The best pickleball shoes by Nike
These Nike pickleball shoes provide support, traction and cushioning for indoor and outdoor matches.
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 are new to pickleball, here are the basics: Like tennis, pickleball can be played in singles or doubles on an outdoor court or indoor court. However, unlike tennis, the game occurs on a small, badminton-size court with pickleball paddles and a plastic ball with holes.
As with any sport that requires quick, lateral movements, it's important to wear appropriate shoes that provide arch support, cushioning and underfoot traction. According to USA Pickleball, pickleball court surfaces may vary, but tarmac and concrete both work.
The best Nike shoes to wear for pickleball are suited for a variety of surfaces, whether you're playing on an indoor court or outdoor court. Below, check out the top picks for Nike pickleball shoes to level up your game.
(Related: What Is pickleball? And how do you play it?)
Key features to look for in pickleball shoes
- Lateral stability: Whether you like to powerfully strike the ball or tend to focus on soft shots to trip up your opponent, pickleball requires quick, lateral movements as you navigate the court. That's why running shoes, which are designed for forward motion, aren't the best option. Instead, opt for a pair of court shoes (like tennis shoes, for example) with a wide, stable base and a heel cup to stabilise the ankle. Some court shoes also have stiff frames on the side for added stability.
- Cushioning: As you run and jump across the court, underfoot shock absorption can help lessen the impact of each landing. Look for responsive cushioning, particularly under the ball of the foot.
- Traction: For better grip on the court, find shoes with rubber outsoles and a tread pattern designed for multi-directional movement.
- Breathable upper: Choose a pair of well-ventilated shoes designed to quickly dry from any sweat or moisture. Pair breathable footwear with moisture-wicking Nike Dri-FIT socks to further help avoid sweaty feet.
The best pickleball shoes by Nike
Nike Zoom Air Court Shoes
The Nike Zoom Air Court Shoe collection gives pickleball players plenty of options. 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 wraps around the foot to provide extra support, and the outsole material wraps over the midsole for durability. This shoe also features a Zoom Air unit beneath the forefoot to create a springy sensation with every step and landing.
Alternatively, the NikeCourt Zoom NXT is a lightweight tennis and pickleball shoe available in both men's and women's sizes. This shoe features a plush collar and breathable mesh to help increase airflow to the feet to keep them cool during hot matches. The inner sleeve in the shoe helps reduce heel slippage as you move.
The NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro 2, also available in men's and women's styles, offers a lightweight design for pickleball players who want to feel close to the court for quick cuts. In this model of the shoe, Nike footwear designers removed excess rubber from low-wear areas, resulting in a light, low-to-the-ground feeling. A forefoot Zoom Air unit and a cushioned midsole combine for a soft and springy sensation. Meanwhile, the framing on the outside of the shoe helps stabilise the feet during fast, lateral movements.
NikeCourt React Shoes
These tennis shoes, including the NikeCourt React Vapor NXT, are built to prevent sliding on the court. The Nike React cushioning system feels smooth and bouncy underfoot. With soft foam in the arch and firm foam along the outside of the foot, this shoe simultaneously feels soft and stable. This alignment is designed to help players push off during quick movements.
The sole of the shoe provides durable traction with a thick rubber outsole and grippy tread pattern. A stiff frame on the side of the shoe enhances support for pickleball players' lateral movements, and a full-length sleeve inside the shoe delivers a sock-like fit for added comfort.
Nike pickleball shoes for kids
For young pickleball players, the best Nike indoor pickleball shoes are the Nike Omni Multi-Court Shoes. These athletic shoes are designed for kids who might want to try multiple indoor-court sports like basketball, squash or volleyball. They are lightweight, breathable and supportive, with a rubber sole for traction underfoot. A reinforced toe tip adds a layer of durability for toe draggers (kids who drag their toes on the court as they move around).
For kids' outdoor pickleball shoes, check out the Nike tennis collection. Nike kids' tennis shoes, like the NikeCourt Jr. Vapor Pro, are designed for hard-court surfaces. Look for features like a soft foam midsole and a rubber outsole with a multi-directional traction pattern, which support side-to-side movements on the pickleball court.