Like most products, there are an overwhelming amount on the market that can make buying the best wrestling shoes far more complicated and confusing than it needs to be.
It’s important to keep in mind that shopping for these shoes is very different to shopping for a pair of dress shoes or sneakers. This is why we wrote a buyer’s guide to help you out so you know what it is you need to look for. We have also listed and written a short summary about the six best shoes on the market – suitable for complete beginners and experienced wrestlers, and suitable for all price ranges.
You may notice that the list looks very one-sided with all the shoes coming from either Asics or Adidas. This is because these two brands really do make the best shoes on the market and you can’t go wrong sticking to their shoes.
- 1 Wrestling Shoes Reviews
- 2 Wrestling Shoe Buyers Guide
Wrestling Shoes Reviews
Asics Men’s Omniflex-Attack
This wrestling shoe from Asics features a Flexion Fit upper that provides plenty of comfort in the forefoot area and also gives your feet an opportunity to breathe. This is all without sacrificing any support, that is clearly very important for wrestlers.
The sole is designed with traction zones that are tailor made for wrestling with extra grip in key areas. The sole is also quite flexible, allowing for better and faster movement that all wrestlers require.
The shoe features something Asics call a Compression-Fit Bootie System that again works to offer a wrestler more flexible yet also ensures a better all-round fit, similar to the way a sock fits, for enhanced comfort.
Other features include an Impact Guidance System that follows the natural trajectory of your foot from heel strike to toe off and therefore takes it easy on your feet so they tire less easily; and an improved rope lacing system for easy closure.
adidas Performance Adizero Wrestling XIV
adidas make some great wrestling shoes, but this is definitely their very best one. The shoes feel very light and offer that barefoot feel that all wrestlers are looking for. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t durable, because they really are and can easily handle lengthy, intense practice sessions without wearing out.
They have a snug, close fit. Much of this is down to the great design of the shoe, but the lacing system, shouldn’t be overlooked for the part it plays either. The sole is made of rubber, which is the norm, and the grip is considered to be very good on all mat surfaces.
Importantly, the Adizero shoes are quick drying due to their clever design that features ventilation slits, but perhaps best of all is how the upper has been designed. The upper is both smooth and slippery that makes it far easier to escape, which is clearly beneficial for any wrestler at all levels.
ASICS Dave Schultz Classic
Even the most casual wrestling fan has likely heard of Dave Schultz who won everything going in the sport, including Olympic Gold in 1984. You may even have heard the name from the critically acclaimed biographical sports movie Foxcatcher.
This shoe is a re-release of the classic shoe worn by Dave Schultz and other top wrestlers throughout their careers. As you would expect, the shoe is nothing but quality and looks great too, easily making it one of the best wrestling shoes out there.
The 360 degree stitch-down sole offers excellent traction on the mat while also providing impressive movement and flexibility for all areas of the foot. This also results in a highly durable shoe – certainly more durable than most. Yet the shoe also manages to remain lightweight despite this impressive durability.
Comfort is better than almost any other shoe due to the upper having been made from Ultrasuede material from heel-to-toe, which also provides a great fit. Support is also excellent, but particular mention has to go to the ankle support the shoes provide.
ASICS Men’s Split Second 9
The ASICS Men’s Split Second 9 Wrestling Shoe is made from synthetic and mesh materials. Of particular importance is the mesh material that is used in the upper because this results in a good ventilation system that gives your feet room to breathe and keep dry, avoiding sweatiness.
These shoes are great for quick movements and all round flexibility – they don’t feature Split Second in their name for nothing – allowing you to pivot quickly while keeping your center of balance firm.
The amount of grip they offer is fantastic on all mat surfaces with their tread pattern design, enabling you to stay grounded during tough matches.
The shoes are lightweight, but don’t let this fool you, because they are also sturdy from the toe to the heel and deliver that barefoot feel. If you suffer from foot conditions like plantar fasciitis then this shoe is also likely the one for you, due to the excellent support provided on all areas, but particularly towards the back of the foot.
ASICS Men’s Matflex 4
This lightweight and flexible shoe ticks all the right boxes for anyone looking for a top rated wrestling shoe with its lightweight and flexible design, impressive support and cushioning, and great grip.
There is one caveat, however, which is that if you have very high arches then this shoe probably isn’t right for you. If you have flat feet, on the other hand, then this is a great option.
The Matflex 4 has a mesh design that gives your feet all the ventilation they need to stay cool and dry, no matter how hot and sweaty your practices and competitive matches usually get. It also helps that the shoes have a lightweight design that ensures your feet don’t fatigue as easily.
The soles are deceptively sturdy – we say deceptively because they are quite soft. This softness also means that the shoes offer plenty of flexibility so you can perform quick movements, such as pivoting, with ease.
The soles also feature a circular traction pattern, which is great for lightweight wrestlers that are more concerned with flexibility and movement than heavyweight wrestlers. Either way the grip they offer is fantastic.
Asics Men’s Aggressor 2
The first thing to say about these shoes from Asics, which are considered as one of the best wrestling shoes, is that they have a very unique design. The design may not be for everyone, but if you want to stand out you certainly are going to with these shoes. There are also 15 different colors to choose from.
The grip on these shoes is unrivaled due to the soles featuring a V-Shape pattern. While there is a bit of a trade-off with flexibility and movement because of this, which is typical of V-Shaped traction patterns compared to circular patterns, the different isn’t quite as noticeable as many other shoes. Therefore, you get the best of both worlds in this case.
Support is what you would expect from an Asics shoe, although you can argue that support is even better thanks to the shoe’s ankle strap closure instead of traditional lacing systems. This also helps to ensure a secure fit around the ankle.
Some say that the shoes feel a little tight when buying in their regular size, so keep in mind that you may want to buy a half-size or whole size up. Regardless, this pair from Asics is certainly one of the best shoes on the market.
Wrestling Shoe Buyers Guide
What is a Wrestling Shoe?
While footwear was never used by wrestlers in ancient times, it would be a rare sight to behold today to see competitors not wearing any. Wrestling shoes are a must for competitors due to being designed to improve grip, support and increase the range of motion. They are also made to ensure that feet are kept as cool and dry as possible.
They have a somewhat unique yet stylish design in the sense that they are high-tops, so it isn’t all too uncommon to see non-wrestlers wear these shoes. But they are also flexible, lightweight, have slightly higher arches than regular shoes, and provide strategic cushioning.
Why Buy a Pair of Wrestling Shoes?
Why not just use any old pair of sneakers for wrestling, you may ask? Well, as already mentioned, these shoes are designed specifically to improve support, grip, and the range of motion, all while keeping your feet cool and dry. They are also well-padded to ensure that comfort is maximized and the likelihood of injury is reduced. If you aren’t wearing a pair of shoes specifically designed for wrestling and your competitors are, then you are definitely put at a disadvantage.
Some wrestlers even recommend purchasing two pairs of shoes. This is so one pair is solely used for practice sessions where they are put under constant use and abuse, and the other pair for matches because they won’t be as worn out as your practice pair so they retain their quality and complete benefits they give you.
Different Types of Wrestling Shoes
There are two types of shoes – split sole and non-split sole. Many wrestlers, particularly professionals, think split soles make for the most effective wrestling shoes because they don’t have any apparent weaknesses.
Split soles have, you guessed it, a split in the sole of the shoe – i.e. the bottom of the shoe is designed to have two separate parts. What makes these type of shoes so great is that they are very comfortable and in fact quite accurately mimic what it is like to be walking around barefoot. This is advantageous because the shoes allow for better quickness and flexibility off the mat.
You guessed it again! Non-split soles don’t have any splits in the bottom and are quite similar to a regular pair of sneakers. They are a good choice because they are also light and provide plenty of airflow to your feet. However, their flexibility isn’t quite as good as split sole shoes. The main reason a wrestler would purchase these kind of shoes is because they are more durable, making them a good choice for practice.
Factors to Consider
There are many shoes on the market that can easily overwhelm novice wrestlers, particularly when they have no idea what exactly it is that they require. Taking a look at the following factors can ensure that you are in a good position to make the right choice the first time round.
As just mentioned, wrestling shoes come in split and non-split sole designs. We also mentioned that many wrestlers own two pair of shoes – one for practice and one for competitive matches. Therefore, it’s a good idea to purchase a non-split pair for practice and split-shoe for competitive matches.
Purchasing a shoe with good support is critical when it comes to wrestling. This isn’t just because good support reduces the chance of injury, which is of course important itself, but also due to the fact that more support means that it is easier to get into a good position and hold that position.
Great shoes for wrestling are made out of lightweight materials to mimic that barefoot feel and to ensure that your feet are given room to breathe. One of the materials used is often mesh due to their lightweight and breathable properties. Comfort isn’t the only important factor at play here however – shoes that are lightweight also provide better speed and mobility.
The quality of the material is also important. Naturally, shoes made with higher quality materials are more expensive. Experienced wrestlers wouldn’t dream of wearing shoes that aren’t made of high quality materials because better support and durability is a must. Novice wrestlers, on the other hand, are happy to wear more inexpensive, lower quality shoes.
Traction patterns may look like nothing more than an aesthetic quality and is something that is purely down to preference, but this isn’t the case. Lightweight and heavyweight wrestlers’ needs are different and the traction patterns reflect this.
Simply put, heavyweight wrestlers should purchase soles that have a V-Shape, as this results in better grip that really “cuts” into the mat. Lightweight wrestlers, on the other hand, are more concerned with a circular traction pattern that allows for flexibility and movement while still providing good grip on the mat. Soles with circular traction patterns achieve this.
You may purchase the most expensive and best wrestling shoes out there, but if they offer a poor fit then you may as well be wearing any old pair of sneakers. Getting the fit right is paramount, and wrestlers actually recommend buying a half-size or size up, as these type of shoes tend to run a little small. Although this issue tends to resolve itself after the shoes have properly broken-in in most cases.
While the color of your shoes isn’t important except for aesthetic reasons, it’s still important for some wrestlers to look their best on the mat, particularly as this results in more confidence when out there competing.