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The Difference Between Boxing Shoes and Wrestling Shoes

Last Updated: 16.05.22


If you are looking for more information about different types of sports shoes, then you are in the right place. No matter if you practice boxing or wrestling, you can use anything up to a certain level. However, if you want to get past it and really get serious, you will need footwear that is specially designed for your game and you will need to know how it should look like.

If you’re dreaming of becoming the next Mike Tyson or the next Dan Gable, the first step is knowing what kind of shoes you need. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered with just about any information you might require for this. Continue reading, and don’t forget to send a couple of tickets our way from your first fight.


Key differences between them

No matter what it might look like, there are key differences between these two types of shoes which you will most likely pick up if you start using them. In the following, we present you with the most common ones.


Height of the boot

One major difference is the height of the boot. Even though both sports require some sort of ankle protection, boxing has a much higher need for this due to the unexpected falls athletes can be forced to endure. In wrestling, since they basically expect to get thrown at some point in time, they are ready for it and, anyway, wrestlers are experts in taking a fall.

Besides, the additional ground-work that is required means the ankle can’t be strapped too tight or else you run the risk of lowering the wrestler’s abilities if he/she is not able to move at will. Furthermore, boxers will never be in a crouched position if they can help it as they always need to stand up straight. A shoe that is tied high will never inhibit any sort of in-ring performance.

Something which you should always remember no matter the sport you are practicing is that whatever makes you comfortable is what best works for you. Indeed, some boxers choose to ignore the tall boots and wear shorter ones with a lot less support for the ankle, because that is what they feel comfortable with and this is perfectly okay.



Soles of the feet

Wrestling and boxing shoes will have different types of soles made specifically with that particular sport in mind. The logical chain of thought here was the type of movement that is required in each discipline.

A boxer will generally go forward or take steps back, and the only pushing he is going to do will be off the balls of their feet. This means that the best shoes need to have a smooth inside surface with only a few grooves for traction, which in professional terms is called “Vertical traction”. Very little attention is given to any other type of in-ring movement.

In contrast, wrestlers need a lot more grip from their feet so wrestling shoes also need to be harsher on the bottom. The sole has to be solid so it can grip into the canvas and allow the athlete to push off it. Furthermore, since wrestlers tend to get stretched in all kinds of positions, they need to be able to use any part of their shoe for this action, anytime.



Furthermore, the level of flexibility is another key difference. Since boxing is pretty much a straightforward sport, the feet are doing sharp, short movements in an upright position and there’s nothing fancy about that.

Wrestling, however, requires a great variety of positions and flexibility, so athletes who practice this will need more freedom for their ankles. This is the reason why a pair of wrestling shoes will generally be a lot more flexible than a pair of boxing ones.


Everybody has something in common

With all that being said, there are also certain similarities that stand out when you are looking at both types of shoes. We have to take into account the fact that both sports are using a more or less similar type of surface, which is the canvas and mat respectively. Since the canvas/mat offers support to the feet, neither one of these shoes will do much when it comes to that.

The reason for thinner shoes has to do with wanting to cut weight since both sports require nimble and quick movements to be successful. Because support is not required, a heavier shoe with two levels of cushioning would put anyone at a disadvantage and slow that athlete down.

When it comes to the material, both shoes are usually made out of lightweight synthetic material. If we’re looking at a pair of state-of-the-art, cutting edge boxing shoes, sometimes they will also have lightweight leather or suede, for the extra durability.  

Both sports have kept up with modern technology developments and are continuously getting better at pumping out more advanced shoes in order to give their users added comfort and security. Since, as we said, both of them take place on similar surfaces, both types of shoes have rubber soles for extra traction.


What about training?

Even though you might be thinking that wearing specialized shoes in training is something only professional athletes need to do, that’s not really true. Having an adequate pair of footwear in training will provide you with a much more solid fundamental game and also offer added freedom of movement.

As we said, both shoes have a thin sole for a reason. Many people who walk into a boxing gym for the first time, for instance, like to wear running shoes. However, running shoes are designed for constant collision with a hard surface that does not provide any protection. Since most boxing training takes place in a ring, that won’t really be the case.

Training in boxing or wrestling shoes is quite clearly the way you should go if you can afford it. The constant practice builds up muscle memory over time and all of that will go to waste if you’re training with a heavier pair of shoes than the one you will be wearing when fighting.



Can I use wrestling shoes for boxing or vice versa?

Despite all the differences we mentioned, the two shoes are not that different when you think about it. Clearly, a pair of them beats using running shoes every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But what about using one for the other’s sport?

Due to the amount of movement, wrestling shoes have to be very well made and will typically last you a few years even with regular use. Of course, boxing shoes aim for pretty much the same length of time but you have to take into account that the stress isn’t as great.

Their similarities and the fact that both sports take place on the same surface make sure they are both transferable to each other, at least for the short term. If you’re not competing at a high level and need everything to be perfect, there is little issue in swapping the pairs for training or even competitions.

As you progress, though, remember that those differences are there for a reason and it’s best if you pick the specific shoe for your specific sport. Things like the texture of the sole or the flexibility of the footwear can make or break a match at a high level.




1) Difference between boxing and wrestling shoes?

2) What’s the difference between Wrestling Boots and Boxing Boots

3) Buying the right shoes

4) Fitness Boxing Equipment: What You Need to Know




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