Best Wrestling Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance

Wrestling has become a very popular sport in the last century, and no, we are not talking about staged wrestling (WWE comes to mind). It is a sport that tests agility, strength, and endurance. To be able to excel at these traits, you have to invest in the physical equipment for training and competition, including shoes. Luckily, the increase in popularity of this sport has led to an increase in the number of wrestling shoes available in the market.

Last Updated: August 1, 2018
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By NicoleH:

Recently, we've updated our list of best wrestling shoes, narrowing it down to the top 10 options, rated on performance, effectiveness, and price. Our Criteria section explains just what to look for in a quality pair of wreslting shoes, so be sure to check it out!

Part of the agility of a wrestler can be reflected by the efficiency of his or her shoes. The test of their strength is an addition to the traction and grip their shoe provides them. The endurance of the wrestler is, also, a reflection of their ability to overcome fatigue. This, in turn, can be a direct reflection of the flexibility, weight, and overall makeup in the shoe’s design.

Featured Recommendations

Otomix Stingray Escape
  • Otomix Stingray Escape
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Grappling Design
  • Split-sole
  • Price: See Here
Asics JB Elite v2.0
  • Asics JB Elite v2.0
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High Friction Resistance
  • Breathable Mesh Upper
  • Price: See Here
Asics Matflex 5
  • Asics Matflex 5
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Lace Entry
  • Price: See Here

Many people participating in combat arts prefer wrestling or MMA shoes to any other sports shoes. This has catapulted these shoes into other mainstream sports. As such, some of the best wrestling shoes may be popular for a different sport. To be able to overcome such issues and problems when searching for a reliable shoe, you might consider some features that these shoes can offer. A good shoe can provide comfort, flexibility, and traction; whereas, an excellent shoe can offer comfort, durability, flexibility, cushioning, good traction, ankle support, and versatility; among other things.

Because we understand the importance of getting the best shoe for the job, we have come up with a list of the best ones available on the market today. Furthermore, this list has been compiled based on all of the excellent traits available for wrestling shoes and customer review responses, accordingly. Without further ado, let’s get on with the list!

 

10 Best Wrestling Shoes

 

1. Otomix Stingray Escape

These MMA-style shoes are built for grappling events, wrestling included. Made for durability, flexibility, and performance, these best wrestling shoes are ready for you to take them into the action. The outsole is thin; providing you with greater feel when it counts the most. In addition, these shoes are made to provide better ankle support for those most moments when you might, otherwise, have an ankle-related injury. Lastly, made to breathe, these shoes will help you to remain cool while under pressure.
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High Range of Motion
These best wrestling shoes have a high range of motion; thereby, allowing you to maneuver in a more natural way. In this, you are better equipped to reduce foot-related injury and will have an easier transition from grappling move to grappling move.

Thin Outsole
There is nothing quite like the feel of the mat under your feet, and these do not disappoint, as they are made with a thin outsole construction. Furthermore, this outsole carries with it a high grip technology to ensure better foothold and stability. It closely mimics the feel of barefoot mobility, allowing you to grip and move.

Cost and Value
At the higher end of the pricing range for wrestling shoes, these shoes are still worth the purchase price. With their makeup of high-quality materials, you are getting every penny's worth when adding these to your footwear collection. If you’re looking to get to the next level, and appreciate the minimal feel of a grippy thin sole, these are for you!
Pros
  • High Range of Motion
  • Extra Ankle Support
  • Thin Outsole
  • High Grip
  • Breathable Upper
Cons
  • A bit pricey

2. Asics JB Elite 2.0

This shoe is, specifically, designed to meet the specifications of three-time world champion, Jordan Burroughs. This says a lot about the shoe's ability to consistently provide quality performance for wrestlers. It provides adequate cushioning, responsiveness, high-friction resistance, flexibility, and support. It is extremely lightweight and offers you a sock-like feeling when worn. It can, also, be used as a casual shoe and/or for endurance sports.
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Split-sole Technology
The Asics JB Elite 2.0 is designed with a rubber compound split sole that is split at the toe and heel area. It, also, has wrestling-specific traction pods at the splits. This design provides both traction and flexibility, and provides mobility during pushing movements.

Upper Mesh
The upper part of the shoe is designed with an open nylon mesh that is unique to this shoe. This ensures your feet remain aerated and further facilitates the release of sweat to prevent moisture buildup in the shoe (which can cause bacterial infections).

Cost and Value
This is another affordable wrestling shoe that is a good investment because it provides good value for your money. Its versatility substitutes for the extra money that is spent on purchasing a casual shoe which can be worn to casual events. Step off the mat from your meet and into dinner in town in one simple change of attire.
Pros
  • Breathable
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Anti-friction
  • Integrated Lacing Garage
  • Serradial Traction pods
Cons
  • Size runs small

3. Asics Snapdown

Have your way on the mat after getting into these shoes. With a full-length rubber outsole made of 'serradial' traction pods, an integrated lace garage, breathable upper, and a nice fit, these shoes are sure to get the job done. After all, the choice of winning means the better decision made and these shoes can be a great choice for those ready to hit the mat in style, comfort, and performance.
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Serradial traction Pods
In addition to the full-length rubber makeup of the outsole, 'serradial' traction pods are implemented into both the heel hand forefoot areas. This allows for even greater stability and grip while you wrestle your way out of that hold and on to victory.

Breathable Upper
With a breathable upper, you can worry less over sweaty feet and concentrate more on the task at hand. A breathable environment promotes minimization of foot odor; thereby, increasing your confidence levels.

Cost and Value
These shoes are budget-friendly and a great buy considering their construction. Made for the wrestler, these shoes will be a great addition to your footwear. They make a great option for those just starting out in the sport, as well as veterans on a budget!
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Integrated Lace Garage
  • Breathable Upper
  • Flexible Upper
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

4. Asics Split Second 9

4. Asics Split Second 9
This shoe is a high-performance flexible option that offers good propulsion and foot support. Its versatility provides you with a casual and sporting option. The sole is designed to offer great stability by enhancing the connection between the foot and the ground. The fabric used is extremely lightweight and plush which offers great comfortability and ankle support.
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Outersole
The outsole is unique in design because it is made with a split sole. This provides you with excellent traction at the front and back area of the shoe so you can get optimum momentum and propulsion when wrestling. Ideal for pushing and pressing movements to keep you on the mat, while maintaining flexibility for placing pressure on the forefront of the foot and toes.

Lacing Technique
The shoe is designed with an asymmetrical lace closure system that provides a lush and comfortable fit. The lacing eyelets are, also, punctured into the leather fabric on the upper part of the shoe to reduce the weight that comes with metal eyelets. The Asymmetrical design allows you to use the top of the foot better for grappling moves, and give a better foot-feel for complex maneuvers.

Cost and value
This shoe is budget-friendly. This pair of best wrestling shoes shoe can offer both ankle support and the correct amount of cushioning. As such, it is one of the better options with high-performance for the price. Perfect for veteran wrestlers looking for a different option of footwear for competition or practice.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Breathable, Mesh Upper
  • Ankle Support
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Narrow fit

5. Asics Cael v7.0

5. Asics Cael v7.0
The Asics Cael v7.0 is made to the specifications of Olympic gold medalist, Cael Sanderson. The design of this pair is a revolution and not an evolution from its predecessors. The shoe is perfect for any wrestler, regardless of their level; simply, because of its unique and exclusive features. Every update in this shoe is targeted at making it more stable, flexible, and lightweight.
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Uppers
The upper part of the shoe is designed with a combination of ecsaine synthetic leather and air mesh for enhanced performance and breathability. It, also, has a single-layer tongue designed with a lace garage™ technology for optimum comfort and breathability.

Split-sole Technology
The outsole of the shoe is split at the toe and heel area. This design provides targeted flexibility, enhanced grip, and traction, because of the dominance of the wrestling-specific traction zones.

Cost and Value
This shoe has a cost association of low-to-lower-high in the pricing range; however, this is an extremely worthwhile purchase for a wrestler looking for a high-performance and consistent shoe.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Split-sole Technology
  • Breathable, Mesh Upper
  • Lace Garage
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Size runs small

6. Adidas Response 3.1

6. Adidas Response 3.1
The Adidas Response 3.1 is designed for hard takedowns, quick reflexes, and fast responses. They are designed with allover climacool® ventilation that ensures the feet are well aerated. This fabric provides 360-degree cooling to keep the entire foot dry. This feature is further reinforced with a porous nylon mesh. The midsole is uniquely designed to complement the outsole and provide contact responsiveness and with plush comfort.
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Outsole
The outsole of this shoe is designed with Double Flex compound that provides enhanced traction and grip on the wrestling mat. A lightweight split-forefoot ADIWEAR™ Radial Curve is, also, added to the sole; in order, to make it easier for the wrestler to spin on the mat while, simultaneously, maintaining his or her grip, stance, and posture.

Lacing Technique
The upper part of this shoe is designed with an elasticized lace cover system that keeps the laces away and prevents tripping. The fit of the shoe is further reinforced with a hook-and-loop strap that, also, provides ample ankle support.

Cost and Value
This shoe is budget-friendly and is a good choice for wrestlers looking for a nice-quality wrestling shoe at a convenient and inexpensive price. As such, these will make an ideal choice for any wrestler's footwear wardrobe.
Pros
  • Ankle Support
  • Breathable
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

7. Asics Aggressor 3

7. Asics Aggressor 3
The Asics Aggressor 3 is an upgrade from the Aggressor 2 and is designed to offer maximum durability. It is often classified as the most durable and comfortable shoe on the market because of the industrial-strength rubber outsole, suede ecsaine upper construction, unique lacing technology, and rounded toe box. It, also, offers sufficient versatility, flexibility, cushioning, and grip.
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Outsole
The outsole is designed with Duosole® compound that is patterned to provide excellent grip and traction when wrestling. This compound is, also, lightweight and reduces the overall weight while enhancing flexibility. Grippy traction will keep you on the mat and pressing forward to your next battle.

Midsole
The midsole is innately designed to offer contact cushioning, plush comfortability, and responsiveness. It is, also, made of a buoyant material that supports the heel; thereby, providing adequate propulsion and momentum.

Cost and Value
This pair hovers in the midrange of cost association. As such, the price offers both value and reliability, as these shoes are made with the wrestler in mind. Moreover, your feet will be happy you purchased this pair of shoes.
Pros
  • Lace Garage
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Flexible
  • Ankle Support
  • Responsive Cushioning
Cons
  •  Size fits narrow

8. Asics Matflex 5

8. Asics Matflex 5
These shoes are affordable, lightweight, and comfortable. They offer ample flexibility and sufficient ankle support when wrestling. They are quite popular because of their unique qualities, pricing, and durability. They are versatile and can be used for wrestling, endurance sports, training, and as a casual option. Their unique design incorporates leather and fabric to reinforce foot support and enhance durability.
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Inner Lining
The inner lining of this shoe is made of plush, moisture-wicking fabric that creates a comfortable and lush feel to ensure your feet remain dry. This lining, also, creates excellent contact responsiveness. The last thing anyone wants is to slip inside their shoe, loosing traction and ground they gained during a match!

Uppers
The upper part of this shoe is designed with a combination of nylon mesh and leather to provide breathability and style, simultaneously. It is, also, incorporated with a lacing garage that offers a unique lacing technique which offers a better and comfortable fit.

Cost and Value
This pair of shoes is budget-friendly and offers good value for your money. It is a worthy investment for anyone interested in expanding his or her footwear. Great as an option not only for wrestling, but for weightlifting or other sports that require zero drop in a pair of shoes for optimal performance.
Pros
  • Moisture-wicking Lining
  • Breathable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Cushioned Footbed
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

9. Adidas Adizero XIV

9. Adidas Adizero XIV
The Adidas Adizero Wrestling XIV is a legendary shoe; named after a legendary sportsman, Jake Verner. It provides you with explosive propulsion, unique momentum, excellent balance, and advanced traction control. These shoes are, specifically, designed for heavyweight wrestlers and are broken-in right after you remove them from the box. They are quite versatile and can be used as both a wrestling and casual shoe.
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Outer SoleOutsole
The shoe is designed with a simplified rubber outsole that has V-shape traction patterns. These patterns provide excellent grip, particularly, when engaging in a wrestling match in an upright position. Outstep your competition before you take them down with the Adizero XIV.

Ankle Length
This shoe has a slightly elevated ankle length that provides you with ample ankle support. This is a very, important feature for a wrestler; simply, because the ankle support of any shoe determines how stable you will be on your feet. It still maintains adequate range of motion for pressing and pushing, allowing you to perform your best.

Cost and Value
This shoe was an upgrade from the previous model. The upgrade came with a subtle increase in the price which begins in the low range and ends in the upper-high range; price is size-dependent. Nonetheless, this is money well spent, as it will ensure that you are mobile and flexible on your feet. A great option for those looking to take their sport to the next level!
Pros
  • Ankle Support
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Slick Upper
  • Lightweight
  • Wide Variety of Color
Cons
  • A bit pricey

10. Asics Dan Gable Ultimate 4.0

10. Asics Dan Gable Ultimate 4.0
The Asics Dan Gable Ultimate 4.0 is named after wrestling legend, Dan Gable. The newest addition to this collection is the new Dan Gable ultimate® 4 which features a new integrated upper and outsole. It is considerably lighter than the previous version and has improved and enhanced grip. In addition, it has a raised boot and ankle system.
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Boot Construction
The entire boot is uniquely designed with a conforming compression-fit bootie system. Moreover, this system is encased in polyurethane support pods to offer improved and ample flexibility; thus, providing an exceptional fit. It, also, has a tongue that is a less bulky version and a lace garage which offers a place to tuck the shoelaces away to avoid tripping while wrestling.

Outsole
The outsole’s design is unique with an exclusive rubber compound to provide wrestling-specific traction zones; offering improved elite performance on collegiate mat surfaces. Furthermore, made with a split-sole design, these shoes have great flexibility.

Cost and Value
This pair ranges in the mid-to-lower-upper in cost association. They are, however, a worthwhile investment which provides good value for your money; not to mention, they look good, too.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Compression-fit Bootie System
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Flexible
  • Split-sole Design
Cons
  • Size runs small

The best shoes require specific attributes in order to meet the demanding needs of wrestling. Furthermore, the growth and evolution of the sport are encompassed by those who truly matter, you. Shoe companies such as Adidas, Asics, Otomix, and so forth have tried to satisfy these needs by offering revolutionary, all-encompassing shoes that are quite affordable and contemporary. Because of the availability of numerous options for wrestlers, the checklist for the best shoes contains the most important features in demand by wrestlers (i.e. flexibility, durability, longevity, fit, performance, etc.).

The shoes on this list are options for all types of wrestlers, regardless of their level. There are both expensive and inexpensive options to choose from with the quality of materials, usually, leading the way. Many wrestlers buy their shoes based on their personal preferences and these shoes cater to a wide variety of preferences and features that are common. Before you make a decision on which shoe to buy, however, you should consider a number of factors that are all discussed above. Additionally, you should ensure that you make the right decision because this can determine if you end up with a nasty foot injury, infection, or even contribute to a win or loss in your match.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Wrestling Shoes

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Traction

If you don’t have adequate traction, your performance on the mat will suffer. Your footwear should really grip the ground when you’re taking a strong stance to take your opponent down; otherwise, you’ll be slipping to the ground and giving your opponent an advantage. Certain types of soles in shoes can achieve this for you depending on your preferred wrestling style. If you, mainly, rely on power and strength to take your opponent down, a single-sole shoe is your best bet. If you’re a wrestler who tends to utilize quick movements to get your opponent down, a split-sole will be more beneficial in helping you make those moves.

Sufficient traction can be achieved through a quality rubber sole, with some texture added to the base for extra grip. Outsoles should wrap around the entirety of the shoe so that no matter how low you are on the mat, you can still maintain grip despite the sharp angle of your footwear. Wrestling shoes should feel more like bare feet, with a minimal drop, and plenty of toe room to help with foot splay, especially when pushing and holding your opponent. Try to select soles with a sticky rubber feel and gummy texture, as these tend to grip best!

 

Comfortable Fit

When you’re lifting someone off their feet, you’re putting a lot of your weight and some of the other person’s weight on your feet, as well. With that kind of consistent stress, it’s important to have footwear that is a comfortable fit for you to help ease the stress your feet will feel. Shoe design can play a role in that, and you should notice how the uppers you’re looking at are constructed. See if they are made of a soft material (e.g. suede, synthetic, etc.) which can make for a comfortable fit on your feet. Pay attention, also, to see if the sides are flexible which can make things easier, such as transitions.

The toe box is, also, going to matter when it comes to a comfortable fit. Are your toes cramping or is there too much room? You never want your toes too cramped, as this can lead to bunions, calluses, and other negative-related foot health concerns.

On the other side of the same coin, however, too much room can cause physical injury. It is a good idea to leave enough room to allow your toes to splay properly. In doing so, you are sure to be a bit more health-wise, as this applies to your feet.

 

Ankle Support

In addition to your feet dealing with a lot of stress during a wrestling match, your ankles can bear the brunt of physical work in helping you take down your opponent. So, it’s valuable to have a shoe which gives you good support in that area. One feature that will help in this area is the high ankle length. It’ll wrap nicely around when you tie your shoe, and it’ll help keep your ankles stable in your moves. Another way you can get this is to find a pair with Velcro ankle straps. They’ll ensure a tight fit that’ll make your ankles feel secure in them; as well as, sometimes aiding in keeping your shoelaces at bay.

While support in the ankle is something critical, the flexibility of the ankle comes into play with grappling, so your footwear should preferably have flexible textile uppers that allow mobility in the ankle joint.  Lace-up can help secure your ankle for some support, but make sure you can still move adequately for low moves.  Some newer models of the shoe can have high top laces along with a strap to secure the fit across the top of the foot.

Breathability

With a sport as physical as wrestling, you’re about to deal with a lot of perspiration on your feet due to sweat rolling down into your shoes and/or your actual feet sweating. You want to keep your feet ‘breathing’ as much as possible; so, your shoe doesn’t start to feel heavier. Wrestling footwear that keeps your feet cool is critical. Certain types of designs are great for giving you that. Find a shoe that has an upper mesh which allows for airflow into your shoe. More breathability means you will feel better, as the match continues to escalate. More than this, however, good airflow means better overall foot health.

In addition, having a pair of wrestling shoes that are made of fabrics or washable material can also cut down on foot odor over time, as well as contribute to an overall lighter weight. Most wrestling shoes have some form of lateral support in the form of leather caging, while the rest of the shoe is made from mesh. Check the manufacturer’s site to see how to properly wash or care for the ones you’ve selected.

 

Lightweight

You’re going to be carrying enough weight, just trying to pick your opponent up; so, you don’t need more of that to bear on your feet. Fortunately, all brands are trying to be lightweight knowing this important aspect. Obviously, looking at the ounces first will be a helpful tool for finding this criterion. It’s, also, important to see if the material is synthetic which can be a lightweight material. Additionally, thin soles are a great indicator that the wrestling footwear you’re looking at is lightweight.

 

Flexibility versus Stability

When it comes to the best shoes, there needs to be the perfect correlation between flexibility and stability. Split-soles work to create this perfect balance, a brawling dance between you, your opponent, and the mat. They give you great traction while in transition, and all without creating too much stiffness in the shoe.

Support stripes are another feature utilized to handle stability. They are often seen (on the upper) in sets of two or three, and are the driving force between the correct amount of stability while, simultaneously, giving you the flexibility needed for ease of transition.

At the end of the day, however, you need shoes which support your midfoot, forefoot, and heel. Also, ankle support isn’t a bad idea, either. The best shoes give you adequate support and stability without compromising your need for flexible movement; that is, flexibility is not above stability and stability is not above flexibility. They are but two units working together as one; resulting in perfection on the mat while you pin your opponent down for the count.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Can My Shoes be Worn as Everyday Shoes?
A: It’s best to just use these for wrestling since they don’t necessarily provide the same arch support as a regular walking shoe. You’ll, also, wear out the soles faster; causing you to need to buy new ones sooner than you desire.

Q: Can Wrestling Shoes be used for other Athletic Activities?
A: They are quite similar to boxing shoes so, that would be one athletic activity you could, perhaps, use your shoes on, but it’s not advised. Some have used their shoes for weightlifting, as well. As a rule of thumb, however, it is the better choice to use the shoe for the job at hand, unless you’re extremely knowledgeable about the dynamics of the sport you intend to use them for, other than wrestling and can be certain they’ll support and protect you adequately.

Q: How do I Find the Correct Size?
A: Take a measurement of your largest foot in the evening, as this is the time when your feet will swell the most. From there, check the shoe size charts available from the manufacturer; paying close attention to any details pertaining to shoe-size differentials (i.e. order one size up, one size down, or ‘fits true to size’). You will, also, need to pay attention to toe box width. If you have wide feet, you don’t want a narrow toe box, as this could prove to be a bad choice for your overall foot health.

Q: How do I Clean my Shoes?
A: You should use a cloth with warm water to clean your shoes. Do not use any abrasive soap, as it may damage the shoe. Also, be gentle rubbing the cloth on the shoe. Afterward, you can let them dry on their own. We have a full guide on how to clean shoes properly.

Q: Do I Need to get Different Shoes for a Female Wrestler?
A: No. All the shoes are made and sold the same. You just need to find the right size and pick out the color you like.

Q: Do I need Multiple Pairs of Shoes?
A: We suggest a shoe rotation for daily, off-season practice, as this helps to maintain better overall foot health. With that being stated, if you’re just a beginner starting out, one pair is fine. If you start wrestling at a more advanced level, however, it is wise to have one pair for practicing and one pair for competition. After all, no one wants to enter a completion with heavily-worn practice shoes on.


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