What to Look for in Pickleball Shoes
Picking out proper footwear is an integral part of pickleball, as good shoes enhance the quality of a player’s performance while also helping to prevent the player from being injured. It may be challenging to pick the right shoes for pickleball if you don’t know what attributes are essential in shoes that are perfect for a court game. Many good brands produce quality court shoes, although not many of them have shoes made explicitly for pickleball; players can use shoes made for badminton, squash, and tennis as there are lots of similarities in their courts.
Qualities of a good pickleball shoe
For high quality footwear and possible advantages while playing on the court, a good pickleball shoe should have the following:
Sole: Indoor pickleball courts can be incredibly slippery, and as such, it is crucial to get a shoe with a natural gum rubber sole that provides a firm grip that will prevent players from falling. However, for an outdoor court, a shoe with a harder gum sole is preferable. Regardless, a good shoe should offer stability and comfortability, whether on an indoor or outdoor court.
Supportive Heel Counter/Cushion: Pickleball courts surfaces can be quite hard (concrete), and as a result are hard on the feet, ankles, knees, and back. It is essential to choose a shoe with extra cushioning to protect the feet and ankles while playing. Playing pickleball requires constant irregular twists and turns, and for that, players can be prone to injuries to ankles, knees, and back; hence, it is vital to get a shoe that will protect you.
Lightweight: Heavy shoes may inhibit players from making continuous movements around the court and may hurt the players’ performance. Lightweight shoes are perfect for pickleball because they offer comfortability and ease of action. Playing pickleball with a heavy shoe may cause the player to get exhausted easily.
Durability: This is a factor to consider when picking a pickleball shoe. Shoes made for extreme durability tend to be heavier and stiffer compared to a shoe made for comfort and performance with softer and more elastic materials. Unfortunately they will wear out quicker but the benefits of performance and comfort may outweigh the durability benefits. If you are playing 1-2 times per week you can expect a good pair of shoes to last at least 1-2 seasons. This depends on your type of court movement, body build, and other similar factors.
Difference between a running shoe and a pickleball shoe
Some people believe that a running shoe is good for pickleball. They are light and cushioned and comfortable. However, pickleball shoes have distinct characteristics that make them better for the unique movements found in pickleball versus running.
A pickleball shoe has a lower profile sole made for hard court surfaces that offer the proper amount of traction to move around the court safely. Also a pickleball shoe has more lateral and medial support built into the upper to further aid in stability and protect your foot and ankle.
Running shoes are made for straight ahead movement and have minimal support for sideways motion. As well the higher profile and softer cushion that compresses too easily on the sides creates possible ankle injuries more easily especially when moving backwards on the court.
A properly selected and sized pickleball shoe is one of the best equipment purchases you can make to keep you playing longer.
Looking for pickleball shoes?
If you’re in need of some shoes for the pickleball court, check out our great selection here.
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