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7 Different Types of Pickleball Skirts for Women

Female pickleball player on an outdoor court.

I’ve never worn a skirt to play tennis, badminton, or any other racquet sport. My thing is baseball, and for that, you don’t need a skirt. I can see the benefits of tennis skirts with shorts underneath, though.

Today’s pickleball skirts have pockets for your phone or your asthma inhaler, for instance, which is a great benefit. Why do women wear these skirts? What is it about them that catches the imagination?

Inquiring minds might not have thought about pickleball skirts, so let’s take a look at them.

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In any racquet sport, you have to bend, stretch, turn, twist, and otherwise make sure you can reach the ball to return it. That requires a garment that bends and twists with you. It wouldn’t hurt if the garment breathes, is comfortable, and is functional.

Looking good is in the picture, too. Some things to look for in a pickleball skirt are:

  • Coverage: Do you want to just cover the basics, or do you want the skirt to go to the knee? Would you prefer a short or legging beneath the pickleball skirt?
  • Length: The legs need to move in pickleball, so the skirt shouldn’t interfere with that. Thus, you’ll want to choose a skirt that’s somewhat shorter or you could go for a mid-thigh or even knee-length skirt.
  • Cut: Are you the straight-up kind of girl or the A-line type? Do you prefer ruffles, pleats, or layers? There are also full skirts to consider or not-so-full.
  • Fabric: Today’s textiles wick moisture away from the body, breathe, and protect from UV rays. Some skirts even use sustainable plants like bamboo.
  • Design: Do you like patterns, tie-dye, wild colors, or solids?
  • Features: Does your waistband wander south, so you pull your drawstrings tight? Would you prefer chafe-less materials? How about pockets for your phone?

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A pickleball skirt can be worn to play tennis or golf. A golf skirt can be worn to play pickleball. Sports skirts are made for people who move.

The garments breathe. Many are pleated to facilitate that movement, because golf skirts are, for the most part, straight. Golf skirts cover the female form down to about mid-thigh.

Pickleball skirts cover a woman, sometimes down to the bottom of the panty-line, sometimes a little longer. Pickleball skirts and golf skirts are interchangeable, and many women wear them, not for sport, but for comfort and style. I bring this up because, especially in women’s sports, the outfit a woman wears frequently doubles between games.

For example, lots of women wear tennis apparel to play pickleball. They then go right from the badminton court to the links wearing similar clothing. Women have been seen wearing straight golfing skirts with shorts beneath to go biking.

They wear pleated tennis skirts to go running. They take the kids to school, to the park, and to soccer practice wearing these comfortable skirts. There’s no mystery as to why they’re so popular.

Understood. What Are The Types Of Pickleball Skirts?

There’s a difference between “type” and “style,” and we’re going to cover both. A type is like a car you drive: it might be a sedan, sports car, or coupe. The style of the car you drive would be if the car used scoops and spoilers or had both a soft top as well as a hard top (Cadillac’s Allante comes to mind.)

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Are There Many Types Of Pickleball Skirts?

There are only three types of pickleball skirts: a whole dress, a skirt, and shorts or leggings. Some pickleball skirts combine shorts or leggings with a skirt. Whole pickleball dresses come with shorts or without.

Which type you buy depends on how much you want the crowd to see.

Makes Sense. What About Pickleball Dresses?

It might irritate a lot of women (it would certainly irritate me) if their shirt or top rode up every time they raised their arm to return a volley or a ball. The pickleball dress was made for women who want to keep it all together. These dresses come in different cuts and feature tank tops or T-shirt tops as well as pleated or straight bottoms.

Pickleball Skirts Are What You Usually See

Yes, they are, and they even come in different styles. Most are quite short and come in A-line, straight, full-cut, or ruffled. Some pickleball skirts have shorts beneath the skirt while others have capris or leggings.

Do Shorts And Leggings Go Under Types Of Pickleball Skirts?

They do because any sport can be played in shorts or leggings. Since they’re incorporated into skirts and dresses, why not wear them separately? The goal is to move without being held back by your clothing, and shorts and leggings certainly do manage that.

What Are The Styles Of Pickleball Skirts? Would I Know The Style If I Took A Skirt Off The Rack?

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1. The A-Line Pickleball Skirt

Yes. A-line skirts look just like they sound. The waist of the skirt forms the top of the “a” with the bottom of the skirt flaring out to form the bottom of the letter. Pickleball players choose this type of skirt for the fullness around the legs.

The lower part of the “a” means that the legs can stretch, turn, jump, and otherwise move about. The player chooses the A-line cut for just that purpose. A-line pickleball skirts flatter any physique and are the most popular in sporting skirts.

The A-line flares out at the bottom, making room for the legs to bounce around the court. It’s generally made from moisture-wicking fabric, most use shorts beneath, and has pockets. In my research, I didn’t find any disadvantages to the A-line cut pickleball skirt.

Go get ‘em, ladies!

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2. The Straight Pickleball Skirt

A straight style skirt is more commonly used in golf, but as I wrote above, women frequently move between sports wearing the same style of skirt. Most straight-cut skirts have slits on both sides of the skirt to facilitate movement, so it’s perfectly fine to wear a golfing skirt to play pickleball. Pickleball players choose the straight-cut skirt if they’re smaller than any clothing being made out there.

Ladies in this situation can always buy a straight skirt and have a tailor take in the skirt at the waist and wherever else it needs to be taken up. Sporting skirts are made for movement, and straight skirts hamper that to some degree. One of the advantages of wearing straight skirts to play pickleball is that they don’t ride up and down the body as other styles of skirts do.

The only disadvantage of straight-cut pickleball skirts is the restriction some players will feel wearing them. The slit in straight-cut skirts might help somewhat. Most skirts, whatever their style, wick moisture and contain pockets for players’ things.

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3. The Full Pickleball Skirt

Some would call this “pleated,” but pleated skirts are actually sewn in pleats. A full-cut skirt is cut wider than ordinary and bells out prettily when a woman twirls around. When speed, agility, and abrupt changes of direction matter, the full-cut pickleball skirt is what you want.

As with other pickleball skirts, the fabric wicks moisture and usually contains pockets. There aren’t really any disadvantages to full-cut skirts.

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4. The Pleated Pickleball Skirt

I tried to sew pleats into a dress once, and I’ll never do it again. That’s the hardest thing to sew I ever ran across. Pleats in a pickleball skirt help the legs to move and they look pretty.

As with full-cut pickleball skirts, pleats help the legs to change direction at full speed or to stop dead in the tracks. The fabric usually wicks away moisture and has pockets for the players’ things. There aren’t really any disadvantages to wearing pleated sports skirts.

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5. The Ruffled Pickleball Skirt

Ruffles on a woman’s garment are designed for both aesthetics as well as for movement. In an ordinary dress, ruffles make layers under which the legs have space to move. Picture an old-fashioned turn-of-the-century ball gown.

It’s the same principle as a pickleball skirt. The ruffled pickleball skirt is mainly for looks rather than performance. The skirt will be cut wide enough for movement, but the ruffles don’t really enhance that.

This might be the only disadvantage of ruffled sports skirts.

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6. The Skirt Pickleball Skirt

I’ve written above how pickleball skirts are paired with shorts to make a skirt. This protects the modesty of the player as well as giving the player pockets into which to put her phone, her medicine, or whatever she might need on the court. The pros are obvious.

If you’re going to play a sport, you’ll need garments that allow free movement and coverage without hampering the movement. Shorts accomplish that. About the only con of shorts beneath pickleball skirts is that sometimes compression shorts can be a bit tight and thus uncomfortable.

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7. The Capri Or Legging Pickleball Skirt

Wearing long pants to play a sport is up to the player, of course, and, thankfully, someone thought of making them. Pickleball skirts with leggings or capris are available for the player needing a little protection from the breeze, or just because they’re comfy. Long pants and capris are worn in many sports.

I’ve always wondered why football and baseball use capri-length pants while golf uses long pants, but there you go. Any sport can be played in capris or long pants or leggings. The pros are that they’re comfortable, facilitate movement and speed, as well as allowing the player to change direction.

I didn’t find any cons in my research.

Is There A History Of Sporting Skirts?

You bet. Ladies playing croquet in the late 1800s were forced to wear the corseted, toe-length dresses popular at the time. When tennis came along in 1885, a young girl named Charlotte Dod wore a school uniform to play. The judges thought she had an unfair advantage due to not wearing a corset, but it started the movement for comfortable clothing for women playing sports.

As the 20th century came in, ladies dressed in white (to symbolize purity) from nose to toes, with long sleeves, and floppy white hats. Of course, at that time, tennis was seen more as a way for men and women to court rather than a competitive sport. That happened in 1920 at Wimbledon.

The French tennis sensation Suzanne Leglen competed wearing a calf-length (gasp!) white dress with long sleeves and a scoop neck. She wore white stockings and a white band around her forehead, so she was fully covered, but the scoop neck and length of the skirt caused some consternation in the crowd. As the 20th century wore on, the skirts on playing dresses got shorter, blouses showed more skin, and corsets went out of style.

Tennis shorts and polo-type blouses entered the picture in the 1950s, with the tennis dress we recognize and wear today becoming more refined from the 1960s on up to today.

Types Of Pickleball Skirts FAQs

Do You Have To Wear A Pickleball Skirt To Play The Game?

Not at all. You can wear anything to play, from sweatpants to leggings, from shorts to capris, as well as dresses and skirts in all their manifestations.

What Should Be Worn To Play Pickleball In Cooler Weather?

Pants of some type are the typical cool-weather wear so you can stay warm. However, it would be a good idea to wear shorts under the pants in case you get overheated.

How Should A Pickleball Skirt Be Chosen?

The length of the skirt is measured from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the hem on the back side of the skirt. Typically, if your fingertips are at the bottom of the hem, the skirt is just right for you.

What Makes A Pickleball Skirt A Pickleball Skirt?

The attached shorts. These provide extra coverage and comfort for the player. Some golf skirts have built-in shorts, but there are those that don’t.

It’s up to the player if she wants shorts.

Which Fabric Is Best Suited For Pickleball Skirts?

Most sporting clothing is made of a polyester/spandex mix. This textile breathes, wicks moisture, and holds up under repeated launderings.

Why Are Pickleball Skirts Popular?

Pickleball skirts can be worn for almost any occasion, be it sports, lounging, or as a fun outfit to wear anywhere. Pickleball skirts go to the grocery store, the kids’ soccer game, or for coffee with the girls.

How Much Fabric Is Required For A Pickleball Skirt?

This is a fuller skirt than a regular pickleball skirt, so you’ll need enough fabric to gather the pleats, pin them down, and sew them. You’ll need around two yards of fabric for this type of pickleball skirt.

Can Pickleball Skirts Be Worn To Work Out?

Absolutely. Most of us wear shorts to exercise, so a pickleball skirt fits right in at the gym. Pickleball skirts at the gym are trending now, so pack a pickleball skirt in your gym bag today.