Flexibility or traction? Which one appeals to you more when picking up a pair of wrestling shoes?
To the untrained eye, all wrestling shoes are the same: high-top upper with a very thin sole unit. There are no fancy technologies like a cushioning unit usually found in training shoes.
But if you’re a wrestler, either a novice or a professional, one of the things that you consider before purchasing a pair is the type of outsole it has. These shoes are categorized into split sole and unisole wrestling trainers.
Split sole vs. unisole
Pick up a pair of wrestling shoes, turn it over. If you see a full-length outsole, you’re holding a trainer with a unisole outsole. If you see a clear distinction between the heel and forefoot areas, then you have a split sole in your hands.
A split sole wrestling trainer is built to offer more flexibility. Rubber has a natural rigidity to it. By strategically placing rubber pods to where traction is mostly needed, the foot can move more naturally.
Meanwhile, because rubber lines the full length of the bottom, unisole wrestling shoes are less pliable. However, they have more traction compared to split soles.
In some cases, the outsole looks like a cross between a unisole and a split sole. A piece of rubber is placed under the arch area, enhancing the traction without compromising the flexibility. The Asics Dan Gable Evo has a rubber pod in the middle, while suede covers the other areas of the outsole. In the case of the Adidas AdiZero Varner 2, a thin strip of rubber bridges the forefoot and heel sections.
Frequently asked questions
How much do split sole wrestling shoes cost?
These trainers are priced between $55 to $160. Cheap wrestling shoes and those that are more expensive are constructed pretty much the same way. However, those that are priced higher usually bear the style and signature of a top wrestler. An example of this is the Asics JB Elite III, which was made in partnership with Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs.
If anything over $100 is a bit too much for you, don’t fret, RunRepeat’s got you covered. Just click on a model you are interested in, and we’ll tap into our roster of partner retailers to bring you the best offers. Even without a sale, a split sole wrestling shoe can get as much as $30 off.
When should I replace my split sole wrestling trainers?
There is no timeline to follow when it comes to wrestling shoes, unlike running trainers that need to be replaced after the 500-mile mark. As long as your pair can adequately hold your foot and ankle, and has an excellent grip on the mat, then you’re good to go.
Signs to watch out for include:
- Rubbed down outsole treads.
- The entire top has gotten too loose.
- Holes or tears in the upper of the sole unit.
How do I clean my split sole wrestling shoes?
Split sole wrestling trainers typically have suede wrapping some areas of the outsole and the rubber. It is not advisable to get suede wet, but if it does, its not the end of the world. Just try to avoid it to make it last longer.
A waterproofing spray protects the suede from water and stain. A stain can usually be removed using a suede eraser. If it gets mad on it for some reason, let it dry and use a suede brush to remove the durt and fluff the hairs on the suede material.
As for the rest of the trainer, the top can be wiped with a clean damp cloth or one dipped in a warm soapy solution to remove stains. Wiping the rubber split sole before each match ensures that it is grippy on the mat.
11 best split sole wrestling shoes
- Asics Split Second 9
- Adidas Adizero Varner 2
- Asics Dan Gable Evo
- Asics Matflex 4
- Asics Matflex 5
- Adidas Adizero Varner
- Adidas Combat Speed 5
- Asics JB Elite
- Adidas Pretereo III
- Asics International Lyte
- Asics Omniflex Attack
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