Are you wondering if your running shoes are alright for pickleball? Many people make the mistake of thinking that any athletic shoe can do the trick. This article will guide you through choosing the right footwear to enhance your performance and prevent injuries in this fun sport.

Let’s get started on mastering your moves on the court!

Key Takeaways

  • Running shoes are not suitable for pickleball due to limited lateral support and flexibility.
  • Pros of using running shoes include comfort and cushioning.
  • Cons of using running shoes for pickleball include increased risk of ankle injuries and lack of proper traction on the court.
  • Pickleball shoes are specifically designed for the sport, offering better support and stability for multi-directional movement.

Check out my top 5 pickleball shoes of 2023!

Can You Wear Running Shoes for Pickleball?

Running shoes are not the best choice for pickleball due to their limited lateral support and flexibility.

Pros and Cons of Using Running Shoes

While running shoes can be a tempting option due to their comfort and cushioning, they are not the best choice for pickleball. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using running shoes for pickleball:


  • Running shoes are generally built for comfort, providing good cushioning and shock absorption.
  • They are easily accessible and available in various styles and sizes.


  • Running shoes are not designed for multi-directional movement, which is a significant part of pickleball.
  • Using running shoes can increase the risk of ankle injuries due to a lack of lateral support.
  • They lack the required traction on the court, leading to slips and falls.

While running shoes offer comfort, they are not suitable for the demands of pickleball. The lack of proper lateral support and increased risk of injuries are significant downsides. It is crucial to consider these factors when deciding on footwear for pickleball.

Comparison: Pickleball Shoes vs. Running Shoes

When it comes to playing pickleball, the shoes you choose matter considerably. Here’s a comparison between pickleball shoes and running shoes.

Pickleball Shoes

  1. Design: Pickleball shoes are designed for quick lateral movements and quick starts and stops. They’re perfect for multi-directional movement.
  2. Suitability for Pickleball: Shoes such as the K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball shoes, are specifically designed for the sport and offer the best support.
  3. Outsoles: Court shoes have durable outsoles that are designed to handle traction in multiple directions, accommodating both indoor and outdoor courts.
  4. Durability: Most pickleball shoes are lightweight, comfortable, and offer good arch support. They have features to increase durability such as a toe drag guard and extra reinforcement around the heel and toe box areas.

Running Shoes

  1. Design: Running shoes are designed specifically for a heel-to-toe stride, rendering them inadequate for the multi-directional movement pickleball demands.
  2. Suitability for Pickleball: Running shoes are not meant for pickleball as lead to an increased risk of ankle injuries due to lack of support for quick lateral movements.
  3. Outsoles: Running shoes do not have the same durability in their outsoles, causing them to wear down much quicker than pickleball or tennis shoes.
  4. Durability: Running shoes are built to withstand the demands of running, which are different from those of pickleball. They lack the necessary protections for the upper part of the shoe which will cause tears and holes to form quickly.

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

Why Pickleball Shoes Are Your Best Option

Pickleball shoes provide the necessary lateral support and stability for quick starts, stops, and multi-directional movement on the court.

Lateral Movements in Pickleball

Lateral movements play a significant role in pickleball. This game demands agility and quick changes in direction. You are constantly shifting from side to side, moving forward, backward, and across the court swiftly.

Therefore, your footwear needs to support these multi-directional movements while maintaining stability and preventing injuries such as rolled ankles or strains which can occur if you’re wearing unsuitable shoes like running shoes that primarily support the forward motion.

Torso rotation is also vital during serve and power shots so it’s crucial that your shoes offer excellent torsional stability as well for optimum performance.

Things to Consider When Choosing Pickleball Shoes

When choosing pickleball shoes, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Support: Look for shoes that provide proper support to minimize the risk of ankle injuries.
  2. Comfort: Opt for shoes that fit well and are comfortable, as ill-fitting shoes can lead to foot health issues like blisters or corns.
  3. Durability: Consider the durability of the shoes, as they should be able to withstand the demands of playing and last for a reasonable amount of time.
  4. Cushioning and Shock Absorption: Choose shoes with adequate cushioning and shock absorption to protect your feet and joints from impact during quick starts and stops on the court.
  5. Tread and Traction: Ensure that the shoes have a good tread pattern (such as a modified herringbone pattern) and provide excellent traction on different court surfaces, such as concrete or wood courts.

Read my review of the top 5 pickleball shoes for high arches here.


In conclusion, wearing running shoes for pickleball is not recommended. These shoes are designed for forward movement and lack the necessary support for lateral movements in pickleball.

Opting for proper court shoes specifically designed for the sport will not only enhance your performance but also minimize the risk of injuries such as ankle rolls. Choose pickleball shoes that provide good arch support, cushioning, and durability to maximize your comfort and extend your playing career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear running shoes for pickleball?

While running shoes may provide some level of comfort and support, they are not recommended for pickleball as they lack the necessary lateral stability and traction needed for quick side-to-side movements.

What type of shoes should I wear for pickleball?

It is best to wear court-specific shoes designed for sports like tennis or indoor volleyball, which offer better support, cushioning, and stability for the specific movements involved in pickleball.

Why is it important to wear appropriate shoes for pickleball?

Wearing proper footwear for pickleball helps prevent injuries by providing adequate support, traction, and stability during fast-paced movements such as pivoting, lunging, and changing directions.

Can wearing running shoes affect my performance in pickleball?

Running shoes will negatively impact your performance in pickleball due to their lack of lateral support and reduced grip on the court surface. Opting for specialized court shoes can enhance your agility and maneuverability on the court.