Pickleball Shoes vs. Tennis Shoes: What’s the Difference?

Are you ready to take your game to the next level? Whether you’re a pickleball enthusiast or a tennis aficionado, one thing is for sure – your choice of footwear can make or break your performance on the court. In the battle of Pickleball Shoes vs. Tennis Shoes, it’s crucial to understand the differences between the two and select the perfect pair that suits your sporting needs. From the grip and traction to the flexibility and support, this guide will dive deep into the world of athletic footwear, arming you with the knowledge you need before making that all-important purchase. So, lace up your shoes, get ready to discover the nuances of court footwear, and  explore the pickleball shoes vs. tennis shoes debate!

Do “Pickleball Shoes” exist?

Yes, “Pickleball Shoes” do exist! In fact, they are a popular type of shoe specifically designed for playing pickleball. If you’re not familiar with pickleball, it’s a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It’s typically played on a smaller court with lower nets, making it easier on the joints compared to other racquet sports.

Do “Pickleball Shoes” exist?

Pickleball shoes are designed to provide the necessary support and stability for players during quick movements and changes in direction. They also have specific features that cater to the unique demands of pickleball, such as a non-marking sole for indoor courts and durable materials for outdoor play.

Some popular brands that offer pickleball shoes include ASICS, Babolat, and Adidas. These shoes often have a low-to-the-ground feel and are lightweight to help players move quickly on the court. They also have a wider toe box for added comfort during lateral movements.

It’s important to note that while pickleball shoes may offer specific features for the sport, they are not required to play. Many players choose to wear regular tennis or court shoes, and some even prefer to play barefoot. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what works best for each individual player.

In addition to pickleball-specific shoes, there are also shoe accessories that can enhance performance on the court. Insoles designed for racquet sports can provide additional cushioning and support, while grip socks can help with traction during intense gameplay.  Again, these are not necessary for playing pickleball but may be beneficial for some players.

So, if you’re a fan of pickleball or looking to try it out, investing in a pair of pickleball shoes may be worth considering. They can help improve your performance and make the game even more enjoyable. But remember, it’s always important to choose shoes that fit well and feel comfortable for you, regardless of the sport or activity.

Pickleball Shoes VS. Tennis Shoes


Pickleball and tennis shoes have different features that make them unique for their respective sports. However, one of the main differences between pickleball shoes and tennis shoes is the tread pattern on the sole of the shoe.

Tennis shoes typically have a herringbone tread pattern, which provides excellent traction on hard court surfaces. This type of tread allows players to make quick lateral movements and provides stability when changing direction. It also helps prevent slipping on the court, which is crucial for tennis players who make sudden stops and starts.


On the other hand, pickleball shoes usually have a circular tread pattern or small dots on the sole. This type of tread is designed specifically for indoor courts and allows players to move quickly in all directions without getting stuck on the court. The circular tread also provides a lower profile, which is essential for pickleball players who need to have a low center of gravity for better balance and control.


Another significant difference between pickleball and tennis shoes is the midsole.

Tennis shoes often have a thicker and more cushioned midsole to provide shock absorption and support for players who make frequent, forceful movements on the court.
This extra cushioning helps reduce stress on the knees and ankles, which are common areas of injury for tennis players.

On the other hand, pickleball shoes have a thinner and more responsive midsole that allows for better court feel and agility. Pickleball is a faster-paced sport, so players need to be able to move quickly without feeling weighed down by thick cushioning.

The Toe Box

The toe box is another important feature that distinguishes pickleball shoes from tennis shoes. Tennis shoes typically have a wider toe box to give players more room for their toes to spread out during quick movements and changes in direction. This design also helps prevent blisters and discomfort, which are common issues for tennis players.

In contrast, pickleball shoes have a narrower toe box to provide a snug fit for better control and stability. This design allows players to make precise movements without their toes sliding around in the shoe, which can throw off their balance.


When comparing the weight of pickleball and tennis shoes, there is a noticeable difference. Tennis shoes tend to be heavier because of their thicker midsole and additional cushioning, providing extra stability and support. On the other hand, pickleball shoes are designed to be lighter, allowing players to move swiftly and with greater agility on the court.

In general, tennis shoes can weigh anywhere between 11 to 16 ounces, while pickleball shoes typically range from 8 to 12 ounces.
These weight variations cater to the specific needs and demands of each sport, ensuring optimal performance and comfort for players. It means that wearing the wrong type of shoe for a particular sport can hinder a player’s performance and increase their risk of injury.


Another factor to consider when comparing pickleball and tennis shoes is the level of cushioning. As mentioned before, tennis shoes typically have thicker midsoles for shock absorption and support, while pickleball shoes have thinner midsoles for better court feel. However, both types of shoes do provide cushioning in different areas.


Tennis shoes often have extra padding around the heel and ankle to protect against impact during quick stops and starts. In comparison, pickleball shoes tend to have cushioning in the forefoot area to provide comfort and support when making fast movements and changes in direction [1].

Benefits of Pickleball-Specific Shoes

Optimal Traction and Court Grip

Pickleball, like any other sport, requires players to have good traction and grip on the court. Having shoes that are specifically designed for pickleball provides optimal traction and grip on all types of surfaces. These shoes come with unique tread patterns that are specially designed to provide maximum control and stability.

Moreover, pickleball-specific shoes also help prevent slipping accidents which can be particularly dangerous for players on hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. Therefore, investing in these shoes can make a significant difference in your game and help you stay safe on the court.

Lateral Stability and Support

Pickleball involves a lot of lateral movements, such as side-to-side shuffles and quick changes in direction. This can put a lot of strain on your feet and ankles, especially if you are using regular athletic shoes that may not provide enough support.

Pickleball-specific shoes are designed with features such as reinforced sides and ankle support to help players maintain stability during these lateral movements. This helps prevent injuries and allows players to move confidently on the court without worrying about their shoes causing them discomfort or hindering their performance.

Cushioning and Impact Absorption

Pickleball-specific shoes are also equipped with cushioning and impact absorption technology to help reduce the strain on your feet and joints. The game involves a lot of jumping, stopping, and starting which can take a toll on your body, especially if you are playing for long periods.

These shoes provide better shock absorption than regular sneakers, helping to alleviate the stress on your joints and muscles. This can result in less fatigue, reduced risk of injury, and improved performance on the court.

Lightweight and Breathable

Pickleball-specific shoes are typically made with lightweight materials that allow for quick movements, providing players with a lighter and more responsive feel. These shoes also come with breathable upper materials that help keep your feet cool and dry throughout the game.

Lightweight and Breathable

This is especially important for pickleball players who often play in warmer weather conditions, as it helps prevent discomfort and blisters caused by sweaty feet. Additionally, the lightweight and breathable design of these shoes also makes them comfortable to wear for extended periods, allowing players to focus on their game without any distractions.


Lastly, pickleball-specific shoes are typically designed to withstand the demands of the game. The materials used in these shoes are often more durable and can handle the wear and tear of playing on hard surfaces.

Investing in a good pair of pickleball-specific shoes means you won’t have to replace them as frequently, saving you money in the long run. This also ensures that your shoes will continue to provide the necessary support and features for your game, helping you perform at your best every time you step on the court [2].

How to clean pickleball-specific shoes?

Once you have invested in a good pair of pickleball-specific shoes, it’s important to properly clean and maintain them to get the most out of your purchase. Here are some tips for cleaning pickleball shoes:

Step 1: Remove excess dirt and debris

Before cleaning your shoes, use a soft brush or cloth to remove any excess dirt or mud from the surface. This will make the cleaning process easier and prevent any scratches or damage to the shoe material.

Step 2: Hand wash with mild soap

Using a small amount of mild soap, mix it with warm water in a basin or sink. Gently scrub the shoes with a soft brush or cloth, paying extra attention to areas with stubborn stains. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the material of the shoe.

Step 3: Rinse thoroughly

After washing, rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Step 3: Rinse thoroughly

Make sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the shoes.

Step 4: Air dry

Do not use a dryer or any heat source to dry your pickleball shoes as it can damage the material. Instead, stuff the shoes with newspaper or a dry cloth to absorb excess water and let them air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Step 5: Cleaning the outsole

The outsole of pickleball shoes can often get dirty and lose traction on the court. To clean it, use an old toothbrush and some mild soap to gently scrub the dirt off. Rinse with water and let it air dry.

Step 6: Removing odors

If your shoes have a persistent odor, sprinkle baking soda inside them and let it sit overnight to absorb any unwanted smells. You can also use specialized shoe deodorizers or place dryer sheets inside the shoes to keep them smelling fresh.

Step 7: Proper storage

When not in use, make sure to store your shoes in a cool and dry place. Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight or damp areas as it can cause the material to deteriorate.

Extra tip: Use a shoe protector spray

To protect your pickleball shoes from dirt and stains, consider using a shoe protector spray before wearing them for the first time. This will create a barrier on the material and make it easier to clean in the future.

By following these steps, you can keep your pickleball shoes looking and performing like new for many games to come.

Remember to regularly clean them after each use to maintain their quality and extend their lifespan.


Can I use tennis shoes for pickleball?

No, tennis shoes are not recommended for pickleball. While both sports require movement on a court, the movements and surfaces are different. Pickleball involves more lateral movements and quick stops, which can put strain on your ankles and feet if using tennis shoes designed for forward movement. Additionally, pickleball is typically played on a harder surface, such as concrete or asphalt, which requires a different type of shoe with more grip and support.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls?

Indoor pickleball balls are made of a softer material, typically plastic, which allows them to bounce lower and slower.

What is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls?

This is ideal for playing on gym floors or other smooth indoor surfaces. Outdoor pickleball balls are made of a harder material, usually a harder plastic or rubber, which allows them to bounce higher and faster. This is necessary for playing on rougher outdoor surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.

Can I use a tennis racket for pickleball?

No, you cannot use a tennis racket for pickleball. Pickleball rackets are smaller and lighter than tennis rackets, allowing players to have better control and maneuverability on the court. Additionally, pickleball rackets have a thicker grip to accommodate for the smaller handle size of the ball. Using a tennis racket for pickleball would not only be against the rules, but it could also affect your gameplay and may cause injury.

What is the difference between paddle shoes and tennis shoes?

Paddle shoes are specifically designed for pickleball and have features that cater to the unique movements and surface of the game. They typically have a wider sole for more stability, extra cushioning in the heel for shock absorption, and a thicker outsole for better grip on court surfaces. On the other hand, tennis shoes are designed for forward movement on a softer surface such as a tennis court and may not provide the necessary support and grip for pickleball. It is recommended to invest in a good pair of paddle shoes for optimal performance on the pickleball court.

Additionally, using paddle shoes can also help prevent injuries and improve your overall experience playing the sport.  So while you could technically use tennis shoes for pickleball, it is highly recommended to use paddle shoes instead for the best results.  So go ahead and treat yourself to a pair of pickleball-specific shoes and elevate your game on the court!

What is the difference between pickleball shoes and walking shoes?

Pickleball shoes are designed specifically for the sport of pickleball and have features that cater to the unique movements and demands of the game. This includes a wider sole for stability, extra cushioning in key areas for shock absorption, and a thicker outsole for better grip on court surfaces.

Walking shoes, on the other hand, are designed primarily for comfort and support while walking. They may not provide the necessary support and grip for pickleball, which could impact your performance on the court. It is important to invest in a good pair of pickleball shoes for optimum gameplay and to prevent potential injuries.  Additionally, wearing pickleball shoes can also help increase your agility and speed on the court, giving you an advantage over players wearing regular walking shoes.

What are the advantages of pickleball shoes?

There are several advantages to using pickleball shoes instead of regular athletic shoes. Here are some of the main benefits:

  • Improved stability and balance: Pickleball shoes have a wider base and thicker outsole, providing better stability on the court. This can help prevent ankle sprains or other injuries.
  • Enhanced grip and traction: Pickleball shoes have specialized outsoles that are designed for better grip on the court surface. This can allow for faster movements and quick stops during gameplay.
  • Increased comfort: With extra padding and cushioning in key areas, pickleball shoes offer better support and shock absorption, reducing the strain on your feet and joints while playing.
  • Designed specifically for pickleball: Pickleball shoes are made with the sport in mind, so they have features that cater to the unique movements and demands of the game. This can give players an edge over those wearing regular athletic shoes.

So when it comes to playing pickleball, investing in a good pair of pickleball shoes is definitely worth considering for a more enjoyable and successful experience on the court.

What are the advantages of tennis shoes?

There are advantages to using tennis shoes for tennis over other athletic shoes. These include:

  • Designed for forward movement: Tennis shoes are made for the quick back-and-forth motion on soft courts.
  • Better support and stability: Features like reinforced heel cups and midfoot shanks provide support while playing.
  • Customizable fit: Many tennis shoes have customizable lacing systems or insoles for a perfect fit.
  • Durability: Tennis shoes can withstand frequent court play, making them a long-lasting investment.

Wearing the right shoes for each sport is important, and considering the specific advantages of each type of shoe can enhance performance and enjoyment.

Useful Video: Pickleball Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes: What’s The Difference? | Watch Before Buying!

Conclusion Paragraph

In conclusion, comparing Pickleball shoes and Tennis shoes can be helpful for any athlete that is looking for new shoes. While both sports are similar, their shoes have key differences that make them unique and suitable for their respective sports. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, it is important to choose the right footwear that will help improve your performance and prevent injuries. When it comes to Pickleball shoes, they are designed with the specific movements and court surface in mind. They offer more stability, support, and flexibility for the quick lateral movements required in Pickleball. On the other hand, Tennis shoes are made with a focus on durability and cushioning since tennis players have to cover larger distances on the court and require more impact protection.


  1. https://alldrivenodrop.com/are-pickleball-and-tennis-shoes-the-same/
  2. https://www.verywellfit.com/pickleball-shoes-7549535