Best Wrestling Shoes Reviewed and Compared 2021
When it comes to wrestling, overall, the necessary wrestling gear is quite minimal. The sport is more about the individual's ability, strength, flexibility, and being able to stand up to the threshold which their opponent will take them to.
However, the protection and clothing, as in wrestling singlets, do have an important role to play, hence why it is pretty important to find the best wrestling shoes you can afford. We took a look at what is out there, putting together a list of our favorites. We also included the criteria which we felt what important to us when choosing the right pair. Take a look at what we came up with!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
10 Best Wrestling Boots
1. Otomix Stingray Escape
No arch support
Otomix's Stingray Escape was designed to be flexible and lightweight, in order to adapt to wrestlers' moves and to be also worn as a daily trainer. This model was made to be everything all in one. It's durable, adaptable, and the all-around quality of these wrestling shoes will not disappoint.Read more
If you're looking for a wrestling shoe model with arch support and thicker soles for energy return, these would not be the shoes for you.
Although this particular model is lacking features such as arch support and energy return, it is made with durable breathable mesh that allows airflow to get to your feet and release the sweat and moisture from within the shoe - leaving you with dry feet.
It also features an adaptable upper and lacing system built for locking your feet securely for high-performance abilities.
Specially designed breathable mesh, paired with moisture-wicking properties to leave your feet completely dry while you're pinning down your opponent.
The Otomix company designed this model to be one of the lightest, most breathable pair of wrestling shoes out there. Although they succeeded in this by pairing it with there own lacing system to secure your feet in place, they don't do much in terms of putting out any energy return, which is just fine; you don't need much energy return when it comes to wrestling.
Another important feature is the thin soles, built with diagonal leather and synthetic textiles to allow you to have the best traction without minimizing movements - ultimately improving your range of motion. This is great for wrestling and deadlifts.
The Otomix Stingray Escape high-top design gives undeniable support to the ankles. With its lacing system, it creates the perfect amount of support for ankles and forefoot. Also, the perfectly sized toe-box and proper layout of the laces secure your whole foot in place.
2. Asics JB Elite
This most recent version of the JB Elite definitely has some of the same features as the previous model on the market, but with some modified features. The breathable layered mesh is one thing kept the same since it was everyone's favorite feature of the last models.
The sole, materials and other features were modified. Check out this review to learn what has changed for the better and what has stayed the same.Read more
The split sole design in the last shoe is now rebuilt into a serradial pod system that was specifically designed for wrestlers. Keep in mind Asics is the leading company in biomechanics research.
When designing wrestling shoes they keep in mind every aspect of one's body movement finding the most comfortable layout/technology of a shoe per activity.
The level of flexibility and traction is next to no other with the single-layer mesh upper and lacing system that conceals laces.
The newest model of the Elite line features a seamless construction that guarantees no falling out of broken seems or threads - all this paired with a single layer flex airflow mesh that gives you the utmost breathable fabric for your feet.
With this mesh upper and seamless built, it's like having a pair of nylons on your feet. Feels like you're wearing no shoes at all.!
This model brings together all the amazing features of the last model with some much-needed improvements making this a high-performance shoe. Letting Asics JB Elite 3 be your partner on the mat allows you to solely focus on your wrestling goals.
The split sole made of two traction pads partnered with the outsole made of rubber and synthetic material allows for fast footwork and insanely quick direction change. When it comes to wrestling, good grip and flexibility are must-haves and this wrestling shoe has it all.
Along with the upper, Asics designed the tongue to allow you to secure your foot in place. With the added lacing garage system, it lets you hide the laces and keep your feet in place while still being under competition regulations.
It guarantees ankle support, however, if you're looking for arch support, this is not the wrestling shoe for you, although we do have a few pairs on the list so make sure to keep reading.
3. Adidas HVC2 Speed
It is important to have a good pair of wrestling shoes not only for your own safety but also under the regulation of competing. You want to make sure you are buying shoes that are specific to wrestling.
That's why we have added Adidas HVC2 Speed to our list. Specifically made for wrestling and popular wrestlers go-to shoes. Check out our review to learn the features of this beautifully made model.Read more
When browsing for the best wrestling shoes, these need to have a decent amount of flexibility to allow you to move around quickly and effortlessly. With flexible shoes, you get to increase your performance and focus on your wrestling goals and nothing else.
These shoes feature an upper made from Flexswift material providing breathability and flexibility all in one.
Adidas really outdid themselves with the breathability in this model. Adidas constructed the upper with a single layer seamless breathable mesh that allows plenty of ventilation.
Like many other shoes, Adidas put in a form-fitting shape that lets your feet sit firmly and securely in your shoe during intense workout and training. The HVC2 are great wrestling shoes with full-length soles and elastic straps that lock in the laces for a healthy, comfortable, secure ride.
Along with the other models on the list so far, having the retro high-top design kicks it back old school creating the right amount of support in the ankle.
With the form-fitting dents/shapes in the sole of the shoe, your feet will work effortlessly with no strains or discomfort whatsoever.
4. Asics Aggressor 4
Great pair of wrestling shoes that kept a lot of its predecessor's features because of the popularity of the previous model, but also changing up a few things to meet the demands of professional wrestlers always on the lookout for the latest models.Read more
Although somewhat flexible, the Asics Aggressor 4 was made for securing your foot, extra traction, and breathable fabric - to keep your feet and body in place and have mesh to allow airflow to your feet.
Allows your feet to breathe more than any other model on this list. The mesh added gives it more of a lightweight, flexible feel.
The tough rubber of the Aggressor 4 in the outsole was made specifically for durability and traction purposes, taking all the beating instead of your actual feet. Also, with its high-top like style, the support system for the ankles is one of a kind, keeping your feet secure like in wet cement.
5. Adidas Combat Speed 5
Noticeably more comfortable that some others
Confident enough grip for wrestling, but they also slide when you need them to
The Velcro strap on the ankle is too short. Many have issues with proper fastening.
Although fifth on our list, don't be fooled. We like the Combat Speed 5 a lot. While one feature, in particular, kept it from moving up a few more spots on the page, the overall comfort factor, as well as a few more important points, scores big with Adidas fans out there.Read more
As mentioned, the overall comfort is a big hit with these. Allowing enough flexibility to remain non-restrictive, but offering adequate support to help prevent injuries is another thing that these do well. The traction provided is decent, but you would be wise to stick with wresting in the Combat Speed 5, rather than wear in a multi-use role for boxing. The grip wasn't quite as good with proper footwork on canvas.
The one noticeable issue that seems to be universally agreed upon among wrestlers who have given this wrestling shoes a try, is the height and the Velcro strap at the top. It is simply too short for many ankles and a lot of people have had a hard time getting a proper closure. With that said, these are super lightweight, which probably goes along with their great breathability.
As far as overall durability goes, they will last as long as you let them. Adidas has done a good job with their Combat Speed series in regards to creating a durable, well-performing shoe for wrestling.
6. Asics Matflex 6
Not many colors options
The Asics Matflex 6 is another great wrestling shoe. Its black and silver colors lend to it a more vintage, back in the day look but don't let it fool you; under all that style it has a ton of futuristic features that were built to help you win!Read more
Overall this shoe offers a decent amount of flexibility right out of the box. With these kinds of shoes, there is very little break-in time needed typically. The lower cut of the ankle does allow more movement, but at the cost of some support for those who need it.
Though there are some boots on our list that are a bit more breathable, these do have some good air flow. They could probably use more mesh, but then, of course, that would take away from some of the properties which aid in the shoe's overall durability.
The feedback we came across the overall fit was a bit mixed. None of it seemed to be a deal-breaker for the users, but it does seem to differ some. However, the way shoes fit, especially such low profile footwear, does often vary from person to person. In all, these get consistently decent marks.
The support is also a personal preference for some. We mentioned above that the ankle of the boot was a bit shorter, as the collar has a design that slopes down noticeably in the back, more like what you see on some basketball hightops. That might reduce support if needed by some in that particular area, but we haven't seemed many negative reports about it.
7. Adidas Youth HVC
Durable materials in high-wear areas
Supportive ankle strap
The ankle is a bit low
We just had to add this option for kids. Adidas has more than one youth model, but their HVC youth model is one that we really like. It seems to do pretty well among young wrestlers out there. You'll get a lot of the adult features, but with some more support, which helps with preventing injuries.Read more
The HVC has the support and durability down, as these are clearly designed to last. The upper has a good amount of breathable mesh, although slightly less than many adult models, due to a little more supportive material in the design.
The sole is very thin, like what we used to see more with older models years ago. In all the bottom traction is pretty good. There is increased durability throughout these youth wrestling shoes with more material around the bottom and areas that see more wear and tear. The ankle support is also pretty good, although the ankle cuff may be too low for some kids with longer legs.
8. Nike Inflict 3
Confident grip on the mat
The overall fit doesn't work for everyone
Nike makes a lot of shoes... a lot. There are some models that they get right and keep making through multiple versions like their Inflict 3. There are several things they get right with this one, including reduced weight and flexibility.Read more
Starting with the obvious, you can almost see how breathable these are just at the first glimpse. The layered mesh allows great airflow, and a majority of the upper is taken up by this material. When such lightweight and breathable material is used in so much of the upper, there is no doubt that it affects the overall weight. And it does. One thing that the brand gets right in many of their products is lightweight design. These have it.
Compared to some other brands on our list, the overall style of these nike wrestling shoes isn't as fancy, but it seems the function may have been put over feature, which we can appreciate. The overall fit, however, is one that is either loved or not. Though hard to tell by looking, the ankle cuff seems to be a bit lower, which either works for you or doesn't. For those that it works for, the offered support is good. The Velcro closure helps some with getting that cuff secured better around the ankle. While there isn't any reinforcement around the ankle, these do pretty well overall support.
The outsole is pretty good as well. The grip has a decent amount of balance between good traction and not being too sticky on the mat.
9. Asics Dan Gable Ultimate 4
Breathable mesh upper
a Bit pricey
One of the Newest models in this line, it has kept some of the old features along with gaining some of its own. Made from the mind of an Olympian - built together with what he thought would be the ultimate luxury shoe. With its new integrated outsole and upper, these wrestling shoes much lighter and flexible than its predecessors - also changing the ankle system giving you more support as you get closer to your goals.Read more
Encased with polyurethane support pods paired with its uniquely conformed compression-fit bootie system, the shoe is ultimately one of the most lightweight, flexible and supported out there.
Not completely made with mesh, but having some spots towards the forefoot made from it allows air to get in making them very breathable.
Having the new compression-fit system in the place joined with a less bulky version of the tongue and the lace garage, along with the rubber compound outsole, it really works together creating a secure, positive fit.
With it being the newest in line and with the last version being very well known in the shoe industry with runners, this model has a lot to look up to.
Some people mentioned being a bit worried they changed the support system to a more bootie-like system. After they gave it a shot, reviewers said it was a great feature to change. Having a lacing system along with the bootie-like support system really locks the feet in place.
10. Asics Ceal V7.0
Cael Sanderson is a well-known wrestler that put his brain and body to the test to make the perfect wrestling shoe. What better than a wrestler himself, an Olympic gold medalist at that, to design a wrestling shoe that fits all criteria, not only needed at the competition but for other wrestlers as well!Read more
Made with Ecsaine synthetic upper which is a material created to be the most flexible out there.
The upper part of the shoe was specially designed with synthetic leather and air mesh for enhanced breathability and performance purposes.
The model has very specific and unique features; not only does it hit every criterion, but it is also super comfortable at that. The outsole is split and the toe and heel area provide targeted flexibility and overall support.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There is a reason why we don't just wear regular sneakers for wrestling. Whatever you wear has to be able to move with you, the way you need it to.
Wrestling gets intense, especially when you get on the mat against a real challenger. You're going to test the limits of how your body can bend and move. Flexibility is extremely important to keep you on top and prevent serious injury when you're not. This also goes for whatever you're wearing.
You need to find something that moves with you when you need it to. However, it is really important to not overlook supportive aspects while testing flexibility. Make sure you can bend, flex, and straighten your feet, while still having a limit to prevent overextending or injuring yourself. The limits of flexibility are largely based on many of the criteria below and on your wrestling style. Overall fit, support, and of course the material they are made of also play an important role in just how flexible footwear can be.
This one is pretty simple. Who wants to have ridiculously sweaty feet?
Pay close attention to the overall construction and materials. Perhaps avoid full leather from top to bottom. Sure the durability is there, but you'll probably have a puddle of sweat in your wrestling shoes before you even hit the mat.
Look for synthetic materials, reinforced or layered mesh, and leather only strategically placed in the wear spots for increased durability. Okay, so the lighter materials may reduce overall durability, but that can be helped by adding overlays and sections of heavier duty fabric or leather to certain portions to reinforce where needed.
The idea is to find a decent balance between proper support and adequate breathability. If you switch from a model that is full leather to one that has more breathable properties, you will notice the difference immediately.
Just ask your self this question: Is the style of a shoe really worth it, if they fit horribly and actually cause more harm than good?
Even within the same brands, the general fit can differ. You have to be careful with just assuming that if you once wore a certain size in brand "A", that you can simply go grab the same size in a different model from that same brand and everything will be perfect. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work like that. Whenever there is a design change, the overall way footwear may fit can change, sometimes significantly. This is especially the case when changing between brands.
When we think about the "overall fit" what we are looking at is how it fits in each section from top to bottom. If you've heard the saying, "focus on the game, not the pain", that can ring true. But really uncomfortable footwear can become more of a hindrance than simply being annoying. The proper fit overall also ensures that the proper amount of support, flexibility, and stability are able to be afforded to the wrestler.
Really pay attention to any discrepancies with the way they feel and fit. If you flex and move your feet into extreme positions, the wrestling shoes should move too, but with you. Make sure the top closure doesn't come undone every time you go forward or straighten out, pushing back more against the ankle cuff. Feel whether or not they bend in the right place as your feet do.
When we look at support, what we are really thinking about is how much ankle support there is. Flexibility in a shoe is great, but there has to be limits to prevent injuries.
One thing all of the wrestling shoes on our list have in common is their height. Some look like boots, and others have a style that closely resembles high-top sneakers. The reason for this cut is simple. The goal is to offer the proper amount of ankle support. Whether you are just getting started or you're a veteran wrestler, you know that your opponent might get you into some pretty precarious positions. To get out of those holds, you may find yourself countering with a position that further pushes the limits of your own flexibility.
To ensure that those limits aren't pushed too far, as far as what your limbs and bones can actually do, the right amount of ankle support is absolutely necessary. And, if you've ever had ankle injuries or bad sprains in the past, you're likely more susceptible to repeat injuries again. Often times if you roll your ankle bad enough once, it will happen again a little easier. So finding wrestling shoes that provide the right amount of support is quite important. Although, finding that middle ground between a supportive fit and allowing enough freedom of movement isn't so easy for everyone, as legs and feet differ.
It's not a bad idea to find a place to try the shoes on and get a real feeling of whether they're right for you or not. You can always go back home and order online, where the prices are usually better. But if you decide to go try some on, don't be afraid to really try them. Don't just take a few steps up and down the store aisle. Bend flex tries doing the duck walk up and down the aisle. Sure, people might stare, but you can just tell yourself that you could pin them in a second. The most important thing to worry about is wearing what is right for you. It could prevent a painful injury, which could become an ongoing annoyance for years to come.
In general, the materials put into designing a good shoe can greatly affect all of the criteria above, potentially making or breaking what was intended to be an effective design.
While manufacturing techniques and standards have come a long way, there may be some merit in incorporating traditional materials and design into new footwear, in combination with newer synthetic fabrics for increased effectiveness, while maintaining much-needed durability. While leather is much more durable than lighter weight nylon in high-wear areas, it should definitely be used sparingly and strategically to allow the technical materials to serve their intended purpose, such and improve certain aspects like flexibility and breathability.
You could go with a boot made entirely out of leather, and certainly end up with something that is much more durable in the long run, but at what cost. Sure, the ankle support would be there, but flexibility and most definitely, breathability would be majorly sacrificed. Then, on the other hand, take a shoe that is almost completely made from super lightweight nylon. You would have an extreme difference in reduced weight and probably breathability, but you wouldn't get the same amount of needed support, and certainly less durability.
The key is to find something that includes the best of both worlds in its design. As those lightweight fabrics will provide improved airflow and flexibility, the overall supportive fit can be enhanced by adding leather or heavier duty overlays to strategic portions to give that needed reinforcement, resulting in an increased amount of support and durability. If done right, the weight isn't affected too much.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Other Factors to Consider
The sole is super important. You want to have the right balance of being able to confidently grip the mat and also the ability to slide your feet without difficulty when you need to. The sole needs to provide traction, but shouldn't be too sticky. While this is a personal preference that varies from person to person, it is something to think about.
If we look way back at the old school wrestling boots, the soles are noticeably thinner than what we are seeing these days. We are definitely seeing brands pay more attention to finding that magic formula that gives you the perfect balance of grip and release.
This is another factor that tends to fall into the "personal preference" category for most. The overall weight can play differently from one person to the next, however, the newer materials being incorporated into modern designs have greatly reduced weight across the board. We just aren't really seeing a huge difference in weight among the mainstream brands anymore.
There are designs that still use more leather and heavier-duty fabrics, which still appeal to some. There is sometimes a benefit, or at least a perception, of some increased durability and support in the heavier products. However, improvements in manufacturing technology constantly offer up new and lighter ways to provide that support and strength.
If you are among those who like and want those heavier options, it looks like the choices are getting fewer and fewer.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How longs should wrestling shoes last?
For adults, it really depends on which ones you buy. If you go with a pair that is made using sturdier materials, then you should get what you pay for. Just keep in mind, if you have a shoe that is constructed mostly of lightweight mesh, without much reinforcement in those areas that will get more punishment, you might not get as much life out of them compared to a model that is designed with more durability in mind.
For kids, well that depends on the age. Remember that feet keep growing through the teenage years, so you will probably have to replace before they even get close to falling apart, simply due to your kid outgrowing them.
q: How should I clean my wrestling shoes?
Perhaps tossing them in the washing machine seems like the easiest way to get them clean, but it might not be the best way to do it. Sure they'll get clean, but some damage might be caused in doing so. Plus, they probably won't do so great in the dryer, so you will have to wait for them to dry.
If it is outside marking or dirt that you are trying to clean, try warm soapy water and rag or soft brush. If it the built-up stink on the inside from sweat, then the warm soapy water will work, but you have to submerge your wrestling shoes in it and get to work. Then you will most certainly have to hang them to dry. It's best, either way, to avoid tossing them into the machine.
q: Is there a specific brand I should go for?
No, A certain brand might be popular right now but just like fashion, shoe brands come in and out of style. As long as the pair of wrestling shoes fit you and they're comfortable as well as adapting well to your style of wrestling, any brand of shoe is good to go with.
Just because a particular shoe you're looking for isn't on the list, doesn't mean its not a good shoe either. Our job is to bring our readers the right information and the best of the best.
There are thousands of brands and even more models out there, they all have their own unique qualities to them. These specific models just hit every criterion on our list.
q: What do I look for in a wrestling shoe?
There are certain key features that you want to look for in a wrestling shoe, not only to keep it the most comfortable for you but also to let you solely focus on just wrestling.
One main feature you need to have in your pair of wrestling shoes is flexibility. Flexibility is important because in wrestling you have fast footwork and your shoes need to adapt as quickly as possible.
Considering you wrestler close to the ground, you need support for your ankles so you don't sprain or overextend.
Lastly, traction. Traction is important so you're not slipping around on the flat leather mats.