BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BUYING WRESTLING SHOES
Updated: Mar 22, 2022
There is no other sport, besides running, as bare-boned as wrestling when it comes to gear. The only equipment required for wrestling is headgear, a singlet, and shoes. In terms of athletic performance, the one item that directly impacts the outcome of a match is a pair of wrestling shoes.
Wrestling shoes keep your feet from slipping on the smooth, and often sweaty, surface of the mat. Furthermore, they provide more ankle support than most other shoes to prevent rolling or spraining from sudden, unexpected movements.
These are the most common questions beginners and their parents ask when looking for this essential piece of equipment.
Wrestling shoes fall into a wide price range, just like shoes for other sports. A pair of wrestling shoes can be purchased for $45 or nearly $200 for a pair.
It is believed that the more expensive the shoes, the better they are. This is true to some extent. The more expensive styles are typically equipped with the latest advancements and materials and cater to wrestlers with advanced abilities.
Beginners welcome to one of the coolest individual sports in the world. If you, your daughter, or your son are interested in getting on the mat, consider starting with a more cost-effective pair.
IS THAT WHAT YOU SAID, DAUGHTER?
Yes, of course.
The number and popularity of women's and girls' wrestling programs are on the rise at all levels of wrestling. Today, it is an Olympic sport.
Manufacturers rarely distinguish between male and female wrestlers' feet. For wrestling shoes for girls, you should go down between one full size and a size and a half. You should start with a size 5.5 or a six if you normally wear a size 7 in women's shoes.
WHICH BRAND IS BEST?
It's the one that fits.
Currently, a particular brand or style might be popular, but that can change next season. Internet searches and reviews show that Adidas, Asics, Nike, and Rudis are some of the more popular brands.
You should try all the brands and styles available within your price range and pick the one that feels the most comfortable for you.
IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO MATCH MY TEAM COLORS?
Yes, if you want. Consult your coach as well to determine if multi-colored shoes are allowed.
Fit is all that matters.
WHAT DO I LOOK FOR IN A WRESTLING SHOE?
There are a few key qualities you should look for when choosing wrestling shoes: lightweight, flexibility, ankle support, and sole grip.
As you go up the price scale, these qualities generally improve, but again, if you are a beginner, focus on getting the best shoes for your particular skill level.
Some shoes have asymmetrical lacing, where the eyelets are not aligned at the front of the shoe, to provide additional ankle support. You can then tie your laces more tightly. There are also wrestling shoes with an additional strap across the front of the ankle for extra support.
Keep in mind the lighter your shoe, the faster you will be on your feet.
HOW SHOULD WRESTLING SHOES FIT?
Experienced wrestlers prefer a snug fit.
Leaving a little room for growth is a good idea for feet that are still growing.
Wrestling shoes are lighter than typical shoes and are designed to have a more “sock-like” fit.
When you’re trying on wrestling shoes note the brand-size recommendations or look at a term called, "True to Fit,” meaning the shoe doesn’t run big or small. Rudis, Adidas, and Asics recommend going a half size larger than your street shoe, while Nike recommends going a full size larger.
ARE THERE WIDE WRESTLING SHOES
In general, wrestling shoes aren't designated as being "wide." Nike's wrestling shoes tend to have a wider footbed than the competition.
SPLIT SOLES AND UNISOLES: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
We are glad you asked.
Take a look at the bottom of the shoe. One continuous sole from heel to toe is a unisole. If there are two distinct sole pieces — one at the front and one at the heel — that’s a split sole.
A unisole generally provides more grip, while a split sole is typically more flexible.
Since wrestlers prefer one over the other, this is a big deal. The best recommendation, though, is to test them out a bit and choose the one that feels best.
DO WRESTLING SHOES HAVE SPECIAL FEATURES?
There is a lot of lingo and jargon in the descriptions of wrestling shoes, which can be confusing. In plain English, here are a few terms you're likely to encounter.
Last - a wooden or plastic template that resembles the shape of a human foot. These are used by manufacturers as a model for the "typical" foot shape
TPU- thermoplastic polyurethane - a tough and lightweight plastic that is resistant to cracking and abrasion used in the toe of the shoe.
Split sole shoe- two distinct rubberized sections on the bottom, one under the ball of the foot and one under the heel. This gives traction when pushing off the mat while still allowing for flexibility in the midsection of the foot. A split sole shoe can be folded almost in half (provided you're not wearing it at the time).
Unisole- a continuous rubber sole. In general, these shoes are heavier and less flexible but tend to last longer than split soles.
Lace Garage - a fastening system that keeps shoelaces from flopping around and becoming tangled or untied during a match.
Upper - the top part of a shoe, usually referring to the material used in its construction.
Outsole- the bottom of the shoe that typically contacts the ground when standing - it includes a small portion that wraps up onto the outside of the foot.
Midsole - the layer in between the upper part of the shoe and the outsole. The midsole protects and cushions the foot.
EVA- ethyl vinyl acetate, which is a man-made foam used as a cushioning material.
WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF PAIRS I NEED?
For a beginner, one.
It may be advisable to keep two pairs as you advance in the sport, one for practice and one for competition.
SHOULD I WEAR SOCKS?
Athletic socks provide a layer of cushion for your feet, absorb sweat, and stabilize the fit inside your shoes.
Want to throw in a little style? Match your socks with your shoes.
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