Brands Are Hitting Winners with Footwear for the Fast-Growing Sport of Pickleball.
Brands Are Hitting Winners with Footwear for the Fast-Growing Sport of Pickleball.
Beginners and experienced players alike have been flocking to the pickleball court. The sport’s participation has increased by 158.6% over the last three years, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Players of all ages are picking up paddles, and learning — or perfecting — their game. When it comes to footwear, there are an increasing number of options. While some beginners may grab a pair of running shoes for the game, a court shoe is a much better choice. And a pickleball-specific shoe is best of all for most. For retailers new to selling court shoes, Bryan Poerner, president & CEO, Diadora US, recommends making sure retail staff is able to speak about “why a court shoe is important for their customer rather than just playing pickleball in a running shoe.” He notes, “Different shoes have different purposes — Court shoes are built for side-to-side motion and are able to provide support that a running shoe just won’t be able to.” Here, footwear brands give us a look at some of the top pickleball footwear offerings on the market, and share insight on what consumers need in their pickleball footwear.
What are shoppers looking for in a pickleball shoe?
“Pickleball consumers and pros spend hours on-court playing the game they love, so comfort and stability for the short, quick movements demanded are so important to both professional and recreational players. When designing and developing our pickleball performance footwear, we keep our sponsored professional players at the forefront of the process, creating shoes for the players by the players. Some of the feedback we got from Anna Leigh Waters, the No. 1 female player in the world, is the added wear and tear that pickleball has on the forefoot area. Getting this feedback early in the process of our designs was critical in the development of our newest performance pickleball shoe, the Volley Burst. By adding our unique FILA exclusive Evergrind traction material to key pivot points around the shoe, the Volley Burst equips consumers with the extra support and comfort to play at their highest level.”
—Lauren Mallon, senior director of marketing/strategic partnerships - tennis & pickleball, FILA
“To start, most are in search of a product that is safe and sure-footed. Comfort, a lightweight design, and breathability are also key components. Performance features designed specifically for pickleball including stability, support, traction, and durability are also equally as important as style to today’s players. Finding something that looks just as good as it feels continues to be a big part of consumer purchasing decisions.”
—Greg Smith, VP of product development and merchandising, Skechers
“A large majority of pickleball consumers are looking for a dedicated product and that’s what we set out to accomplish with the Trofeo PKL. We worked closely with world top 10 player Thomas Wilson to develop an outsole pattern that was more conducive to the movements of a Pickleball player. We placed overlays in strategic spots to increase durability in the heavy drag areas while being able to reduce weight where overlays were unnecessary.”
—Bryan Poerner, president & CEO, Diadora US
“Every day from players we hear that they want comfortable and lightweight shoes, that have the right level of stability and support, to power performance for long hours on the court. We are excited to introduce a shoe that combines performance, comfort and innovation.”
—Rashid Khan, managing director, Acacia Sports
“Consumers are looking for a shoe that is lightweight, comfortable, and provides proper support for the lateral movement in pickleball. Our Jet Mach 3 meets all of these needs. Every detail is designed to increase player confidence and speed on the court.”
—Kristina Brandner, marketing coordinator, Babolat
Skechers Viper Court Pro
This technically advanced, high-performance pickleball shoe is designed for elite athletes, yet suitable for everyday players. Each pair offers a breathable mesh upper, removable Skechers Arch Fit podiatrist-certified insole system, Relaxed Fit roomy toe box and lightweight ULTRA FLIGHT cushioning for comfort and support. The outsole features a Goodyear Gold compound for increased durability for controlled court slides. Exclusive Players Edition colorways feature designs worn in competition by Tyson McGuffin and Catherine Parenteau. MSRP $115.
Diadora Trofeo PKL 2 AG
This light and flexible pickleball shoe has an EVA midsole and features a Suprelltech and Air Mesh upper to keep feet cool and comfortable. The shoe features a Duratech 5000 rubber outsole that extends durability, providing abrasion resistance in high-wear areas and added traction on the court surfaces. And the shoe’s traditional lace closures offer a secure fit. The Diadora Trofeo 2 is performance style that is a good choice for either a beginner or advanced player. MSRP $100.
Babolat Jet Mach 3
Weighing 325 grams, the Jet Mach 3 is lightweight, comfortable, and built for speed. Integration of new MATRYX EVO fabric upper offers improved comfort and agility, while an upgraded KPRS-X midsole offers improved heel shock protection. A redesign of the Michelin outsole in the Jet Mach 3 improves durability and traction with a stronger rocker on the front for faster transitions. The tread is now bigger and thicker in the areas that wear the most, and reduced in places under less strain. MSRP $149.
Asics GEL-Game 9 PB
The durable and comfortable GEL-Game 9 PB pickleball shoe is versatile for the recreational athlete who’s playing several times per week. Featuring an open mesh design on the upper to improve airflow and keep feet cool, this shoe is complemented with synthetic leather overlays and a PU (polyurethane) film that offers improved stability when making abrupt transitions. The TRUSSTIC technology in the midsole generates more stability on the court. An EVA midsole foam with GEL technology delivers cushion in the forefoot to increase shock absorption. MSRP $90.
Acacia Sports Tyler Loong Signature Cloud Shoe
Developed from a three-year collaborative effort with the pickleball pro, this shoe features a contoured rubber outsole engineered to provide traction and stability, allowing for quick, confident, explosive movements. It is designed with ultra-lightweight materials, including a ProFlex membrane casing and Micro-honeycomb mesh toe area, for comfort and support. An extended wrap-around kevlar drag-guard provides enhanced abrasion protection in high impact areas and a reinforced heel cup supports stability during lateral movements. MSRP $139.99.
Head Pickleball Revolt Evo 2.0
Comfort reigns supreme in the Pickleball Revolt Evo 2.0 shoe with plenty of cushioning, padding and flexibility, as well as an extra-wide fit. The upper is made of lightweight, breathable mesh and the midsole has shock-absorbing tech. The shoe offers support for making multidirectional movements across the court. This is the key difference between a good court/pickleball shoe and a typical running shoe that you will see many beginners bring to the court. MSRP $119.
FILA Volley Burst
Designed specifically for pickleball, this brand-new style offers cushion and slip in comfort to maximize on-court performance. The shoe was designed with specific feedback on key pivot point placement from the top-ranked female player in the world. The brand’s Evergrind material delivers on-court traction and tread to enhance lateral movement. This versatile shoe is designed for competitive and recreational players alike. Hitting the marketplace this September in men’s and women’s versions and a variety of eye-catching colors. MSRP $110.
K-Swiss Pickleball Supreme
Targeted to the more competitive player looking for a light and responsive shoe with added comfort features, the Pickleball Supreme is a top-performing model from K-Swiss. This pickleball shoe incorporates Surge 7.0 for energy return and a new Durawrap flex upper for ideal fit and protection. The Dragguard 7.0 outsole offers durability. It also has a molded EVA sock liner and a textile collar lining. MSRP $119.95.