This is the first question most people ask. Like shoes for any other sport, wrestling shoes fall on a vast price spectrum. You can get perfectly serviceable wrestling shoes for $45 or pay nearly $200 for a top-of-the-line pair. The perception is that the more expensive the shoes, the better they are. To an extent that’s true. But better for whom? That the question you should ask. The more expensive styles generally carry the latest advancements and materials, and cater to the more advanced wrestler’s abilities.
“The Ten” Collection from Nike and Off-White that launched last year expanded in 2018, going way beyond the original list of 10 pairs. The first expansion was a European-only release of the remixed Air Jordan 1 done up in bright white from toe to heel. Plus, a couple hits of purple to make you feel like royalty. This was the original colorway Abloh designed for the 2017 collection, but the brands decided to stick with Chicago for the launch to classify the sneaker as an immediate success. It worked. The OG Chicago colorway and these white pairs continue to inspire thirst.
After Lance Mountain brought a layered customization to the Jordan 1 and Virgil Abloh tore it apart and sewed it back together, Nigel Sylvester took those bold moves and blended them into subtler, personal flourishes on his latest collaboration. Taking inspiration from how his own pairs look after being heavily worn, the result is a sophisticated design with alluring details, and definitely a top pick from the year.
Wrestling shoes have a few key qualities that you should look for: Lightweight, flexibility, sole grip and ankle support. These qualities generally improve the higher up the price scale you go, but again, as beginners, you shouldn’t be concerned with getting the best shoes ever; you should be concerned with getting the best shoes for yourself at your current skill level. There are many quality shoes with modest price points that are built to be both durable and effective as a wrestler grows from beginner to intermediate levels.
The addition of shearling is a textural detail that subtly transforms our most popular models into something unexpected. The Amazon Shearling lines its footbed with puffs of fur, and the Daytona takes its criss-cross strap and adorns one side with the same lambskin for the coziest cool weather look. These styles move easily between the transitional months where socks are optional.
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Flips: If lying low is the goal, a standard pair of flip flops, or thongs, can’t be beat. A pair slips on and off in seconds, packs easy and weighs little. In terms of comfort, leather flips are tough to beat after some breaking in but they can become slick when wet. Rubber top soles don’t compare comfort-wise, but are more utilitarian.