For the Win


Consumers that are new to pickleball may not be aware that it requires sport-specific footwear for stability, support and traction – plus the ability to slide in a controlled way and prevent injury. Skechers brings a responsive performance shoe into play in a breathable, lightweight design with the Viper Court Pro. “Even without a heritage in court sports, Skechers has been able to take on a unique approach to producing pickleball footwear with distinctive looks and innovative technologies for consumers to enjoy,” says Keith Shelton, senior director of product development and merchandising for Skechers.

We chatted with Shelton to learn more about Skechers’ on-court pursuits.

Tell us why Skechers is involved with the sport of pickleball.

“Pickleball has a multi-generational appeal that fits the Skechers consumer very well. It’s an accessible sport that’s fun to play at various skill levels allowing both new and experienced players the opportunity to experience Skechers’ signature comfort and performance technologies they are looking for on the court. By supporting professional pickleball athletes like Tyson McGuffin and Catherine Parenteau, as well as forming partnerships with organizations including USA Pickleball, the Carvana PPA Tour, APP Tour, MLP and others, we’ve been able to broaden our reach in connecting with all various segments of the market. Moreover, as we look to the future and continue to forge relationships with key players in the pickleball community, we’re helping to advance the sport both domestically and in international markets.”

How did you go about the development of the Viper Court pickleball shoe?

“Skechers always begins the design process by listening to athletes of all skill and ability levels. As we take an athlete-first approach and aren’t constrained by a long history designing court sport shoes, Skechers has been successful in developing product with a fresh set of eyes. Skechers pickleball footwear challenges conventional court shoes that tend to take on a bulkier and super-protective design. With Skechers Viper Court shoes, we were able to create a lighter, more comfortable product that performs well on the pickleball court.”

Talk to us about the insights you garnered from professional pickleball players.

“Our athletes play a big role in testing product for us. The Skechers Viper Court Pro shoe did not exist before we started working with Catherine and Tyson. It’s a product of that relationship where we developed an understanding of what they needed in a pickleball shoe to discover if we could offer solutions. From the start, both have tested several versions of the Viper Court Pro shoe, providing feedback and revisions until we landed on the version that is currently available at retail. Their distinctive style, high energy and bold personalities on the court are what helped to inspire some of the unique color combinations available in the Viper Court Pro shoe – both of which continue to be top-sellers. Further, their insights and experience as professional athletes have been instrumental in providing feedback on future concepts and will continue to be of value to us as we strive to create superior product that strikes a balance between high performance and comfort on the pickleball court.”

Tell us more about the technology, functionality and features of the shoe. How does it stand out?

“There are three key innovations that set our footwear apart. The first is the use of Goodyear rubber on the outsole offering enhanced traction and durability, is non-marking and performs great on both indoor and outdoor courts. To accommodate different style objectives, we utilize several compounds of Goodyear rubber including the use of our Goodyear Gold compound, which allows an aggressive mover to perform more controlled slides on the court. The removable Skechers Arch Fit insole system is featured across all of our pickleball shoes. Designed using over 20 years of data, these footbeds offer podiatrist-certified arch support giving the perfect combination of comfort, stability and cushioning. The uppers of Skechers pickleball shoes are also built around a Relaxed Fit last giving more space and wiggle room in the toe box area all while still providing the necessary lockdown in the midfoot and heel areas of the shoe.”

What types of opportunities are you seeing for selling the category at retail?

“We are witnessing a tremendous amount of opportunity for pickleball at specialty and sporting goods shops. There is a large percentage of consumers that still do not realize that a pickleball-specific shoe exists and new-comers to the sport still don’t quite understand the importance of investing in a pair of court specific shoes. A key merchandising tip is to educate customers on the safety aspects of wearing court shoes – footwear that prioritizes comfort and offers support, stability, and traction. When it comes to marketing, Skechers believes in taking a wholehearted approach - from traditional marketing mediums to point of sale - encouraging retailers to share the comfort and performance benefits that are unique to Skechers pickleball shoes. The pickleball audience is very targeted, but also vast with a lot of opportunities to reach them.”

What else are you looking to do in the pickleball category in the future?

“Skechers will continue to lead, expand, and innovate in the pickleball category. From seeking to grow our presence both domestically and abroad, to always striving to offer the best performing and most comfortable pickleball shoes in the market, we are dedicated and determined to keep supporting the expansion of pickleball around the world. If you haven’t tried out a pair of Skechers pickleball shoes yet, now is the time!”

On the Cover

Built for the more aggressive mover, Skechers Viper Court Pro pickleball shoes are perfect for energetic players that often find themselves sliding into shots and changing direction with a lot of force and energy. The Viper Court Pro (as the name implies) was created for high-performing players but can be enjoyed at all skill levels. The fastest and most lightweight style in Skechers pickleball lineup, the Viper Court pro offers increased outsole durability, and an innovative Goodyear Gold non-marking compound that allows for more controlled slides on the court. Designed using over 20 years of data, Skechers Arch Fit footbeds offer podiatrist-certified arch support giving the perfect combination of comfort, stability, and cushioning. The uppers are also built around a Relaxed Fit last for a roomy and comfortable fit at the toe and forefoot. The distinctive style and bold personality that Skechers pickleball pro, Catherine Parenteau exhibits on court are what helped to inspire some of the unique color combinations available in the Viper Court Pro shoe.