Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America, attracting players who have never picked up a racquet before.
If you’ve decided to give pickleball a go, or maybe you’ve been playing for a while, then you’ve probably thought about how paddles and balls can improve your game.
But have you considered your shoes?
Many pickleball players overlook their shoes when they start to play, choosing a basic running shoe that, frankly, can’t perform.
Admittedly, it is easy to forget about the shoe (see also ‘Best Outdoor Pickleball Shoes‘). After all, how many pickleball shoes have you actually seen for sale?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best pickleball shoes for men (see also ‘Best Pickleball Shoes For Women‘) — and yes, some of them are tennis and volleyball shoes.
But don’t worry, they’ll still provide that explosive movement you need for pickleball.
The Top 5 Men’s Pickleball Shoes
Unfortunately, not many brands have discovered the pickleball market yet.
But K-Swiss are ahead of the crowd, and the Men’s Express Light is an excellent shoe for playing pickleball!
The K-Swiss Men’s Express Light is roomy and breathable, with space in the toe box for a comfortable fit.
The shoe is exceptionally lightweight, allowing you to move quickly across the court.
Made with a 180-degree Plantar Support Chassis, the K-Swiss pickleball shoe supports stability, while the DragGuard in the toe and heel resists abrasion.
The DuraWrap finish protects against excessive toe-dragging, and helps you feel steady.
With an Ortholite sock liner helping moisture evaporate, this shoe is cooler and fresher.
Even experienced pickleball players will appreciate the natural movement and response of the K-Swiss Men’s Express Light.
And the low price point and easy accessibility should appeal to newcomers!
- AOSTA 7.0 Rubber Compound – A high-density outsole that protects against wear.
- DuraWrap – A light rubber lining that adds protection and stability.
- 180-degree Plantar Support Chassis – Feel confident and supported in your movements.
- The K-Swiss Express Light is excellent for wider feet, but might feel a little bulky on narrow feet.
The Wilson Men’s Rush Pro line is known for its strength and durability, which is why we love it.
This is a shoe that can stand up to repeated wear, supporting you on the court for longer.
When you’re taking on a tough opponent, the last thing you want is a shoe that gives up.
The Wilson Men’s Rush Pro 3.0 are the pickleball shoes you need for support and longevity.
The rubber medial drag pad protects against toe drag, giving you a solid performance that lasts longer.
Wilson Men’s Rush Pro 3.0 is an excellent shoe for the explosive pickleball player. A 4D Support Chassis helps control pivots, so you can load up for a stronger stroke without losing stability.
Fitted with an anti-twist outsole, powerful movements are given propulsion, while the endofit adds comfort and support.
With a DF2 giving a cushioned court feel, these are surprisingly comfortable for a performance shoe.
If you’re an aggressive and powerful player, you might find your shoes fail to keep up.
Not with the Wilson Men’s Rush Pro 3.0. This is a shoe that supports and aids your movement.
- Sensifeel 2.0 – A minimally layered upper that has better breathability and a responsive fit.
- 4D Support Chassis – Limiting supination and torsion, pivots are controlled and you can build power.
- Rubber Medial Drag Pad – Extra durability where it’s needed.
- Runs small – The sizing can be tight, particularly in the toe.
For that, we love the Asics Gel-Rocket 10. This is a shoe with comfort and cushioning, plus a flexible fit for free movement.
The Asics Gel-Rocket 10 is a shoe with bounce. The gel technology in the heel absorbs the shock of impact, offering you a spring to your step as you play.
The heel wrap-up expands the contact area, for better landings to your stride.
Meanwhile, the wrap-up outsole and outrigger provides support for side-to-side movements.
While the stability and cushioning of the Asics Gel-Rocket is impressive, the flexibility is a new feature worth talking about.
The flexible upper construction allows the shoe to bend, helping players access a greater range of movements.
A synthetic leather overlay in the forefoot adds stability and confidence, while flexible-grooves in the outsole assist those side-to-side movements.
The Asics Gel-Rocket 10 is really designed for indoor courts, and that’s where we recommend using it.
Although it might hold up for a few games on an outdoor court, it’s unlikely to perform well.
- Trusstic midsole – Improved stability for better, faster transitions.
- Flexible outsole grooves – This shoe can move and bend with you.
- Gel cushioning – Absorbs impact for increased comfort.
- The smaller toe box can pinch wider feet.
Pickleball players have been raving about the New Balance Men’s 806 V1 tennis shoe for a long time, and with good reason.
Providing excellent stability and durability, not to mention comfort, these are a classic choice for pickleball lovers.
One of the highlights of the New Balance 806 V1 is, well, the balance!
These shoes feature the exclusive ROLLBAR technology, a graphite shank that runs down the shoe.
This ROLLBAR guides your gait, so you strike in the right place for increased stability.
And with C-cap compression molded EVA in the midsole, the shoe is exceptionally flexible and comfortably cushioned.
The 806 shoes are also fitted with New Balance’s Abzorb foam. Lightweight, it resists compression better than standard EVA foam, for long-lasting protection against shock.
The New Balance 806 V1 tennis shoe has a proven popularity, and many pickleball players have found this is the shoe for them!
If you haven’t tried it before, we recommend giving it a go.
- ROLLBAR Technology – Fitted with a graphite shank, these shoes guide your step for a centered strike.
- Lightning Dry – Leather shoes can be sweaty, but the Lightning Dry technology keeps moisture away.
- Established Reputation – Generations have loved this shoe.
- Basic style – If you like to bring fashion to the pickleball court, this isn’t the shoe for you.
We’re sure you’ll fall in love with it in no time at all, but until then, you probably don’t want to invest in an expensive shoe.
The Asics Upcourt 5 is a budget friendly pickleball shoe that still delivers a quality performance.
Designed for playing volleyball, the Asics Men’s Upcourt 5 shoes offer incredible traction on indoor pickleball courts.
This lightweight shoe is built with flexible paneling for better movement, so you can really explode around the court.
With a broader mesh paneling section, the fit of the Upcourt 5 is soft, adaptable, and designed to move with you.
For a lightweight shoe, the Asics Men’s Upcourt 5 has some impressive stability.
A supportive midfoot keeps you steady during multi-directional movements, allowing you to move around freely.
Finished with durable reinforcements on the toe and heel, this is a budget shoe with decent durability.
- Budget price – This is an affordable shoe with a performance above its price point.
- Supportive midfoot – Excellent stability for multi-directional movement.
- Lightweight – It feels light on the foot, for natural movement.
- The sole lacks some flexibility.
Whether you’re a first time player or a pickleball expert, you need a good pair of shoes. Don’t just put on your favorite pair of running shoes!
Although they can help you move forward, they lack the reinforcement necessary for side-to-side movement.
Multi-directional movement is key to pickleball, and if you try that in running shoes, you might injure yourself.
Instead, you need a pair of shoes that will move with you on the pickleball court.
We’ve put together this buyer’s guide to help you find the right pair.
Pickleball Vs Tennis Vs Volleyball?
You might have noticed that most of our recommendations are for tennis or volleyball shoes, rather than pickleball shoes.
There’s a good reason for that: most brands don’t make pickleball shoes.
Despite being the fastest growing sport in America, and counting celebrity fans such as Larry Fitzgerald and Leonardo DiCaprio, brands are surprisingly slow at adapting to the pickleball trend.
Realistically, a tennis shoe or volleyball shoe is going to have the features you need for playing pickleball.
Tennis shoes tend to be better if you’re playing on outdoor courts, but look for volleyball shoes if you’re playing indoors.
It’s important when choosing a men’s shoe for pickleball that you find a design that will support your foot.
Pickleball involves movement in multiple directions, from back and forth to side to side. The shoe should support this movement, preventing any damage to the joints.
Ankle support is particularly necessary. You don’t want to twist your ankle as you go chasing after the ball.
The midsole should be lightly cushioned, to protect the joints and foot from impact.
Pickleball requires a lot of quick movements in multiple directions, so you need a shoe that will keep you and your feet stable.
Look for shoes with a slightly wider base and a sturdier midsole.
This can keep your steps stable as you navigate the pickleball court, and prevent your foot from shifting in the shoe.
Flexibility aids movement, as it allows you to turn and respond as necessary.
A good pickleball shoe will have a firm yet flexible shoe, able to absorb impact and power you up for a response.
Flexibility isn’t just found in the sole: the upper should be flexible as well. This improves the fit of the shoe, and allows for better, natural movement.
It’s inevitable that your feet will get sweaty when you play pickleball, especially if you’re involved in some intense matches.
For that reason, you need a shoe that will be breathable.
Breathable shoes allow moisture to escape, keeping your foot cooler and drier.
Not only does this feel more pleasant, but it’s also better for your foot health.
There are two key features to look for in the toe box: room and reinforcement.
The toe box should have enough space for you to comfortably wiggle your toes, so your feet won’t feel crushed.
A toe box should also have some form of reinforcement, providing durability and stiffness to allow for toe drag.
A good pickleball shoe is lightweight, designed for quick movements and speedy reactions.
The actual weight of the shoe will vary depending on size, so be careful of weight listings you read online.
However, a pickleball shoe is likely to weigh between 9 and 13 lbs.
With that said, while the weight of your shoes is worth consideration, it shouldn’t be top priority.
Look for comfort and support before weight.
Indoor Or Outdoor
Pickleball is played on both indoor and outdoor courts, and the court you play on will affect your footwear choice.
Outdoor pickleball courts are tennis courts, with a rough textured surface.
If you mostly play on outdoor courts, look for tennis shoes. These will move better on the highly textured surface.
Prefer to play indoors? You’ll probably be playing on a basketball court.
Volleyball shoes will provide better traction on the smooth surface.
Most shoes perform reasonably well on both surfaces, so you can mostly get away with either shoe on either surface.
But if you primarily play either indoors or outdoors, look for a shoe with the right traction.
Your Playing Style
If you’re an experienced pickleball player, then you might want to factor in your playing style when choosing a shoe.
Have a tendency to drag your toe? Then make sure to get a shoe with extra reinforcement in this area.
Like to stick to the baseline and attack with long shots? Then you’re going to be moving from side to side a lot.
Look for shoes that offer support and flexibility on the outsole.
Prefer a controlled game close to the net? You probably spend a lot of time on your toes, so look for shoes with a reinforced toe box.
You’re also likely to need shoes with a good response, so look for options that use cushioning to support powerful movements.
If you aren’t sure which playing style describes you, take a look at your current pickleball shoes, and see where they show the most wear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Wear Tennis Shoes To Play Pickleball?
Yes, you can wear tennis shoes to play pickleball!
Tennis shoes have the firm soles and side-to-side movement a pickleball player needs, and are an excellent substitute if you can’t find pickleball-specific shoes.
Tennis shoes are best used on outdoor pickleball courts. This is a textured surface, and the tennis shoes will provide the grip you need for better movement.
If you prefer to play indoors, look for volleyball shoes. These have better traction on the smoother surface.
Can I Wear Running Shoes To Play PIckleball?
If you only plan on playing pickleball once or twice, then your standard running shoes will do an okay job.
But if you want to play pickleball frequently or semi-frequently, then running shoes aren’t up to the task. Invest in a pair of tennis or volleyball shoes instead.
Running shoes are designed to aid forward motion. They support an excellent push off and a sustained stride.
What they aren’t good for is side-to-side movement. And these motions are essential to pickleball.
Playing pickleball in running shoes can result in rolled ankles and sprained joints. It’s also likely to wear your shoes down very quickly.
What Are The Best Men’s Shoes To Wear For Pickleball?
The best shoes to wear for pickleball are the K-Swiss Men’s Express Light Pickleball Shoe.
Designed specifically for pickleball, the K-Swiss Express Light shoes provide comfort and stability, with a durable finish for longer use.
Any good tennis or volleyball shoe, however, can be used for pickleball.
The Wilson Rush Pro is an excellent example of a tennis shoe that works well for pickleball.
We particularly like options from Asics, such as the Gel-Rocket 10, which provides fantastic traction on indoor courts.
For a classic choice, try the New Balance 806 V1.
Although there aren’t many shoes available aimed specifically at pickleball players, many tennis or volleyball shoes work just as well.
Consider how you play, the court you play on, and what feels comfortable when choosing a men’s pickleball shoe.