Can You Use Basketball Shoes For Wrestling? (No, Here’s Why)

Ask most professional wrestlers, and they’ll tell you they tried using basketball shoes for wrestling at some point. But why?

This is because the human mind grows with experimentation, and after experiments, the mind learns to differentiate.

Once a player tries out different shoes, they can settle on a specific type that suits their sport.

If you ask the same athletes whether the basketball shoes made a tremendous impact on wrestling, you’ll probably get varied answers and personal experiences.

So, can you use basketball shoes for wrestling? Well, the simple answer is NO! This is because the basketball shoes might negatively affect your moves during wrestling. Wrestling requires smooth movements, and with basketball shoes having more traction, you may find it challenging to achieve easy foot rotation.

 Continue reading to discover whether basketball shoes can be used for wrestling.


Can You Use Basketball Shoes For Wrestling Training?

Some athletes may choose shoes depending on their personal preferences. Some want large shoes with a smooth sole, while others prefer small shoes.

Usually, basketball shoes have a rough sole to offer more grip during movements in the court, while wrestling shoes are smooth to support your pivoting movements in the ring.

Wrestlers with wrestling shoes

During your wrestling training, you want to achieve the best moves you’ll use in the actual battle. It’s not practical to use basketball shoes in wrestling training and expect 100% output in your wrestling match.

So, if you’re looking to improve your performance, avoid wearing basketball shoes when you train or work out in the gym. Plus, if you’re wearing expensive Jordans, they will wear out really fast.

How Do I Know Which Shoe Works Better For Me?

There’s no one-size-fits-all in this world. Different people have different needs and preferences. For example, some like big shoes while others like smaller ones.

Some like shoes with a smooth sole, while others prefer a rougher sole. And so on.

When choosing a pair of shoes for boxing, it’s important to consider what moves you will make. You need to ensure that the shoe you choose has the required traction to allow you to perform well.

But how do you know which shoe is right for you? Many factors determine the right fit for you. Here are some things to look for:

A cropped image of a man wearing Nike shoes

1) Grip – The first thing you need to consider is the amount of grip the shoe offers. A good pair of boxing shoes must provide adequate hold to prevent slipping during your moves.

This means that the shoe must have enough friction between the shoe’s bottom and the floor.

2) Stability – The second factor to consider is stability. In wrestling, you need to pivot your feet easily without losing balance or falling over.

To achieve this, you need to ensure that the shoes you choose have a stable base. If you notice the shoe is wobbling around, it may not suit wrestling.

3) Comfort – While the other two factors are important, comfort is also essential. When you wrestle, you spend hours doing it. You must choose a pair of shoes that allows you to practice comfortably and achieve great footwork. It’s especially important to have the right shoes if you’re suffering from a leg condition, such as shin splints, for example.

If the shoe gives you blisters, pain, or discomfort around your ankle, then it’s probably not going to work out for you. Lower cut and higher cut shoes are popular.

4) Durability – Another important aspect to consider is durability. Wrestling requires a lot of wear and tear. So if you use your basketball shoes for wrestling, they won’t last long.

Your shoes must be able to withstand all the abuse you put them through. If the shoe is not durable, it may not last long.

5) Price – Finally, price is an important factor to consider. Most boxers start by buying cheap pairs of shoes.

But after a few years of practice, they realize that the cheaper pair of shoes does not offer them the support they require. They spend more money on expensive shoes that give them the support they need.

You might want to check out our article on the best basketball shoes for casual wear this year too.

Choosing The Right Boxing Shoes For Your Level

Choosing the right boxing shoes according to your level may be challenging as a wrestler. As much as there is no official categorization of the boxing shoes you need, most fall into three categories, as explained below.

Cropped image of a player wearing Nike shoes

Wrestling Shoes For Beginners And Intermediate Wrestlers

The first category includes all styles of boxing shoes that are suitable for beginners or intermediate boxers. These include:

• Traditional boxing shoes with soft soles such as those made by Nike, Adidas, and Reebok

• Soft-soled sneakers like those made by Puma, New Balance, and Under Armour

Wrestling Shoes For Pros And Competitive Wrestlers

The second category includes all types of wrestling shoes designed specifically for professional and/or competitive boxers. They include:

• Hard-soled boxing shoes with thick rubber outsoles such as those made by Mizuno, Warrior, Vans, and Adidas.

• High-top boxing shoes with hard soles such as those from Jordan, Converse, and Saucony

Wrestling Shoes With Special Features

The third category includes all types of shoes with specific features ideal for wrestling. The boxing shoe types are ideal for career and specialist wrestlers who want to improve their performance in the ring.

Some examples include:

• Wrestling boots with built-in ankle support such as those made by “Lonsdale” and “Fila” are good for competitive sparring.

• Boxing shoes with extra padding on the heel area, such as those made by Bauerfeind and TuffRuck. They are good for dedicated athletes as they offer much arch support.

• Boxing shoes with high arch support for better balance, stability, and snug fit during training sessions, such as those made by “New Balance” and “Saucony”.

• Boxing shoes with extra cushioning on the instep are the right pair for a natural foot grip when wearing them for long periods, such as those made by “Saucony”. Many boxers prefer them as their best shoes for comfort.

• Boxing shoes with built-in orthotics for improved foot health, like those made by “Riddell” and “Propet”. Some come with excellent material breathability for long-day use.

You can watch the video below for more information.

Why Basketball Shoes Aren’t Great For Wrestling

Basketball shoes are not designed for wrestling. They are mostly like running shoes. As such, they lack the traction needed for the wrestling mat, thus negatively affecting movement. That’s even though they add a little to your height, which could be beneficial in some instances.

The design of a basketball shoe prevents proper foot placement when performing certain techniques.

For instance, when executing a move called “the jump shot,” the foot’s heel hits the ground before the rest of the foot. This causes the ankle to twist inwards, making them not good for regular basis use.

A pair of black boxing shoes

Too much grip is another problem with basketball shoes. Because they are designed for running and moving on a specific surface, they have a firmer grip, which may deter wrestlers from performing quick and complicated moves on the mat.

This makes it difficult for a boxer to gain control while moving quickly thus not providing good ankle support.

The thick-weight design makes the basketball shoes not good for boxing. The thicker sole makes them bulkier and heavier than normal shoes. The weight makes it hard to get suitable footwork around the mat.

Furthermore, the soles with a lot of weight don’t allow for any flexibility and may harm your ankle if you force.

The market has many boxing shoes available. Some of these include:

1) Adidas Shoe

Adidas shoes are some of the most popular ones. These shoes were originally designed for a boxer but are now used by many athletes, including fighters.

Adidas Shoe

Adidas boxing shoes come in different styles. They range from lightweight training shoes to heavy-duty competition models.

These shoes are ideal for a beginner boxer who want to learn to punch correctly. They are lightweight, flexible, and offer good footwork. They may work well as running shoes or everyday shoes.

2) Nike Pro Combat Boxing Shoes

Nike pro combat shoes are very similar to Adidas boxing shoes. However, they are slightly lighter and less bulky. They are a good choice for a boxer who wants to learn how to punch correctly.

Nike shoe

3) Reebok 

Reebok shoes are one of the best-selling footwear brands in the world. They are known for their high-quality products because of their suitable material.

Reebok shoe

Their wrestling shoes are extremely comfortable and good for a boxing competition. They also feature a removable sock liner that offers ankle support.

4) Rival Shoe

Rival shoes are designed for advanced fighters. They are usually worn by professional boxers. The shoes are very durable and can handle a lot of punishment. 

Rival shoe
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Benefits Of Wearing Wrestling Shoes

Wrestling shoes come with plenty of benefits to the boxers. Here are some of them: 

Provide A Stable Base To Stand

The first benefit of a boxing shoe is that it provides a stable base on which the wrestler can stand. This helps in preventing injuries to the ankles, knees, hips, and back.

It also provides support against falls and impacts from opponents during boxing training. 

They Prevent Slipping On Wet Surfaces

Boxing boots have rubber soles to traction on slippery surfaces like ice or snow. The rubber material prevents slips and slides and improves movement on the mat.

They Keep The Body Warm

A boxing shoe is designed with a mesh lining that allows heat to escape through the shoe. This keeps the body warm even when it’s cold outside.

Prevent Injuries

Sometimes exposed toes get injured while wrestling. A boxing shoe protects the toes by providing adequate padding. Good shoes also protect the opponent’s feet from getting hurt.

Keep Your Feet Dry

Wrestling shoes keep the feet dry because of their mesh lining. They also help in keeping sweat away from the skin.

black wrestling shoes, black boxing gloves and unwound red protective bandages for martial arts isolated on a white background


Can Basketball Shoes Be Used For Other Sports?

Basketball shoes cannot be used for any other competition, as they are specifically designed to provide maximum support and stability in the foot area, tailored for basketball. Usually, basketball shoes offer a firm foot grip on the floor or court surface. If used for other sports, it may affect movement.

Is It Possible To Wear A Pair Of Boxing Shoes Casually?

Yes, you can wear a decent pair of boxing shoes outside, provided that they have been properly cleaned and dried after use. However, it is advisable not to wear such shoes outside for a long time if there is a chance of rain or snowfall.

Are Wrestling Shoes Necessary?

Yes, wrestling shoes are essential for punchers. These shoes are specially designed for boxers and wrestlers who need to perform various movements while practicing their skills. All boxers should feel free to wear wrestling shoes, especially those who practice grappling techniques such as takedowns and throws.

Can Non-Basketball Players Wear Basketball Shoes?

Yes, most people can wear outdoor basketball shoes with no problems. However, some people may experience discomfort in their feet while putting on these shoes, which may negatively impact their movement.


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