Ready To Play Padel? Here’s The Gear You Need, Per Experts

Fitness

So, you spotted everyone having a blast on the padel court this weekend and now you’re itching to join the new “it” sport? Don’t worry, that little voice in your head asking “is it worth it?” is totally normal. But trust me, you’re going to be hooked on this game in no time!

First things first, let’s start with the basics:

  • Racket: You can borrow a padel racket from a friend or rent one at most courts.
  • Court Shoes: Trust, your regular kicks won’t cut it here. Grab yourself a pair of court shoes for maximum grip and agility.
  • Outfit: Shorts, skorts, a tank top, or a t-shirt will do the trick.
  • Balls: Can’t play padel without ’em! 
  • Water bottle: Don’t forget to bring along a water bottle to keep you hydrated. Here’s how to pick the perfect one!

Now that you’re a regular on the court, here’s what the pros recommend:

Their advice? Don’t be overwhelmed by the options! While there are tons of brands out there, focus on finding the right fit and feel for you.

Meet The Experts: Jackie Booth is a top-ranked female Padel player and Sports Director of Africa Padel. Simon Raab is from Padel Gear. Ricky Lewis is the Director of Virgin Active Padel Club

“As one of the few level 2 internationally qualified coaches in SA and top-ranked women’s player with a Playtomic rating of 4.84, I have been fortunate to test a number of padel products on the market,” says Booth. “It is staggering the number of padel brands that have flooded the market over the past three years. As players become more discerning and knowledgeable about the various shapes, weights, soles and bounce of the rackets, footwear and balls, in my opinion, there are a few top contenders, some mirroring the international market leaders who have been playing this game for many more years.”

“In the world of Padel, equipment tailored specifically for women isn’t just about style, it’s about maximising performance and safeguarding your health on the court,” says Simon Raab from Padel Gear SA.

Padel Rackets 

There are different types of padel rackets designed to suit various playing styles and skill levels. Beginners typically benefit from rackets with a larger sweet spot and a balance of power and control. Intermediate and advanced players might prefer rackets with more control or power, depending on their playing style.

First Buy

“Weight, shape and materials used such as carbon or fibreglass as well as price will be the determining factors for padel players who decide to purchase their own racket,” says Booth.

Weight

“New players need to be cautious buying a racket that is too heavy.  Incorrect technique coupled with a heavy racket can quickly result in an injury such as tennis elbow!  Women should stick to a weight range between 345 – 360 grams.  Beginners should also stick to either a round or teardrop shape head as these are more forgiving compared to the diamond shape which is better suited to expert players, as they are able to make consistent contact with the ball higher up on the racket face,” advises Booth.

Material

“Fibreglass has a soft feel but lacks power and durability. So, in my opinion, as a beginner, rather invest in a carbon racket.  Carbon provides more power and is also far more durable so the extra investment may save you in the long run,” recommends Booth. 

PLAY TWO drop racket padel gear

PLAY TWO Drop Racket

A signature choice for intermediate players seeking innovation. Crafted in Sweden, its custom heart minimises vibration, while a 7° racket shape maximises the sweet spot. It’s also got sharp edges for aerial control, a sand finish for spin and a 100% carbon frame for powerful hits.

padel gear adidas DRIVE Light 3.3

adidas DRIVE Light 3.3

“This racket is designed for players who appreciate a few grams less in their hand. This condition facilitates handling and lightens the arm, especially for less powerful players. It is, therefore, a very interesting option for beginner-level players.”

– Ricky Lewis, Virgin Active Padel Club

Bullpadel Flow Light 2024

Bullpadel Flow Light 2024

“A light racket in beautiful colours, with a large sweet spot and very forgiving. World’s No. 1 selling Padel brand.”

– Simon Read, Padel Gear

Bullpadel Elite 24

Bullpadel Elite 24

“My 2024 top choice for a women’s racket overall for all levels: It’s worth the investment!”

– Jackie Booth, Africa Padel

adidas Metalbone Team Light 3.3

adidas Metalbone Team Light 3.3

“This racket is designed for intermediate-level players who opt for fewer grams on their arm to achieve maximum performance.”

– Ricky Lewis, Virgin Active Padel Club

Black Crown Hurricane 2.0 padel gear

Black Crown Hurricane 2.0

“A round-shaped racket, very forgiving, with excellent control and plenty of power.”

– Simon Read, Padel Gear

READ MORE: How To Relax Sore, Tired Muscles With Easy DIY Trigger Point Therapy

Court Shoes

Proper footwear is crucial for maintaining stability, agility and traction on the padel court. Padel-specific shoes offer features like durable outsoles with herringbone or omnidirectional patterns for grip, cushioning for comfort and lateral support to prevent ankle injuries.

bullpadel elite 2024

Bullpadel Elite 2024 

“I have seen many rolled ankles and skinned knees due to incorrect footwear.  Padel shoes provide good grip and stability with lateral and linear movements required during a point. Comfort is key and I like a little extra cushion in the heel as I am on my feet for many hours of the day.”

– Jackie Booth, Africa Padel

adidas CourtJam Control 3 Shoes padel gear

adidas CourtJam Control 3 Shoes

“Their flexible Bounce midsole will keep you on your toes while the Torsion System helps you translate instinct into quick cuts and slides.”

– Ricky Lewis, Virgin Active Padel Club

Bullpadel Next Pro White

Bullpadel Next Pro White

“Style with technical ability and design.” 

– Simon Read, Padel Gear

JOMA T Open White

JOMA T Open White

“Excellent support and a great grip on the court.”

– Simon Read, Padel Gear

Balls

Padel balls are specifically designed for the sport, typically featuring a lower bounce than tennis balls. They’re made of rubber and come in various colours (usually yellow or white) to enhance visibility on the court. Make sure to have a sufficient number of balls for your practice sessions or matches.

Bullpadel Next Pro FIP Balls

Bullpadel Next Pro FIP Balls

“A ball that is durable, keeps its firmness and provides a consistent bounce can only be a great quality ball.  This ball is designed for tournaments and due to its long life capability is also the perfect coaching ball all at a very reasonable price.”

– Jackie Booth, Africa Padel

padel gear adidas Balls Speed Rx

adidas Balls Speed Rx

“Speed Rx is the best ball for beginner to intermediate. It stands out for its great durability and extra bounce.”

– Ricky Lewis, Virgin Active Padel Club

black crown pro padel balls

Black Crown Pro Padel Balls

“Perfectly bouncy Padel balls are essential for every game. Why not try these Padel balls, made from high-quality materials to ensure excellent durability and long-lasting bounce?”

– Simon Read, Padel Gear

Wilson padel balls

Wilson Padel Balls

Engineered for optimal consistency, durability and playability, these balls feature Dura-Weave felt for reliable performance on faster court surfaces.

More On Padel:

Chamain is the Online Editor of Women’s Health. Explorer by heart, a creative thinker by day and a coffee addict, always. My hobbies include hiking, drawing, painting, photography, cooking and *recently* running.

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