Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Pickleball Shoes

Two well-known racquet sports that call for particular footwear are tennis and pickleball. The shoes worn for each sport differ, despite their apparent similarity. The difference between tennis shoes and pickleball shoes is cover

Tennis shoes

Tennis shoes are made to withstand the high-intensity motions involved in the sport. They offer players who are continuously moving and making quick stops and starts stability, durability, and support. In order to enhance stability when serving and shooting overhead shots, tennis shoes also have a larger base.

Pickleball shoes

Tennis shoes are comparable to pickleball shoes, but pickleball shoes are made exclusively for pickleball. Compared to tennis shoes, pickleball shoes have a thinner sole, which improves court feel and manoeuvrability. In order to keep players on the ground and improve stability, they also have a lower profile.

Design differences

Pickleball shoes and tennis shoes are both made differently. To provide superior cushioning and stress absorption, tennis shoes have a larger sole and higher profile. In order to provide stability for lateral movements, they also have a broader base.

Conversely, pickleball shoes have a lower profile and a thinner sole to improve court feel and agility. In order to facilitate quick lateral movements and direction changes, they also have a more rounded toe.


Both tennis and pickleball players need traction. On the soles of tennis shoes is a herringbone pattern that offers good traction on hard courts. A clay court sole, which has a smoother design to improve traction on clay courts, is another feature of some tennis shoes.

The non-marking sole of pickleball shoes offers good traction on both indoor and outdoor pickleball courts. The sole’s purpose is to keep athletes from stumbling around on the court.


Both pickleball shoes and tennis shoes have padding to shield the feet from the sport’s high-impact movements. Tennis shoes absorb shock and lessen the chance of damage by having a thicker sole and greater cushioning in the heel and forefoot.

Pickleball shoes are less cushioned and feature a thinner sole to improve court feel and manoeuvrability. For players who want more support, some pickleball shoes do offer padding in the heel and forefoot.


Tennis shoes are made to stand up to the abrasion that comes with playing on hard courts. To survive the rapid lateral motions and quick stops and starts, they have a thicker sole and more robust materials.

Since pickleball is played on softer surfaces than tennis, the wear and tear on pickleball shoes is less than that on tennis shoes. Pickleball shoes are still made to be strong and endure the sport’s fast lateral movements and direction changes.


For both comfort and performance, tennis and pickleball shoes must fit properly. Tennis shoes are built to fit snugly and feature a larger base to offer improved stability and support during lateral movements.

To improve court feel and mobility, pickleball shoes are made to fit more like running shoes, with a more snug fit and a thinner sole. Moreover, pickleball shoes have a toe that is more rounded to facilitate quick direction changes.


Tennis and pickleball shoes range in price according to the brand and features. Tennis shoes often cost more than pickleball shoes because of their larger soles and more robust construction.

Yet, depending on the brand and features, tennis shoes and pickleball shoes can range in price from reasonably priced to expensive.


For a detailed review and comparison of top pickleball shoes, check out this article.


In conclusion, despite their apparent similarity, tennis shoes and pickleball shoes have different designs that are tailored to the specific movements and requirements of each sport. Pickleball shoes provide a higher priority on court feel, mobility, and stability than tennis shoes do on stability, durability, and support.

Consider your specific requirements and playing style while deciding between tennis shoes and pickleball shoes to locate the pair that will enable you to perform at your peak on the court.


  1. Can I play pickleball in tennis shoes?
  • Tennis shoes are acceptable for pickleball, but they might not offer the same amount of court feel and agility. Pickleball shoes are especially made for the game and are ideal for fast lateral movements and direction changes.
  1. Do pickleball shoes translate well to tennis?
  • Tennis can be played in pickleball shoes, but they might not offer the same amount of stability and support. Tennis shoes are more stable for lateral movements because of their larger base and thicker sole.
  1. How often should I buy new pickleball or tennis shoes?
  • Depending on how frequently they are used and other factors, tennis and pickleball shoes should be replaced every six months to a year depending on the frequency of use and wear and tear.
  1. Can I play pickleball outside with shoes made for indoor courts?
  • Outdoor pickleball courts can accommodate indoor pickleball shoes, although they might not offer as much traction. Pickleball shoes made specifically for outdoor play have a more robust sole.
  1. Do I need different shoes for tennis or pickleball courts depending on the surface?
  • When playing tennis or pickleball, it is advised to use different shoes for various court surfaces. Conversely, footwear designed for hard courts could not offer the same level of traction as footwear designed for clay courts. It is ideal to select footwear that is designed for the court surface you will be using.

“If you have wide feet and are looking for more tips on how to choose the best pickleball shoes for your playing style, check out this helpful guide.”

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