Shoes are the main element of an athlete’s outfit; the quality and comfort determine sporting achievements and successes. A variety of this piece of sports equipment is the wrestling shoe.
Like other sports shoes, a wrestling shoe is designed to help a wrestler get the best out of a wrestling competition. The presence of a soft and flexible sole, a reinforced heel counter, and lacing distinguishes it.
Before purchasing a wrestling shoe, it is vital to know the different types of wrestling shoes: their classification. Knowing the categories will help you narrow your search range so as not to get confused in all the variety of the market.
Types of wrestling shoes
- Split-sole wrestling shoes
Split-sole wrestling shoe provides unrivaled comfort. As the name suggests, the sole of these shoes is divided into parts. It includes paired and separate rubber elements. In addition to the convenience in the practice of wrestling, these shoes give a complete imitation of the feeling of a barefoot. Split-sole wrestling shoes contribute to faster and more flexible movements of the athlete on the mat. Your feet are provided with lightness in split-sole wrestling shoes, which is a decisive factor in competitions.
- One-piece wrestling shoes
These shoes are preferred by many because the one-piece outsole can stretch from toe to heel. It is flatter, which means it provides a better grip on the mat surface. They are light and breathe well.
The problem with one-piece shoes is that they are less flexible but more potent than “separate” ones, which is often a selection criterion for the consumer.
What to look for when choosing wrestling shoes?
To choose the right wrestling shoes (however, like any sports shoes), you first need to find out the selection parameters. Below are the qualities of a right wrestling shoe.
- They must be a tight fit
The most suitable wrestling shoes fit snugly around the foot for maximum comfort. Unlike other sports where the shoes must leave a little space for the toes, this is not allowed for the wrestler as freedom can negatively impact ankle support and flexibility. Popular models of wrestling shoes are cramped for better stability, mobility, traction, speed, and injury protection.
The best wrestling shoes should make you feel like you have nothing on your feet; they should be as light as possible. If you want lightweight wrestling shoes, look for the thinnest sole. No extra cushioning and no cushion needed. The optimal material is mesh.
- Grip and surface control
Good adhesion and contact with the mat surface are essential. Different types of surface contact can significantly affect the fight’s quality, in combination with your weight and mobility. The first type of surface contact is circular clutch, and it is useful for lightweight athletes. It prevents slipping at different angles and promotes safe rotational motion of the foot.
The second type of contact is a V-clutch and is more suitable for heavyweight wrestlers. It provides a firm standing grip, allowing the athlete to focus on grappling and throwing.
- Good ankle support
Good wrestling shoes are also designed to protect the athlete’s ankles. Ankle support is critical when the athlete is balancing on the mat in search of a better position. At such moments, the ankles are under a heavy load. The best models of wrestling shoes with ankle support have a longer boot length than the length of the shoe itself. They will protect the ankle during a wide variety of leg movements, regardless of weight or strength. In addition to the construction of the shoes, you should pay attention to the lacing. It should wrap tightly around your ankle.
- Embroidered lace pocket
It is advisable to hide the ends of the laces to avoid cuts and scratches for the opponent. It also keeps the shoes tightly laced up throughout the fight. The lace pocket is a must-have on any excellent wrestling shoe. The lace pocket will provide you with a feeling of lightness and confidence during the fight. Your ankles will be protected, and you won’t have to lace up.
The durability of the most beautiful wrestling shoes is determined by examining the sole and upper materials. Shoes with thick and rubber soles work best. However, other options – leather, synthetics – can also serve for a long time.
If you’re a heavyweight wrestler, leather wrestlers are more suitable than nylon. For a novice wrestler, it is better to choose nylon, to avoid unnecessary costs.
- Rubber outsole
The sole is the main element of the shoe, on which your ability to maintain balance and move effectively depends. A lightweight wrestler should choose shoes with split rubber soles for greater flexibility, speed, and balance. For heavyweights, a one-piece sole is suitable. This design will help the wrestler to stand on his feet more firmly. It also works well on throws.
- The size
The size of the wrestlers is calculated based on the size of your casual shoes. If you wear different sizes and types of shoes, choose the latest for the calculation. Taking your old shoes as a basis is hardly correct since they may be too stretched.
Also, when buying wrestling shoes, it is advisable to check how they sit. Make sure your foot doesn’t bulge too much at the sides. If you are a young athlete and your legs are still growing, it is better to choose a size 5 mm longer than your current one.
- Good ventilation
Some wrestlers choose too tight wrestling shoes with insufficient air access. Do not forget to protect your feet from overheating. The best materials in this sense are, of course, mesh and nylon. Some wrestling shoes are made entirely of leather: this is not the best option. In these, your feet will continuously sweat and overheat.
A wrestling shoe should be lightweight and flexible, designed to closely mimic the barefoot’s flexibility while increasing support for critical areas of the ankle and toes.