Everyone wants to find the best pickleball paddle for their game, but no matter what your paddle is, you’ll have an uncomfortable pickleball experience if you’re in the wrong footwear.
The right pickleball shoes provide the stability and lateral support you need for the quick movements of pickleball. I’ve encountered many players who didn’t take their footwear seriously, and they ended up uncomfortable after short periods of play or even got injured while wearing regular running/walking shoes.
In this post, I’ll cover the top seven women’s shoes that my partner and I have chosen out of the 15+ shoes we’ve tested in recent months. You’ll get tailored recommendations in this post that you won’t find elsewhere based on our 100+ hours spent playing pickleball in these shoes.
By the end of this breakdown, you’ll have the confidence to determine which pickleball shoe best matches your playing style and foot type.
Here’s an at-a-glance summary of the shoe rankings in this review:
- Best overall: Ryka Courtside | Buy Now | Full Review
- Runner up: Skechers Viper Court Pro | Buy Now
- Best for wide feet: Babolat Women’s SFX3 | Buy Now
- Best for narrow feet: Yonex Sonicage 3 | Buy Now
- Best for indoor surfaces: Mizuno Wave Lightening Z6 | Buy Now
- Best minimalist: Merrell Vapor Glove 6 | Buy Now
- Best value: Skechers Viper Court | Buy Now
1. Ryka Courtside
Awards: Best overall women’s shoes
Fit: True to size.
Where they excel: They check off all the essential boxes – they’re lightweight, supportive, agile, stable, and comfortable. The fit is true to size and feels great from first wear, and the rubber outsoles grip on both indoor and outdoor court surfaces well.
Potential drawbacks: They have more of a relaxed fit than some more aggressive pickleball shoes. You don’t get as much padding as with some bulkier shoes if that’s what you’re after. The shoes have a clean, understated look, which might not satisfy players seeking more visual pop.
My take on the Rykas: These shoes balance lightweight performance with good stability and cushioning. Traction and arch support are there for long and comfortable play sessions. They’ve proven durable over extended play and just feel good to play in.
I recommend the Rykas to: Players with average-sized feet who want a lightweight, non-bulky shoe will like Ryka’s new court shoes. The toe box is generous, so you won’t feel cramped if you have wide-set toes. The classic aesthetic is low-key and non-flashy, so if that’s your style, these should feel great for you. Ryka is also a women-owned, women-operated company, which feels good to support.
2. Sketchers Viper Court Pro
Awards: Runner up.
Fit: Mostly true to size. Might run slightly large. Toe box is spacious but not excessive. Can feel uncomfortably roomy in some places, even for those with wide feet.
Where they excel: Stylish with great colors. Very comfortable and lightweight design. Stable without limiting maneuverability. Good arch support, especially when full laced. Improvements over the original Viper Court, including new a flexible and breathable mesh upper and upgraded Goodyear outsole. Sole is well-shaped to prevent stress on plantar area and highly durable.
Potential drawbacks: Unnecessarily short laces prove challenging to keep tied. Feet may slide around, especially if not laced up tightly. The insole is glued in and seemingly cannot be removed, even though it is stated as removable. This makes it challenging to customize the sole/utilize orthotics.
My take on the Viper Court Pro: This shoe is rated high and delivers as promised. Comfy and maneuverable with a good design that supports lateral, forward, and backward movement. They’re going to be a good choice for most players and have proven quite durable. Tops of the shoes have been known to develop slight tears, though their effect on performance is negligable.
3. Babolat Women’s SFX3
Awards: Best for wide feet
Fit: True to size but wide. Don’t require much break-in. Fit takes pressure off of the balls of your feet, but can be a bit loose around the heel.
Where they excel: Very comfortable and durable with a notably wide fit. Great stop-start traction both indoors and outdoors. Plush underfoot cushioning is idyllic. More than adequately cushioned, but lightweight and not clunky. The mesh upper is light and breathable.
Potential drawbacks: Too wide for narrow-to-medium feet, which can compromise support and stability. Not super breathable, overall. Heel feels a little high, though still pretty stable. Laces should be a bit longer.
My take on the Babolat SFX3: These are great pickleball shoes that get really high marks in a lot of areas, especially for people who appreciate a wide fit (like me). You do want to ensure a snug fit, though, because a loose-fitting shoe won’t feel stable for all the quick-pivoting directional movements in pickleball. Use a runners-knot to better lock down your heel if it feels a bit loose due to the width. Note that the inside cushioning often wears down before the soles of these shoes, so consider adding insoles.
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