As one of the oldest shoe manufacturers of today, Asics has a wide range of products for men, women, and kids, in almost any sport. In 1955, just a few years after the company was founded, the first pair of Asics wrestling shoes was born. Asics is known for revolutionizing sports footwear, and they did the same with their wrestling line. It used innovations ahead of its time and has now become a standard to its modern offerings.
What to expect from the best Asics wrestling shoes
When purchasing a pair of shoes, regardless of its purpose, there are specific characteristics you look for before you decide which pair to get. For instance, if you’re looking for running shoes, you want something that has excellent shock absorption and makes it easy to run for extended periods. The same can be said about wrestling shoes, some traits need to be checked to ensure you get the best pair. Below are some of the essential features offered by Asics wrestling shoes:
A staple feature in wrestling shoes from Asics is its very thin outsole. It mimics the barefoot experience, like Vibram training shoes, thereby allowing the wearer to have better ground feel and maximize the use of their feet. They can bend their foot more and dig into the mat when needed to get the upper hand. The upper also uses materials that aren’t too thick. It allows the foot to bend, especially at the forefoot, making it easier to push.
Asics wrestling trainers are relatively easy to spot because of their high-top silhouette. The height of the collar falls at the level of the ankle bone. In some cases, even an inch or two above it. Because wrestling involves a lot of pushing using the feet and legs, and even leg takedowns, the construction of the upper helps stabilize the lower limbs. The high collar reinforces the ankle area to avoid injuries as well.
Asics uses gum rubber for the outsole of its wrestling trainers, similar to volleyball shoes. The rubber comes in different colors ranging from the usual brown shade, to clear, and most often, the same tone as the upper hue. The soft nature of gum rubber allows it to spread and adhere better on the surface of wrestling mats. This compound provides excellent traction, preventing slippage and allowing the wrestler to stand their ground and push their opponent down.
The tread pattern on Asics wrestling shoes is not all the same. Those that use a full-length outsole often have markings that help with flexibility. And those that have segmented outsoles often have grooves that promote multi-directional traction. Another common feature found in the outsole is the discs. These round structures allow for smooth pivots to prevent knee injuries.
Asics wrestling shoes are designed to fit closely to the skin. The sock-like fit helps prevent the foot from sliding inside the footgear. Some models employ a technology that has a compression system that helps with the snug fit. The tightness can be adjusted using the toe-to-leg lace-up closure. The light padding on the collar also helps maintain a close fit.
Meanwhile, the forefoot is another matter. Depending on your foot shape, Asics wrestling shoes will fit you differently. For some, the toe box offers a bit of room for the digits to spread out. On the other hand, some prefer the toe section to be more tight-fitting, but not too much that it would cause discomfort.
Keeping the feet fresh and not sweaty helps a wrestler focus on what’s essential — toppling down the other player. No one wants to be thinking about how sticky their feet are because their shoes feel so hot.
Asics uses Ecsaine for its upper. This is an engineered suede that is more durable than the regular type, though the feel and quality are of the same level. But like typical suede, Ecsaine is not breathable. In some Asics wrestling shoes, perforations are placed in various parts of the upper while other styles have mesh panels. There are also models, like the JB Elite V.2, that features an open mesh upper.
The tongue of these Asics wrestling shoes is covered in a mesh fabric while the walls are lined with a soft cloth. These materials help with temperature and moisture regulation.
Unisole vs. Split sole
Not all wrestling shoes are created equal. And one of the factors that differentiates them is the construction of the outsole.
If you turn your Asics wrestling trainer over and see a full-length rubber, then your pair has a unisole. This type of unit provides more traction because the whole underside is made of rubber. The drawback of this construction is that it is not as flexible as a split sole.
A split sole, on the other hand, only has rubber under the heel and the forefoot sections. The rest of the bottom is covered in suede. This layout provides more underfoot flexibility, but the grip is not the same as in the shoes with a unisole.
There’s also an enhanced version of the split sole found in a few Asics wrestling shoes. It is a hybrid sole layout, which is like a fusion of the unisole and the split sole. Rubber is found under the ball, the heel, and the arch sections. The addition of rubber in the middle section increases the grip of the outsole without compromising the flexibility.
The one common feature that both unisole and split sole Asics wrestling shoes have is the rolled construction. The outsole doesn’t have edges, it bevels up which helps wearers push off from the ground regardless of of the foot’s position.
Asics wrestling shoes through time
Asics released its first-ever wrestling trainer in 1955 and has become the archetype of modern iterations. It features several elements that were considered innovative back then. For starters, instead of a canvas top, it employed a nylon upper. This material is lighter than canvas and fits closer to the skin, delivering a better fit.
Another forward-thinking feature was the use of hidden metal eyelets. Because wrestling can involve the intertwining of legs, an exposed metal eyelet can cause injuries. As for the sole unit, Asics described it as having a rolled design that helps with the grip and durability of the underside.
In 1964, Asics geared up for global expansion. It included the development of trainers for other categories which included gymnastics, soccer, fencing, and volleyball. Asics running and wrestling shoes were also released internationally.
Asics’ wrestling legends
An American folk and freestyle wrestler who nabbed gold medals in the Olympic and World Games. He retired his wrestling boots early and at the age of 24 began his career as a wrestling coach. Gable was one of Asics’ early endorsers. He has a dedicated line of wrestling shoes in his namesake which includes the Dan Gable Evo and the Dan Gable Ultimate lines.
The original Dan Gable Evo features an Ecsaine upper which is suede that has been engineered to be more durable. It has a mesh-covered tongue for breathability. There’s also a Velcro strap on top of the tongue to keep the laces tucked in. The outsole utilizes Asics’ Octopod innovation which features strategically placed discs for maximum traction. Some parts of the outsole are covered in suede which helps the foot slide when needed. The Dan Gable Evo 2 uses the same silhouette as the previous iteration, but the upper has been restructured to allow more air to pass through.
The Dan Gable Ultimate 4 uses the same top material as the Evo. However, the overlapping layers of the upper exude strength and aggressiveness. Instead of a strap for the lace garage, there’s an integrated pocket on top of the tongue. You can put the shoestrings in it so they won’t unravel. As for the outsole, the split sole unit features segmented rubber which helps with flexibility and traction.
Gardner is a former Greco-Roman wrestler who won a gold medal during the 2000 Summer Olympic games and a bronze one in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Built like a mountain, it only fits that his Asics shoes were crafted with support in mind. This high-top wrestling shoe features a sole unit that has a tread pattern constructed for grip and flexibility. It extends up the medial side of the rearfoot, allowing the wearer to push off using the inner side of the heel.
Asics Rulon has been discontinued, but its design is alive in the Aggressor 4. This iteration uses the same outsole as the Rulon. The only striking difference is that the Aggressor 4 has a cuff-like structure at the collar. It provides more ankle support when the laces are tightened. There’s also a Velcro lace garage on the tongue for locking the shoelaces.
Burroughs’ interest in wrestling started when he was 5. Growing up as a scrawny kid, what he most liked about the sport was that he didn’t have to be big to perform well. He competed as a folkstyle wrestler and transitioned into freestyle. He is a four-time world champion and a gold medalist of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Asics signed Burroughs in 2011, just before he competed for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The first JB Elite was introduced in 2013. Burroughs renewed his contract with Asics in 2015 for another 5 years. The new deal was accompanied by the release of the JB Elite V.20 and the JB Elite TR.
The JB Elite V.20 features a split sole outsole with Serradial Traction Pods for maximum grip. The shoe uses a single-mesh fabric that has been redesigned to deliver improved foot and ankle hold. The top material is also breathable for added comfort.
As for the JB Elite TR, it is an Asics training shoe constructed for high-intensity workouts. Though it is not a wrestling shoe, it was introduced to help wrestlers and other athletes to hone their overall physical skills. The low-profile sole unit delivers better ground feel. It features the Rearfoot Gel technology for heightened comfort.
Sanderson is the current head coach of the Pennsylvania State University wrestling team. But before his coaching gig, he competed in freestyle and folkstyle wrestling. Sanderson won a gold medal during the 2004 Summer Olympics. He also has four NCAA Division I titles in the bag.
He joined the Asics team in 2002, and he collaborated with the brand to release his signature wrestling trainer soon. The Asics Cael has seen numerous updates over the years, but in 2016, the Cael V.1 was re-released. The trainer features a full-length transparent gum sole rubber that provides traction on the mat. Its upper is made of synthetic leather with mesh panels for aeration of the interior. It features a traditional lacing system with a Velcro flap covering the entire instep which helps lock the laces in place. Suede covers the bottom part of the top, allowing wearers to easily slide their feet if needed.
Frequently asked questions
How much do Asics wrestling shoes cost?
The cost of these trainers ranges from $55 to $160. If you’re a beginner, it won’t hurt to get low-priced pairs such as the Asics Matflex 5. This footgear combines mesh and suede overlays to deliver a comfortable experience with an adequate foothold. The outsole features a hybrid design wherein there’s a rubber pad under the arch area. This component ensures that more sections of the outsole help with the shoe’s adherence to the mat.
How should my pair of Asics wrestling trainers fit?
In general, wrestling trainers fit quite snug but not too much that it will restrict movements or cause discomfort. Some professional wrestlers prefer a close-fitting forefoot while newbies tend to choose one with more room in the toe box. As for the rearfoot and ankle fit, it is preferably snug for maximum hold and support.
When should I replace my Asics wrestling shoes?
Depending on how often you use them and how hard you throw down on the mat, a pair of wrestling shoes from Asics could last a year or more. Unlike running shoes that have a midsole that can lose its shock-absorbing properties with time, wrestling shoes do not have this layer. As long as the outsole grips the mat and the upper can securely hold your foot and ankle, then there’s no reason for you to retire it.
Are there wide Asics wrestling shoes?
No, Asics does not offer its wrestling trainers in wide. However, the rounded toe box ensures there is adequate space at the front to accommodate most types of foot shapes.
Can I use my Asics wrestling trainer for other sports?
Yes, especially for indoor sports played on a canvas ring or mat. Shoes for wrestling are also the go-to footgear of some people who do boxing or mixed martial arts. The reason being the thin sole unit gives them the flexibility and stability they need to stay grounded and be able to move quickly for offense and defense. [how about weightlifting?]
However, it is not recommended to use wrestling shoes for the sports that are done on rough surfaces like clay or asphalt. Their thin and subtle outsole can easily get deteriorated. The high-top collar design is also not the best choice for agility training and HIIT, where unhindered ankle movement is preferred.
Can I use my Asics wrestling shoes for streetwear?
No, because most of them would not survive the abrasions dealt by cement or asphalt surfaces. Asics wrestling trainers have very thin outsoles made of gum rubber, which has excellent traction but is fairly soft. If used on the streets, it can easily be chipped and the treads can get worn down. Also, some wrestling shoes from Asics have suede wrapping the underside. This material is not intended for street use.
If you’re in the market for everyday trainers to run errands in, walking shoes will not let you down. They are very comfortable to wear for prolonged periods. And though they are budget-friendly, their quality is above average.
On the other hand, if you want stylish kicks to go with your OOTD or a night out with your buddies, we also have in-style sneakers in our roster. From high-end brands like Gucci and Balenciaga to street vibes with Converse and Keds, we’ve got you covered.
Can I use Asics weight training shoes for wrestling?
Though the forefoot of weightlifting shoes from Asics is pretty thin, they have a thick heel that is hard. This type of component can cause harm during matches as the rigid material could easily dig into the skin upon contact. Also, weight training shoes are quite heavy.
How do I clean my Asics wrestling shoes?
Asics suggest using a shoe cleaner or a soft cloth or brush to remove surface dirt. Another method is by dipping a brush or cloth into a solution of cold water and mild detergent to remove deep-seated dirt. Wipe away excess soap and loosened soil with a clean damp cloth. Leave your footwear to air-dry at room temperature.
- Do NOT machine wash your Asics wrestling shoes.
- Do NOT use a dryer, direct sunlight, or other heating elements to dry your trainers.
- Do NOT store your shoes in scorching conditions or under direct sunlight.
Are there low-top Asics wrestling shoes?
Asics designed its wrestling trainers to be high-top. All of them reach the ankle bone, ensuring a secure ankle hold when the laces are tightened. However, unlike Adidas wrestling shoes wherein they go a few more inches higher than the ankle bone, Asics’ offerings are comparably shorter in height. Also, it is noticeable that the back collar of most wrestling shoes from Asics are lower, allowing more freedom of movement without sacrificing ankle support.
If you want more leg coverage, consider getting the Asics International Lyte model. The upper covers more of the lower leg but could lessen freedom of movement.
Does Asics have wrestling trainers for women?
No, however, some models like the JB Elite III are offered in unisex sizing. Unisex sizing still follows the men’s sizing chart. Gents’ shoes are 1.5 sizes bigger, so ladies are advised to size down. For context, women who typically wear a US size 9 should get Asics wrestling shoes in US 7.5.Unisex shoes sometimes have narrower heels, like the Snapdown 2. This construction delivers a better fit for women. There are also more feminine colors available for unisex trainers.
Are Asics wrestling shoes heavy?
No, these trainers are pretty lightweight because they lack thick midsoles like those found on hiking boots. The pretty low weight helps wrestler move swiftly on the mat as nothing is dragging their feet down. The average weight hovers around 230 grams per shoe.
11 best Asics wrestling shoes
- Asics Split Second 9
- Asics Snapdown
- Asics Dan Gable Evo
- Asics Matflex 4
- Asics Matflex 5
- Asics Aggressor 3
- Asics JB Elite
- Asics Snapdown 2
- Asics International Lyte
- Asics Aggressor 4
- Asics Omniflex Attack
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