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Wrestling shoes are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some brands are funky and fun while others are more muted and serious. Whether you are looking for an entry level wrestling shoe or a top of the range pair, there is more than enough styles and colours to choose from on the market.
The Different Types of Wrestling Footwear
There are two main categories into which wrestling shoes can be split; Unisole or non split and split soles. There are of course other features to a wrestling shoe but the sole is what separates a good wrestling shoe from a great one. Since wrestling is a full on combat sport which consists mainly of grappling or clinching ground work, your feet are where your power and speed lie.
If you are going to slipping and sliding around on the mat like a fish out of water then you are going to lose the match. You need a shoe that not only looks good but performs well as well.
Split-sole wrestling shoes are a favourite among professional wrestlers because of the way the sole mimics the athlete’s foot. Split soles are much softer and more flexible because of their thin rubber material. The athlete’s foot has much more freedom of movement inside the shoe and this allows for more speed and dexterity during a match.
Unisole or non-split soles, have a toe-to-heel rubber sole which means that unlike split soles, these soles cover the entire foot with rubber from heel to toe. Unisole shoes are therefore much more rigid than split soles and do not allow for the maximum amount of flexibility or freedom of movement inside the shoe. Non-split soles do have more grip than split soles because of the large surface covered by rubber.
This rubber sole provides the athlete with maximum traction during a match. Non-split soled shoes have a longer life expectancy thanks to the durable rubber lining which covers the whole sole of the shoe. Each athlete is different and so are their preferences when it comes to choosing the right equipment. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the type of wrestling shoe, it is simply a matter of personal choice and comfort.
What is Special About Wrestling Shoes?
Wrestling shoes are special because they provide the athlete with traction during a match. Most of the pushing power in a wrestling match comes from the wrestler’s feet. When grappling against each other, the feet are used to push against the mat and to gain leverage over your opponent. The ancient Greeks were confident enough to wrestle in the nude and a good looking pair of wrestling shoes might offer the same level of confidence to the athlete that’s wearing them.
Apart from confidence boost, wrestling shoes are designed to protect the ankles and should be snug enough to fit your foot like a second skin. This allows extra support for the ankles and a better grip on the ground. A good quality wrestling shoe mimics the wrestlers barefoot, providing more traction and support on the canvas material wrestling mats.
These shoes also protect the wrestler’s form any rogue toenail slashes form their opponents as well as any fungal foot infections which might be hanging around.
Wrestling Shoes Split sole vs. full Sole?
There are two main types of wrestling shoes on the market, Split soles and full or non split soles. Split soles are generally favoured by professional wrestlers because of the way they mimic the barefoot. This type of wrestling shoe is much more light weight and flexible than full soled shoes.
Split soles provide traction without being heavy or bulky. Hits type of sole allows the wrestler to be more agile and have more freedom of movement than with non split soles. Unfortunately, split soles do not last very long because of their thin material and need to be replaced on a regular basis.
Full or non split soles are when the entire bottom side of the shoe is covered in rubber from the toes to the heels. This kind of shoe provides maximum traction but is not very lightweight. They do not allow for extra flexibility or freedom of movement because of the stiff rubber soles.
Full sole wrestling shoes will last longer because of the durable rubber sole. If you do not want to fork out money for a new pair of wrestling shoes every so often then full soles is the way to go.
How long will Wrestling Shoes Last?
A good quality pair of wrestling shoes will last longer if they are treated properly. Always wear good quality cotton socks with your wrestling shoes to lower the chances of wear and tear inside your shoes. Keep your toenails short and neat to avoid damage to both your nails and your shoes.
Some brands will last longer than others and sometimes buying the cheapest pair will cost you more money in the long run. Your feet take as much of a beating as you do during a wrestling match so make sure you invest in a proper pair of shoes from the start.
Try not to wear your wrestling shoes for anything other than wrestling. The thin rubber soles are designed to mimic the shape and flexibility of your foot and should not be used as a fashion statement. The soles are not designed in the same way that running shoes are. The thin rubber will easily chip or disintegrate if used as a pair of casual everyday shoes.
Wrestling shoes are designed to fit the foot as snugly as possible, which is another reason why you should not wear them for extended periods of time. If you choose to wear socks with your shoes then you need to wash them regularly to keep your wrestling shoes fresh and damp free. Bacteria and fungi love damp conditions and will end up destroying your favourite wrestling shoes and your feet in no time flat.