Court Shoes 101: Choosing the Best Shoes for Tennis and Pickleball
Updated: Apr 28
When it comes to tennis and pickleball, court shoes are one of the most important pieces of gear to buy before you hit the court. Here's what you should know before buying a pair.
As confusing as it sounds, “tennis” shoes are not actually the best shoes for playing tennis (or pickleball for that matter). This category now refers to a broad arrange of athletic shoes. If you’re looking for shoes specific to tennis and pickleball – you should shop for “court shoes.”
Here’s the 101 on why you should wear court shoes for tennis and pickleball and how to find the best court shoes for you.
How are court shoes different from regular tennis shoes or sneakers?
Court shoe design
Court shoes are designed specifically for tennis and the shifting, side-to-side motions that come with the game. On the contrary, regular sneakers reach lower on the ankle bone, giving less stability and more room for injury. Similarly, running shoes are designed specifically for forward-to-back motions and do not provide sufficient lateral stability.
Court shoe materials
The materials used to make court shoes are different than the materials used in regular sneakers. Court shoes have special technology to improve your grip, enhance your movement and provide support.
One outstanding example of court shoe technology and materials is Babolat. Babolat partnered with premier tire manufacturer, Michelin, to create the ideal racquet sport shoe sole. By using rubber that is also used for tires, Babolat court shoes provide ultra-durable, high-quality soles that enable your shoes to last longer before the sole wears thin.
What benefits do court shoes have to my tennis or pickleball game?
The top benefit of court shoes is maximizing and supporting your movement on the court to enhance your game.
Court shoe stability
Court shoes typically hit the ankle bone higher on the foot to provide more stability and decrease the chance of ankle injuries.
Some court shoes have plastic and rubber over them to increase this stability. The most stable shoes are often shaped more like a boot to maximize stability.
Court shoe traction
The traction on the bottom of court shoes enhances your ability to stop when you shift or make a quick pivot during match play.
How should I find the best court shoes near me?
The best way to select the ideal court shoes for you is to try on a wide selection in-person, preferably at your local racquet sports store. This will allow you to discuss your unique foot attributes and playing style with a team member who specializes in racquet sports footwear.
By shopping for court shoes in-store, you can also try on a variety of shoes and narrow your selection as you find out what you like and dislike about each brand. Trying them on also ensures you select the right size of court shoes to avoid discomfort and hassling with returns.
What court shoe brands should I buy?
We carry more than 15 different brands of court shoes, including all the top brands. While you can shop online, you’re more likely to find the shoe you love by shopping in person. Every foot is different, so every shoe will feel slightly different to each person.
How should court shoes fit?
Court shoes should fit like other shoes, with room in the toe. You don’t want to wear court shoes that are too tight as this can cause crowding in your toe box or foot pain. You also want to make sure to have enough room in the front of your shoe without it moving around too much.
Shoe weight is also a major factor. Some players prefer heavier shoes for better durability while others prefer lighter, more flexible shoes for explosive movement. It all truly comes back to you and what you’re looking for in a shoe.
What court shoes are best for wide feet?
We have quite a few court shoe options for players with wider feet. K-Swiss shoes are often wider than other brands, especially the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2 shoe. However, many brands now carry wide options, including Babalot, Wilson, and Fila.
Once again, it is important to find the shoe that fits best by trying it on in store. Don’t risk randomly picking a pair online then having to hassle with returns. Come see us at Game-Set-Match, Inc. to find the perfect fit.
What court shoes are best for more arch support?
Some court shoes offer more arch support than others. Brands like ASICS, New Balance and Adidas are particularly well known for providing comfortable support for players with high arches.
You may also want to consider getting in-soles specific for your feet if you’re struggling with arch support.
How long should court shoes last?
The length of time you can wear your court shoes greatly varies based on your how often you play. The support and traction of court shoes will wear away with use. So the more frequent the use, the quicker the shoe will need replacing.
Higher quality court shoes will typically last for more playtime. If you play very frequently, you should consider buying court shoes that offer a sole guarantee. Select brands offer a six-month guarantee if you wear through the bottom of the sole into the mid sole.
Always make sure to have a backup pair of court shoes, or better yet, alternate wearing two different pairs.
What court shoes are best for pickleball?
“Tennis” court shoes are also great for pickleball. However, a few brands do make shoes specifically intended for pickleball, including Acacia Sports, K-Swiss and Fila. We sell these brands and more at our store locations in Colorado and Nevada.
What if I find the perfect court shoe but I don’t like the color?
Many court shoes come in multiple colors. If we don’t have your favorite color in store, our employees can check the stock at our other locations.
At the end of the day, finding the shoe that best fits your feet is more important than finding your favorite color. Nowadays, mixing and matching colors in your wardrobe is more on-trend than being overly matchy-matchy.
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