What to wear to play pickleball: comfortable and functional outfit ideas

don’t get your panties in a bunch

Are you a passionate pickleball player looking to take your game to the next level or a beginner eager to dive into this exciting sport?

No matter your skill level, having the right pickleball clothing is essential for maximizing your performance and staying comfortable on the court, especially during the scorching summer months.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the crucial factors you need to consider when selecting your pickleball attire, recommend the best brands and products in the market, and answer all your burning questions about dressing for success in this incredibly popular sport.

Does pickleball have a dress code?

No (not yet!), pickleball does not have a strict dress code. But you do need to wear comfortable clothing that allows freedom of movement and supports your pickleball performance. You’re advised to stay away from clothing colors that clash with the court.

See: Unraveling the pickleball dress code: striking the balance between style & sport

What clothes do you wear to play pickleball?

To make the most of your pickleball experience and keep you comfortable, keep the following factors in mind when selecting your pickleball apparel:


pickleball clothing - breathability

Look for breathable fabrics and well-ventilated designs to stay cool during intense gameplay. Get shirts with cutouts, perforations, and lightweight materials like polyester to promote better air circulation and prevent overheating.

More on breathability…as this is rather crucial to your comfort on the court.

When it comes to pickleball clothing, prioritizing breathability is fundamental for maintaining comfort and performance during gameplay. Breathable fabrics offer several benefits that make them ideal for pickleball attire.

Here’s why you should opt for breathability fabrics for pickleball, and some examples commonly used in sportswear:

Improved Air Circulation

Breathable fabrics, such as polyester, nylon, or mesh materials, facilitate better air circulation around your body. This aides to regulate your body temperature as it allows heat and moisture to escape, keeping you cool and comfortable even during pickleball matches.

Moisture Management: Pickleball can be a physically demanding sport, resulting in sweating – which is a good thing! Breathable fabrics excel at moisture management by quickly wicking away sweat from your skin and allowing it to evaporate keeping you dry. If this did not happen then the moisture would build-up and cause chafing, and skin irritation. Ouch!

Lightweight and Quick-Drying: Since breathable fabrics are lightweight, they dry quickly, ensuring that any moisture from sweat or rain doesn’t linger on your clothing.

Here are some examples of breathable fabrics commonly used in pickleball clothing:

Polyester: Polyester is a popular choice due to its excellent moisture-wicking properties. It efficiently pulls moisture away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate quickly.

Nylon: Nylon is strong and durable and has good breathability, ensuring proper airflow during gameplay. Nylon fabrics are always lightweight and quick drying.

Mesh: Mesh fabrics, made with an open-weave structure, provide exceptional breathability – of course, since they have airflow going through them. Mesh panels or inserts on pickleball apparel are ideal for certain areas but a complete shirt or pants from mesh may be not ideal if there is a sudden drop in temperature.

Moisture-Wicking Materials

pickleball clothing - moisture wicking

Choose performance fabrics such as Nike Dri-FIT that wick away moisture from your skin and allow it to evaporate quickly. This feature helps keep sweat at bay, ensuring your focus remains on the game rather than discomfort.

Staying dry and comfortable is crucial to maintain optimal performance and comfort! Moisture-wicking materials are specifically designed to draw moisture away from your skin and promote quick evaporation.

Some quick benefits/examples of moisture-wicking materials:

Efficient Sweat Management: Pickleball’s intense physical activity leads to sweating. Period. Moisture-wicking fabrics, such as Nike Dri-FIT, Adidas Climalite, or Under Armour HeatGear, excel at efficiently pulling sweat away from your skin.

Enhanced Comfort: By wicking away moisture (i.e., sweat), these fabrics keep you feeling dry and comfortable throughout your pickleball matches. They help regulate your body temperature, preventing overheating and the clammy feeling associated with wet clothing. Stay focused on your game and not overheating on the court.

Quick Drying: Moisture-wicking materials have the awesome advantage of drying very quickly once moisture is drawn away from your skin. Think of a super hot and humid day! Quick-drying fabrics ensure that your clothing doesn’t remain wet, heavy, or cling to your body. Just nasty and very uncomfortable.

Hygiene and Odor Control: No one likes a smelly pickleball player. Whether playing singles or doubles, you’ll be close enough to your partner/opponent to it obvious you don’t care about your odious condition. By quickly wicking away sweat, these fabrics help to reduce the buildup of moisture that can promote bacterial growth and unpleasant odors. Do we really need to say more about this?

Examples of household names of pickleball moisture-wicking materials: Nike Dri-FIT, Adidas Climalite, and Under Armour HeatGear.


pickleball clothing - pockets

You may want to consider wearing shorts, pants, or a skirt with pockets to conveniently carry extra pickleballs and other essentials. Pockets offer practicality and save you from constantly reaching for a ball in a separate container.

Considerations for pockets


  • Convenience: Pickleball players can carry an extra ball. Pockets make it convenient, so you do not need to interrupt the game and head to the side and grab a ball.
  • Versatility: Pockets offer versatility and can be used to store various items beyond pickleballs balls. You may want to keep your car keys (most likely not though) or even a small water bottle.


  • Bulkiness: Pickleball clothing with pockets may add some bulk to the pants of shirt. You don’t want anything to impact your freedom of movement on the court. Or worse: discomfort if the items shift or fall out during the game.
  • Balancing Items: It may sound foolish, there may be an uneven weight distribution that may affect your balance and potentially hinder your agility. And further, what if you can’t take your mind off of the object in your pockets and focus on that and not the game?

Stretchy Fabrics

pickleball clothing - stretchy fabrics

Consider loose-fitting outfits that don’t hinder your mobility but avoid overly baggy options. We think comfort is absolutely crucial in pickleball.  Sleeveless tops facilitate a full range of arm motion, while bottoms with adjustable drawstrings may be your best bet for offering a “customized” fit.

Weather Protection

pickleball clothing - weather protection

Chances are you may be tempted (or coerced!) to play pickleball in cold weather conditions. Take no chances and have water-resistant and wind-resistant apparel. This extra layer of protection ensures you can continue playing comfortably regardless of the elements.

Having a water-resistant and wind-resistant jacket on hand at all time can make a significant difference in your comfort and performance. Pack one in the truck of your car and you will always have it on hand.

Weather protection considerations

pickleball heavy rain
  • Rain Protection: A water-resistant jacket will keep you dry when unexpected showers or drizzles occur during your pickleball game. It repels water, preventing it from seeping through the fabric and drenching your clothing. Rather obvious.
  • Wind Blocking: Wind-resistant jackets are designed to provide a shield against chilly winds that can potentially affect your body temperature and make you feel cold. Think of an open pickleball court with no protection around you such as buildings or trees – like being on a lake.
  • Layering Option: A light weather protection jacket can give you the versatility of layering. Layering is crucial whether for cold weather pickleball or rainy weather. You want flexibility to adjust your clothing layers according to the specific weather conditions on the courts.
  • Lightweight and Packable: Listen, this is only pickleball… you’re not packing for a weekend trip. Look for pickleball clothing that is designed to be lightweight and packable, making them easy to carry and pack in you pickleball bag. Find items that you can fold or stuff into a bag real quick.

Cold weather pickleball recommendations:

winter pickleball forecast

Layering: Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, such as a long-sleeved performance shirt, to keep your body dry and regulate temperature. Then, a lightweight mid-layer for insulation and lastly weather-resistant apparel to shield against wind, rain, and snow!

  • Insulated Bottoms: Wear thermal leggings to keep your legs warm. Look for moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials to prevent discomfort caused by sweat accumulation.
  • Headgear and Gloves: Protect your head, ears, and hands from the cold with a beanie or headband and pickleball gloves. Yes, they make cold weather pickleball gloves and they are worth every single penny.
  • Footwear: Choose pickleball shoes with good traction and insulation to keep your feet warm and provide stability on slippery courts. Look for items designed for cold weather or add thermal socks for extra warmth.
  • Accessories: Remember, it’s all about comfort and safety in this case. Wearing a neck gaiter or scarf to protect your neck and face from the cold. Outdoor pickleball courts in the winter may offer no wind protection whatsoever. And also, do not dismiss sunglasses that can shield your eyes from glare.

Recommended Brands and Products

Here are some top brands known for their quality pickleball clothing:


You just cannot go wrong with Nike; they offer a wide range of pickleball apparel that combines style with performance. They have anything you need for any sport or activity. Their Dri-FIT technology makes their shirts and shorts a popular choice among pickleball players. Yes, pricey but you will each item for years.


Adidas makes pickleball clothing designed to enhance comfort and mobility and they have some very eye-catching and trendy items in 2023. They have their own proprietary moisture-wicking materials that are just as good as others but may be a bit cheaper.

Under Armour

Can’t say enough about Under Armour. Personally, we tend to have more cold weather products than warm.  Under Armour’s Heat Guard line is just the best in the world – not sure how it is not bulky, but it gets the job done. Their pickleball tops are colorful and have come along way over the years.


Athleta’s pickleball collection seems to evolve every year and many for the better. Mostly for outdoor play. They have an extremely wide range of colors for the latest “collection” and are tops in sales, despite high prices, every year.

Can you wear leggings to play pickleball?

Sure, you can wear leggings for pickleball. They can be a wise choice for playing pickleball as they are made from breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics (you know by now we love these fabrics). But get leggings specifically designed for sports activities; they now offer them designed for pickleball use but that’s mostly marketing hype.

Choosing the Right Sizes and Fits

When selecting pickleball clothing, it’s crucial to choose sizes and fits that provide both comfort and functionality. Consider the following tips:

Refer to size charts

Consult the brand’s size chart to find the best fit for your body measurements. You would think this is standard across the industry, but you’d be amazed. Some have European sizes which will throw you off completely.

Read the reviews

We love this and apply this to everything we buy whether cars or coffee maker; yes, some may be phony but look for a high star rating and favorable reviews. This should be the first item to look for even before you pick a size for your next pickleball top.

Try it on

If possible, try on the clothing before buying. If ordering online, look for free returns. Zappos has a super user-friendly return policy (please don’t take advantage of it). Do what lots of people do: go to a brick-and-mortar store for a fit then order online… great way to save! Remember, too, that different brands and styles may have varying sizing standards, so trying on the clothing ensures a better fit.

Consider Your Body Type

Take your body type into account when choosing pickleball attire. You know what fits you best – it’s your body and you know it very well at this point. Certain cuts may flatter different body shapes and offer a better fit. We all want to look super on the courts but think about comfort – you’ll be running around in all sorts of directions and want to be sure you won’t burn out because you look better in a dungaree top! You get the point.

Conclusion – Your Takeaways

  • maximize your comfort and performance on the court
  • the best: breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics
  • get top brands like Nike, Adidas, and Athleta
  • read reviews
(FAQ) What to wear playing pickleball

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