Basketball and pickleball are two vastly different sports that require unique footwear to maximize performance. But is it possible to use basketball shoes for pickleball?

With pickleball's rising popularity, there has been much debate about whether basketball shoes can provide the necessary support, traction, and comfort for pickleball players.

In this blog post, we'll be examining the pros and cons of using basketball shoes for pickleball, discussing the impact of footwear on pickleball performance, and offering expert advice on how to choose the best shoes for your game.

Are Basketball Shoes Good For Pickleball?

Basketball shoes are not the ideal choice for pickleball since they lack the flexibility and support needed specifically for this sport. While basketball shoes may provide cushioning and traction, their design was created specifically with basketball in mind rather than pickleball.

Can I Wear Regular Sneakers for Pickleball?

Technically, any comfortable, supportive shoes can be worn for pickleball, but they may not provide the necessary support or necessary features that performance-oriented footwear can.

Regular sneakers may not have the traction pattern, durability, or lateral support needed for quick movements and sudden stops in the game.

What Shoes to Wear for Pickleball?

The best shoes to wear for pickleball are those designed specifically for the sport. Pickleball shoes are designed with the unique needs of the game in mind.

They offer superior support, traction, and durability. These shoes typically have non-marking soles and lateral support to avoid injury while also providing comfort on the court.

Are Pickleball Shoes Really Necessary?

If you want to elevate your game and improve your overall performance on the court, then yes, pickleball shoes are definitely necessary. They offer specialized features that generic sneakers just can't match. However, if you're just playing casually or for fun, then regular sneakers may be all you need.

The Importance of Footwear in Pickleball

Pickleball is a sport that requires constantly changing movements and quick reactions to the ball. The right footwear can elevate your game, improve your agility, and reduce the risk of injury.

Your shoes need to provide lateral support, cushioning, and traction, with ample room to allow for comfortable movement. The wrong shoes can increase the risk of injury and reduce your performance on the court.

The Design and Purpose of Basketball Shoes: A Brief Overview

Basketball shoes are specifically designed to offer both support and flexibility for quick movements, as well as cushioning for impact absorption. They are typically lightweight, and their high-tops and lace closures offer extra support to the ankle and feet during pivoting and jumping.

The soles of basketball shoes are usually made of a special rubber compound that is designed to provide superior traction on indoor hardwood surfaces, while also offering good grip and response when moving quickly side-to-side, or rapidly stopping and starting.

Evaluating Basketball Shoes for Pickleball: Pros and Cons

Basketball shoes can be used for pickleball, but they are certainly not the ideal choice. While basketball shoes may offer cushioning, support, and traction, their design is specifically created with basketball players in mind rather than pickleball players.

The pros of using basketball shoes for pickleball include:

  • They offer good cushioning and support
  • They provide ample traction
  • Their lace closures offer additional ankle support

The cons of using basketball shoes for pickleball include:

  • They are not built specifically for pickleball, meaning they may not meet the specific needs of the sport
  • The tread pattern on most basketball shoes is suitable for indoor hardwood courts, not outdoor pickleball courts
  • Basketball shoes may not provide enough lateral support or durability for quick movements and stops on the court.

The Role of Traction: Comparing Basketball and Pickleball Court Surfaces

Basketball courts and pickleball courts have vastly different surfaces. Basketball players need shoes that provide grip on hardwood surfaces. In contrast, pickleball courts feature textured surfaces with grip-enhancing features that require specialized shoes that can handle that type of traction.

Comfort and Fit: How Basketball Shoes Measure Up for Pickleball

When considering the comfort and fit of basketball shoes for pickleball, they offer a more cushioned feel than specific pickleball shoes.

However, they might not have enough room in the toe area and may not provide the necessary lateral support needed for quick movements and stops during the game.

Additionally, pickleball shoes are typically wider, with a more rounded sole that helps prevent slipping.

Durability Considerations: Are Basketball Shoes Built for Pickleball?

Basketball shoes are designed for basketball courts and the specific movements required in that sport. Thus, they might not hold up as well on a different type of court surface.

In contrast, pickleball shoes offer the durability required for the court's unique variations. They have extra reinforcement in high-impact areas, which will translate into more extended wear over time. Basketball shoes are not built for the same type of durability.

What Professionals Say About Using Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Most professional pickleball players advise against using basketball shoes for pickleball. The reason is that they're made for a different game that includes jumping. Using them for a non-jumping activity can increase the risk of injury due to the lack of lateral support and non-marking features.

Instead, they recommend using pickleball shoes that are specifically designed for the sport's unique requirements, providing the right combination of cushioning, traction, durability, and lateral support.

Potential Risks of Wearing Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Wearing basketball shoes instead of pickleball-specific shoes can be risky. The wrong type of sole may impact the user's traction, which increases the risk of slipping and falling. Similarly, a non-flexible sole may be too firm for some players' needs, putting additional stress on the knees and ankles.

In general, basketball shoes are not designed to handle the side-to-side movement that pickleball requires. Instead, players should look for shoes that offer more lateral stability and flexibility, with a wide toe box for added comfort.


Choosing the right shoes to wear for pickleball is essential to playing your best game. While basketball shoes offer excellent lateral support and cushioning, they are not designed to handle the specific demands of pickleball.

Pickleball-specific shoes have a wider toe box, a more rounded sole, superior traction, and extra support for the sport's quick and repetitive movements.

Choosing wisely doesn't just provide comfort, but it can also help to prevent injury, and ultimately elevate your performance on the court.

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