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How Should Wrestling Shoes Fit?

Last Updated: 16.05.22


You’ve set out on the road to becoming a wrestler so wrestling headgear was one of the first things you thought you need to buy. While very true and certainly an essential part of your future wrestler attire, headgear is not the only thing you need to worry about.

Shoes are one of the most important things for a wrestler as they can make or break a match, giving you an advantage or an insufferable feeling throughout the fight. Also, any sport as intensive as wrestling will require more than just a comfortable pair of shoes, a pair which can help you avoid injuries and remain nimble.

Since they are so important, choosing the right pair can be a tough decision. We put together this article to let you know exactly how one should feel so you can make the best call when buying one for yourself.


Things To Consider Before

Since they are made for sports, wrestling shoes have to give you the required flexibility and traction. They are also light and support both your ankles and your foot arch. Another thing to remember is that the soles of these shoes are fragile and you will get no cushion-like feel because of this.

In most cases, wrestling shoes will likely run smaller than a regular pair of good old sneakers, so never forget this when you go shopping. Always add a size or a half size before you get angry that your new wrestling footwear is too small for you.

When the time comes for the “how much?” question, these types of shoes fall on a vast price spectrum. Perfectly usable wrestling shoes will cost you somewhere around the $45 range while state-of-the-art footwear can even go for $200. Even if the perception is that the higher the cost, the better the shoe is, that’s not necessarily true.

Since the more expensive styles come with materials and perks that cater to the more advanced wrestler, a beginner can start with the cost-effective pair with no problem. If you really get into the sport and start to sharpen your skills, then you can look at a more expensive pair to further improve your wrestling.



Qualities Your Shoe Should Have

Before you run down your list of “should-buy” shoes, keep in mind there are certain qualities that your new acquisition should have that will determine if it is worth buying or not. First of all, of course, check if the shoe fits correctly on your foot. You don’t want it to feel loose or your leg getting out in the middle of a fight.

After that, try to analyze the durability. Look for reviews online, maybe ask the store clerk if they have any experience with it, anything that could help you understand how much time that pair is going to be good to use.

Another important thing to check is the grip of the shoe on a mat. You are a wrestler, right? Step on a mat and make sure you are not slipping or even falling down with those new fancy shoes. While you’re there, analyze if they aid proper airflow so your feet don’t get all sweaty and smelly during the training.

Last but not least, check the flexibility. It should be flexible enough that it allows you to perform your movements without feeling restrained whatsoever. Try to buy a pair of shoes that has all these attributes since footwear, more than anything else, can give you an advantage or a disadvantage on the mat.


How To Find the Best Size

Since we established wrestling shoes run small, it is very important to have the length and width measurements of your foot before you go out shopping. As we said, you have to go up by half a size or even more from your original sneaker or regular shoes size.

To get a decent measurement of your foot, trace it on a piece of paper while also wearing your socks. From the farthest points, measure the length and width and use these to determine your accurate size from the shoe size table.

Ideally, your wrestling shoes should feel comfortable around your heel and your arch, with enough room in the front as well. You should still be able to twitch your toes easily when the shoes are laced.


How To Find the Best Fit

When your shoe is the right fit, it helps in preventing injuries and adding stability. You will find that many athletes prefer tightly fitted shoes as this means less space for the foot to move around and cause harm. Beginners and especially youngsters often opt for a loose-fitting one, because they are more comfortable and especially because their feet grow in no time.

When it comes to soles, wrestling shoes will offer you either a split or a single sole, made from a thin rubber piece. This really comes down to preference, as the shoes with split soles are more flexible while those with a single sole have the advantage of a better grip.

Due to the nature of the sport, the purpose of the sole is to provide traction. Because of this, you will feel the arch support to be minimal since the friction works in the wrestler’s advantage by helping him when he tries to push his feet against the mat. When examining the quality of the shoe, always look at the sole that should feel sticky and stiff.

Since wrestling involves a lot of rolling, good ankle support is essential when buying shoes. A true pair of wrestling shoes will completely cover your ankles and go all the way to the bottom of the calves. Furthermore, even if the material is thin it should not hinder at all your movements on the mat.



Compare The Brands

Be mindful that every brand of wrestling shoes comes with its own distinct fit and different sizing chart. If you are buying for the first time, you are probably better off sticking with a brand that you are already used to. Don’t forget to take your measurements and compare them with the store’s sizing chart to get the correct size.

With that in mind, you need to also remember that like all other shoes, wrestling ones will also stretch during the initial phase. Give them a little time before returning them for being too tight, as they should feel comfortable later on, provided you have chosen the correct size.



Especially if you are a wrestling novice, picking your first pair of shoes is crucial. A wrong pair will not only mean a waste of money but also potentially give you a dangerous injury if you insist on wearing it. The fit of the shoe and how you feel wearing it will directly impact your mat game, your results, and your happiness with choosing this path. Don’t jeopardize that feeling for anything.

In the end, your choice should complement both your feet and your budget, and if you are unhappy with the purchase for any reasons don’t forget you can always return or exchange it. Go get that first pin!



Leave a comment


Alice Carroll

June 3, 2020 at 2:01 am

Thanks for the tip that I should be able to twitch my toes comfortably when wearing shoes for wrestling. I’ve been thinking about learning mixed martial arts as a sport years ago but I think I would prefer it if I can learn a specific fighting style instead of having to combine multiple without prior training. As such, I think learning how to wrestle would suit me just fine.


June 3, 2020 at 10:28 am

Hi Alice. Thank you for your input!

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