The Skechers Viper Court Pro is one of the newest dedicated pickleball shoes on the market and also takes input from the brand’s signature athletes in a way not seen before in the sport. Worn and marketed by top-ranked pros Tyson McGuffin and Catherine Parenteau, the Skechers Viper Court Pro becomes the first pickleball shoe to receive a full WearTesters performance review.
The Skechers Viper Court Pro utilizes a Goodyear rubber outsole patterned in a thick herringbone that holds up well (both in wear and performance) even after months of playing on gritty pickleball surfaces. For comparison, most basketball shoes I have played with on dedicated pickleball courts show significant signs of wear after only a week or two, to the point I need to give them a break and move on to something else.
Not only is the Goodyear rubber ultra-reliable when it comes to durability, thanks to input from pickleball pros the rubber was reformulated prior to hitting the market to allow more advanced players the ability to slide into shots without grinding down the rubber any more than normal.
Materials are also a plus in the durability department. The ripstop upper maintains side-to-side support while resisting damage and includes rubberized reinforcements around the toe and medial side of the forefoot for protection against foot drags during intense dinking rallies. Playing in a shoe made to last in the sport has been eye-opening, and it’s hard to see myself go back to anything not made for pickleball like the Skechers Viper Court Pro.
The usual necessities for support are present in the Skechers Viper Court Pro — an internal heel counter, TPU midfoot shank, strong materials along the upper, an aggressive outrigger, and an adjustable fit. Skechers takes things a bit further with the Archfit system.
Though Archfit seems like nothing more than a simple EVA insole, it does work as advertised. Along the arch of the insole are cored-out holes almost acting in the reverse of pillars. The rest of the insole along with this area molds to the foot, providing just enough support around the arch without sacrificing comfort. This in tandem with the midfoot shank works perfectly for both a secure and comfortable experience.
Another staple of the Skechers brand is the relaxed fit upper which allows just enough wiggle room in the toe box to splay on quick bursts forward to the kitchen line. Though some may prefer no wiggle-room up front, the Skechers Viper Court Pro works because the fit is near one-to-one throughout the rest of the shoe, so unnecessary movement within the shoe is rare to nonexistent.
In addition to the Relaxed Fit upper remaining true to size, the Viper Court Pro is also available in wide options, so wide footers will have an option even if the Relaxed Fit upper in standard width is not enough.
It has really been hard to find a true downside to this shoe on the pickleball court but if I had to nitpick, it would be the midsole. Though this is one of, if not the lightest pickleball shoes on the market, one could argue the denser foam compound makes the shoe somewhat bottom-heavy.
In addition, impact protection is somewhat lacking. Although it isn’t as much of a necessity in pickleball as it is in other sports, a little bit more of a protective feel would be nice.
Most of the comfort comes from the Archfit insole in areas it does not mold/bottom out. If you happen to look for bounce underfoot this is not a shoe for you. However, it will work for those that love a stable, but reasonably responsive feel.
Skechers Viper Court Pro Summary
The Skechers Viper Court Pro is most certainly a bar-setter when it comes to pickleball shoes. A below-average weight shoe with plenty of durability no matter the surface is tough to beat. At a retail price of $115, the Viper Court Pro is a great value and one that I personally wouldn’t mind owning multiple pairs of — although the one seems it will last quite a bit. Look out for this shoe to show up on more feet at your local place to play as the sport continues to grow.