Is there a difference when looking at pickleball shoes vs tennis shoes?
You’ll notice that many of the shoes we reviewed in Best Pickleball Shoes For Men & Women were tennis shoes but will that make a difference in your pickleball game?
In this article, we’ll dive into that question and break it down.
Does a “Pickleball Shoe” exist?
Yes, brands like K-Swiss have made shoes branded as pickleball shoes like the Express Light Pickleball Shoe
Although there are a few “Pickleball Shoes” on the market does it matter if you get one branded as a pickleball shoe?
The answer is no.
A pickleball shoe has a lot of structural similarities to a tennis shoe. A pickleball shoe is essentially a tennis shoe but it is branded differently.
Can I use Tennis Shoes For Pickleball?
Yes and no. For outdoor courts, tennis shoe is probably the best option you can use. For indoor pickleball shoes, I’d recommend a court shoe like a volleyball shoe or squash shoe.
A court shoe won’t leave marks and is better suited for hardwood, If you want to learn more, check out The Best Indoor Pickleball Shoes
For this article, since we’re talking about tennis shoes, I’m going to only focus on outdoor shoes.
So, what’s The Difference Between PIckleball Shoes vs Tennis Shoes?
Pickleball is a lot different than tennis. There are different balls, different rules, and different equipment.
What is similar is the court material. MOST outdoor pickleball courts are made out of the same material as MOST tennis courts. That material is concrete or asphalt with an acrylic top.
Because they are the same material, tennis shoes work perfectly fine for OUTDOOR Pickleball shoes.
The key to a good outdoor pickleball shoe is any court shoe that you feel comfortable in.
There are a few factors that make a quality tennis shoe that you should be on the lookout for.
The best tread for an outdoor court shoe is partial or modified herringbone tread. If you’re playing on an outdoor, gritty court, you want traction, but not so much that it’s unpredictable or too grippy.
You’ll usually find that herringbone pattern on most outdoor tennis shoes.
Another tread pattern you may see is the full herringbone.
This pattern is used for clay courts. It’s got a little less traction so that the clay can move between the tread and let the player slide in a controlled way.
Although it’s a clay court shoe, full herringbone does work for outdoor courts as well. I would recommend going with a partial herringbone if you don’t intend on stepping on a clay court.
The midsole of outdoor tennis or pickleball shoe HAS to be durable. That means that it should go up a little higher and be a firm rubber to withstand the gritty, hard surface.
The thicker the midsole is, the more support you’ll get out of the shoe which is very important for outdoor courts, since you’re taking more shock when you step.
The Toe Box
A good tennis shoe should have a wide toe box with more of the cushioning being in the middle of the foot rather than the toe.
Especially if you are looking for a pickleball shoe for wide feet, you probably want an extra-wide toe box.
The toe should be the most flexible part of the shoe rather than the middle. For instance, a running shoe bends in the middle which is great for moving forward, but horrible for lateral movements.
The toe box needs to have more padding on it as well for increased durability for toe dragging. This is another huge durability factor.
If you don’t have an outdoor court shoe or tennis shoe you’re risking tearing right through those puppies in a couple of months.
This is more of a personal factor. A heavier tennis shoe or pickleball shoe will give you a lot more stability and durability.
Usually, a heavier pickleball shoe will have a thicker herringbone outsole with a thick, supportive midsole.
A lighter pickleball shoe, on the other hand, will have to sacrifice some of that rubber on the outsole and midsole to make it lighter and less durable.
Outdoor pickleball shoes or tennis shoes should have more cushioning in the center of the shoe. That is where you should be feeling the most support.
Center cushioning gives you control and stability when you’re playing on outdoor courts.
If you’re looking for a pickleball shoe with a little extra arch support, check out The Best Pickleball Shoes For Flat Feet.
Pickleball Shoes VS. Tennis Shoes
Yes, you can use a tennis shoe for pickleball. It’s the best option.
A “pickleball shoe” has the same makeup as a tennis shoe, but it is just branded as a pickleball shoe.
The most important thing is that you’re comfortable in it, and you pick the factors that meet your playing style.
For instance, if you like to move a lot, you probably want something more durable that has more support.
And please for the love of god DO NOT WEAR RUNNING SHOES
Ha I’ve been playing with a guy who wears tall logger boots untied and with knee pads.. has a great lob shot
“I ALSO like to live dangerously”
-Austin “Danger” Powers