Having the right kind of shoes are important for comfort and injury prevention. Most players are going to be using tennis shoes for indoor and outdoor play. The challenge is finding the right court shoes for you.
Shopping for Court Shoes
If you go to a department store to buy tennis or court shoes, you may be misled. The salesperson may think that a cross trainer or running shoe will suffice but they would be wrong. Many local sporting good stores don’t offer much better advice. I have found students coming to a lesson in running shoes. They may be comfortable…and often they are lighter. However, a running shoe is designed to move forward. It also often has a lip on the side. This design will snag when you make quick lateral movements, causing you to fall. Wearing running shoes when playing pickleball can lead to injury.
A Shoe for Every Occasion
Many of my older students tell me stories of having one pair of sneakers for every athletic pursuit when they were younger. Well, that is no longer the case. I have a different pair of shoes when I work out. Like a tennis or court shoe, it has a flat sole, because I find this best for balance exercises. But unlike a tennis shoe, the sole will be a bit thinner and lighter.
Court Shoes on the Court
If you see me at a tournament you may notice that I take my court shoes off after the match. I don’t wear my pickleball shoes anywhere other than the court. Instead, I put on flip-flops to relax between matches or move from court to court. You will also find me changing socks between matches. This is important because wet socks can cause blisters that will hamper you play later in the day.
Good Court or Tennis Shoes
A good pair of pickleball shoes will run about $120 or more. Many brands come with a warranty as well. I personally wear Head shoes. I find them extremely comfortable. Because I have a wider foot, I typically wear men’s sizes to give me a bit of extra space. The important thing is to take the time to be properly fit. As we age, our foot tends to spread. While you may have been a certain size when you were 21…you might no longer be that size at 50.
Being properly sized and fitted is best accomplished in a tennis shop. If you are not sure where to go, contact a tennis club and ask if they have a pro shop. Try on a number of different shoes. Mimic the forward and back, side to side movement you might make on a court. Find a brand you like, and then you can also shop online. In addition to Head, check out TotalPickleball which offers a wide selection of quality brands.
Wearing a high-quality court shoe makes it easier to move properly on the court and will minimize your risk of injury.