Your Guide to Choosing Quality Wrestling Shoes
Whether your a rookie or a professional, you still want to have the best quality wrestling shoes for the match. Here's a guide on how to choose them.
You're stepping up to wrestle the strongest kid on your neighboring high school's wrestling team. You just got a new jersey and some pretty awesome headgear. You're feeling great.
You step onto the mat and the referee gets ready to blow the whistle.
All of the sudden, you look down and realize you forgot your shoes! Thirty seconds into the match and you're pinned to the ground, staring your opponent's shiny new wrestling shoes in the face.
What are you going to do about it? Surely, you could have beat him if you equipped yourself with some good shoes. We're going to change that today.
Keep reading for your comprehensive guide to the best quality wrestling shoes on the market today. These are ones that will keep you winning, match after match!
What is it With Wrestling Shoes?
Let's be honest, most people don't think about shoes when they think about wrestling. They are underrated, but could easily be the most important part of a wrestler's gear.
Wrestling shoes are made to keep your feet and ankles stable and provide support to keep you from slipping. They are higher to keep your ankles from rolling and spraining.
The traction required during a match is high. These shoes work against the mat, promoting ultimate stability.
Shoes for wrestling come in all types, from beginner status to pro wrestlers. Having a great pair helps a wrestler meet their maximum physical potential and increase their performance.
Wrestling shoes not only come in all sizes for beginners and pros, but there are also a lot of different shoe types available for a wrestler to pick from.
Below is our ratings on the best wrestling shoes, and after the summary there is a ton of information on what we were looking for in our wrestling shoes.
Our expert's rating
What Types of Shoes Are Available?
There are a lot of different types of wrestling shoes but before we dive into that, let's talk about how the shoe is built differently than normal gym shoes.
These shoes are built to mimic the natural body. They are lightweight, flexible, and are made to feel like you are barefoot. Since wrestlers get up close and personal on the ground, it's important that their toes and toenails are protected.
In a horrific event, one wrestler's toenail could wound another if they don't have the proper shoes on. To prevent disease, infection, and injury, it's important that wrestlers have the proper shoes to protect their feet.
Like mentioned above, the shoes are higher than a normal running shoe, coming up over the ankle. This high top design works to stabilize the ankle to prevent it from rolling. These types of injuries are prone to happening with the wrestlers lock their lower legs.
Most wrestling shoes have soles that are made out of rubber as they provide the most traction. If you've ever been in gym class, you know that those mats with sock are slippery. Having shoes that can prevent slippage on that material is important.
Not all shoes, but some, have soles that are studded. This provides a little bit more traction than the regular rubber sole. These features are standards across all varieties and types of shoes for wrestlers.
Let's take a look at the different types available.
These wrestling shoes are made up of a sole that is cut in half. The sole looks like a normal rubber sole on the bottom of a shoe would look like, but it is divided into two separate pieces.
If you were holding the shoe, you could bend it in half as the rubber parts do not extend all the way across the bottom. These shoes are the closest feeling to being barefoot.
The reasoning behind split-sole shoes is that they offer extreme flexibility. They also allow the wrestler to be quick and light on the feet. Many professional wrestlers opt for having these type of shoe.
Non-Split Sole Shoes
Non-split sole shoes are the exact opposite of the split-sole. They have a piece of rubber that extends across the entire bottom of the shoe. These are also referred to as unisole shoes.
Non-split sole shoes are also light and easy to move. They do not, however, provide as much room for flexibility.
The reason one may want to purchase a non-split sole shoe is that they are more durable and last longer. If you're on a stricter budget, and cannot replace your wrestling shoes every few months, this would be the shoe to buy. While they are not as flexible, they are strong and sturdy.
Both types of shoes have pros and cons, so it's crucial to try both on and see how they make you feel.
Boxing Shoes Are Not Wrestling Shoes
Just for clarification, you cannot wear boxing shoes as wrestling shoes. They are two different things.
Boxing shoes do not have an elevated arch and the traction on the bottom is designed for the inside of a ring, not a mat. They don't allow for speed when coming off the ground.
The patterns of the rubber sole are also different. Wrestling shoes have circular patterns on the bottom of the shoe. This helps to gain traction from different angles of the foot. Boxing shoes have different patterns to account for a boxers stance and movement.
While it may seem like a good idea if you're also a boxer, and they may look the same, they are far from the same. Investing in a good pair of wrestling shoes is necessary.
Choosing the Right Shoe
You may be thinking, all that is great, but how do I pick one? We're going to take a look at how you get started on narrowing your selections down.
First things first, are you committed? Are you an avid wrestler with a life-long commitment? Or are you playing in high school for two years to pass the time?
Answering these questions with honesty will help you decide on what investment to make in your pair of shoes. If you're not going to be doing this for long, then a large investment of money may not make sense.
Everyone's needs are different when it comes to selecting the proper wrestling shoes. The most important tactic to finding the right shoe? Try it on, wear it, use it, gauge it.
Finding a great wrestling shoe is a commitment, the ability to pick the right shoe adapts to your expertise in wrestling. You'll be able to feel the shoe differently on your foot. You'll know how to tell if it is helping you or deterring you from becoming better.
If the Shoe Fits
The fit of the shoe is one of the most important things to measure. The fit of a wrestling shoe is not the same as a casual shoe or a running shoe. It should fit tight and snug against your entire foot.
If it feels like a glove, you're on the right track. If you can stick your fingers between your shoe and your foot, you need a size down. They may not be the same size as your normal sneakers, so keep that in mind. The standard to go buy is about a half a size smaller than you'd wear.
Having a wrestling shoe be loose is asking for a loss in a match. Your balance and stability will be thrown off, along with proper ankle support. While it may be uncomfortable or too tight at first, the shoe will stretch over time and with use.
We aren't going to go too deep into this, but if you're a heavyweight wrestler, the tightness of your shoe matters less. Heavyweight wrestlers care less about speed and agility, so it's not as important.
Once you've found a shoe that has a great fit, you're going to look for proper ankle support. Wrestling shoes are one of the only shoes that provide this type of support.
The force that is put onto your ankles when you're wrestling is immense. Having the high top shoe helps to support the force of your weight when you're shifting different directions.
Part of the ankle support also comes from the lacing. Your laces should be tight against your ankles, with little to no gap in between. There are some shoes that even provide an extra strap to go over the front of your ankle. This allows for one extra layer of additional support.
The next thing to consider is the material the shoe is made from. There are all types of materials, but the number one thing you need to look for is that it's lightweight. The lighter it is, the better your foot speed will be.
Normally these shoes are made from a fabric like nylon, mesh, leather, or suede. The materials chosen allow room for moisture to escape so it isn't harbored inside the shoe.
The cost of the shoe typically determines what type of material it's constructed from. The higher-end shoes are most often made from suede or leather, mid-range from vented mesh, and the lower-end from vented mesh and nylon.
The high-end shoes that are made from leather and suede don't allow for a lot of moisture to escape but are comfortable and durable.
The mid-range shoes are the most moisture resistant as the vented mesh allows for escape. They are also the lightest material for the shoe. The vented mesh eliminates water weight from pooling in your shoes and helps it to evaporate by keeping them cool.
The low-end shoes are perfect if you're just beginning wrestling. They are inexpensive and a great starter shoe. If you find you are improving over time, it's easy to move to either of the other options.
A less important feature, but still necessary to consider when selecting wrestling shoes is how they look.
If you're playing on a team, you may have guidelines you need to follow as far as what type of shoe to buy. If this isn't the case, they may present standard colors you need to select when purchasing a shoe.
Best part? Wrestling shoes come in all sorts of colors and styles. There are a variety of brands and models. They are also versatile. You can use wrestling shoes for things outside of wrestling. These include things like strength and power-lifting, boxing or MMA.
Having a nice looking shoe will encourage you to wear the shoes outside of the normal wrestling setting.
Other Features to Consider
While not crucial, there are a few other features you can consider when purchasing shoes. One of these features includes stitching strength.
The stitching strength of your shoes just means how well your shoe's material or fabric have been stitched together. If you think about the amount of movement you do in a wrestling shoe, it's a lot.
If your shoe has poor stitching, it could fall apart fast and have to be replaced after just one or two wrestling seasons.
Another feature to keep an eye out for is asymmetrical laces. Designers make laces that don't line up on the front of the shoe, on purpose. This allows a wrestler to tie the laces on their shoes tighter than normal, giving even more stability.
Lastly, another popular feature is an integrated lace garage. A lace garage takes the rough ends of your shoe laces and hides them on the inside of your shoe. Just like you want to have your toenails protected, the ends of your laces could hurt your opponent if not secured.
Not only does it keep you both safe from harm, it keeps your laces tied so you aren't tripping during the middle of your match.
Go Get Your Shoes!
Now that you know the basic features to look for in wrestling shoes, how to tell if they are the right fit if they provide proper ankle support, and how to choose the right color, it's time to go get some!
Finding the right pair of wrestling shoes can be done if you follow the above tips. Just make sure you're taking the time to try them on and feel them out. If you're interested in learning about other types of shoes and what they can do for you, check out our website today.