The Best Pickleball Clothing for Every Dink, Drop Shot, and Volley
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Whether you’re a seasoned pickleball pro or just diving into this fast-growing sport, these pickleball clothes will carry you through each rally.
Even if your first association with the word “pickle” is hamburger toppings, you’ve probably heard of pickleball, the latest recreational sport that’s sweeping the nation. Played in singles or doubles, pickleball is a cross between tennis and table tennis, and it’s known for being beginner-friendly, social, and just plain fun.
“Pickleball is the type of sport that anyone can play,” explains Anna Leigh Waters, a professional pickleball player since 2019. “You don’t need to be a successful athlete or have any athletic ability at all! [It’s] easy to learn, but hard to master.”
Like tennis, the typical pickleball clothing consists of lightweight tops, athletic skirts or skorts, sweat-wicking socks, and court shoes. The styles can be all over the place, from country club prep to quirky patterns. “The cool thing about pickleball is that there are so many different styles,” says Waters. “You can wear a tennis outfit, a golf outfit, a gym outfit, really anything. I’ve even seen someone wear blue jeans and play!”
But if you want to look like a pro and enjoy the technical benefits of sweat-wicking, lightweight pickleball clothes, Waters recommends starting with tennis outfits. “That’s the most comfortable and they can also be stylish,” she adds. (One major FYI: Avoid wearing the color yellow, since it’s the color of the ball and may confuse your opponents, advises Waters.)
With the help of Waters and her expert insight, we researched the best pickleball clothes for women so you can hit the courts in style. We prioritized pickleball clothing that’s easy to move in, sweat-wicking, and technically engineered for the high-action sport. Pickleball clothes got extra points for features pockets to hold extra balls, sweat-wicking material, and built-in shorts. And every single item featured is stylish enough to take you from the court to brunch — so even if you’re not a pickleballer yet, you can still dress the part.
Best Budget: BALEAF Women's Pleated Tennis Skirt
Why We Like It: At under $30, this pickleball skirt is a dupe for more expensive options from name brands.
It’s Worth Noting: The skirt runs a little small, so go up if you’re between sizes.
An athletic skirt or skort is one of the most essential pieces of pickleball clothing, and this option from BALEAF comes in at under $30. It’s a classic “business in the front, party in the back” situation, thanks to a smooth, streamlined front design and flouncy pleats in the back. A zipped pocket in the back waistband can hold keys or cards, and built-in shorts feature a silicone design to keep them from riding up during epic rallies. The shorts also have a mesh liner for extra breathability, and there are side pockets in the shorts (although they’re a little small to comfortably fit a pickleball).
We especially love the thick, wide waistband, which makes this pickleball skirt extra comfy. This skirt runs a little small, so if you’re between sizes, go up for the best fit.
Price at time of publish: $30
Sizes: XS to XXL | Colors: 9 | Features: Built-in shorts, pockets
Best Sports Bra: Lululemon Energy Bra
Why We Like It: This sports bra is versatile enough for pickleball, tennis, or any other recreational sport you might try.
It’s Worth Noting: There’s also a high-support option for B to DDD cups.
The Energy Bra from Lululemon is one of the most versatile sports bras we’ve ever tried. The medium support is designed for everything from yoga to training, and the four-way stretch makes your boobs feel hugged instead of squashed. Made from Luxtreme fabric, this sports bra is cool and smooth to the touch, with fashion-forward straps you’ll want to peek out of your pickleball top.
Heads up: This particular sports bra is designed for B to D cups, but if you left that cup size behind in middle school, you can still try this sports bra. Make sure you’re shopping the Lululemon Energy Bra with High Support, designed for B to DDD cups. It has thick, adjustable straps and hook-and-eye closure on the underband. Plus, it’s sold in bra sizes for the most personalized fit possible.
Price at time of publish: $52
Sizes: 2 to 14 | Colors: 13 | Features: Slick and low friction support, four-way stretch, sweat-wicking
Best Tank Top: Outdoor Voices Think Fast Tank
Why We Like It: The casual, sporty tank is quick-drying and engineered for high-sweat situations.
It’s Worth Noting: It’s a looser fit, which makes it all the more comfortable.
Most pickleball matches are played outdoors, and if you live in a sunny climate, that means one thing: sweat. We love the Outdoor Voices Think Fast Tank because it features state-of-the-art cooling technology and a genius grid-patterned fabric so you’ll stay cool under pressure. The loose fit and muscle tank style offers a breezy option to other pickleball clothing, which tends to be more form-fitting. This tank top screams Sporty Spice, and we’re here for it.
Sizing of the Think Fast Tank is limited at the time of publish, but if you want a tighter-fitting pickleball top and/or more sizes to choose from, check out the Outdoor Voices TechSweat Move Free Tank. It has a slightly cropped fit, a built-in shelf bra, and a breathable fabric that curves to your shape. Even better, it’s available in sizes XXS to XXXL.
Price at time of publish: $48
Sizes: XS to XL | Colors: 3 | Features: Performance cooling fabric
Related:The 10 Best Sports Bras for Large Breasts of 2023, Tested & Approved
Best Shirt-Sleeve Top: Lululemon Grid-Texture Cropped Tennis Short-Sleeve Shirt
Why We Like It: The quick-drying fabric has a unique waffle-like texture and a dolphin hem for plenty of visual intrigue.
It’s Worth Noting: With a cropped, slim design, this pickleball shirt might not fit correctly on bigger busts.
Most pickleball clothes tend to be made of classic, streamlined fabrics, which is why this Lululemon cropped short-sleeve shirt stands out. The waffle-esque texture serves dual purposes: It looks edgy and unique on the court, and it’s made with a unique cooling technology that wicks sweat in an instant. The shirt’s cut ends above the waist, so when worn with a pickleball skirt, you won’t have any bunching or re-tucking during a high-stakes match.
The formfitting design is easy to move in, but it might be a little tight on people with bigger boobs. We’d recommend this top whole-heartedly for petite, small-chested pickleballers, since the cropped design will likely hit right at the top of the waist. However, taller people or people who don’t want to show a ton of skin should probably size up.
Price at time of publish: $68
Sizes: 0 to 14 | Colors: 4 | Features: Sweat-wicking, quick-drying, four-way stretch
Best Skort: Athleta Advantage Skort
Why We Like It: The size range is wide and inclusive (and the skort itself is super lightweight).
It’s Worth Noting: It’s possible for a ball to fall out of the side pocket.
Athleta is well-known for having one of the widest size ranges in activewear, and we think that’s especially appropriate for pickleball clothing, since it’s a recreational activity that’s being embraced by bodies of all sizes and abilities. The Athleta Advantage Skort comes in sizes XXS to 3X, and it’s made with lightweight, quick-drying fabric (are you sensing a theme around pickleball clothes and sweat-wicking fabric yet?). Built-in shorts prevent any wardrobe malfunctions on the court, and we are obsessed with the pleated design that moves with your every step.
It’s a major plus that this skort has a zippered pocket and a side pocket to fit a ball. However, the pocket opens from the bottom, which means a ball is prone to falling out with sudden movements. We wouldn’t want to risk twisting ankles during match points, so proceed with caution.
Price at time of publish: $89
Sizes: XXS to 3X | Colors: 3 | Features: Built-in shorts, zipper pockets
Related:The Best Tennis Skirts for Serving the Trend On and Off the Court
Best Shorts: Nike DriFit Court Advantage Tennis Shorts
Why We Like It: The loose fit allows you to move freely.
It’s Worth Noting: The mid-rise fit is a little higher than most athletic shorts.
If you want to switch up your pickleball clothes, opt for casual shorts instead of a skort. We love this pair from Nike because they have a loose, flowy fit that doesn’t restrict movement at all, and the thick waistband is supportive without constricting. The built-in shorts are made with sweat-wicking fabric to keep you cool, and they also have a side pocket to hold a ball during play.
The waistband comes up a little higher than most pickleball skirts or shorts, which we found comfy. Others, however, might find the fit a little unusual. We’d recommend styling it with a slim-fit, tucked-in top or a crop like the Lululemon Short-Sleeved Crop.
Price at time of publish: $65
Sizes: XS to 2XL | Colors: 3 | Features: Built-in shorts, ball pocket
Related:The 10 Best Women’s Workout Shorts, According to Our Editors
Best Dress: Outdoor Voices Volley Dress
Why We Like It: Somehow, this dress doesn’t show a drop of sweat.
It’s Worth Noting: The built-in shorts tend to ride up a bit.
With its fit-and-flare skirt and v-neck design, this pickleball dress is an instant confidence booster (even before you’ve won a single point). The classic racerback hides most sports bra straps (and yes, you’ll need to wear a sports bra with this dress), and the built-in shorts feature two pockets for your on-court essentials. We were most impressed with how well this dress performed in high-sweat environments. “I wore this dress for cardio tennis, which is obviously not pickleball but is just as intense,” says Kristen Geil, Shape senior commerce editor. “Somehow, after two hours, I didn’t have a single sweat stain or drenched fabric visible anywhere on my body.” And for the outdoor pickleball girlies, you’ll be thrilled to know that the dress has UPF 50 protection built in (just don’t forget your regular body sunscreen, too).
We did notice that the built-in shorts rode up and caused a couple of wedgies during play. Also, the straps aren’t adjustable.
Price at time of publish: $108
Sizes: XXS to XXXL | Colors: 4 | Features: Built-in shorts, pockets, UPF 50 protection
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Best Socks: Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab Socks
Why We Like It: The seamless toe prevents irritation, and the cushioning is perfect for high-impact activities.
It’s Worth Noting: They’re anatomically designed, so make sure the “L” sock actually goes on your left foot.
If you’ve ever been driven to the point of madness by sock seams, rejoice: These Feetures socks are seamless, so you’ll never have that irritating friction in your toes. We love the max cushioning option for pickleball because it’s designed for high-impact activities like pickleball, and targeted compression zones mold to your foot. These socks have been engineered to protect your feet from blisters, sweat, and everything in between.
Just make sure you pay attention to which sock you’re putting on which foot. They’re anatomically designed, meaning the left sock is slightly different from the right sock for an even better fit and again, blister reduction.
Price at time of publish: $18
Sizes: S to L (W4 to W13) | Colors: 12 | Features: Sweat-wicking, seamless, anatomical design, compression, max cushioning
Best Shoes: Asics Women's Gel-Renma Pickleball Shoes
Why We Like It: It’s specifically designed for pickleball players, and it’ll support you during multi-directional movements.
It’s Worth Noting: The toe box may be slightly tight.
Until recently, most pickleball shoes have just been repurposed tennis or squash shoes, but the Asics Gel-Renma is one of the first pickleball-specific shoes to hit the courts. There’s plenty of stability and arch support, but what really makes this shoe shine are the outsole flex grooves, which help you pivot, lunge, and dash without tripping or twisting an ankle. The extra gel in the forefoot gives some much-needed cushioning for sudden movements.
These shoes might run just a tad bit small, especially in the toe box. We also noticed that the shoe has a synthetic leather overlay, which is great for durability but not so effective for breathability. Translation: Your feet might get hot.
Price at time of publish: $85
Key specs: Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 32 | Features: Stability, gel cushioning, designed for outdoor courts
Best Hat: adidas Women's Superlite Performance Visor
Why We Like It: The dark underbill reduces glare on sunny days.
It’s Worth Noting: This visor is one size fits all (but it is adjustable).
Fun fact: Pickleball courts are usually oriented on a north-south line, so that no side ever has to look directly into the sun. That said, you’ll still want a hat or visor to keep from squinting, and we love this Superlite Performance Visor from Adidas. The visor design keeps your head cool (just remember to apply sunscreen to your scalp), and the dark underbrim is an especially genius touch since it reduces glare and keeps your face shaded. Moisture-wicking mesh side panels improve ventilation and cooling.
For the fashion-forward, this visor comes in over a dozen different shades, and at around $20 a pop, you can buy a few to match each of your pickleball outfits. While the visor is one size fits all (meant to fit heads 21” to 22 ⅝”), it is adjustable with a simple Velcro strap.
Price at time of publish: From $16
Sizes: One size | Colors: 16 | Features: Dark underbill, Velcro strap, mesh ventilation
Related:The 10 Best Running Hats, Tested By Shape
Best Jacket: Lululemon Water-Repellent Stretch Tennis Jacket
Why We Like It: The back waistband features an ingenious mesh pocket to hold a spare ball.
It’s Worth Noting: It’s a slightly cropped fit.
When you’re playing outdoors, the elements can really affect your game — wind, in particular, can wreak havoc on a pickleball match. One thing you don’t want to be worried about? Your clothes. We love this Lululemon tennis jacket for its light weight and its slightly boxy fit, which gives you plenty of room to layer underneath. The cropped elastic hem keeps the fit close to your body and hits just above the waist (so if you prefer a full-length jacket, consider sizing up). There are plenty of zippered pockets on the outside to hold gear, and a sneaky sleeve even holds your phone.
The fit of this jacket is stretchy and ultra-comfy. While the water-repellant fabric is a nice touch, it’s probably a little more than you need for pickleball clothes (after all, it’s not safe to play on slick courts in the rain).
Price at time of publish: $168
Sizes: 0 to 14 | Colors: 1 | Features: Ball pocket, exterior zipped pockets, water-repellant fabric
Related:The 13 Best Running Jackets of 2023, Tested & Reviewed
Best Bag: Georgie and Lou The Parker Bag
Why We Like It: The spacious interior is cleverly designed to fit all of your pickleball must-haves.
It’s Worth Noting: The top of the bag doesn’t have a zipper or hook to keep it closed.
You’ll need a way to carry all your pickleball gear — including paddles, balls, water bottles, and sunscreen — and our favorite pickleball bag that we’ve tested is this one from Georgie and Lou. It’s about the size of a tote bag, but the roomy interior fits a few paddles, several balls, a water bottle, and your other essentials. We found the bag to be perfectly sized, but Georgie and Lou also offers slightly smaller options for the minimalist.
“I was really surprised by how much this bag holds, even though it looks totally normal,” says Geil. “I call it my Mary Poppins bag, because you never know what I might pull out of there. Plus, the design is chic enough that I’ve started using it as an everyday tote, too.” She especially appreciates the carabiner at the top of the bag, which she clips onto the fence at her local courts to keep the bag off the ground.
It has several exterior pockets, too — one mesh, and two with zippers to secure items like your phone, keys, and wallet. Those zipper pockets are clutch, since the top of the bag is tote-style without a zipper or snap to close.
Price at time of publish: $156
Size: One Size | Colors: 3 | Features: Internal compartments, external water bottle holder, 3 external pockets, removable strap, carabiner
How We Selected the Best Pickleball clothing
To get you started on your pickleball journey, we began by interviewing Anna Leigh Waters, a professional pickleball player who’s consistently ranked in the Top 5 in the world in Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Women’s Singles. As a professional since 2019, Waters knows exactly how the best pickleball clothes can impact your game, and she advised us on the best features to look for when shopping for clothes for pickleball. With her expertise, we researched various options for pickleball clothes, including tops, bottoms, socks, accessories, and pickleball shoes. After hours of research and product comparison, we settled on these pickleball clothes as the best of the best.
What to Know About Pickleball Clothing
Pickleball clothes are generally similar to tennis clothes, but there are a few specific things to know when shopping for pickleball clothing.
Since most pickleball games are played outside, you’ll want to prioritize quick-drying, sweat-wicking material. Otherwise, you risk chafing and irritation, especially around your armpits or inner thighs. Look for fabric blends with polyester, nylon, and other moisture-wicking materials, and avoid cotton, which will quickly saturate and stay damp.
Ultimately, the fit of your pickleball clothes is completely up to your personal preferences. Some players prefer form-fitting tops to avoid any distractions during games, while others want looser, breezier tops for max comfort. As for bottoms, look for shorts, skorts, or skirts with wide waistbands that won’t budge or fall during quick movements.
Skorts vs. Shorts
Wondering whether you should wear shorts or skorts for pickleball? Again, it’s totally up to you. You likely already have plenty of athletic shorts that you could wear for pickleball, so if you’re a pickleball beginner, go ahead and start with what you already have before investing in a ton of new gear. The advantage of pickleball skirts or skorts is that they have a combination of built-in compression shorts and a looser skirt that allows you to move quickly and freely around the court. Plus, most pickleball skorts have handy features like ball pockets that make them more suited to the sport.
Pickleball Shoes and Accessories
In a pinch, any hard-court shoes will work for pickleball, and you can certainly wear regular sneakers before buying pickleball shoes for yourself. Ideally, these shoes would have a flat, stable sole with a consistent tread pattern and good grip, so that you can move laterally without tripping. But if you’re ready to buy pickleball shoes, look for shoes with a durable outsole, lots of stability, and ankle support.
Since most pickleball games are played outside, you’ll likely want a few specific accessories to level up your game. Hats, visors, and sunglasses are all helpful for blocking the sun and allowing you to see the bright yellow ball without squinting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best shoes for pickleball?
The best pickleball shoes are similar to tennis shoes with durable materials, extra stability (especially around the ankle), and an outsole that maximizes multi-directional movement.
Can I wear yellow to play pickleball?
For recreational games among friends, it’s probably fine to wear yellow or bright green to play pickleball. However, at competitions, you’d be better off staying away from those hues, which are similar to the shade of the ball and can confuse your opponent.
Why Trust Shape
Kristen Geil is a senior commerce editor at Shape who’s been on the pickleball bandwagon since 2013. She plays pickleball recreationally and knows that she’ll never beat her dad, who’s a Kentucky state champion. Kristen leads Shape’s Best in Fitness Awards and Sneaker Awards, so she’s spent hundreds of hours testing the best activewear, athletic shoes, and gear. She’s also a NASM-certified personal trainer.
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Read the original article on Shape.