Do Wrestling Shoes Run Small?

Selecting the Right Fit of Wrestling Shoes

For any sport as intensive as wrestling, diversity in exercises is essential. Hence comfortable footwear is the basic necessity. The wrong pair of shoes can lead to injuries, and a bad fit is likely to distract you during a match.

A good pair of wrestling shoes gives you the required flexibility and traction. The shoes should be light and give enough support to your ankles and foot arch. The soles of a wrestling shoe are fragile and, hence, there is no cushion-like feel.

Unlike running shoes, wrestling shoes lace up at the ankles. In most cases, wrestling shoes are likely to run smaller than a regular pair of sneakers. So, when you consider buying a wrestling shoe, you might have to add a size or a half size.

Qualities to consider when you choose the right fit of a wrestling shoe

Before you narrow down your selection to the right pair of wrestling shoes, there are certain aspects that have to be evaluated:

  • Check if the shoe fits correctly
  • Try to analyze the durability of the shoe
  • Check the grip of the shoe on a mat
  • Analyze if the shoe aids proper air flow
  • Test the flexibility of the shoe

Consider the activity involved

You have to choose your footwear depending on how you are going to use the shoe. Wrestling shoes are utilized for a variety of exercises and activities apart from wrestling. Wrestling shoes can also be used for bike riding, for squats and dead lifts.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes and those involved in certain martial arts also prefer wrestling shoes. For activities like weightlifting, a lighter pair of shoes, that is affordable, should suffice. For use in combat sports, you will require a durable pair of shoes of good quality.

How do you find the accurate size of your wrestling shoe?

Wrestling shoes run small; hence it is important to have the length and width measurements of your foot before you make a purchase. You have to go up by half a size or more from your sneakers or your regular shoes.

For measurement of your feet, trace your foot on a piece of paper, while wearing your socks. Measure the length and width of your feet from the farthest points. With these measurements, determine your size from the shoe size table.

An ideal pair of wrestling shoe should fit comfortably around your heel and arch. Your feet should have enough room in front.  When the shoes are laced, you should be able to twitch your toes comfortably.

Method to select the right fit

There are several factors to consider when you buy wrestling shoes.

Loose fit or tight fit?

When the shoe is the right fit, it helps prevent injuries. Many players prefer tightly fitted shoes. When there is less room for your feet, they do not move around, and this will give you more stability.

Beginners always opt for the loose-fitting shoes, and do youngsters. It is safe for children as their feet grow in no time.

The type of sole

Wrestling shoes either have a split or a single sole. The sole is made from a thin rubber piece. The shoes with split soles are more flexible, and those with a single sole have a better grip.

In these shoes, the purpose of the sole is to provide traction. Hence, the arch support is minimal. This friction works in the wrestler’s advantage when he pushes his feet against the mat.

The quality of the wrestling shoes is proportional to the strength of the sole. The sole should be sticky and stiff.

The degree of ankle support

Good ankle support is another important aspect of wrestling shoes. Since the sport involves a lot of rolling, twisting and pushing, there is a risk of an ankle injury, as they can get sprained or broken. As a result, the shoe you select should give you good support to the ankles.

Wrestling shoes completely cover your ankles, and they go all the way to the bottom of the calves. The material is thin to aid smooth movements, however, the material of the shoe should not hinder the player’s movement on the mat during play.

Presence or absence of lace covers

The laces of wrestling shoes are long when compared to other types of shoes. During a match, wrestlers are banned from exposing the edges of their shoe laces, so they use athletic tape to wrap around the shoe edges; this way, the loose ends of the shoe lace are held tight.

Manufacturers have introduced wrestling shoes with flaps. These flaps cover the laces and make it convenient so you don’t have to tape them before the match.

Based on the above-mentioned parameters, it is important to find the right pair of shoes that fulfill your requirements.

Compare the brands

Every brand of wrestling shoes has their distinct fit and different sizing chart. If you are a first-time buyer, try a brand that you are already used to. Also, compare the sizing charts with your measurements to finalize the correct size. Most shoe brands offer sizing advice. Consider the instructions to find the perfect fit.

The stretch of the wrestling shoes

Wrestling shoes, like all other shoes, stretch during the initial phase. However, the shoes should fit comfortably later on. If the shoes are tight, they will give you discomfort; if the shoes are too loose, they will not give you the necessary support when you wrestle.


For a beginner, picking your first pair of shoe is crucial. Choosing the wrong pair is not only waste of money, but it can jeopardize your entire career. While the fit of the shoe is critical, do not ignore the quality.

Eventually, the style should complement your feet and your budget. Scrutinize the standards and quality before your purchase. If you are unhappy with your purchase, return or exchange it.

The fit of your shoes, and how you feel in them will control your game. Choose your pair after a close examination.


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