recycled materials, making them good for your game and the planet.
- Ultra lightweight
- Recycled materials
- Reinforced toe prevents scuffs
- Only sold in men’s sizes
Available sizes: 5 to 11
Although the Adidas Stan Smith Shoes are worn primarily as a street style accessory, they were originally created for the court. “These are classic court shoes that we’ve had in our rotation for years,” Llewellyn says. “They are sturdier than some of the other options which is great when you need extra support, and we love that the new versions are made from recycled materials.”
While these can be worn for the occasional pickleball match, they’re not recommended for daily players, as more comfortable (less stiff) options exist.
- Timeless style
- Grippy outsole
- Dozens of color options
- Recycled materials
- Not great for rebounding
- Not great for daily use—other more supportive styles exist