Pickleball Shoes

Let’s Explore Pickleball Shoes Vs Running Shoes Today

Pickleball Shoes Vs Running Shoes
Written by Alex

Pickleball has seen quite a sharp transcend in terms of popularity growth for all the right reasons, whether it is a sports enthusiast who is a convert or a recurring player looking to dive once again in the action, you have to admit this sport certainly has everyone head over heels.

And it’s no surprise that you may also see a sudden spike in equipment especially relating to pickleball footwear that is designed specifically for the court action so if you are one of those “fitness freaks” who love to keep up the pace by jogging every morning and play pickleball afterwards, you might want to keep a separate pair for both of your extra circular activity because there is a whole lot difference between Pickleball Shoes Vs Running Shoes.

To make matters worse, there are plenty of individuals who make the rookie mistake of using a single pair for both of these activities, in this article, I am going to be shedding some light on why that doesn’t seem like an amazing idea.

Pickleball Shoes Vs Running Shoes, What’s The Difference?

Don’t get me wrong, both of these categories serve their purpose quite well, however, there is an immense level of difference that prevents them from being used interchangeably such as,

1. Traction Difference

Running or jogging is all about keeping your body afloat on the surface you might be traversing on which is why you need better grip through traction that could only be attained if sturdy and resilient outsole since the impact on each footstep is way more rigours than regular pickleball side step.

Instead of moving forward in a much more dominant manner, in pickleball, you aren’t exerting much force as most of your footwork relates to either sidestepping or lateral movement and that’s where you will need multi-directional thread pattern because it allows you to move around the court much more efficient.

Regular running shoes may such diamond diamond-shaped patterns and are only designed to provide traction in a regular fast fast-paced walking or running fashion. Even though they might still seem ideal for maneuvering in the court, if you want to use them for sudden stops and lunges, you might not achieve the ideal level of friction that is similar to the shoes that are designed for pickleball.

2. Cushioning Difference

Another pivotal difference that you could point out right away is the lack of padding on pickleball shoes. While shoes that are designed for the court may rock proper arch support to offer lateral and side-stepping maneuvering, they may have thinner padding as compared to shoes that are specifically used for running.

Running is much more rigorous as you are always exerting maximum force all while generating enough momentum to keep your body moving from point A to point B, and if you aren’t wearing shoes with proper padding, you may find it quite uncomfortable and may develop sores and rashes. 

Pickleball, in its raw format, has mostly laid-back moves except for strenuous rallies, you are only required to cover smaller areas with moderate speed, so even with thinner padding, you would be doing more than fine.

Shoes designed for running also have a much more responsive form of midsole that absorbs shock and compensates for every aspect of your feet, while pickleball shoes only have supportive cushioning to support your gait.

3. Height Different

Running shoes also have a much more prominent form of hele, that propels you to move forward by creating a “bounce effect”, pickleball shoes on the other hand, are nearly flat, oftening maintaining a low profile effect to encourage side-to-side agility movement throughout the court.

Heel height also encourages a healthy form of running motion so that your body, especially the joint regions doesn’t suffer from regular wear and tear by properly compensating for the shock.

4. Breathability Factor

Another aspect where pickleball shoes take the lead is their breathable factor, these shoes are designed with lighter fabric as you may be either stationary or find yourself performing micro movement in a lateral direction which is why keeping your feet dry is highly important as you are likely prone to face blistering through hotspots.

Running shoes aren’t prone to such fiasco because you are constantly moving around which promotes healthy air circulation to every crevice of your feet. On the flipside, the mesh fabric may also compromise the integrity factor of the shoes, this is why to reinforce its strength, a more robust form of synthetic leather or suede material is used to make it long-lasting.

5. Portability Aspect

Lastly, to stay in motion for longer duration, running shoes are supposed to be much lighter as compared to pickleball shoes as every ounce matters over longer runs and tend to be made with much more aerodynamic shape to improve the speed and agility of the person.

Pickleball shoes are all about comfort with a wider toe box, so you could have much more wiggle room to promote a healthy lateral movement all while preventing wear on tear on your feet.

Can You Wear Regular Sneakers For Pickleball?

In my early phases of getting into Pickleball, I just wore whatever I could get my hands on and there was no specific preference which means I would kick off the court with my trusty everyday running shoes that I would wear for jogging and surprisingly, they did an astounding job for casual sessions.

However, once I learned the ropes and got more competitive, I began noticing some issues creeping in such as discomfort, blistering, and foot fatigue, especially by the end of a couple of competitive matches which was a tad bit frustrating and that’s when I decided to invest in a pair that was designed specifically for pickleball even though I was skeptical about it.

Considering the fact pickleball has way more lateral shuffling, rigorous directional changes, and quick starts and stops than most other sports especially if you are playing in competitive matches, it gave me the impression that while running shoes might yield sufficient results in casual routine, it won’t amount much in advanced phases.

Running shoes, on the other hand, don’t really support lateral movement out of the box and while they might be much more flexible, they usually lack arch support to encourage healthy maneuvering in the court which is why my feet suffered fatigue after a couple of trials in the court.

Henceforth, I would highly suggest that you spare a couple of bucks and invest in an additional pair of trainers that are much more cross-court oriented with multi-dimensional threading so that you can easily play with plenty of peace of mind with the perfect balance that is needed to maintain ideal levels of agility across the court.

The last thing you would want is your own pair of shoes becoming an unnecessary hurdle that might prevent you from delivering your full potential all while causing unnecessary wear and tear. 

In Conclusion

Preserving your foot health is important for staying active in pickleball and other sports over the long haul, while using your good old pair for running with strenuous sports such as pickleball might be the “budget-friendly” way to hit two birds with one stone, in the longer run it might prove you otherwise.

So it’s in your best interest that you understand the key difference between Pickleball shoes vs Running shoes and invest in a separate pair for each circular.

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

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