What shoe would give me the most support?

A reader asks:

I am an avid pickleball player but I am developing major pain in the balls of my feet from landing after hitting high balls and/or overhead shots. I love ON shoes but they are not giving me the support I need. I have slightly flat, narrow feet with slight pronation. Any suggestions on what shoe would give me the most support while protecting my metatarsal? Not surprisingly, my right foot hurts more than my left because the pronation is worse on that foot. Rosemary


Hi Rosemary,

Thank you for reaching out. It’s nice to know you’re a pickleball player. ON shoes are great shoes, but the company designed them as performance running shoes. So the support they give is more on the forward propulsion with lesser support for lateral movement, especially court sports. Although, ON developed a shoe for running and mixed-sports workouts – the On Cloud X – which may work well with pickleball games. But it’s a neutral shoe with only level 3 cushion, which is not ideal if you have issues with overpronation.

ON’s CloudTec technology delivers a soft landing and an explosive take-off phase. Even though CloudTec prepares you for a smooth take-off, it will make your toes work when pushing off to help get that natural, powerful propulsion. This can create discomfort on your metatarsal now that you suffer pain in that area of the ball of the foot. If you have issues with overpronation and you love ON shoes, you should go for their support shoes: On Cloudstratus, On Cloudflyer, and On Cloudace. But these are running shoes which will give you less support for lateral movements on the court.

The shoes with less support for lateral movement can create an added stress to your foot when moving from side to side. So you will be prone to an overuse injury. With that said, the best shoes for pickleball games are either volleyball shoes or tennis shoes because they have more support for jumping and lateral movement. Here are court shoes with high comfort ratings: Nike Zoom HyperAce 2, ASICS GEL-Rocket 9, ASICS GEL-Dedicate 6, ASICS GEL-Upcourt 3, ASICS GEL-Tactic, and Mizuno Wave Lightning Z6. You may use an orthotic pad for added comfort.

The pain in your metatarsal/ball of the foot should go away after applying conventional treatment which includes resting, icing of the affected area, elevation of foot, change of footwear, etc.

A follow-up

Wow! You are amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to educate me. I very much appreciate the time it took for you to compose this email Lemuel. Extending much gratitude. Rosemary

Our response

You’re welcome, Rosemary. Let us know if you find the perfect one.