Pickleball Shoes

Pickleball Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes – Let’s Explore the Differences

Pickleball Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes
Written by Alex

Before the booming craze of Pickleball, Tennis was my go-to sport whenever I wanted to attain my tinker of fun with my buddies and there wasn’t a day when I wouldn’t wear my trusted shoes designed for tennis courts.

So naturally, once the dynamics of Pickleball captivated my attention and had me head over heels, I decided to roll onto pickleball courts with my trusted Tennis shoes, and lo and behold, it came to my realization that both of these sports might not be two peas in a pod, in fact, they felt polar opposite especially when picking shoes for maneuvering in the court.

Henceforth, I felt obliged to curate an article on Pickleball Shoes vs Tennis Shoes and how choosing the right type could make a difference.

Pickleball Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes – The Apparent Difference

The difference might be “blink and you will miss” since at first glance both of these kicks look the same but there is a whole lot of difference once you go down the rabbit hole.

1. Court Footwork

The first and foremost difference is the “feel” of the shoe whenever it is used in its distinctive court, the footwork of each shoe designed for its corresponding sport varies by miles. 

For starters, in tennis, you are supposed to move in a linear fashion all while pivoting in micro lunges which is why the shoes are designed to promote linear motion.

In Pickleball, however, players are supposed to be moving in back and forth lateral movement which is why Pickleball shoes have a much thicker and more refined form of uppers which offers and reinforces ankle movement all while supporting sideways cuts.

If you are planning to use Tennis shoes for your pickleball action, you would feel that these shoes would present itself pretty much a hurdle to the point you would often feel like you are skidding all over the court.

2. Stability and Support

Keeping each of the movements in perspective, pickleball shoes have whole dedicated panels that provide cupping and protection across the mid-region of your feet which are otherwise known as arch supporters that also reduce stress from the ankle during lateral movement which a player often indulges in while partaking in strenuous rallies in pickleball near the court. 

To top it off, these shoes also tend to have additional reinforcement that is known as bracing which compensates for extra weight and acts as a shock absorber when shifting from one side to another.

Now moving onto Tennis shoes which are designed for forward motion to maintain a linear directional playstyle of the wearer, these shoes often lack longitudinal arch support that supports the mid region of the feet as there is barely any lateral play. In other words, tennis shoes lack full-length molded arches that contour and act as shock-absorbing

3. Grip Pattern

Obviously, you shouldn’t disregard the grip pattern, after all this is how you maintain traction by implementing artificial friction across the court. This form of friction is made possible through specialized outsoles which you are going to see in a traditional shoe or trainer. 

The shoe designed for pickleball has multi-directional shaped threads that almost resemble a diamond or similar geometric shapes which reinforces traction whenever you are lunging by repelling a last-minute lob across the court.

Moreover, these multi-directional threads highly assist individual footwork whenever they are side-stepping, pivoting back and forth, or moving diagonally. In other words, control through these diamond-shaped threads is paramount and protects against unintentionally skidding.

Tennis shoes have a much smoother form of lining due to the linear pattern movement used in the court that only favors a player’s movement whenever they are moving in the forward direction. So if you are planning them on a pickleball court, you are highly prone to slipping due to a lack of multi-directional threads.

4. General Padding

As far as the padding and upholstery are concerned, apparently, there are some discrepancies in those elements too, Tennis shoes tend to have padding all across the toe box to provide comfort for your toes while moving back and forth. They also offer great cushioning that contours your feet encouraging forward movement. 

Pickleball shoes are wholly different beasts, from gel cushioning to memory foams that act as an implants to prevent blistering while side-stepping. There is plenty of reinforcement in terms of upholstery that stabilizes the natural arches while lateral pushes, especially across the non-volley zone.

5. Breathability & Fabric

However, when it comes to breathability for proper air circulation, you wouldn’t see much of a difference, it’s astounding how both of these sports have so little to share when it comes to fabric used to keep your feet cool at all costs. 

In a shoe that is designed for pickleball, most brands nowadays implement mesh or knit fabrics with perforation that promotes healthy airflow. 

Tennis shoes have moisture-wicking lining and inseam material incorporated into it all while super dense foam and woven uppers prevent a damp and sweaty environment for every crevice of your feet.

6. Price Point Factor

As for the price tags, you would notice tennis shoes tend to fall under a much more forgiving price tag, and on average, most of the shoes designed for such sports range up to 100 dollars in pricing.

Meanwhile, since pickleball shoes have plenty of padding with specialized threads to support traction all while having a bigger toe box, they tend to cost up to 150 dollars if you are looking to grab a premium pair considering the fact it has reinforced toecaps and wrap guards that protects the heels region of the shoe.

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Pickleball?

Theoretically, you could use almost any set of pairs for your tennis game sessions on the court, however, if you want to dive down into the brass tacks that are mentioned above, you would notice that, unlike Pickleball shoes, the shoes designed for Tennis lacks appropriate threading for traction and barley has a proper midsole that supports arch support for lateral side stepping.

While you could slide your feet into tennis shoes and rock the court if you are partaking in a casual routine, it might not work as effectively if you raise the bar in competitive sessions.

Final Word

In conclusion, while tennis shoes can technically “work” for pickleball, specialized shoes designed for pickleball are superior in every way as they provide multi-directional stability, cushioning, and breathability which means you are getting pretty much everything your feet need to partake in face paced rallies without compromise.

If you enjoy playing pickleball regularly, make sure you invest in a shoe that is designed specifically for Pickleball itself. 

That being said, for a truly elevated experience and guides relating to pickleball such as the one based on “Pickleball Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes” make sure you bookmark this site as I would be regularly updating it so you could stay up to the trend.

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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