What To Wear To Play Pickleball The Perfect Pickleball Outfit

Get ready to learn the ins and outs of pickleball fashion! From shoes to shorts to tops we’ve got the scoop on what to wear for peak performance.  This guide will serve up the dos 👍 and don’ts 👎 of pickleball outfits. No fancy equipment is needed – just cover the court essentials. You’ll be scoring style and function points in no time!  Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned player,  the right gear matters. So grab your paddle, lace up your kicks, and let’s talk about how to dress for pickleball success!

Top Considerations For Pickleball Outfits

When choosing the outfit for pickleball, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Mobility – Look for lightweight, stretchy fabrics that won’t restrict your range of motion during play. The ability to move freely is crucial.
  • Breathability – Pickleball is fast-paced so you’ll work up a sweat. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics to keep cool.
  • Durability – Pickleball clothing takes a beating. Seek out fabrics that can withstand frequent wear and repeated washing.
  • Visibility – On bright outdoor courts, choose colors that help you stand out so opponents can see you.
  • Comfort – Consider cut, seam placement, and fabric feel. Your gear shouldn’t be distracting or uncomfortable.
  • Sun protection – Look for UPF/UV protection if playing outdoors. Hats and UV sleeves are also smart options.
  • Pockets – You’ll appreciate secure pockets and zippers to hold your phone, balls, etc.
  • Style – While performance comes first, there are lots of fashionable pickleball-specific options available.

Now let’s explore how to apply these principles when choosing tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories for pickleball.

Pickleball Tops

For your top, you’ll want something that keeps you cool while allowing free movement of your shoulders and arms during swings and reaches.


  • T-shirts – Moisture-wicking cotton/polyester blend t-shirts are very common in pickleball. They absorb sweat while letting air circulate.
  • Polos – Collared moisture-wicking polos are also quite popular for their breathability.
  • Tanks – Tank tops allow great mobility, but won’t offer much sun protection. Add sunscreen or UV sleeves.
  • Dry-Fit – Nike and other athletic brands make lightweight “dry-fit” shirts perfect for pickleball.

Things to Avoid

  • Heavy cotton t-shirts – These absorb sweat rather than wicking it away.
  • Oversized shirts – Excess material could impede your swing.
  • Deep v-necks – Provide less sun protection.
  • Sheer fabrics – Perspiration will show through.

Pickleball Bottoms

For bottoms, seek out shorts or skorts that won’t restrict leg motion.


  • Athletic shorts – Lightweight polyester or nylon athletic shorts allow a full range of movement. Side pockets are useful.
  • Compression shorts – Worn under loose shorts, these limit chafing. Great for modesty too.
  • Skorts – Shorts with a skirt overlay provide added coverage for some players.
  • Bike shorts – Form-fitting bike shorts worn alone or under shorts prevent chafing.

Things to Avoid

  • Long baggy shorts – Will hinder mobility and could catch on the paddle.
  • Denim shorts – Not designed for athletic movement, denim is too restrictive.
  • Short shorts – May be too revealing when bending down.

Pickleball Shoes

Choosing the right athletic shoes is crucial for traction and injury prevention. The quickest lateral movements in pickleball put added stress on shoes.

Characteristics of Good Pickleball Shoes

  • Lightweight – Heavier shoes cause fatigue over long matches.
  • Flexible – Shoes must flex naturally with the feet.
  • Low profile – Lower to the ground for stability.
  • Toe protection – Protects against stubbing toes on the court.
  • Ankle support – Provides stability for quick changes in direction. Not as crucial as in some sports.
  • Cushioning – Absorbs shock from repetitive foot strike on the hard court surface.
  • Traction – Herringbone tread or similar pattern grips the court well. Avoid running shoes with heavy traction designed for trails.
  • Lateral support – Helps prevent rolling ankles during quick lateral motions.

Shoe Types

  • Court shoes – Designed specifically for racquet sports. Offer ideal traction and support.
  • Cross trainers – Versatile athletic shoes work well. Look for good lateral motion.
  • Running shoes – Okay, but avoid heavy tread patterns that grip too much.

Things to Avoid

  • Football, baseball, or golf cleats – Dangerously grippy.
  • Flat soled shoes – Won’t absorb impact.
  • Heavy boots or work shoes – Too clunky.
Clothing ItemRecommended FabricsIdeal Styles
ShirtsPolyester, polyester blends, coolmax, dri-FITPolos, tees, tanks, performance tops
ShortsPolyester, nylon. Spandex blendsTennis, running, skorts, golf shorts
PantsPolyester, spandex/lycra blendsLeggings, yoga pants, warm ups
SocksCoolmax, dri-FIT, smartwoolAthletic crew socks
ShoesMesh, synthetic uppersCross trainers, tennis shoes
HatsPolyester, nylonBaseball caps, visors
Protective GearPolycarbonate lenses, padded glovesSports glasses, gloves

Pickleball Clothing Brands

Many top athletic brands now offer specialized pickleball apparel and shoes:

  • Asics – Shoes and athletic wear designed for pickleball.
  • New Balance – Court and cross training shoes good for the sport.
  • Nike – Courtside apparel and “Air Zoom Vapor” pickleball shoes.
  • Adidas – Shoes and athletic clothing ideal for mobility.
  • Under Armour – Moisture-wicking tops and shorts.
  • Savage Apparel – Known for stylish pickleball-specific athletic wear.
  • Pickleball Central – Sells many major brands plus their own gear.

For budget-friendly options, general athletic brands like Champions and Wilson work fine too. Shop end of season for deals on athletic apparel.


Don’t forget the extras that complete your ideal pickleball outfit.

Hats & Visors

Shield your eyes from sun glare with:

  • Baseball caps – Also keep hair contained.
  • Tennis visors – Block sun while minimizing sweatband.
  • Cooling caps – Made of moisture-wicking fabric.


  • Wraparound sport sunglasses – Prevent glare without blocking vision.
  • Attachable straps – Keep shades secure for active play.
  • Prescription sport goggles – If required.

Head, Wrist & Sweat Bands

  • Absorb sweat from key areas. Useful on hot days.


  • Enhance grip on the paddle handle – Especially useful if palms tend to sweat.
  • Padding absorbs vibration and prevents blisters.

Cold Weather Gear

Don’t let cooler temps stop you from playing:

  • Insulated jacket, vest, or hoodie.
  • Thermal base layers and leggings.
  • Beanie or ear warmers.
  • Fingerless gloves allow paddle grip.

Appropriate vs inappropriate clothing for pickleball:

Athletic shoesFlip flops, sandals, bare feet
Moisture wicking fabricsHeavy cotton, denim, canvas
Stretchy leggings, yoga pantsRestrictive cargo pants, jeans
Sport tees and tanksRevealing or offensive clothing
Crew socksNo socks
Cross trainersCasual sneakers
Baseball caps, visorsBeanies, winter hats
Shatterproof eyewearNo eye protection
Gloves (optional)Bulky gloves

Dressing for the Weather

Pickleball can be played year round both indoors and outdoors. Your clothing choices should adapt to match the playing conditions.

Hot and Sunny Weather

  • Moisture wicking and breathable lightweight fabrics
  • Light colors reflect heat better than dark colors
  • Prioritize ventilation and airflow
  • Hats, visors, and UV protection important
  • Cooling accessories like sweatbands can help

Cool and Cold Weather

  • Layer with long sleeve shirts, leggings, and fleece layers
  • Wool and polypropylene add warmth
  • Windproof outer layers block cold gusts
  • Beanies, gloves, and balaclavas keep extremities warm

Indoor Play

  • Temperature controlled so lighter layers usually suffice
  • Court floors can be cold so wear long socks/pants
  • Eyewear optional since indoor lighting isn’t as harsh

Rainy Weather

  • Water resistant windbreakers and jackets
  • Waterproof shoes with excellent traction
  • Hat/visor to keep rain off your face
  • Quick drying fabrics shed moisture
  • Bring extra dry clothes to change into

Common FAQs About Dressing for Pickleball

What shoes are best for pickleball?

Look for cross trainers or tennis style shoes with excellent lateral support, cushioning, traction, and stability. Herringbone outsoles perform well. Popular brands include New Balance, Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Saucony, etc.

Can you wear yoga pants for pickleball?

Yes, stretchy athletic leggings and yoga pants allow free range of motion. Opt for moisture wicking technical fabrics versus heavy cotton. Looser shorts may be more comfortable.

What should you not wear when playing pickleball?

Jeans, cargo shorts, baggy clothes, cotton, sandals, open-toe shoes, revealing outfits, and metal or loose jewelry. Avoid anything that restricts movement, causes injury, or is inappropriate.

Can you wear T-shirts for pickleball?

Yes, moisture-wicking polyester or dry-fit athletic t-shirts work well. Avoid heavy cotton shirts which absorb sweat rather than wicking it away from your skin.

What type of socks are best for pickleball?

Crew-length athletic socks in moisture-wicking fabrics like Coolmax and dri-FIT. Cushioned socks can help absorb impact. Look for snug-fitting socks that don’t slip or bunch.

Do you have to wear special shoes for pickleball?

Not necessarily, but athletic cross trainers or tennis shoes perform far better than casual sneakers. The right footwear provides lateral support, stability, and traction for quick pickleball motions.

Can I wear just any athletic clothing for pickleball?

No, choose lightweight moisture wicking fabrics that allow free range of motion. Avoid jeans, cargo pants, baggy clothes, and cotton which absorbs sweat rather than wicking

 Is it okay to just wear regular gym clothes for pickleball?

 You can certainly wear basic athletic apparel to play pickleball. However, pickleball-specific clothing is engineered to provide optimal freedom of motion and durability on the court. So performance gear designed for the sport is recommended when possible.

Are special pickleball shoes really necessary?

Pickleball places high stress on shoes with all the quick lateral motions. Shoes designed specifically for racquet sports provide the best support, traction control, and durability for safer extended play. Good tennis or court shoes can work too in a pinch.

What material is best for pickleball clothing?

Lightweight, moisture-wicking technical fabrics like polyester or nylon blends are ideal. They dry quickly while allowing maximum airflow. Sturdy construction also withstands frequent wear and washing.

Should I buy expensive name brand pickleball gear?

Major athletic brands do offer quality pickleball apparel and shoes that perform extremely well. However, more affordable options from general sporting goods brands can also deliver good function and value. Shop end of season sales for the best deals.

What are the best shoes for playing pickleball?

Look for court shoes designed specifically for racquet sports like pickleball. Cross training shoes also work well. Seek light weight, flexibility, ankle support, grip, and cushioning. Asics, New Balance and Nike make top rated pickleball shoes.

How can I protect my skin from the sun when playing pickleball?

Hats, visors and sunglasses provide essential sun protection. Seek tops and shorts offering UPF sun protection. You can also apply water-resistant sunscreen frequently, especially on exposed skin like legs and arms. Cooling accessories help keep you comfortable.

Can I wear jeans or regular shorts to play pickleball?

Avoid denim or heavy cotton shorts or pants. They won’t allow free range of motion and can be very hot. Lightweight moisture-wicking athletic shorts or skorts specifically designed for court sports are strongly recommended.

Are there any accessories that help performance in pickleball?

Gloves can enhance your grip and absorb vibration. Sweat and head bands keep perspiration managed. Prescription sport goggles help if needed. Padding and braces provide support if you have any joint issues. There are many small accessories that aid comfort and performance on the court.

Summary of Pickleball Outfit Recommendations

  • Moisture-wicking performance tops.
  • Athletic shorts or skorts for full mobility.
  • Court shoes for ideal traction and support.
  • Breathable fabrics that allow free movement.
  • UPF sun protection.
  • Accessories: hat, sunglasses, gloves, cold weather gear.
  • Brands like Asics, New Balance, and Nike make quality pickleball apparel and shoes.

Now that you know what to wear, you can focus on your game and not your outfit. Grab your paddle and hit the pickleball courts in style and comfort!

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