First off, I was a damn fool, I’ll admit that. When I first started playing Pickleball, @dinktanknorm had just gotten his first pair of tennis/pickleball shoes for pickleball. The shoes looked like a normal pair of trainers, but he raved about them for pickleball. I did not believe the hype. I looked down at my New Balance trainers and said these will do.
Next, @dinktankpickleball (Warkittens) bought a pair of tennis/pickleball shoes (even though he said he didn’t believe the hype.) I was the odd man out in our group of four as DTN, Warkittens, and our friend all had tennis shoes. I started to internally feel the pressure, but I held out. I could make my trainers work without investing in tennis shoes.
As of recently, I started to feel some discomfort and soreness in my feet after playing pickleball. Whether it was 35 minutes or two hours, I would come home, take off my shoes, and start to feel the pain. Some background info on myself, I played sports my whole life, including collegiate football, but never experienced foot pain and soreness like this. It was time, I needed to invest in a pair of tennis shoes.
I started researching, looking for a good deal, what was the best bang for my buck, and what sort of durability could I expect. While researching I found that these were two key differentiators that make tennis/pickleball shoes a necessity.
Lateral Support & Stability
- Tennis/Pickleball shoes are specifically designed for on-court use. Lateral support and stability are crucial for pickleball players due to the quick shifts from side to side on the court. Feeling the support on the sides of tennis shoes provides that needed stability to make cuts all over the pickleball court. Whereas running shoes often value cushion and comfortability as you typically have heel-to-toe movements on a hard surface.
- One of the most important things in tennis/pickleball shoes is durability. While running shoes often wear out in the sole after a while, tennis shoes have a thicker more durable sole to combat the constant stopping, starting, and cutting pickleball puts on the durability of the sole.
I played twice over the weekend with my new pickleball shoes and noticed a HUGE difference when it came to post-pickle foot pain/soreness. I hardly felt any pain in my feet, which was a complete 180 from the previous week. I will note that I did wear the shoes around my house for two days prior to playing to break them in and it worked great.
I’m eager to see how the shoes affect my foot health going forward, but in the meantime, what are your favorite brand and make of tennis/pickleball shoes? Let me know so I can try another pair in the future.