Are Basketball Shoes Good for Pickleball: An Expert Analysis

Do you often find yourself on the pickleball court sporting your trusty basketball shoes? If that’s a nod, then you’ve probably asked the question, “Are basketball shoes good for pickleball?”

Basketball shoes can be used for playing pickleball but are not recommended due to the risk of injuries.

Pickleball, much like any sport, has its demands, and knowing the appropriate footwear to use plays an essential role in performance, safety, and comfort. On the other hand, basketball shoes have unique features that may or may not align with these demands.

What Are The Demands of Pickleball?

Pickleball, a sport that is often described as a mix of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong, requires agility, balance, and swift lateral movements. Footwear for pickleball should hence cater to these specific demands to ensure the best performance.

The shoes must provide excellent lateral support to prevent ankle rolls during quick side-to-side movements. A good grip on both indoor and outdoor courts is necessary to avoid slipping.

The sole should be non-marking to protect the court surface. Lastly, because games can get quite intense, a well-cushioned shoe can help alleviate the impact on the feet and joints.

What Are The Features of Basketball Shoes?

Basketball shoes, designed for high jumps and rapid directional changes, possess certain features that make them stand out.

They provide substantial ankle support, which is crucial when making quick pivots. They have substantial cushioning for absorbing impact during leaps and jumps.

Basketball shoes usually have thick, heavy soles which provide great stability. However, the trade-off for this stability is often a heavier shoe that may limit agility in fast-paced games.

Pros and Cons of Using Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Now that we understand the requirements of pickleball and the characteristics of basketball shoes let’s weigh the pros and cons of using the latter for pickleball.


  • Provide Good Support and Stability Basketball shoes are engineered for stability during sudden directional changes and provide excellent ankle support, which can be beneficial in pickleball.
  • Have a Lot of Padding The thick padding in basketball shoes is perfect for cushioning the feet during high-impact activities, which can be quite advantageous in a pickleball game.
  • Can Be a Good Option for Indoor Pickleball Courts Basketball shoes are typically designed for indoor courts, so they can be a good option for indoor pickleball if outdoor grip is not a concern.


  • May Not Provide the Necessary Grip for Outdoor Pickleball Courts Basketball shoes may lack the necessary traction for outdoor pickleball courts, which could lead to slipping.
  • Heavy Sole Can Be a Hindrance to Quick Side-To-Side Movements The heavy sole, while providing stability, may limit the agility necessary for swift lateral movements in pickleball.

Alternatives to Basketball Shoes for Pickleball

Although basketball shoes can be used for pickleball, they may not be the best option considering the specific demands of the sport. There are better alternatives that cater specifically to the needs of pickleball.

Pickleball-Specific Shoes

Pickleball-specific shoes are designed with the sport in mind. They provide excellent lateral support, have lightweight soles for agility, and are often non-marking, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor courts.

Volleyball Shoes

Volleyball shoes are another great alternative. They offer fantastic grip on indoor courts, provide lateral support, and are much lighter than basketball shoes, allowing for quick, agile movements.

Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are similar to pickleball in terms of court surface and movement style. Hence, they offer excellent grip, stability, and cushioning that can work well for pickleball, especially for outdoor courts.


In answering the question, “Are basketball shoes good for pickleball?”, we can conclude that while they can be used, they may not be the best choice due to the specific demands of pickleball. The heavy soles and potentially inadequate grip on outdoor courts are the major downsides. If you’re a pickleball enthusiast, it’s worth investing in pickleball-specific shoes or other suitable alternatives like volleyball or tennis shoes.


Can I use basketball shoes for pickleball?

Yes, you can. However, basketball shoes may not meet all the specific demands of pickleball, such as agility for swift lateral movements and grip for outdoor courts.

What type of shoes are best for pickleball?

Pickleball-specific shoes are the best for pickleball as they cater directly to the sport’s demands. However, tennis and volleyball shoes are also great alternatives.

Can basketball shoes be worn on outdoor pickleball courts?

You can wear basketball shoes on outdoor courts, but they may not provide the necessary grip, increasing the risk of slipping.

Why are pickleball-specific shoes the best choice?

Pickleball-specific shoes are designed with the specific movements and court requirements of the sport in mind, offering optimum grip, lateral support, and agility.

Are tennis shoes good for pickleball?

Yes, tennis shoes can be a great alternative for pickleball, especially on outdoor courts. They offer excellent grip, stability, and cushioning.

Can wearing the wrong shoes affect my pickleball performance?

Yes, wearing the wrong shoes can impact your performance and may increase the risk of injuries. Shoes that don’t offer enough support or grip can hinder movement and stability during the game.