Touchmark at the Ranch Pickleball Club

Equipment Suggestions

by Ray DeCosta

Below is a brief summary of my personal experiences when I purchased some pickleball items. These items may or may not be suitable for you depending on your personal preferences.


You will want a good pair of COURT shoes (you'll also find them listed as tennis shoes) and for outdoor courts if you run into that classification. NEVER get running shoes - they won't let you side-step properly and you may end up in the ER. Needless to say we don't need that.

There are tons of "best shoe" websites out there and rest assured that none of the local sporting goods stores will have any of the recommended shoes. With some reluctance, I ordered mine online and was pleasantly surprised at the result. If you know your size for the specific manufacturer's shoe, you're well on your way to a good online purchase experience. If you don't know your size for a particular manufacturer, you can always go to a shoe store, try on a few Adidas, Nike or whatever brand shoes and find out what it is. You should be aware that for whatever shoes you buy if you are going to use any new inserts, you should allow another half-size to accommodate them.

I have settled on the Adidas Barricade Boost 2017 as the shoe that I really like. They have supposedly "improved" it slightly for the 2018 version if the 2017 is no longer available. It wears very well on the rough pickleball court. It is not a high-top shop which some people think protects your ankle at the expense of sending any possible injury to your knee. That's also something we don't need.

If you do get interested in the Adidas Barricade Boost 2017 or more likely the 2018 version, I suggest that you make sure to look for BOTH TERMS Barricade and Boost. There is a Barricade-only version which does not have the additional Boost "technology" which may or may not make a difference in the real world. But it does make me feel better about my shoes and that's important too.

For whatever shoe you get I also suggest tossing the factory inserts and putting in a pair of Spenco CrossTrainer inserts. They are reasonably priced ($15-20) and are highly recommended for plantar fasciitis mitigation and I can attest to their effectiveness and durability.

Amazon link to Spenco CrossTrainer inserts

If necessary, click the down arrow over on the right where sizes are listed to view the appropriate men's or women's sizes.


I currently use both the Onix Z5 Graphite (about $75 at Amazon) and the Selkirk S2 Midweight Amped (about $130 at Amazon). The Z5 is an excellent paddle to start with and perhaps keep as your only paddle. The S2 is also a great paddle and I use it almost all the time but it took me quite a while to learn to control it. When I get frustrated in a game I will switch back to the Z5 and doing so makes me feel that I can play better with it for a while and then I switch back to the S2. Is one REALLY any better than the other? I don't know the answer to that burning question.

My suggestions: If you're a beginner, start with the Onix Z5 Graphite version (the Composite version is a bit heavier). It will serve you well for the foreseeable future. If you want to "go pro" (not really needed but it might make you FEEL better and therefore PLAY better) get the Selkirk S2 in the LIGHTWEIGHT version (about half an ounce lighter than the Midweight version that I use). As I mentioned above, for a while it's a harder-than-I-thought-to-play-with paddle. Please note that there are several different versions of the S2 and you might want to look for the Selkirk S2 Amped LIGHTWEIGHT version.

Jason at the HFC will occasionally have a supplier visit from Flagstaff and he will bring dozens of paddles for you to try out and buy if you find one that just feels right for you. I will publicize this event to the pickleball group as soon as I hear about it.

You are welcome to check out my paddles when we're on the courts. You should know that both of my paddles will be heavier than the ones you would be buying. This extra weight will tire your hand after an hour of playing. An old hand injury prevents me from gripping the stock handle properly and I have built up the grips with about an extra half-ounce of tape. The result is that both my Z5 and S2 will be heavier than the stock paddles. In addition, the grip on both of my paddles will likely be too large for your continued comfort.

Interesting article on various Selkirk paddles

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