Rubber Sole vs Plastic Sole – Choosing the Right Pickleball Shoe’s Sole

Pickleball is an exciting sport that fuses the finesse of tennis, badminton strategies, and intensity of table tennis. It is the fastest-growing sport, as there are more than 36 million players in the USA, according to With this growing intensity, you cannot afford to underestimate the significance of proper equipment. As pickleball is all about quick lateral movement and precise footwear, the choice of proper pickleball shoes can make a difference between your victory and defeat. That’s why I have come up with the debate of Rubber sole vs Plastic sole in pickleball shoes.

Both soles have their advantages and disadvantages, and using the right one in the right condition can help you excel on the pickleball court.

Rubber vs. plastic soles: rubber sole is made from rubber materials and is widely used in many sports shoes. They are known for providing excellent traction, durability, and comfort. On the other hand, plastic soles are made from polyurethane, ethylene-vinyl acetate, and thermoplastic polyurethane. These Soles are known for their flexibility, durability, and low weight. Plastic soles are not that common, but they are used in various sports.

Let’s dive in and find out their advantages and disadvantages and which sole is best for pickleball.

Rubber Sole vs Plastic Sole

Difference between Rubber sole and Plastic sole

Before diving into their performance in pickleball, let’s first explore their key differences.

 Rubber SolePlastic Sole
Made from Natural or synthetic rubber compounds.Made from Synthetic plastics such as polyurethane, EVA, or TPU.
Provide excellent on all court surfaces.Traction may not match the rubber sole.
Moderate weight.Lightweight compared to rubber sole.
Higher price.Lower price.
Offers good flexibility for natural foot movement.Flexibility varies based on the plastic material used.
Mostly weather resistance.Water resistance but temperature-sensitive.
Highly durable.Less durable.
Widely used in athletic and casual footwear.It is less common in athletic shoes compared to Rubber.

What Type of Sole is Best For Pickleball: Rubber Sole vs Plastic Sole

There is no specific answer to this question, as the choice of rubber sole or plastic sole depends on your playing style, preferences, and conditions. Both soles came with their unique advantages and disadvantages. Here are some factors to consider when choosing between rubber and plastic soles for pickleball.


Traction is one of the most crucial factors in pickleball shoes because of its quick movements and sudden stops. Best traction pickleball shoes not only provide grip and stability during these lateral movements but also reduce the risk of slipping.

In this aspect, Rubber sole shoes excel; they are known for their natural grip, providing exceptional traction on pickleball courts. The gripping rubber soles ensure a strong and secure foothold even during intense matches.

While plastic sole shoes are not as naturally grippy as Rubber, some plastic compounds provide sufficient traction on court surfaces. But still, in terms of traction, Rubber sole shoes truly outperform plastic sole shoes.


Because of the quick movements, sudden stops, and fast turns, there is constant wear and tear on pickleball shoes. So, pickleball shoes should be durable enough to withstand the stresses of play over an extended period. Rubber soles act as a strong suit of defense against this wear and tear. They provide reliable durability over time, which makes them a favorite choice for pickleball. Conversely, plastic soles often face criticism in this department. While some plastic compounds are more durable, most of them often have shorter lifespans than rubber soles.


Comfort is the most important factor when you want to play at your best on the pickleball court. Pickleball shoes that provide comfort not only prevent discomfort and fatigue but also contribute to a positive playing experience.

Comfortable pickleball shoes enhance speed, responsiveness, and overall performance, ensuring that you can perform to your fullest. Rubber sole shoes provide all-around performance in this department, too. Due to their flexibility, rubber soles allow the natural movement of the foot.

Additionally, they offer cushioning and support, ensuring a comfortable playing experience. However, in terms of plastic soles, comfort may vary depending on the material that is used. Some plastic soles provide adequate support and cushioning, while others lack the flexibility desired by players. The comfort factor in plastic soles depends on finding the right fit and material.


In terms of performance, Rubber sole shoes contribute to overall performance. The combination of excellent traction, durability, and comfort enhances a player’s ability to respond swiftly and quickly on the pickleball court. Players who use rubber sole pickleball shoes find themselves with a competitive edge. At the same time, the performance of plastic soles shoes varies. Depending on the sole design and materials used, plastic soles may offer a balance of performance that suits certain players. However, mostly rubber sole shoes outmatched plastic sole shoes in terms of performance.

rubber sole vs plastic sole in pickleball shoes - Chart


There is no definite answer to the question of rubber sole vs plastic sole. The choice totally depends on a player’s playing style and preferences. But mostly, Rubber soles are preferred by pickleball players due to their superior grip, durability, and cushioning. However, some players prefer plastic soles over rubber soles. But if you ask me, I should definitely go with rubber sole pickleball shoes. Because, in my opinion, they best match the unique demands of pickleball shoes like indoor and outdoor.


Are plastic-sole pickleball shoes suitable for all court surfaces?

No, not all plastic sole shoes are suitable for all court surfaces. The suitability of plastic-sole shoes for different court surfaces varies depending on the plastic material that is used. While some designs offer sufficient traction, their grip may not match that of Rubber on all surfaces.

Which is better, PU sole or rubber sole?

The choice between a PU sole and a rubber sole depends on the individual needs of a pickleball player. Rubber soles are known for their stable grip on different surfaces, withstand wear and tear, and excellent comfort. On the other hand, PU soles are known for their lightweight design, flexibility, and shock absorption properties.

Is rubber sole better in pickleball?

Yes, rubber soles are better than plastic soles in pickleball. They offer excellent traction on pickleball courts, providing a strong grip that is essential for quick lateral movements. The durability of rubber soles is also excellent than that of plastic soles. The stability and reliable grip offered by rubber soles contribute to overall performance and safety on the court.

Jimy jame
jimy jame

Welcome to the dynamic world of pickleball! I'm Jimy Jame, a pickleball enthusiast turned expert. With years of play and a love for the game, I'm here to share tips, equipment reviews, and strategies to elevate your pickleball experience. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned player, join me in enhancing your game and celebrating the joy of pickleball. Let's paddle up, aim high, and pickleball on!

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