Pickleball Shoes VS Tennis Shoes: Are They Same?

When you choose pickleball shoes, you may need clarification about whether tennis shoes are the same as pickleball shoes.

There is a significant difference between pickleball and tennis shoes when you’re concerned about the performance and comfort of the court.

What are the main differences between pickleball shoes and tennis shoes? The main differences are in its sole. The gum rubber or non-marking sole of pickleball shoes provides exceptional traction on indoor and outdoor courts, allowing for fast lateral movements. Tennis shoes have various sole patterns designed specifically for hard, clay, and grass courts.

So, I’ll examine pickleball Shoes vs Tennis shoes in this blog to make it easier for you to choose the most appropriate footwear for your preferred court activity.

Comparison And Key Differences of Pickleball Shoes and Tennis Shoes

Tennis and pickleball shoes are both made for court sports, but they differ in a few key ways to meet the demands of each game.

Similarly, tennis and pickleball shoes have some similarities but differ in ways that make them more appropriate for their particular sports.

If you take either sport seriously, it’s best to wear shoes made expressly for it so you have the proper support, traction, and comfort on the court.

Shoe Sole

Pickleball shoes often have non-marking or gum rubber soles, offering good traction on indoor and outdoor courts. The sole purpose is to provide traction on the court surface while enabling fast lateral motions.

Pickleball Shoes and Tennis Shoes

In addition, the soles of pickleball shoes are durable enough to withstand wear and tear during regular events and tournaments. So, long-lasting shoes with durable materials save you money and are ideal for consistent support and performance on the court.

On the other hand, Tennis shoes include a range of sole designs tailored for various court surfaces, including hard courts, clay courts, and grass courts. They provide an ideal combination of lateral support, durability, and traction.


Being a professional pickleball player, I noticed that whether you use pickleball shoes or tennis shoes, they have cushioning in the midsole to reduce impact and enhance comfort during sudden changes in direction and quick movements.

Both shoes offer enough shock absorption and cushioning, especially in the midsole, to reduce the impact on your joints during play.

So, a well-structured shoe with enough support and cushioning increases performance and reduces stress, risk of injury, and fatigue in your foot while playing.


The shoe’s weight plays a significant role in speed and agility on the court. Pickleball shoes with lightweight material allow quick reactions and swift movements for all skill-level players.

Weight is considered the most personal factor because a heavier pickleball or tennis shoe will offer more durability and stability. On the other hand, tennis shoes feature a thick herringbone in the outsole and a supportive and thick outsole to provide these two things for comfortable gameplay.  

Therefore, pickleball shoes made with lightweight materials are best to promote agility and fast movements on the court, and vice versa for tennis shoes.


Pickleball shoes are best to use to keep your feet cool and dry during hard play because they have good ventilation and moisture-wicking qualities.

Due to the breathable material, your feet can remain dry, moisture-free, and comfortable all day long.  

So pickleball shoes with proper ventilation combined with lightweight materials help to reduce stress in the foot, thus allowing you to perform at your best in all-time gameplay.  

In contrast to pickleball shoes, tennis shoes are heavy, so they are less breathable and cannot keep your feet dry and comfortable.


Tennis shoes are made to be resistant to the abrasion and wear that the court surface causes because of the use of more robust materials like synthetic and leather to offer long-lasting performance and enhance durability. In places with heavy wear, they frequently have reinforced portions to bear weather issues like rain and snow.

On the other hand, pickleball shoes are less durable due to the use of very common materials and being lightweight. They are commonly constructed with synthetic uppers with mesh panels for breathability. 

In addition, they have reinforced areas to withstand fast and frequent lateral movements.

Lateral Support

Tennis shoes offer much lateral support to help with the fast side-to-side motions needed during play. These shoes are made with typical, more rigid soles and extra supportive features to help out players during aggressive and competitive gameplay.

Pickleball Shoes and Tennis Shoes

In contrast, pickleball shoes prefer shock absorption and cushioning to mitigate the effects of rapid movements, quick shocks, and sudden stops because of the responsive midsole features and ample padding to offer more comfort and ease in extended games.

Toe Reinforcement and Protection

Many tennis shoes contain additional padding in the toe area to prevent toe drag during serves and volleys. These shoes incorporate guards and toe caps to protect your feet against wear and tear from frequent toe dragging during volleys, serves, and quick lateral moves.

As mentioned, pickleball shoes do not have toe reinforcement due to minimal toe dragging.  

Price Range

Pickleball and tennis shoes also differ in price range depending on the features, brand, and materials used. Pickleball shoes come with a price range between $50 to $200.

However, the tennis shoes range from $30 to $150 for beginners and professional players.

In contrast to pickleball shoes, tennis shoes are more expensive due to their specialized performance and robust construction attributes.

Are Pickleball And Tennis Shoes The Same?

Tennis shoes and pickleball shoes have some features in common because both sports are played on court surfaces, but they also differ slightly to meet the needs of each sport.

Specific characteristics in each type of shoe make them better suited for their respective games, even though some people may use tennis shoes for pickleball or vice versa. Here are some significant variations:

Pickleball shoes have non-marking or gum rubber soles, offering good traction on indoor and outdoor courts. Conversely, tennis shoes have various sole designs tailored to specific court surfaces like hard courts, clay courts, and grass courts.

Tennis shoes are made to meet the needs of various court surfaces (hard, clay, grass), whereas pickleball shoes are often more broadly suited for indoor and outdoor courts.

Both shoes favor lightweight design, although pickleball shoes may emphasize agility more due to the game’s quick side-to-side motions. In addition, tennis and pickleball shoes have cushioning to reduce impact, but depending on how each activity is played, the amount and type of cushioning may differ.


Why are the toe caps of pickleball shoes reinforced?

Pickleball shoes may include strengthened toe caps to prevent toe drag during the game’s frequent quick side-to-side motions. Despite the protection being available in some tennis shoes, pickleball shoes place a greater emphasis on it because of how the game is played.

What are the lateral support differences between pickleball and tennis shoes?

Pickleball shoes could include unique lateral support to handle the fast side-to-side movements necessary for the activity. Tennis shoes similarly provide lateral support, but depending on the type of court, they may emphasize other features, such as durability.

Can you wear tennis shoes on a variety of court surfaces?

Different court surfaces, like hard courts, clay courts, and grass courts, require different tennis shoes. They have features and sole patterns that are tailored for each surface. Pickleball shoes typically fit both indoor and outdoor courts well.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the choice between pickleball shoes and tennis shoes boils down to what sport you’re most dedicated to. Pickleball shoes offer an advantage for those who are deeply invested in the game, providing specialized features for pickleball’s unique demands. Tennis shoes, designed with the tennis court in mind, are the go-to for tennis enthusiasts looking to perform at their best.

So, as you gear up for your next match, remember that tennis shoes and running shoes for pickleball can make all the difference. Whichever path you choose, ensure your shoes offer the support, stability, and comfort you need to excel in your chosen sport. After all, a well-considered shoe choice can help you stay at the top of your game and enjoy every moment on the court.

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