Pickleball Shoes Vs. Tennis Shoes

Pickleball players usually focus on buying top-notch equipment, i.e., a paddle for the sport. While it’s a crucial component, what also matters is the type of shoes you choose. Many brands now sell specialized footwear for this sport, so you can ace the gameplay like a pro by streamlining your movements on the court.

But what if you can’t afford to buy them? Well, we have good news for you. You can even use your tennis shoes for playing pickleball. But of course, they aren’t completely the same. That said, let’s dig deeper into men's pickleball shoes vs tennis shoes, along with some other details that are worth knowing.

Are There Specific Shoes For Pickleball?

Yes, pickleball enthusiasts can now buy shoes that are specifically designed for the sport. What’s unique in such shoes is that they allow for multi-directional movement and are more stable laterally. Also, pickleball shoes are sturdier, too.

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Pickleball Shoes Vs. Tennis Shoes: Quick Summary

MetricPickleball ShoesTennis Shoes
Sole TypeNon-marking rubber soleVaried sole types
Court SurfaceSuitable for indoor and outdoor pickleball courtsDesigned for tennis court surfaces
TractionEmphasis on lateral support and stabilityBalance between lateral and forward movement support
CushioningDesigned to absorb shock from lateral movementsEnhanced cushioning for running and abrupt stops
WeightLighter for agility and quick movementsSlightly heavier for stability during rallies
Upper MaterialMay feature breathable mesh uppersUppers made of various materials
Ankle SupportTypically lower-cut for ease of movementMay offer higher ankle support options
Price RangeGenerally more affordableWider price range based on brand and features

Differences Between Pickleball Shoes & Tennis Shoes

Now that you know pickleball and tennis shoes are slightly different from each other, let’s explore the factors that put the foundation of this distinction.

1- Outsole Design

In pickleball shoes, outsoles are typically non-marking to ensure proper traction for the player. Additionally, the combination of pivot points and herringbone facilitates a smooth change of direction. Contrarily, when it comes to tennis shoes, their outsole is sturdier, and the herringbone pattern is also different. It helps provide players with exceptional grip when they want to move in multiple directions on a hard surface of courts.

2- Weight

It’s recommended to opt for lightweight shoes irrespective of the sport, be it pickleball or tennis. This helps when the players have to be on the field for long matches. While shoes for pickleball are built with lightweight material to ensure higher breathability, tennis shoes also strike a balance between firmness and elasticity.

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3- Protection From Toe Drag

Toe dragging is a common occurrence when it comes to any outdoor sports, be it pickleball or tennis. Therefore, pickleball shoes come with reinforced toe caps to prevent it. In comparison, the durable and thick material used in the construction of tennis shoes serves this purpose.

4- Range Of Motion

Both sports require players to make quick movements to keep the ball’s track. Thus, the choice of shoes should align with it. In the case of pickleball shoes, players are recommended to prefer enough flexibility so a higher range of motion is achieved The same feature matters in tennis shoes as well, just that stability gets a bit more preference as the sports have comparatively more diverse demands.

5- Lateral Support

Last but not least, pickleball shoes vs tennis shoes comparison also involves the lateral support offered by each. Both sports require this feature. However, their features that fulfill it are slightly different. For instance, pickleball shoes incorporate a broader base supported by solid overlays. In addition, many shoe manufacturers also employ technologies to ensure midfoot stability. When it comes to tennis shoes, the ankle support that offers support to the players also helps with lateral support.

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Related Article: Can You Play Pickleball on Grass?

Can I Wear Tennis Shoes For Playing Pickleball?

The answer to this question goes down to where you’re playing pickleball. If it’s an outdoor court, using tennis shoes won’t be a bad decision. However, when it comes to indoor variants of this sport, you need to change your approach. In such a situation, a court shoe, typically those used in squash or volleyball, is highly recommended. All because it won’t leave any marks on hardwood, preventing damage to the interiors of the play area.

What Factors To Look For In Good Tennis & Pickleball Shoes

Simply put, both tennis shoes and pickleball shoes can be used to play either sport. And that’s because the court material of them is almost similar, i.e., concrete or asphalt with a top built with acrylic. Thus, when you’re buying shoes for either sport, here are some common factors to consider for an informed decision:

1- Tread

As discussed earlier, both sports need traction that should be moderate, as too much of it can lead to uncalled movements, increasing the chances of accidents. To cater to this, you should choose shoes with partial or modified herringbone tread. However, if you’re to play tennis or pickleball on a clay court, it’s better to go with full tread as it offers slightly lower traction so you can easily slide on the soft surface without falling.

2- Midsole

When it comes to the midsole of tennis or pickleball shoes, you just need to ensure one thing, i.e., its durability. It is only possible when this component is built with firm rubber and has a slight height to it. This is crucial for your safety as a solid midsole absorbs impact, preventing its effect from reaching your foot muscles.

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3- Weight

This factor goes down to the player’s personal preferences. For example, if you need a bit more stability and sturdiness in your shoes, go for the models with higher weight. However, if these factors don't concern you much and you’re more inclined towards a comfortable pair of shoes, then that with a lighter weight will work. Remember, the outsole and midsole of such shoes will have slightly less rubber, which may lead to early wear and tear of the shoes.

4- Cushion

In shoes for both sports, look for center cushioning, as it’s the area that offers the highest amount of support for the players. Additionally, it also helps them stay stable on the court and maintain optimum control while focusing on hitting the shots.

5- Toe Box

A wide-toe box characterizes good tennis or pickleball shoes. Besides that, this part of the shoes should also have extra padding that contributes to the prevention of toe dragging.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tennis Shoes The Same As Pickleball Shoes?

Both tennis and pickleball are played on similar types of courts, so it’s not a bad idea to wear a similar pair of shoes. However, there’s a slight difference that might cause you to double-think your decision. Tennis shoes typically allow lateral movements. On the other hand, those for pickleball are more inclined towards offering both forward and lateral movements.

Will Tennis Shoes Work For Pickleball?

Yes, tennis shoes can certainly suit pickleball as they offer almost the same amount of movement, traction, and cushioning. However, shoes specifically designed for the sport offer better performance with their lightweight construction and lateral support. Therefore, pro players may benefit more by investing in them.

Can I Wear Regular Shoes For Pickleball?

No, playing pickleball in your regular running shoes isn’t recommended. This sport requires lateral movements along with forward and backward lunges. Normal athletic footwear does not offer that level of support, as you can only move in a straight line while wearing them.

Are Tennis Shoes Or Running Shoes Better For Pickleball?

Tennis shoes are ideal for pickleball over those for running as they offer higher levels of stability and lateral movements. As a result, there are fewer chances for injuries when on the court.


To wrap up, you can definitely wear tennis shoes when playing pickleball and vice versa because of almost similar levels of support, padding, and grip. However, the only catch is that it does not allow forward movements, as supported by shoes that are specifically designed for pickleball. Did you ever wear tennis shoes while playing pickleball? Please share your experience in the comment box below!

Sophia William

An accomplished author with an impressive history of 6 years of contributions to renowned informational websites.

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