The Best Nike Shoes for Pickleball

Buying Guide

These Nike shoes provide support, traction and cushioning for indoor or outdoor pickleball matches.

Last updated: June 9, 2022
4 min read
The Best Nike Shoes for Pickleball

Pickleball — a sport that’s been around since 1965 and has rapidly grown in popularity — combines elements of tennis, ping-pong and badminton. For those who haven’t yet tried pickleball, here are the basics: Like tennis, pickleball can be played in singles or doubles on an indoor or outdoor court. However, unlike tennis, the game takes place on a small, badminton-size court with a paddle and plastic ball with holes.

As with any sport that requires quickly moving, it’s important to wear appropriate footwear to remain injury-free and enhance your agility. Check out the best NikeCourt shoes to level up your pickleball game.

Key Features to Look for in Pickleball Shoes

  1. Lateral Stability: Whether you’re a “banger” who likes to powerfully strike the ball, or you tend to focus on “dinking” (hitting soft shots to trip up your opponent), pickleball requires quick lateral movements. That’s why running shoes, which are designed for forward motion, aren’t the best option for the game. Instead, opt for a pair of sneakers with a wide, stable base and a heel cup to stabilize the ankle. Some court shoes also have stiff frames on the side for added stability.
  2. Cushioning: As you run and jump across the court, underfoot shock absorption can lessen the impact of each landing. Look for responsive cushioning, particularly under the ball of the foot.
  3. Traction: For better grip on the court, find shoes with rubber outsoles and a tread pattern designed for multi-directional movement.
  4. Breathable Upper: Your feet may start to sweat as a game heats up. Choose a pair of shoes that are well-ventilated and designed to quickly dry. Pair breathable footwear with Nike Dri-FIT socks to wick sweat away from the skin and help avoid smelly feet.

Best Nike Court Shoes for Pickleball

Nike Zoom Air Tennis Shoes

The wide variety of Nike Zoom Air court shoes gives pickleball players plenty of options. If you want to channel a tennis legend on the court, opt for the NikeCourt Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa, named after Rafael Nadal. This style features a unique lacing system that provides extra support, and the outsole material wraps over the midsole for added durability and a distinct look. Like other Nike Zoom Air court shoes, this shoe also features a Zoom Air unit beneath the forefoot to create a springy sensation with every step and landing.

Another option is the NikeCourt Zoom NXT, which is available for both men and women and is lightweight. It features a plush collar and breathable mesh to help increase airflow to the feet. The inner sleeve in the shoe helps reduce heel slipping as you move, too.
The Best Nike Shoes for Pickleball

The NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro features durable mesh, high-quality grip and asymmetrical lacing that hugs the foot during lateral movements.

NikeCourt React Shoes

These tennis shoes are built to prevent sliding on the court. The Nike React cushioning system feels smooth and bouncy underfoot. There’s soft foam near the arch of the foot, which works with a firmer foam along the outside of the foot for softness and stability.

This alignment is designed to help you push off during quick movements. The sole of the shoe provides durable traction with a thick rubber outsole and herringbone tread pattern. A stiff frame on the side of the shoe enhances support for lateral movements, and a full-length sleeve inside the shoe delivers a sock-like fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Running Shoes Be Worn for Pickleball Games?
No, running shoes shouldn’t be worn for pickleball games. Running shoes are designed for forward movement and don’t typically provide the lateral stability needed for pickleball. Even if you’re accustomed to wearing running shoes for everyday wear, it’s best to wear a pair of court shoes for pickleball games.
How Often Should You Replace Court Shoes?
If you’re playing pickleball regularly, you may want to replace your court shoes approximately every six months. If you start to notice that the tread on the bottom of the shoe is wearing down or the interior materials are fraying, it’s time to replace the shoes.

Words by Lindsay Frankel

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