What Shoes Do I Wear for Pickleball?
What you wear on the pickleball court matters. The right clothing and accessories can help you stay cool and free to move, and the shoes you choose are one of the most important elements of your court attire. Although we don't sell pickleball shoes for men here at Devereux, we know how essential a good pair of shoes is to the game and how much confusion there is about what exactly are the best court shoes for pickleball. That's why we put together this guide on how to choose the best pickleball shoes for men.
Importance of Proper Footwear for Pickleball
Before we get into pickleball shoes, let's consider why footwear is key to success on the court. Although it's easy to play, pickleball is physically demanding. You need to be able to make it to the ball for quick returns and to change directions quickly. Pickleball shoes help your game by:
- Supporting your foot: Running places a lot of stress on the bones, muscles, and tendons in your feet. Without proper support, that pressure could lead to foot pain and even injury. Well-designed pickleball shoes keep your feet properly aligned and absorb shocks with every step.
- Delivering solid traction: When you're making a sudden turn or stopping suddenly, you can't afford to be skidding on the court surface. Not only will it make it difficult for you to play, but slipping around could lead to an injury-causing fall. Pickleball shoes help to keep your feet firmly planted by gripping the court with traction treads.
- Stabilizing your foot: The quick movements needed to play pickleball can cause your feet to roll and twist in ways they don't normally, and this could pose a risk of injuries like strains and sprains. Pickleball shoes help to better stabilize your foot, so you're less likely to end up hurt.
What Are Court Shoes?
In sports terminology, court shoes are footwear designed specifically for court surfaces. They're optimized for the round silica sand and other finishes found on courts, so they deliver reliable traction while also holding up to the wear and tear caused by the surface. Because they're engineered for the game, court shoes often feature strategically placed cushioning to increase support.
Pickleball Shoes vs. Tennis Shoes
You play pickleball and tennis on the same court in many cases, but shoes designed for these sports aren't the same. The difference between pickleball and tennis shoes lies mainly in the soles. On pickleball court shoes, the sole typically has a gummier, softer consistency that delivers a better grip. As a result, pickleball court shoes can work indoors as well as outside, while tennis shoes are usually for outdoor play only.
Key Features to Look for in a Court Shoe
To find the best pickleball shoes for you, consider the following features.
The upper is the top part of the shoe that covers your foot. A synthetic or genuine leather upper can hold up to wear and tear and offer a more rigid fit, while textile shoes tend to be lighter and more flexible. You can choose whichever kind you wish but look for features that can help you stay cool and dry. Perforations and mesh inserts increase airflow, so your feet feel more comfortable throughout the match.
The collar is the opening of the shoe that hugs your heel and ankle. Most court shoes for pickleball have a mid-cut collar to balance stability and freedom of movement. However, the design of collars varies. Look for a court shoe with cushioning along the collar. This detail can keep your shoe from painfully cutting into your foot when you make sharp movements.
The lining is the material inside the upper. For cool, dry feet, choose court shoes that feature moisture-wicking soft fabric or mesh lining. Thicker non-breathable fabrics can add weight and leave you feeling hot and sweaty.
The insole is the part of a court shoe that rests directly against the sole of your foot. Moisture-wicking materials are a selling point to look for in this area of the shoe. Combined with the right lining, a sweat-managing insole can reduce distractions on the court. Some shoes even feature odor-fighting insoles or removable ones that you can clean after a few uses.
The midsole is the cushioning system that lies beneath the insole. Manufacturers often use proprietary technologies in midsole designs, and this can make shopping a little confusing. To choose the best pickleball shoes for men, don't get caught up in the buzzwords. Instead, read what the benefits of those special features are. Select court shoes that offer plenty of impact-absorbing foam cushioning to ensure comfort and protect your feet.
The outsole is the part of the shoe that touches the court. Non-marking outsoles are a common feature of court shoes. The term describes outsole materials that don't leave streaks behind on surfaces. Rules of many courts require non-marking outsoles, so make sure yours have the feature.
The tread is a series of grooves on the outsole that's primarily responsible for giving you traction. There isn't a single best tread pattern when it comes to court shoes but look for ones that have a difference in the forefoot area. On well-designed pickleball shoes, you'll often see a circular area on the big toe side just before the midfoot. This feature helps you pivot your foot freely without reducing grip.
Find the Right Pickleball Gear for You
Fit is the final component of choosing the best pickleball shoes for men. Try on a few different pairs and slip on at least two sizes of each to see which feels the most comfortable and supportive. While we don't have Pickleball shoes for sale, Devereux can help you complete the look with our pickleball-inspired apparel collection featuring court-ready tees and breathable trucker hats. If you're new to the sport, be sure to also check out our custom-designed USAPA-approved pickleball paddle.
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