There are a lot of different aspects you should look for when learning how to choose wrestling shoes. Traction, the type of sole, support, comfort, and fit are just a few of them. There are a lot more we’ll also cover, and there are some helpful tips toward the end as well. Of course, you should also take into account your preferences as well. Style, color, and all of that good stuff is up to you and your tastes. All of these different factors come together to create a shoe that will perform to all of your demands. But, enough talk, let’s get on with it already. How do you find the right wrestling shoes for you? Find out in our guide on how to choose wrestling shoes. Hurry up, it’s starting right now!
How to Choose Wrestling Shoes
There are two different types of soles for wrestling shoes: split soles and unisoles. What you decide on will depend on what aspect you favor more: flexibility, or stability.
- Unisole – Unisoles use a single piece of rubber for the entire outsole. It provides maximum stability and is also more durable.
- Split sole – Two separate pieces of rubber, one covering the heel and the other covers the forefoot for a barefoot feel. A lack of rubber in the arch provides for more flexibility.
Seeing as how wrestling is a sport primarily focused with keeping stable on your feet (even while on the floor), you’ll need excellent traction. There are a number of different tread patterns you can look for but just make sure you feel secure on the mat. There should be no slipping or sliding and also look for flex grooves for added flexibility. Split soles also offer more traction than unisole shoes.
Ankle and lateral support are crucial in a pair of wrestling shoes. Since you’ll be making lots of side-to-side movements as you try to pin your opponent, you’ll want to have lots of stability. That’s why the majority of wrestling shoes on the market are high-tops. They cover the ankles for more support, not to mention more protection.
How to Fit Wrestling Shoes
When learning how to choose wrestling shoes, comfort and fit are crucial factors.
First of all, keep in mind that many wrestling shoes run smaller than regular shoes. They should fit snugly to provide maximum stability and support. Also, make sure that your heel is securely locked down, your shoe fits width-wise, and there isn’t a gap between the end of your shoe and your toes. You will want a barefoot feel with your shoes. Also, take into account whether or not shoes will stretch. If they do, you’ll want to fit them extra snug so that they’ll mold to your feet as they break in. They should also fit comfortably as well, which should be your top priority when choosing any type of shoes. This means no discomfort or rubbing against your skin. Try in-store if you can for the most accurate fit.
Also, take into account whether the shoes are for a youth. If they are, leave a small gap between the toes and the end of the shoe so they have room to grow.
- Budget – There are low end wrestling shoes and high end wrestling shoes. Low end shoes are best for those starting off while high end shoes should be for athletes who are more experienced with the sport. Low end shoes will be around $50 for top tier wrestling shoes can run up to $200.
- Design and color – There are tons of styles for wrestling shoes, you should pick a pair that you really like the looks of. As for color, you might want to consider whether your school has specific colors they want you to wear. If not, go with your gut.
- Material – Wrestling shoes can be made of a variety of materials, such as leather, synthetics, nylon, or mesh. Leather is usually the most durable but not very breathable. Nylon and mesh are more lightweight, flexible, and breathable although they don’t have the same protection, support, or durability. Synthetics are lightweight, durable, and don’t stretch much while leathers can stretch quite a bit as they’re broken in.
- Weight – It shouldn’t be your highest priority but you’ll want a lightweight shoe so you can keep on your toes. Look for lighter materials such as mesh and thinner outsoles if you want to keep your edge.
- Flexibility – Wrestling requires a good amount of flexibility, which is why a wrestling shoe should have a lot of it. As we’ve mentioned, split soles are more flexible than unisoles. Many wrestling shoes also have flex grooves in the rubber outsole that allows it to bend easily. Thinner materials are also recommended for maximum flexibility.
- Breathability – Obviously, thinner materials such as nylon and mesh are more breathable, making them ideal for feet that overheat quickly.
- Durability – Durability is directly correlated to the upper material and rubber outsole. A thicker outsole offers more durability, while leathers and synthetics usually last longer than other materials. Also worth mentioning, more expensive shoes don’t always mean more durability. More expensive shoes are often focused on performance, so even low end shoes can outlast them.
*** Tips on How to Choose Wrestling Shoes ***
- Find out what the different parts of a wrestling shoe are for first
- Split sole for more traction and flexibility; unisole for more stability and durability
- Look for flex grooves in the outsole for more flexibility
- Find shoes that cover the ankles for maximum lateral support and protection
- Wrestling shoes generally run smaller than regular shoes (~1/2 to 1 full size)
- Ensure a properly locked down heel
- Make sure the shoes fit the width of your feet
- Leathers stretch; synthetics don’t. Size accordingly
- There should be no discomfort or rubbing against your skin
- Try in-store for the most accurate fit
- Expensive wrestling shoes DON’T always equate to more durability
- Look for thinner, more breathable materials for comfort and flexibility