A few days ago, we have written an article about best Men’s tennis shoes, today we are going to talk about wrestling shoes.
The sport of wrestling dates back to antiquity, and has roots in many different cultures around the world. It was most famously practiced by the Ancient Greeks, and thus has been a staple of the Olympic Games ever since.
Over the centuries, many aspects of amateur wrestling have evolved and adapted to new values and technologies. This includes rule changes to make the sport more spectator-friendly, more scientific training regimens to produce more dynamic athletes, and the shift from barefoot wrestling to the standard uniform of a singlet and proper wrestling shoes seen today.
Despite the many changes wrestling has undergone, one defining feature of the sport has endured: simplicity.
The spirit of wrestling is a pure athletic contest to see which competitor can control the other using only his or her body. As such, the only required equipment is a singlet, possibly headgear, and wrestling shoes.
These shoes have the greatest impact on wrestling, as they affect how quickly an athlete can shoot in for take-downs, how balanced the athlete will be when defending, and how protected the wrestler’s ankles will be. Wrestling shoes are therefore the single most important piece of equipment for a wrestler.
What are Wrestling Shoes?
Wrestling shoes are specifically engineered with wrestling in mind. The rubber soles are designed primarily to provide traction on areas of the foot typically used for explosive motions such as shooting forwards, pivoting, and circling.
Ankle support is critical for a wrestler, so these shoes offer a fairly rigid high-top design to protect the ankle when pressure is applied from unorthodox angles. However, the sole and body must also be flexible to allow for great speed and maneuverability. Synthetic materials are often used to allow the shoe to breathe throughout practices and competitions while remaining light.
In addition to all these factors, wrestling shoes must have a well-designed stitching pattern in order to survive grueling training sessions and tournaments. The best wrestling shoes are able to maintain their snug fit and ankle support throughout the season.
Wrestling shoes are so well-designed that they are popular in other sports. The snug fit, high ankle support, and rubber soles make them often the shoe of choice for weightlifters and boxers. The technology of the wrestling shoe appeals to any sport which makes requires great mobility and balance.
In short, the wrestling shoe is a piece of equipment that balances traction, sturdiness, flexibility, and mobility. The technology used to produce a high quality shoe is incredible, and is testament to the importance of these shoes for athletes. A good wrestling shoe provides more than comfort; it protects the athlete and improves performance while remaining as close to the bare foot as possible.
The Different Types of Wrestling Shoes
There is great variety to choose from when it comes to wrestling shoes. Each design offers a unique blend of style, support, and traction. The first main difference to consider is a full sole compared to a split sole. Full sole shoes have a single layer of soft rubber to provide consistent traction along the foot. Split sole shoes employ the same rubber on the ball of the foot and the heel, but this rubber is separated by a layer of fabric. Split sole shoes are generally favored by elite competitors who value the added flexibility.
The body material is also a distinguishing feature. Many shoes offer synthetic materials, suede, leather, or a combination to provide snug comfort. There is almost always a mesh design to allow the wrestler’s foot to breathe. Wrestling shoes can be softer or more rigid depending on the blend of fabric used.
There are two main brands in the world of wrestling shoes: ASICS and Adidas. Each of these brands offers different styles of shoes, which will appeal to wrestlers differently depending on body type, objectives, and personal preference.
Advantages of Using Wrestling Shoes
Most of the main benefits of wrestling shoes have been discussed already. They offer superior grip and support on the mat, while keeping the wrestler’s feet cool. Wrestling shoes offer by far the best combination of support, traction, and flexibility. This makes wrestling shoes necessary for the highest level of performance.
Further, wrestling shoes comply with regulations. Pockets for shoelaces are usually built-in, meaning wrestlers need not tape their laces. In this way, they provide peace of mind for the wrestler, who is able to focus on technique and preparation.
A good pair of wrestling shoes will give the wrestler confidence in his or her speed, control, and support. It will allow athletes to prepare properly in practice, and perform at their best in competition.
Top 10 Wrestling Shoes
10) ASICS Matflex 5 – Dependable and Practical
The ASICS Matflex 5 is an excellent beginner shoe, or a great choice to wear in practices. It offers a full length rubber sole for great traction on the mat and a pocket for laces to be safely stored. Most importantly, these shoes are known for their durability.
While not the best shoe for elite competitors, the Matflex 5 is an excellent option for the practice room or beginner wrestler. It will last the whole season, and provide good support and traction.
9) Adidas Combat Speed 4 – Unique Fit
The Combat Speed 4 is a unique shoe that is loved by wrestlers who prefer a snug fit to their shoe. This shoe has a sock-like fit, with a single layer mesh body that wraps snugly around the foot and ankle. It provides a light, flexible feel that is closer to a bare foot than just about any other shoe. It uses a split suede sole for high level performance. There are also a wide variety of colors to choose from, so wrestlers of all personalities will enjoy this shoe.
The Combat Speed 4 does not employ the highest level of technology, what it lacks in support it makes up for in its unique fit and split sole. It is a great choice for the intermediate wrestler, or any athlete who seeks a snug shoe.
8) ASICS JB Elite – Competition Design
Designed with and named after one of the most popular and successful wrestlers on the international scene today, Jordan Burroughs, this is a great shoe for competitors. It features a signature flamboyant look (you can even purchase these shoes in gold!) and offers some benefits for the hard working wrestler. Strategically placed mesh allows the shoe to breathe, while the split sole design is flexible and provides traction where it is needed.
Another shoe great for intermediate to high level wrestlers, this is a shoe designed with competition in mind. It does not have the most snug fit, but its split sole design and unique look make it very popular with wrestlers.
7) Adidas HVC – Great for Speed
A great lightweight shoe made with synthetic leather and suede, the HVC is a fan-favorite for wrestlers who prefer Adidas to ASICS. Employing a flatter, full length rubber sole, this shoe offers plenty of grip on the mat. Its mesh upper keeps the foot cool, and it comes equipped with a convenient elastic strap to keep laces tucked away.
This is a great shoe for those who prefer the full sole, and its light weight makes it an excellent shoe for wrestlers who value speed. It does not offer the greatest flexibility, but for Adidas fans, it is a go-to shoe.
6) ASICS Omniflex-Attack – Performance and Comfort
The Omniflex-Attack is a product for the elite level competitor. These shoes feature a striking look, and unique “bootie” design. They are flexible, comfortable, and very snug. The sole is intelligently designed to provide traction in wrestling-specific areas. It is perhaps the most technologically advanced shoe on the market.
This shoe is built for competition, so it won’t survive if it is used every day in practice. The snug design and deliberate placement of rubber on the sole make it ideal for elite competitors who value mobility. It is perfect for wrestlers looking for a pair of shoes to reserve for tournaments.
5) ASICS Dan Gable Ultimate 3 – Flexibility, Support, and Grip
A shoe named after arguably the greatest American wrestler ever, the Dan Gable Ultimate 3 is another shoe designed for experienced wrestlers. It is light, snug, and flexible. The upper ankle portion has been redesigned and now offers improved support, while the rubber sole ensures great grip.
This extremely popular shoe is a more durable option for the seasoned wrestler. It emphasizes ankle support, flexibility, and a snug fit. It is an excellent option for competitors who want to have confidence in the safety and support of their feet while wrestling.
4) ASICS Dave Schultz Classic – Reliability
Named after yet another American great, the Dave Schultz Classic is a throwback to an older style. What makes this shoe stand out is the 360-degree outsole stitching, which ensures great durability to last through a tough season. The high-top design features ultrasuede, which makes this shoe comfortable and attractive.
This is a classic, no-nonsense wrestling shoe for the experienced competitor. It does not feature some of the more advanced technology seen in other shoes, but for wrestlers who value a comfortable, dependable shoe, this is the shoe to have.
3) Adidas Adizero XIV – Performance and Support
A shoe designed specifically with performance in mind, the Adizero XIV is an intelligent, well-designed shoe for elite wrestlers. Featuring a synthetic mesh upper and high ankle support, it protects the ankle while allowing the foot to stay cool. Its snug fit allows for great mobility, and its suede outsole employs rubber traction points designed to give wrestlers superior traction in needed areas.
This is simply an excellent shoe for competitive wrestlers. Its design balances performance, safety, and comfort. It is a must-have for fans of Adidas wrestling shoes who are serious about competing at a high level.
2) ASICS Split Second 9 – Versatility, Durability, and Quality
This shoe has been a staple of the wrestling shoe industry since its arrival. It is perfect for both competition and training, which makes it a versatile option for wrestlers who do not want to buy separate pairs for tournaments and practices. With a synthetic split sole and mesh design, these shoes offer excellent traction and allow the feet to breathe. These shoes are sturdy and dependable, which also makes them a popular choice among weightlifters and boxers.
A versatile, well-designed shoe, the Split Second 9 is never a bad choice. It has a proven record of success with both elite and novice wrestlers, as well as athletes in other sports. If reliability and performance matter, the Split Second 9 is a can’t miss.
1) ASICS Aggressor 2 – Ultimate Performance
This shoe is ideal for maximizing performance. The rubber sole raises up on the sides of the shoe, which maintains grip for drive and balance in bad situations. It has a tight, comfortable fit with an ankle wrap enclosure. Despite its performance-driven design, the Aggressor 2 is known for its durability. It is an elite shoe for the elite wrestler.
The Aggressor 2 is the ultimate shoe for wrestlers who want to maximize performance. It is designed to provide excellent traction and support even in precarious positions. Its most attractive feature, however, is its durability. This is a high level shoe that will ensure you perform at your best from the first to the last day of the season.
Considerations for Purchasing Wrestling Shoes
Your objectives in wrestling will determine which sole is best for you. If you value elite performance in competition, a split sole will typically suit you best, because it combines traction with flexibility. The JB Elite is designed with a split sole because it is a competition shoe. For wrestlers seeking more traction, a full sole is preferable, as seen in the Adidas HVC. Some shoes also offer unique sole designs, such as the Omniflex-Attack. These can be worth looking into if you have specific needs for traction to accent your wrestling style.
In order to have a successful wrestling season, you cannot afford to be injured in practice. Upper ankle support is crucial in this regard. Many wrestlers gravitate towards the traditional support structure as seen in the Dave Schultz classic, with a high ankle that is more rigid than the rest of the shoe. Some wrestlers will prefer a less rigid fit, like the sock-fit of the Adidas Combat Speed 4.
The best shoe for you will depend on your preference. Most wrestling shoes are designed to fit snug to maximize speed and mobility, like the Omniflex-Attack. For wrestlers with wider feet, this can be an issue. Some designs cater better to wide feet, like the Split Second 9. Having a shoe that is comfortable is important to keep wrestlers at ease and ready to perform.
The ultimate variable in selecting a wrestling shoe is what the wrestler hopes to achieve. For beginners, the emphasis should be on a durable shoe with great ankle support like the Matflex 5. More experienced wrestlers can opt for performance-driven shoes like the Adizero XIV. Many wrestlers buy a pair for practices and a pair for competition, which can balance the need for durability and performance.
Wrestling shoes are essential for both novice and experienced wrestlers. With such a wide variety of fits, designs, and soles, there is a wrestling shoe perfect for every athlete. It may take a period of trial and error to determine the best shoe for you, but the proper wrestling shoe can give you speed, grip, and confidence on the mat. It is an invaluable piece of equipment for any wrestler.