The first time you play Padel, you will most likely be in your running or tennis shoes, borrowing or renting a racket from a club or a friend, using some old balls and if you are like most of the “newbies” you will absolutely love it! A couple of games in, and you will most likely decide that it makes sense to get your own equipment.
Players have different preferences when it comes to rackets. Rackets are made in three different shapes, round, teardrop and diamond. Each of these different shapes can be made using different materials, but most of the time, the racket itself is made from Fibreglass or Carbon Fibre and the core of the racket is made with a foam or rubber. For the vast majority of players, they will not notice a major difference in the balance, they might notice a minor difference in the weight, but you will almost certainly will feel a difference between a hard and a soft racket. The softer rackets will be more comfortable to play with and the harder rackets will have more power, but most rackets will combine both of these elements.
The ball looks like a tennis ball, but it is slightly smaller and has about 20% less pressure in it, making it less bouncy. There are a many different brands on the market, some more pressurised than others, making the game faster, so depending on your level, those are the balls that you should be using. The less pressurised for beginners and the more pressurised, faster balls for the more advanced. For the recreational player, you do not necessarily need new balls every time you play, a can of balls should last you a few matches, before they start going flat.
At the beginning you will get away with a hardcourt tennis shoe, but for better grip it is worth looking for a pair of Padel shoes. The only difference between the clay court tennis and the Padel is that the grooves (shaped in zigzags) are often slightly deeper in Padel shoes and they help to disperse the sand on the courts.