What to Wear to Play Pickleball
Find breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics designed for a wide range of movements on the pickleball court.
Pickleball is a fast-growing sport that’s drawing interest for a number of reasons. The game, which combines aspects of tennis, badminton and ping pong, is simple to learn but requires practice. It’s a social sport that can also serve as a source of cardiovascular exercise.
Whether you’ve already grown to love the sport or you’re new to the game, you’ll want comfortable clothing to help you effectively move on the court. Below, check out the best Nike gear to wear to play pickleball.
What to Look for in Pickleball Clothing
- Breathability: Opt for fabrics and cuts that feel breezy and light to stay cool as your body heats up throughout play. Shirts with cutouts, perforations and lightweight materials, like polyester, help promote better air circulation.
- Moisture-Wicking Materials: Performance fabrics like Nike Dri-FIT are designed to draw moisture away from the skin and quickly evaporate, so you can keep sweat from getting in the way of your game.
- Pockets: Some pickleball players prefer to wear shorts, pants or a skirt with pockets to hold extra balls and any other necessities they want to carry on the court.
- Stretchy Fabrics: Look for styles designed to move with you. Garments should be loose-fitting enough to not restrict movement but not so baggy that they’ll get in the way. Sleeveless tops or shirts with a seam in front of the shoulder will help provide full range of motion for the arms. Bottoms with adjustable drawstrings can be great for a customizable fit.
- Weather Protection: If you’ll be playing in unpredictable weather, bring along a water-resistant and wind-resistant jacket to protect you from the elements.
RELATED: The Best Nike Shoes for Pickleball
Nike’s Pickleball Outfit Checklist
1. Bottoms: Shorts, Joggers, Leggings or a Skirt
A pair of Nike tennis shorts or running shorts for men or women work well for pickleball because they’re lightweight, breathable and stretchy. Many styles also have pockets to hold a ball, phone, keys or other small items. A pair of Dri-FIT shorts provides sweat-wicking and quick-drying benefits, and shorts with liners can help reduce chafing.
If you like the flowy feel of an athletic skirt or dress, try a style in the Nike tennis collection. Nike tennis skirts and dresses come with inner shorts so you can tuck spare balls under the hem for convenient storage.
2. Breathable Top
A polo shirt is a polished choice for pickleball, but since there’s no formal dress code, a T-shirt or tank top will do. With plenty of colors, graphics and prints to choose from, Nike tops are easy to pair with your favorite bottoms for pickleball, and there are plenty of Dri-FIT styles designed for high-performance play.
If you’re playing outdoors, consider a UV-protective top to protect from the sun and be sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin.
3. Moisture-Wicking Socks and Undergarments
To help avoid having stinky and smelly feet after a pickleball game, wear moisture-wicking Nike Dri-FIT socks with your pickleball shoes.
When it comes to sports bras, pickleball calls for medium- or high-support styles to help minimize bounce during high-intensity movements and keep you feeling secure throughout play.
On the underwear front, go for whatever feels most comfortable under your pants, shorts or skirt of choice, and opt for a pair that won’t ride up.
RELATED: The Best Nike Underwear for Men
4. Weather-Resistant Jacket
A lightweight wind- and water-resistant jacket is an essential companion for outdoor pickleball play if you don’t want to rain check a game. Nike makes GORE-TEX styles for particularly wet weather as well as Nike Therma-FIT styles for added warmth and insulation.
Protect your eyes from the sun with a pair of Nike sunglasses. Some pairs come with anti-fogging ventilation or polarized lenses to help reduce reflective glare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Pickleball Have a Dress Code?
Pickleball doesn’t have an official dress code. For top performance benefits, it’s best to wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing designed for athletes.
Can You Play Pickleball Outside in Winter?
Pickleball is not a seasonal sport, so you can play indoor or outdoor any time of year. If you’re playing in chilly weather, be sure to wear warm layers.
Is Pickleball a Good Workout?
Pickleball provides cardiovascular exercise and involves a wide range of movement patterns, so it can be a great full-body workout.
Words by Lindsay Frankel