What is the fasting growing sport for adults over 50? PICKLEBALL! It’s a court sport which uses a paddle twice the size of a ping-pong paddle and a ball similar to a wiffle ball. Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court and can be played indoors or out which means there are many different kinds of court surfaces to play on.
The PAO Pickleball Championships were held in Waterloo, ON September 14-16, 2018. Checking out some of the action on the last day of the tournament had me thinking about how important it is for players to wear a court shoe.
First off, why is it important to wear a court shoe instead of your running shoes? Running shoes, while cushioned for impact, do not offer lateral support when lunging and pivoting, the upper tends to have a lot of mesh which also does not hold the foot in place for lateral movements, and the soles of running shoes often have deeper lugs than court shoes for varying terrain and weather conditions.
Court shoes are designed to be lower profile for good court feel, wider in the toebox for forefoot stability, have medial and lateral support for directional changes and lunges, and to provide a solid base of support.
When playing indoors on a wooden gym floor, a non-marking, gum rubber outsole will help maintain traction. “The gum rubber grips the indoor court surface very well and provide the stability you need for the dynamic movements in squash” (quoted from ASICS spec sheets)
When playing outdoors on concrete or pavement, durability of the outsole will be important to ensure your shoes last you the season. A gum rubber outsole here can wear out quickly; many brands, such as ASICS, will have a high abrasion rubber sole (AHAR) on common wear points.
Stability of the shoe is important for medial and lateral movements, or side to side, lunging motions. Many brands offer support through the arch of the shoe as well as on the sole, which often wraps up the upper. For example, Salming uses a Rollbar and Torsion Guide System for good stability and to prevent outward roll.
TRY THESE BRANDS FOR COURT SHOES:
- Black Night
- Li Ning
You may find these shoes, as well as pickleball equipment, at most sporting good stores. However, there are a few stores in the region that specialize in court sports and may be better equipped to help you with your needs.
WHERE TO FIND PICKLEBALL EQUIPMENT:
Control the 'T' Sports
155 Northfield Drive West,
Waterloo, ON N2L 5J3
55 Erb Street East,
121 Oxford Street,
London, ON N6A 1T4