Pickleball is a casual sport with no dress code. Pickleball attire is similar to tennis attire, with moisture-wicking materials that are comfortable to move in. Specialized court shoes are important to wear, rather than running shoes, as they offer support for the frequent lateral movement found in pickleball.
Is Special Clothing Required to Play Pickleball?
There is no official dress code when playing pickleball. People usually dress in clothes that resemble tennis attire.
It is common to see lightweight t-shirts paired with shorts, leggings, or skorts. Accessories such as headbands, visors, sunglasses, and hats are common.
What to Look for When Choosing Pickleball Attire
When choosing Pickleball attire, there are several factors to consider. The material used in garments worn by players is important in any sport and remains true for pickleball.
Pickleball clothing must be comfortable to wear and move in. It must feel good on the body and not weigh the player down.
The best clothing choices will flex and allow freedom of movement during a pickleball game. Any clothing that is tight, restrictive, or rigid shouldn’t be worn while playing.
Garments that retain moisture and keep it near the skin can lead to overheating and exhaustion.
That’s why most pickleball attire is made from fabrics that control moisture. Even pickleball paddles have handle options with moisture-wicking properties to help players have a solid grip.
Air should be able to move between the fibers of the material to control perspiration and body temperature.
Clothes made from non-breathable fabrics retain moisture. Over time, this can lead to skin rash and discomfort, which will affect a player’s game.
For pickleball players who play outdoors, having clothes made from fabric with built-in UV protection is optimal.
Fabrics rated as UPF 50 are the best because they only allow 1/50th of the amount of UV rays to pass through.
The sun can cause damage to players’ eyes and skin, so take care to keep these areas protected. Sunscreen is important for exposed parts of the body. Sunglasses with UV protection can keep a player’s eyes from being damaged over time.
Performance Fabric Choices
Performance fabrics are designed for athletes, with features such as being anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, or water-resistant.
Common performance fabrics include:
- Elastane: This is also called Spandex and is a fabric that is made to easily stretch. This is one of the most popular choices in leggings.
- Polyester: Durable, breathable, lightweight, and somehow wrinkle-free, this is one of the best performance fabrics available. It’s a great choice for people who like to play outdoors in extreme weather due to its insulating properties.
- Nylon: This type of material is often seen in windbreakers and jackets. It is lightweight, wrinkle-free, quick-drying, and water-resistant.
- Nylon Spandex: This fabric is light, abrasion-resistant, and can expand up to 500% without tearing. It is also static-free and a top choice for activewear.
- Rayon: This is a highly durable fabric that is lightweight and moisture-wicking. This is often seen in a blend with Spandex to make jerseys.
Most Popular Men’s Pickleball Styles
Men’s gear tends to blend solid color staple pieces with colorful graphics or logos.
Most men wear loose, athletic shorts with pockets and a drawstring or elastic waist for ease of movement. Most men’s shorts are solid colors such as black, white, and grey. Some of them have a decorative stripe down the side.
The most common garment worn on the upper body of male players is a standard t-shirt or polo shirt with mid-length sleeves that don’t go past the elbow. This type of garment offers sun protection while not interfering with the swinging of the paddle.
Most Popular Women’s Pickleball Styles
Women’s gear tends to be more colorful than men’s gear, and comes in a lot more style options.
Most women players wear skorts (shorts with a panel over the front to make it look like a skirt). These are paired most often with sleeveless shirts made from performance fabric that allows for freedom of movement. It is common for the top and bottom of an outfit to match or be color-coordinated.
Some women players enjoy wearing leggings rather than skorts, particularly when the weather is colder. Leggings are made from stretchy material that also offers ease of movement and come in every color and pattern under the sun!
While these styles are the most common, they aren’t necessarily gender-specific. There are many styles that are unisex. There really isn’t a hard and fast rule on who should wear what.
To get an idea of typical Pickleball gear and outfits, check out the USA Pickleball online clothing store.
Pickleball tops come in a plethora of styles, patterns, colors, and fabric choices. They also can have different sleeve lengths.
T-shirts are the most common type of shirt worn in pickleball. T-shirts are usually made of a lightweight fabric worn loose over the body’s frame. Typical fabrics for t-shirts are cotton, polyester, and jersey.
Players often choose a t-shirt that reflects their personality (either a favorite color, brand, or phrase). Team names can also be sewn or printed onto custom t-shirts on websites like Etsy.
T-shirts come in both long-sleeve shirts and short-sleeve shirts.
Short-sleeve is best if the weather allows, as this style is least likely to interfere with swinging the paddle. However, long-sleeve shirts are often worn in cooler climates or beneath a short-sleeve t-shirt for extra warmth.
Polo shirts are another popular choice. There is little difference between a Polo and a T-Shirt aside from the inclusion of a collar, and two to three buttons at the top.
Tank tops are made from the same material as t-shirts, but unlike t-shirts, tank tops are sleeveless. Most tank tops come in a v-neck, although scoop necks are another popular neckline choice.
Some people prefer the freedom of not having a sleeve top.
One of the most popular styles of tank tops in pickleball is the Racerback tank. It differs from a standard tank top because it has a “T” shaped strap crossing in the back, up near the neck. This type of shirt is great for covering many styles of sports bras.
Sweatshirts & Hoodies
For players who play in colder weather or prefer a heavier fabric, both sweatshirts and hoodies can provide comfort and extra warmth.
Sweatshirts are seen more often than hoodies because they don’t come up as high on the neck. Sweatshirts come in a variety of thicknesses, fabric types, and colors.
Hoodies tend to be heavier than sweatshirts but they have a few advantages. Hoodies have a hood that can be pulled up and over the head in the event of inclement weather. Most hoodies also have front pockets where pickleball balls can be easily stored.
The drawback of hoodies is that they aren’t as breathable as most sweatshirts, and the extra fabric may be too warm during long play sessions.
Sweatpants and Leggings
Sweatpants are often worn by players who enjoy early morning and late-night play sessions or live in colder climates.
Leggings can be worn in both warm and cold climates. Because they are so versatile, they can keep the body cool or warm, depending on the material used in the construction.
Both sweatpants and leggings are easy to move in and come in breathable fabric options with elastic or drawstring waistbands.
Most leggings don’t have pockets, but a few higher-end athleisure legging brands include pockets. Leggings also come in full-length or capri length (stops mid-calf).
The vast majority of Pickleball players (both men and women) wear shorts. Shorts allow for optimal air movement, and most have pockets to store pickleball balls.
Shorts come in many varieties, from cargo-style shorts to lightweight linens and basketball-type shorts. Shorts are great to play in as long as it’s not too cold.
Tennis Skirts and Skorts
A wardrobe option that many women appreciate is wearing a tennis skirt with shorts underneath, or skorts. A skort is a pair of shorts with a skirt over top. Skorts give polished, more feminine look.
Socks & Undergarments
The most important aspect of undergarments and socks is moisture control.
Pickleball socks must be moisture-wicking. Playing in soaked socks can lead to athletes losing their footing or sliding while playing. Sweaty feet can also lead to athlete’s foot and odor issues.
Socks should offer protective padding with a high thread count. Generally, the higher the thread count, the more comfortable the socks are.
Underwear and bras should be comfortable, breathable, and should stretch. Sports bras are a great option for women because they don’t contain an underwire and still offer support.
It’s rare to see Pickleball players without some type of accessory.
Pickleball Hats and Visors
Sunglasses should be worn when playing in bright sunlight to protect eyes from damage and help people see the ball. Sport sunglasses with UV protection are optimal for this purpose.
Sweatbands can help keep sweat from rolling into players’ eyes. They also keep the browline cooler and keep hair away from the face.
Beanies, scarves, and gloves can help protect players who play pickleball in the winter.
It is important to choose gloves that won’t affect your grip on the paddle. When trying on gloves in a store, take your paddle with you to see how much the gloves affect gripping ability.
Pickleball Court Shoes
Standard sneakers or running shoes aren’t ideal for playing pickleball because of the repetitive side-to-side motion that Pickleball players must perform.
Specialized pickleball court shoes feature extra stability in the sides of the shoe and a heel cup to help with ankle stabilization. Pickleball court shoes have specialized patterns on the sole to ensure optimal traction on the court. Above all, court shoes should be comfortable and have adjustable laces.
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