Wrestling shoes have, obviously, been a big staple in wrestling gyms across the world.
Mandatory in fact. If you don’t have your singlet, your head-gear and your wrestling boots on, most wrestling gyms won’t even let you step on the mat.
Wrestling shoes are worn for a reason. Your foot, ankle and toes are very delicate and can easily be injured or broken whilst training.
Have you ever tweaked an ankle? Bent a toe back? Had a toenail ripped off in a scramble?
Mats can also be slippery. Ten minutes into sparring and the floor might as well be a slip-and-slide.
Wrestling footwear give you grip and traction that you wouldn’t otherwise have if you were bare foot.
A violent slip on a wet patch and you can quite easily tear a knee or pull a ligament. Someone else could slip and land on you and cause injury that way too.
It is very easily done. Scary, even.
Said sweaty mats are also a breeding ground for tons of horrible infections.
Athlete’s foot and ringworm can spread through academies like wildfire. But with a pair of shoes, you’ve put a strong barrier between you and those diseases.
These are the reasons why wrestling shoes are becoming a far more common site in BJJ and grappling gyms.
Below, we have selected our top 5 picks for wrestling shoes. They’re in no particular order and any of the pairs would serve you well.
The Best Wrestling Shoes
ASICS are a powerhouse in the wrestling footwear field and have produced a ton of great shoes. For example, this shoe is the 5th in the successful Matflex line.
This is a durable and quality shoe that can withstand a beating. It’s made for the wrestling mat and the wrestling mat only. This is no casual shoe to be worn about outside. Though, like most wrestling shoes, it features a flat heel which makes it perfect for weightlifting exercises like squats and deadlifts.
They are very light so you won’t be weighed down or constricted when you’re grappling.
A word of caution though; they come up small. You will have to purchase a half-size to a full-size higher than you would normally get. Specifically due to their narrowness. So if you have wide feet, this may be a concern.
Another great shoe from ASICS. This is a more stylish and fashionable shoe than the plainer Matflex. You can choose from 4 different colour options including a blue, red and gold number and a particularly snazzy gold and black colour scheme.
If you like to have a bit of flair and style along with substance, then the Omniflex will be your go-to.
Incredibly light at only 9oz, it’s almost like you’re bare foot.
They also feature ASICS’ Lace Garage Technology. This is a pocket that covers up and protects your laces so there are no nasty accidents like people tripping over exposed shoelaces. This design feature also adds to the whole sleek and streamlined motif of the shoe.
Again though, the shoes come up small so you will have to order a larger size than usual.
Most wrestling shoes look a bit out of place when worn on the street, but not this shoe. If you were going to purchase a shoe that you could wear on both occasions, then the Combat Speed 4 would be that shoe. Though for hygiene purposes, best not to wear dirty shoes on the mat. Keep them separate.
The Combat Speed 4 is made of premium leather with a rubber sole for both grip and durability of use. They also come in almost 20 different colours/styles to choose from, so there’s bound to be something that piques your interest.
The body is a single layer mesh which lets your foot breathe and allows proper ventilation. Some other shoes can be too tight and restrictive which leads to a damp, smelly shoe.
Like most wrestling shoes, you are advised to purchase a half-size up than your usual size, yet Adidas are known for being more true-to-size than ASICS.
If you’re still unsure of whether wrestling shoes for you, it might be worth trying a pair Zephz.
These are the cheapest pair on the list and are fairly standard and plain. No frills, just substance.
You can grab a pair of these, chuck them on and give them a thrashing on the mats. See how you like the added control and grip on the floor and how much better your takedown shots feel.
Zephz are narrow and slender like a sock, so no cumbersome shoes that hinder you or make you feel uncomfortable.
ASICS have really cornered the market with wrestling shoes and if you’re after something decent and top quality, it’s only really them and Adidas that you have to choose from.
The Snapdown shoe gives your foot, ankle and toes complete support so you can grapple and train without having to worry about vulnerable appendages. The ankle in particular is thick and durable so you’d be hard-pressed to twist an ankle or to tweak your foot in unnatural angles.
The Snapdown use a synthetic skin-suede interior so that your feet stay comfortable when training hard. No chafing or rubbing.
They came in 4 different colour schemes, including the standard black and silver model and a white, blue and yellow option for those who wish to stand out.
If you have wider feet than these are a good choice. Almost all wrestling shoes are narrower than ordinary shoes but these feature a specific wider option when ordering.
Wrestling shoes could be an absolute game-changer for you and its definitely worth it for everyone to at least try them out once.
Just think, what you could accomplish in class with all that added grip and stability?