Pickleball clothing: What *not* to wear

There are some very specific rules on clothing when playing pickleball.

Jaclyn Brandt

pickleball gear


March 28, 2024

There are very specific rules on clothing when playing pickleball. Here are some tips on what not to wear in pickleball.



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When learning to play pickleball, you will become inundated with ads for all kinds of pickleball clothing. It’s tempting to look the part, but there are things you are not allowed to wear. Here are some tips on what not to wear in pickleball:

USA Pickleball’s official pickleball clothing rules

USA Pickleball regulates pickleball clothing you can wear (and pickleball clothing you can not wear), under rule 2.G.

Safety and Distraction

USA Pickleball’s safety and distraction rule (2.G.1) says that any player may be required to change any clothing that is “inappropriate.” This includes clothing that is the same color of the ball.


USA Pickleball’s clothing rule about depictions (2.G.2) says that any “graphics, insignias, pictures, and writing on apparel must be in good taste.” 


USA Pickleball’s footwear rule (2.G.3) says that your shoes must have soles that are not going to mark or damage the court’s playing surface.

As with all clothing, they must not be the same color as the ball.


The clothing rules apply to both tournament and non-tournament play. However, during tournaments, USA Pickleball has specific rules (2.G.4):

The Tournament Director has the authority to enforce apparel changes. If the Tournament Director enforces an apparel change, it will be a nonchargeable time-out. If the player refuses to comply with the apparel rules, the Tournament Director may declare a forfeit of the match.

What not to wear in pickleball

The above rules are for official pickleball play, including games and tournaments regulated by USA Pickleball. If you are playing a rec league, you should keep these as guidelines but not hard and fast rules. Some examples:

  • Although no one will likely say anything, you should still not wear any bright yellow/green clothing (the same color as a pickleball ball).

  • You will not have to necessarily follow the “Depictions” rule, but you should use your judgment to not make anyone uncomfortable with your clothing.

  • Use your judgment on footwear — you will still want to wear shoes that do not damage the court you are playing on.

USA Pickleball’s clothing rules have to do mostly with not affecting your teammate or opponent, but you will also learn that your playing style will affect what you wear: If you feel weighed down by baggy clothing, constricted by tight clothing, or anything in between. As you start playing more, you will also find what pickleball gear works for you and what doesn’t.