Can You Wear Tennis Shoes for Pickleball?

Can you wear tennis shoes for pickleball?

Pickleball and tennis are practically the same sport, right? So can you wear your tennis shoes to play pickleball?

Well, not exactly.

There are a few key differences between pickleball and tennis that explain why you should wear shoes specifically designed for the sport you’re playing.

If not, it could result in some pretty sore feet or even an injury.

Good pickleball shoes are specifically designed with the following features in mind:

  • A wide and high toe box to prevent bruised toes, which is a common pickleball injury due to quick stops and forward motion.
  • A deeper shoe design for enough space to insert custom orthotics, if needed.
  • A stable shoe platform to prevent rolling your ankle while playing (pickleball has a lot of lateral or side-to-side movements, even compared to tennis).

Best shoes for pickleball

We’ve written dozens of articles reviewing different styles and brands of pickleball shoes.

The best overall pickleball shoe we’ve tested for value, comfort, and design is the Skechers Viper Court pickleball shoe. The brand also has the Viper Court Pro model, which they released in February 2023.

Read our in-depth review of the pro model here.

Skechers Men's Viper Court Pro -Athletic Indoor Outdoor Pickleball Shoes with ArchFit Support
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10/02/2023 01:56 am GMT

Importance of Footwear in Pickleball

Just like in any sport, the right footwear is crucial in pickleball.

Your shoes are the primary contact between you and the court. The right shoes can provide the necessary grip, cushioning, and support needed to enjoy a safe and effective game.

Key Differences between Tennis Shoes and Pickleball Shoes

While tennis shoes might seem like a good fit for pickleball, there are key differences between the two.

Tennis shoes are generally designed for lateral movements, while pickleball shoes cater to both lateral and forward movements.

Think of those annoying dinks that your opponent hits that JUST creep over the net—racing forward to return those soft shots is a movement unique to pickleball. Tennis requires more deeper lateral movements.

The Risk of Wearing Tennis Shoes for Pickleball

When you wear tennis shoes for a pickleball game, you’re risking your performance and safety.

Tennis shoes may not offer enough forward traction, causing potential slips and trips. Again, think of those soft dink shots that barely make it over the net. It’s easy to jam your toe in a pair of tennis court shoes trying to make that shot.

They also might not provide the necessary stability during rapid direction changes in a pickleball match. Pickleballs are much lighter than tennis balls and travel at a different speed.

Features of a Good Pickleball Shoe

When selecting the right pickleball court shoe, there are several key features you should consider:

Sole Design

The sole design of a pickleball shoe is flat and offers a multidirectional pattern for better grip and forward-backward movements.

So, whether you’re aiming for a tricky shot or making a sudden dash across the court, these shoes are built to support your every move. You’ll experience more control and improved traction with pickleball shoes tailored to the sport.

Cushioning and Support

Pickleball shoes are designed with optimal cushioning and arch support to endure the high-impact nature of the game.

This means fewer injuries, better performance, and more comfort during every match.


Many pickleball shoes have upper mesh designs to increase airflow which helps keep your feet dry and comfortable during intense games.

No more distractions due to sweaty or uncomfortable feet – you can keep your focus purely on your performance and strategy.

This added breathability allows you to play longer, push harder, and experience superior comfort, making every match more fun.

Our Top Recommended Pickleball Shoes

Here are our top three pickleball shoe recommendations:

Tyrol Men's Rally Pickleball Shoes
  • High-quality rubber sole for superior on-court traction
  • Aerated breathable insole and cooling system
  • Advanced tread design for added support & performance
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10/02/2023 02:17 am GMT

Tyrol Pickleball offers excellent performance and durability. Their pickleball shoes provide excellent grip, cushioning, and breathability.

WILSON Rush Pro Ace Pickleball Shoe
  • Ultimate comfort while maintaining superior support
  • High-density OrthoLite foam
  • Enhanced stability & more control

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10/02/2023 02:42 am GMT

Wilson is known for its high-quality footwear. Their pickleball shoes are lightweight, supportive, and offer impressive traction.

K-Swiss Mens Express Light Pickleball Shoe
  • Comfortable, lightweight, breathable shoe
  • Features a K-Swiss Pickleball logo, customized pickleball sockliner
  • First court shoe designed specifically for pickleball
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10/01/2023 05:37 pm GMT

K-Swiss pickleball shoes are popular for their comfort and longevity. These shoes have strong, thick soles and ample cushioning for intense games.

Looking for the best pickleball shoes for women? Read our guide here.

Can You Adapt Tennis Shoes for Pickleball?

If you’re not ready to invest in pickleball-specific shoes, there are ways to adapt tennis shoes for a pickleball game.

DIY Methods

You can consider adding extra insoles or grip pads to enhance the support and traction of tennis shoes.

Professional Alteration Services

Some shoe alteration services can modify the sole of tennis shoes to better suit pickleball. However, consider the costs involved before going this route.


Can I wear any sports shoes for pickleball?

While you can technically wear any sports shoes, specific pickleball shoes are designed to provide the necessary support and traction for this particular game.

We don’t recommend wearing running shoes like Hokas or basketball shoes for playing pickleball.

What happens if I wear tennis shoes for pickleball?

You may experience a lack of proper traction and support, which could impact your game performance and increase the risk of injuries.

Are there any brands that manufacture pickleball-specific shoes?

Yup! One of our favorite brands for pickleball shoes is Tyrol Pickleball. They even have an entire page on their website dedicated to explaining the difference between tennis and pickleball shoes.

Can I use my outdoor pickleball shoes for indoor courts?

It’s generally not recommended as outdoor shoes may leave marks on indoor courts and may not provide the same level of traction.

Read our top picks for outdoor pickleball shoes here.

Is there a significant price difference between tennis shoes and pickleball shoes?

The price can vary based on the brand and features of the shoe. However, pickleball shoes are typically priced similarly to tennis shoes.


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