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Are Wrestling Shoes Good For Lifting?

Last Updated: 16.05.22


You’ve put a lot of time and effort into choosing your wrestling boots and you are proud of them. They helped you get pins and win matches while feeling comfortable and secure. However, maybe now your wrestling career is over and you can’t find a use for them anymore or maybe you simply want to go to the gym and need a pair of shoes.

Since wrestling and lifting are different physical activities, it’s only natural that you ask yourself the question: “Can I use my wrestling shoes for lifting?”. We’ve done a little back-and-forth research and came up with an answer for your query.

Turns out, this is quite the complicated subject because even though not that expensive, wrestling shoes still represent an investment so many people will be afraid of making and instead they’ll opt for a cheaper, not necessarily better alternative.


The Debate

When it comes to this topic, there’s a real debate going on between people who say these shoes are very useful for other types of physical activities and the ones who think wrestling shoes should stick to, well, wrestling and they instead opt for other various types of footwear.

Even though it’s certainly true that what works for someone might not work for the person next to them, most people and athletes agree that wrestling shoes are a perfectly good fit when it comes to lifting weights. Let’s take a look at some qualities that make wrestling footwear ideal when you love to pump iron.



Why Are They Good?

Most people agree that wrestling shoes are great for weightlifting. However, there are some special types of lifting where these shoes help you more than in any other cases. For instance, you get a lot of help when deadlifting by wearing them. This is because this type of shoe is not very heavy so, while not being very distracting, it provides more grip than lifting in bare feet.

The thin, flat sole of wrestling shoes is as close as you can get to that feeling while actually wearing some footwear. A pro tip here would be to tighten them as much as you can before beginning since this way they will offer very good support.

Many weightlifters also love squatting in wrestling shoes because they offer more support to spread the floor and make the move more precise. When you’re dealing with heavy weights, stability and support is something you really need.

Another reason they are very good is that gravity pushes down on you while lifting so you need something which offers a hard sole to sustain you. Wrestling shoes offer this, even though another part of the lifting community finds it hard to squat in them because they don’t have much of a heel and it may end up affecting your grip.

Just like we said, a lot of this debate comes down to personal preference regarding how much of a heel you feel like you need. If you would rather have a bigger one, a pair of lifting shoes might be what you need to improve your overall performance.


Some Other Advantages

That’s not the only advantage of lifting with wrestling shoes on. Because they are so light, some people prefer the way their feet look in them because they don’t get that “bulky” appearance. Even when they are tightened, they still feel comfortable to wear and especially for lifters who work with heavy weights, this is a very good bonus.

Another benefit is that wrestling shoes can be pretty budget-friendly. It is possible to get a good pair for something around the $50 range and they are also pretty durable. They will not need a replacement that often and when you do buy a pair, it won’t be a fortune. If you engage in both wrestling and lifting, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do both with the same pair of shoes.

Keep in mind that some competitions will require you to wear a pair of shoes so if you are aiming towards an upper echelon of lifting, this is important to know. If this happens, it is mandatory that you get something other than a tennis or a running shoe, which will not offer you the necessary support when lifting.

A mistake that many beginners especially make is changing their gear right before a competition. You have to get used to lifting in pretty much the same attire every time, shoes included, so when the day comes, it will feel perfectly natural. Wrestling shoes will help keep your feet in alignment so as you go up they will be tight against the side of your feet.

Changing your footwear at the last minute can have consequences you did not expect on your performance. Since feet are very important for posture and the lifting motion itself, a new pair that’s not even “broken in” can seriously hinder you. The reason wrestling shoes are so nice is because they allow you to feel almost like your feet are on the floor while still giving you protection.


Things To Know

Since lifting shoes are traditionally quite expensive, the community as a whole has had to find a suitable “go-to” footwear that most of them can usually buy. Because of this, many lifters swear by the traditional Chuck Taylor shoes, which do indeed offer a flat sole that they can lift off.

Our sources claim that even though “Chucks” are indeed an alternative, the downside is they don’t give as much ankle support as a wrestling shoe so your feet will be more unstable and prone to injury.

Another thing to consider is that traditional running shoes, for instance, will add at least an extra inch to your height and that can be downright detrimental when it comes to lifting weights. You need something that will help you be stable, relaxed and lift the bars less, not more. This is part of the reason why many people squat barefoot, but over time this takes a toll on the knees.

While all the things that we mentioned above are true, we have another simple fact to offer you. Lifting barefoot can really take a toll on your knees and legs but it is not the only danger. It is far safer to be wearing a pair of shoes if you happen to drop the weight since nobody wants to deal with a broken foot.

Overall, wrestling shoes are a great choice for lifting and if you are happy with your pair, go ahead and use it! If you are still not sure about this, try finding a gym buddy who owns one and ask them about how they feel and whether another type of shoe would help them more.

Compared to a lifting shoe which can require a considerable sum of money, wrestling shoes are quite cheap and affordable, while also doing everything that needs to be done for you. You may be surprised by the way it feels and how your performance can improve when you are wearing something you are comfortable in.




1) Weightlifting shoes or Wrestling shoes?

2) Wrestling – all about the sport 

3) Practical training for running, walking, rowing, wrestling, boxing, jumping, and all kinds of athletic feet

4) Weightlifting Shoes 101




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