Menu
Updated March 2022
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

32
Models
Considered
130
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
Category cover

Buying guide for Best wrestling shoes

If you’re looking for a sport with gear that doesn’t cost a lot of money, wrestling is a great choice. Wrestlers don’t need to spend much to participate since they need only headgear, a singlet, and wrestling shoes. Unlike many sports, shoes might be the most important piece of equipment. Baseball players would never say their shoes were more important than the bat and glove, but wrestlers know the importance of the right pair of shoes.

These shoes deliver the support wrestlers need in the feet and ankles. The right shoes help them generate the quick, powerful movements that yield the best results in the sport. The soles of the shoes enable a sure grip on the wrestling mat, without which the wrestler could slip, greatly increasing the chances of an opponent gaining the upper hand.

Finding just the right wrestling shoes is easier when you know the most important features to look for and have a selection of highly recommended choices.

wrestling shoes
Manufacturers don’t make wrestling shoes specifically for men or women. All shoes for wrestlers have a unisex design.

How to buy the best wrestling shoes

Fit and style

Because wrestling shoes are so important to the sport, the right fit is essential. The foot can move inside a shoe that’s too large, reducing the wrestler’s stability. These shoes are smaller than street shoes. Most manufacturers of these shoes recommend sizing up one-half to one full size larger than the shoe size you regularly wear.

While a snug fit is normal for a wrestling shoe, the shoe shouldn’t fit so tightly that it’s painful. The shoes might feel snug the first couple of times you have them on, but they will stretch to give you a more comfortable fit as you wear them.

Sole

Split: Some models of wrestling shoes have a sole consisting of two separate pieces of rubber. This design is meant to closely mimic the way the foot flexes, allowing the heel and ball of the foot to move separately. Shoes with a split sole tend to weigh less than unisole shoes, and some wrestlers like the feeling they impart of being light and quick on their feet. Wrestlers competing in lighter weight classes tend to have better results with this type of shoe.

Unisole: These wrestling shoes have a sole made of a single piece of rubber. This sole is highly durable and supportive, giving the wrestler plenty of stability. Wrestlers in the heavier weight classes tend to do better with this type of shoe.

Athletes should wear their wrestling shoes during practice and matches, as well as when doing wrestling-specific workouts. For running and cardio workouts, however, athletic shoes made to support those activities are a better choice.

STAFF
BestReviews

What features should I look for in wrestling shoes?

Tread

There are two tread patterns available on grappling shoes. You may want to match the type of tread you select to your style of wrestling.

V tread: This tread pattern grips the wrestling mat securely, giving wrestlers the ability to push off and generate powerful moves.

Circular tread: This tread pattern boosts quickness rather than power.

Color

Nearly every color is available in wrestling shoes, and one way to personalize your uniform is with the color you choose. Some wrestlers prefer to match their team colors, while others choose a contrasting color.

However, avoid picking a shoe based on color alone. The fit and sole are more important features to look for when shopping for grappling shoes. If there are a few different shoes with the features you like, you can use color as the tie breaker.

Lace garage

Shoes for wrestlers have a pocket, called a lace garage, that holds the loops and extra length on the shoelaces. Floppy shoelaces can be problematic during a match, so a sturdy lace garage is an important feature in a good pair of shoes.

Durability

Adult wrestling shoes may last several years if they’re only used occasionally. If you plan to use the shoes for practices and matches a couple of times a week, they might last up to four years. Children will need replacements more often when they outgrow their shoes.

Brand

As you shop for shoes, pay attention to the brands, which include Nike, Adidas, and Asics. Each brand’s shoes might feel slightly different on your feet. When you find a brand of shoe that gives you the ideal fit and level of performance, try to stick with that brand the next time you purchase wrestling shoes.

socks
DID YOU KNOW?
Wrestlers should wear thin socks with their shoes. Not wearing socks can lead to blisters.
STAFF
BestReviews

How much do wrestling shoes cost?

Inexpensive

These wrestling shoes cost $35 to $60. They may have a little less ankle support and be less durable than more expensive models. These shoes are best for children just trying the sport or for adults who only use them occasionally.

Mid-range

An average pair of shoes made for wrestling cost $60 to $100, and most grappling shoes fit in this price range. These are solid shoes for most wrestlers, delivering a nice mixture of support and durability. You can find a wide range of styles and colors at this price.

Expensive

Expect to pay $100 to $175 for a pair of high-end shoes. These provide a high level of support for the feet and ankles. Wrestlers in heavier weight classes might prefer a more expensive pair of shoes because of the extra support. These are shoes made for serious wrestlers who work out daily.

Grappling shoe manufacturers typically don’t make shoes with a wide fit. The shoe stretches and molds to the foot, so a wider shoe isn’t necessary.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Wash your wrestling shoes by hand. First, remove the laces. Use a mixture of detergent or dish soap and warm water. You also can use a disinfectant spray on the shoes instead of detergent. Use a rag and a gentle circular motion to apply the solution to the inside and outside of the shoe, including the soles. A mixture of baking soda and water can remove any scuffs. Remove the baking soda mixture with clean water and a rag. If the care instructions say you can machine wash the shoes, you can follow the directions on the label. Otherwise, do not put these shoes in the machine.
  • Air-dry your wrestling shoes. Do not expose the shoes to heat sources or sunlight or put them in the dryer. You can hang them on an indoor clothesline or rack to help improve the airflow.
  • Use an antifungal spray in your shoes. After each workout, you can prevent athlete's foot by using an antifungal spray on the inside of the shoes.
  • Replace old insoles. If your wrestling shoes have removable insoles, replace them occasionally. These insoles hang onto unpleasant odors. If they aren’t removable, wash them just like you would wash the rest of the shoe.
wrestling shoes
As a general rule, wrestling shoes fit a little more tightly than typical athletic shoes. The tight fit helps them flex and move in tandem with the foot.

FAQ

Q. Do I have to wear wrestling shoes?

A. Yes. These shoes are important for giving you the traction needed for quick and powerful movements. The rubber soles work specifically with the foam material in wrestling mats. The shoes help stabilize your feet and body for the moves specific to the sport of wrestling.

Q. How many pairs of wrestling shoes do I need?

A. One pair of shoes should take a beginning wrestler through a season if you’re only practicing and competing a couple of times a week. However, if you’re on a school or club team and practicing daily, having two pairs of shoes is a good idea. That way you can use one pair for practice and one for competition. Also, if one pair gives out, you’ll have a backup pair already broken in and ready to go.

Q. Can I wear my wrestling shoes to and from practice?

A. Most wrestling coaches and teams recommend that you only wear the shoes when practicing on the mats or during matches. Wearing these shoes outdoors can cause them to wear out prematurely. They can also track dirt onto the wrestling mats, potentially damaging the mats.

Q. Can I use these shoes for other sports?

A. Some people like the flat sole on this type of shoe for powerlifting workouts. However, grappling shoes don’t work well for other types of indoor sports like basketball because they don’t provide adequate support for jumping. They are also a poor choice for outdoor sports because of the thin materials. Wrestling shoes are somewhat similar to boxing shoes or martial arts shoes, so some people wear them to cross-train in these sports.

Our Top Picks