The craziest thing about pickleball? It’s not that it’s the fastest growing sport in America—with almost 5 million people now playing, two professional annual tournaments, and an emerging breed of pickleball resorts. The craziest thing about pickleball is that we’re all just now discovering this sport, which has been around since the 1960s, when a couple of dads invented it to keep their families entertained on the weekend.
Falling in love with pickleball now, after all these years, is a lot like the well-worn plot of a romantic comedy where the protagonist finally recognizes his best friend for who she/he really is. Who knows why it took us nearly 60 years to fall in love with pickleball, the important thing is that we do love the sport—because pickleball is fun. Imagine if tennis and ping pong had a baby, and then that baby was raised by badminton. That’s pickleball. We don’t think anybody should be left out of that fun, so we found the best pickleball gear on the market so you can jump head first into this burgeoning sport and look good doing it. Here are our favorite pickleball picks, from the shoes on your feet to the ball you strike.
1. Recess Zuma Paddle
Your pickleball paddle is more than just a tool. It’s an accessory that speaks volumes about your personal style. The Zuma is beautiful, with a leather-wrapped handle and understated, but whimsical, flora print. And this beauty performs, too; the composite paddle has a honeycomb polypropylene core wrapped in a fiberglass surface that’s given a sanded texture to help increase ball spin and control. It comes with a canvas case.
[$86; recesspickleball.com]Get it
2. Nettie Ashbury Pickleball Paddle
Arguably the most important piece of equipment in the game is the paddle. The Ashbury from Nettie is built on a lightweight polymer honeycomb core with a 13mm thickness that will make your shots pop, and it’s designed for players of all ages. An octagonal grip and 5-inch handle should elevate your backhand game and help drop dinks all day long.
[$80; playnettie.com]Get it
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