Pickleball Shoes Vs. Tennis Shoes | Similarities & Differences

We’re back with another talk of the town: pickleball shoes vs. tennis shoes. Well, that, from the title, seems cliche. We mean, tennis and pickleball both are played on the same court, and the question “can you play pickleball with tennis shoes” the answer is “yes”. However, there are some differences that make both shoes apart, and if you’re too serious about your game, you may notice a lack of performance playing pickleball with tennis shoes.

Despite that, tennis shoes are the most preferred pickleball shoes because (no, this isn’t entirely about the similarities between the two sports) there aren’t enough “dedicated” pickleball shoes. Although many brands, i.e., K-Swiss, ASICS, FitVille, etc, have launched shoes “exclusively for pickleball”, it’s much harder to find them, until you know what makes the ideal pickleball shoe. And that you’ll know by having an adequate comprehension of the differences and similarities between tennis and pickleball shoes and see how you can make the best of a tennis shoe for pickleball. 

Pickleball Shoes Vs. Tennis Shoes: The Similarities 

No offense, but a vast number of outdoor pickleball courts have been built by converting existing tennis courts. That’s why the surface of both racket sports are exactly the same and thus you don’t need separate shoes for the two racquet sports. In fact, the pickleball shoes you see on the internet are no different than tennis shoes. They’re just sold with the name “pickleball shoes”. 

Pickleball Shoes Vs. Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes for pickleball play are ideally safe. You can protect your toes, ankles, and heel from injuries while also stay ensured that you’re not “unknowingly” destroying the court surface with aggressive jumps and movements. The following are the factors that make tennis shoes an excellent choice for outdoor pickleball. 

Rigid outsole: 

Rigid outsole

First, and we guess, the only reason tennis shoes are a perfect fit for pickleball outdoors is the sole. In tennis shoes, the outsole rubber is thicker which provides ultimate traction and stability. Hard surface tennis shoes have a tread design that provides excellent lateral support, make your feet stay at comfort, and complements you in each of your shot when the game gets heated and aggressive. 



Injuries and soreness are regular concerns in tennis and pickleball. In both sports, the shoe requires excellent cushioning and a wider toe box so the players stay comfortable and play for extended hours without having soreness, itchiness, and sprain. Cushioning and extra space in the toe compartment with padding protect players who suffer from ankle injuries, joint pain, and back sprain.

Support Lateral Movements: 

Pickleball requires shoes with which you can move sideways, backward, and to the front easily and tennis shoes exactly provide that. The tread pattern on the tennis shoes contributes to the torsional stability and makes the player easily move within their section. In both tennis and pickleball, you need an added support to stay confident and give your fullest. 


In tennis, you’re jumping a lot for overhead shots and the shoes are designed with a durable, comfortable midsole with a dual layer so it minimizes impact and shock when you’re taking higher jumps or moving a little fast. The same requirement in pickleball makes tennis shoes a helpful addition. 

Key differences between pickleball and tennis shoes: 

No doubt, tennis shoes are the best bet for pickleball. The problem arrives when you shift your game from outdoor to indoor. And wait a second…which tennis court shoes do you have? No honey, not all tennis courts are the same, just like pickleball. There are certain distinctions that make tennis shoes inappropriate for pickleball. 

  • Different court surfaces 

Tennis courts are divided into 7 types and pickleball has 2 court types. Pickleball and tennis have only one similar court that’s a hard surface court made of asphalt or concrete. For pickleball indoors, tennis shoes are miserable. You’ll slip a lot, there’ll be less grab, and the softer surface texture may also get affected. 

Different court surfaces

Even for outdoor pickleball play, there are 6 other types of pickleball shoes that are unfit. You won’t get the traction required to stay balanced on an asphalt or concrete court. Let aside, your lateral movements and posture will dramatically turn poor. 

  • Tread Design 

Most tennis shoes have full herringbone tread, while for pickleball you need a half-herringbone design so the shoe can maintain traction on a gritty surface. Full herringbone tread shoes are designed for clay court which provides less traction and grabs for acrylic/concrete/asphalt court. 

Limitations of tennis shoes for playing pickleball: 

Tennis court has many varieties, i.e., there are clay courts, grass courts, Omni courts, etc, and the shoes for each court are made differently. This is why not every tennis shoe is going to support you for pickleball play. Only those shoes with a great cushion, traction, half herringbone design, and rigid outsole are going to help you. Keep the rest of your tennis shoe collection for tennis only. Also, If you’re playing indoor pickleball, no tennis shoe is going to provide the required stability and balance. Your stance and performance will suffer a lot. 

Pickleball Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes: Final Thoughts

Conclusively, you need the “right” tennis shoes for playing pickleball, where right means, the Hard Court Shoes Omni Tennis Shoes. Also, these shoes are only helpful for outdoor pickleball play. If you play pickleball indoors, you better go for volleyball, badminton, or squash shoes because tennis shoes will be too slippery and also makes court damage because of the rigid outsole. This pretty much sums up the entire debate about pickleball shoes vs. tennis shoes. Hope you’re clear about the two shoe types by now. 

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