Tennis Shoes vs Pickleball Shoes – What’s the Difference?

In every tennis shoes vs pickleball shoes discussion, a frequently asked question: Can we use tennis shoes for playing pickleball? The answer is “YES” because both sports have many similarities regarding their courts, equipment, rules, and of course shoes. In both games, you move side to side or forward and backward. So, the tennis shoes are specially designed for comfortable lateral movement, and this is all you need for playing pickleball.

tennis vs pickleball shoes

Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Pickleball Shoes

The court shoes are specially made for lateral support. In both sports (tennis and pickleball) you need lateral stability and good ground traction. But there’s a big difference in their courts. 

For example: Tennis usually being played on Clay Court, Asphalt Court, Grassy or lawn Court, and sometimes on artificial grass court.  

On the other hand, Pickleball is generally played on Indoor and Outdoor courts. Mostly the indoor courts have hardwood polished surfaces but the outdoor courts have hard surfaces, commonly asphalt floors. 

According to different court conditions, you need the right shoe that works well on demanding conditions. Just like volleyball shoes or basketball shoes that we’ve already discussed separately in outdoor basketball shoes and indoor basketball shoes for best traction.

A pickleball shoe shares some similarities with the tennis shoe. They’re definitely built for lateral motion and to give you some extra cushioning and support while you’re out on the court. 

The original pickleball shoe that’s specifically designed for pickleball, is different from a tennis shoe. Because there’s more lateral Motion in pickleball than there is in tennis. 

What happens when we’re moving laterally? When you stop your lateral motion, your foot actually keeps moving inside the shoe. You need the shoe to help it stop to move the foot. With that you can both gain traction and protection and your foot doesn’t roll off the side of the shoe. And that’s what a pickleball shoe is designed to do.


What Is The Right Shoe For Pickleball? 

One thing that we see often on the pickleball courts, especially with new players or some experienced players. They come to the courts and they come in a running shoe or a lightweight around town tennis shoe. That’s not the comfortable shoe that you want to use to play Pickleball.

The pickleball shoes are built for the lateral motion that we have in this sport. Whereas other types of shoes, like running shoes, casual joggers, even cross training shoes, or walking shoes. Shoes like that are built for only forward motion. Just by coming to the courts and not having the right pair of shoes. You surely put yourself at risk for injury. 

Potentially rolling an ankle or a fall type of injury from not being able to stop your lateral motion Or overuse injuries. 

Pickleball shoes are built to absorb some of the shock that we get especially from asphalt courts. You’re putting a lot of excess pressure on your knee joints, your ankle joints, and your hip joints. So, to protect yourself from injury, you need to have the right set of shoes when coming to play pickleball.

If you’re playing inside with indoor pickleball shoes, it’s probably going to give you more traction as well as more stability. And certainly if you’re going to be playing Outdoors, this type of indoor court shoe, a volleyball shoe or even a basketball shoe, that’s a court shoe again designed for lateral movement. It’s also designed for indoor hardwood courts. When you’re playing Outdoors this is not the shoe that you want to use. But a pickleball hard court shoe or a tennis shoe that’s designed for the outdoor hard courts have the right type of sole that you need when you’re playing outside.

tennis shoes for pickleball

How To Choose The Right Tennis Shoe? 

Choosing the right footwear in tennis is important for a number of reasons. The first thing is the difference that a tennis shoe gives you compared to other court shoes on the market. Tennis shoes are very good at giving you lateral support. One of the main ways that players move on a tennis court is side to side. There’s much less chance of rolling your ankle wearing a tennis shoe compared to a running shoe. That will only support you moving forward.

Grass Court Shoes

There are different shoes for different types of courts in tennis. The first type of court is the grass court. The main aspects of a grass court shoe are traction. This shoe gives you really good traction on the court, stops you from slipping around because the grass courts can get a little bit slippery when you’re playing. One thing that you’ll notice is the outsole unit of the shoe. They surely have a pimpled sole that gives you the maximum amount of traction when you’re Playing.

The midsole has a lot less cushioning than a normal tennis shoe because of the cushioned nature of the grass courts.

Grass Court

Clay Court Shoes

The clay court shoes are different in nature to grass court shoes. The main thing about a clay court shoe is the stability it gives you with the tough upper sole and also the lateral support that it gives you.

A lot of side to side movement on a clay court, gives it less chance of you rolling an ankle as you’re playing. The other thing that you’ll notice about a clay court shoe is the tread on the sole. Typically it’s a herringbone tread pattern that gives you maximum traction, maximum grip when you’re moving across the courts. The clay court shoes are also great to use on Astroturf and artificial clay.

Clay Court

Omni Court Shoes

The omni court shoe or all-court shoe is a great shoe for all court surfaces. This shoe gives you really good lateral support and stability with a tough upper sole. The other thing is the sole of the shoe is very very tough and durable. You’ve to do very well to get through it and it’ll last you a long Time shoe. Moreover, it’s give you great cushioning that gives you a bit of support and protection with the impact on some of the courts that you play on.

Omni Court tennis shoes

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