Choosing the right shoes for pickleball might leave you scratching your head. Did you know basketball shoes can also serve as pickleball shoes for this popular sport? Our in-depth guide will explore how these high-top sneakers could meet your pickleball needs, from providing ample support to ensuring comfort throughout the game.

Key Takeaways

  • Basketball shoes can be a viable option for playing pickleball due to their ankle support and cushioning.
  • They provide stability, durability, and style on the court.
  • However, they may have drawbacks such as being heavier, less breathable, and lacking specialized features compared to pickleball-specific footwear.

The Importance of Proper Footwear in Pickleball

The proper pickleball shoe offers crucial support and ensures peak performance during the game. Pickleball shoes are designed explicitly with considerations for lateral movements and quick pivots.

An essential factor that differentiates them from other types of athletic shoes, is their weight. They are usually lighter than basketball shoes, allowing players to maneuver better on the court.

Investing in a pair of pickleball or tennis shoes can significantly elevate your comfort while playing and make your in-game experience much more enjoyable. Just like how it’s important to have a good paddle, having an appropriate pair of court shoes that ensure excellent traction also plays a vital role.

Considering factors such as court surface, shoe breathability, durability, and style can help you choose the right pair.

Are Basketball Shoes Good for Pickleball?

Basketball shoes can be a good choice for playing pickleball due to their good ankle support and cushioning.

Pros of Using Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Basketball shoes bring several advantages to the pickleball court.

  • They provide great stability and balance, essential factors in a fast-paced game like pickleball.
  • Basketball shoes come with enhanced padding which protects feet from repeated impact.
  • Their durability ensures they can withstand the rigors of recreational or even competitive pickleball.
  • The design of basketball shoes offers excellent ankle support to prevent sprains and other common ankle injuries.
  • Many brands like Nike, Adidas, and New Balance offer a variety of designs and bright colors in their basketball shoe lineups, adding some style to your pickleball gear.
  • Basketball shoes are versatile and may be a cost-effective choice for beginners just starting out with pickleball.

Cons of Using Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Basketball shoes may not always be the best option for pickleball play due to several reasons.

  1. Basketball shoes are considerably heavier than pickleball shoes, which can slow down your movements on the court.
  2. These shoes are typically quite stiff and can inhibit quick lateral movements.
  3. The lifespan of basketball shoes tends to be short because they wear out quickly under the rigors of pickleball’s fast-paced action.
  4. Lack of proper traction in basketball shoes can impact the control of shots.
  5. Basketball shoes might lack enough breathability compared to dedicated pickleball shoes, which could lead to discomfort during long matches.
  6. Compared to pickleball-specific footwear such as the K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball Shoes, basketball sneakers tend not to offer specialized arch support.
  7. Using heavy and bulky shoes like many basketball styles can drain your energy faster due to the weighty steps.
  8. A typical basketball shoe may lack features that enhance durability – critical for outdoor pickleball court usage.
  9. While basketball shoe designs aim for jumping power, they compromise on stability and grip necessary for the low-to-the-ground stance and swift movements common in pickleball games.

Comparing Basketball Shoes and Pickleball Shoes

When comparing basketball shoes and pickleball shoes, several factors need to be considered, including court surface considerations, comfort and fit, breathability, durability, and weight of the shoe.

Court Surface Considerations

Different court surfaces in pickleball can affect the type of shoe you should wear. For indoor pickleball courts with hardwood or linoleum floors, it is recommended to use indoor court shoes that have non-marking soles to avoid leaving scuff marks. These types of surfaces require lightweight outsoles that provide good traction for quick movements.

On outdoor pickleball courts, which are usually made of concrete or asphalt, a strong outsole is important to withstand the rough surface and provide durability.

Additionally, shoes with good traction on these surfaces will help prevent slipping and sliding during matches.

Comfort and Fit

Basketball shoes often have a spacious toe box that allows your toes to move freely and comfortably inside the shoe. When it comes to fit, it’s important to find a pair of basketball shoes that offer good support around the ankle without causing any heel slippage.

This will ensure stability and minimize the risk of injuries.


Pickleball players know the importance of breathability for their feet. While basketball shoes may offer excellent support and cushioning, they might not have as much breathability as pickleball-specific shoes.

Breathability is crucial in pickleball shoes because it helps prevent your feet from becoming too hot and sweaty during gameplay. Shoes with good ventilation, such as those made with mesh or perforated panels, can keep the feet cool and comfortable while managing moisture and preventing unpleasant odors.

When choosing footwear for pickleball, it’s recommended to select options that prioritize breathability alongside other important features like support and durability.


Basketball shoes are known for their durability, making them a good choice for indoor pickleball. These shoes are designed to withstand the wear and tear of hard court surfaces. With strong outsoles and sturdy construction, basketball shoes can handle the quick lateral movements required in pickleball. When it comes to durability, basketball shoes have an edge over other types of sports shoes.


Basketball shoes are generally heavier than pickleball shoes due to their thicker sole and extra cushioning. The weight of the shoe can have an impact on your grip and support while playing pickleball.

Pickleball shoes are designed to be lightweight, allowing for better maneuverability and agility on the court. On the other hand, basketball shoes are built for durability on hard court surfaces.

Finding the right balance between weight, comfort, and support is crucial in maximizing your performance in pickleball.

Curious if you can play pickleball in running shoes? Check out my article here.

Tips for Using Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Choose basketball shoes with good lateral support to help you make quick side-to-side movements on the pickleball court. Ensure that the shoes fit well and provide proper ankle support for stability during gameplay.

Consider the weight of the shoe, as lighter options can enhance agility on the court. Look for good traction on both indoor and outdoor surfaces to maintain control of your shots.

Choosing Shoes with Good Lateral Support

Basketball shoes are a great option for pickleball players looking for good lateral support. These shoes are designed to provide stability and help with quick side-to-side movements, which is essential in pickleball.

The wider base, stronger outsole, and midsole of basketball shoes offer the necessary support during these lateral movements on the court. By choosing basketball shoes with good lateral support, players can feel confident in their ability to make fast and precise movements while playing pickleball.

Importance of Ankle Support

Proper ankle support is crucial in pickleball to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Ankle support helps stabilize the foot, reducing the risk of sprains and twists during quick movements on the court.

Good ankle support also improves balance and agility, allowing players to move confidently without worrying about their ankles giving out. Whether you choose pickleball shoes or basketball shoes for your game, make sure they provide adequate ankle support to keep you safe and at the top of your game.


In conclusion, while basketball shoes may not be the ideal choice for serious pickleball players, they can still be a good option for beginners or those on a budget. They provide good support and cushioning, which can help protect the feet from impact during gameplay.

However, for optimal performance and injury prevention, it is recommended to invest in a court shoe specifically designed for pickleball that offers features such as wider bases, durable outsoles, and excellent lateral stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear basketball shoes for pickleball?

While basketball shoes may provide some traction and support, they are not specifically designed for pickleball. It is recommended to wear court-specific shoes that offer stability, lateral movement support, and proper grip on the court surface.

What are the differences between basketball shoes and pickleball shoes?

Basketball shoes typically have a high-top design for ankle support, thicker cushioning for impact protection, and specialized traction patterns suitable for indoor courts. In contrast, pickleball shoes have a lower profile with lighter cushioning, more flexibility in the sole for quick movements, and specific outsole patterns optimized for outdoor or indoor pickleball courts.

Are there any disadvantages to wearing basketball shoes in pickleball?

Wearing basketball shoes in pickleball may lead to reduced agility due to their heavier construction compared to dedicated pickleball footwear. The higher ankle collar can restrict movement during lateral maneuvers common in matches. Additionally, the traction pattern of basketball shoes may not be as effective on a slick or textured surface like a typical outdoor or indoor pickleball court.

What should I look for in pickleball shoes?

When choosing pickleball shoes, look for features such as low-top or mid-top designs that allow freedom of movement while providing adequate support. Optimal shoe characteristics include lightweight construction, cushioning tailored to quick stops and starts, durability on abrasive surfaces like asphalt or concrete courts, and outsole patterns designed specifically with multidirectional movements such as a modified herringbone tread pattern.