Do You Need Special Shoes For Pickleball? (Expert Advice)

If you’ve been playing pickleball for more than a few months, it’s likely that at some point another player has suggested to you the need for ‘pickleball shoes’ or ‘pickleball special shoes’.

But do you really need them? Are they just for elite players? Or are they only needed by those who play on grass courts?

In this article, we’ll help you answer those questions and more.

From My Personal Experience…

Are There Special Shoes for Pickleball?

Yes, there are. But they’re not ‘special’ in the sense of being unique to pickleball like some beginner footwear designed for squash or badminton attempts to be.

Footwear that is common among players of other racquet sports will also work just fine – any court shoes that have good grip and good cushioning will do.

And this is why most players don’t need special shoes, as they already have many pairs of suitable footwear.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wearing specific pickleball shoes if you prefer the grip and comfort that such shoes provide. I just find that for my own game, I don’t feel the need to pay an extra premium for them.

If you do decide to buy some, just remember that the grip on pickleball shoes is excellent, but not as effective on certain flooring types such as concrete or smooth tile, so factor this into your decision if you play a lot of outdoor games.

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What Are Pickleball Shoes?

As mentioned above, pickleball shoes are simply court shoes that have superior grip and cushioning.

Unless you’re dealing with very slippery wood floors, most players will be able to get by just fine with normal footwear. Just stay away from suede soles, because they won’t offer enough traction!

Types of Pickleball Shoes

Court Shoe

On the whole, these are probably the best bet. They’re designed for just about every surface you might play on, and they’re usually fairly lightweight with good cushioning. Asics Gel-Resolution is the most popular model of pickleball shoe among top players, but almost any court shoe will do well enough if you pair them with good grips.

Sneakers

I think most people know that sneakers are fine for pickleball, but many don’t realize how versatile their choice of footwear can be. For example, my Adidas running trainers (pictured) are excellent pickleball shoes, and I’ve seen other players wearing various running, training, and basketball shoes with great results.

Be careful though – you don’t want to end up with shoes that are too thin and flimsy, as they won’t offer enough cushioning.

You can even wear your old ‘tennis shoes’ from school if they have good grips, but this is a bit risky if the tread on them is very worn down.

I wouldn’t recommend wearing sandals, flip-flops, or Crocs to play pickleball in. I’ve seen some people do just that, but they’re making a risky choice on slippery courts!

Are Pickleball Shoes Necessary?

If you’ve played for several months and haven’t added any pickleball shoes to your arsenal of equipment, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

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Just think about what you already own – do you have some good, sturdy court shoes? If so, they’ll work fine for pickleball!

I’ve never owned or used pickleball specific shoes myself, but I know some very high level players who swear by them. If you’re curious about what kind of court shoe they use, check out the Asics Gel-Resolution 6 which is designed for pickleball.

It’s one of the most popular shoes among top players, and I’ve seen it recommended by some very credible sources (such as Rick Kulis ).

Summary & Final Thoughts

So in summary, there’s no need to buy pickleball shoes if your existing ones are in good shape.

However, it can’t hurt to try using pickleball specific shoes either – the Asics Gel-Resolution 6 is highly recommended by many top players.

If you decide that you want some extra grip and more supportive cushioning for pickleball, go out and get yourself some shoes or sneakers.

Just remember that these won’t be the only pieces of equipment you’ll need for your game!

A decent pickleball paddle, outdoor net, and a few balls will round out your gear nicely.

Thanks for reading this review – if you liked it, please leave a comment below!

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