I am often asked two questions related to painful pickleball feet. The first is, what sneakers should I wear? And the second is, how can I avoid foot pain so I can play longer? Avoiding foot pain when you are playing pickleball is critical. So today, let me offer you a bit of advice and some exercises you can do to avoid those aching pickleball feet.
What are the Best Sneakers for my Pickleball Feet?
I think there are three critical issues when it comes to finding the best shoe for you:
- Get Professional Assistance: Take the time to go to a good sports shoe store with qualified staff. Have them measure your foot. As we get older our feet have a tendency to spread. You may have been a size 7B when you were 21…but your sports shoe size as a 50-year-old could be 8D. Some stores employ orthotists. These are people who can analyze your foot and your gait. They may suggest you look for a shoe that is designed for an “overpronator” or that you “supinate”. You may be able to do some analysis yourself. See this article for more information on analyzing the wear patterns of your current court shoes. Though you may purchase your shoes on-line, take the time to be properly fitted and learn about what brands and models are best for you.
- Purchase High-Quality Court Shoes: Running shoes were not designed for pickleball! They are meant to go forward…not side to side. You need to purchase good court shoes (sometimes called tennis shoes). If you play primarily indoors, consider badminton shoes.
- Remember, Court Shoes Wear Out: Don’t expect to have a pair of shoes last 12 months if you are playing 10+ hours a week. If the shoe wobbles from side to side when you tap it, replace it. If you can easily bend the shoe in half lengthwise…throw it away. I like to buy two or three pairs of the same court shoe when I find a brand/model that works well for me.
Finally, wear moisture-wicking socks and if you are playing in a tournament or on a very hot day, have a spare pair to change into. Keep your feet dry to prevent blisters and foot disease.
Exercise Your Pickleball Feet
Hopefully, you take the time to stretch your shoulders, back, hamstrings, etc. before you hit the pickleball courts. Well, there are a number of ways to stretch your feet. Take a moment to watch the video I made last year, specifically for sour pickleball feet.