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.
Many of the walkers who wear sandals for walking 10 kilometers or more wear socks with them. Socks put a barrier between the straps and the foot, reducing the risk of hot spots and blisters. Many walkers say they wear their walking sandals year-round, which they can only do by adding socks. Socks can also wick moisture away from the sole of the foot to keep it dryer.
Since we started reviewing online shoe stores in 2016 we have spent over 30 hours exploring their features, their inventory, service policies and online support. We feel confident about our recommendations as a result. At some point, we contacted each of the stores in our lineup with various questions related to our findings and to clarify things we had a limited understanding of. The stores had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available by reading our reviews online. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Always one to turn its sneaker releases into a massive event, Miami’s own SoleFly provides collaborations at minuscule scales. The numbers are always super small, forcing intense competition to grab pairs—and this year’s Air Jordan 1s for Art Basel fit that same mold. They made two pairs: one incredibly limited in patent leather, and another slightly less limited in smooth leather. Both pairs played with orange, green, and black in different ways, inspired by the store’s official colors and the color-blocking of OG Jordans, but the patent leather pair was next level. The “Art Basel Black” will join the SoleFly Jordan IIIs, and others, as some of the rarest sneakers in the game.
We’re glad you asked. Look at the bottom of the shoe. If there is one continuous sole heel-to-toe, that’s a unisole. If there are two distinct sole pieces — one at the front and one at the heel — that’s a split sole. Unisoles generally provide greater grip while the split sole is generally more flexible. This is kind of a big deal because wrestlers invariably prefer one over the other. Best advice, though, is to go with the one that feels best when you try them on and test them out a bit. If you find your choice doesn’t live up to expectations, try the other style the next time you buy shoes.
Walkers choose walking sandals or trail sandals for both short and long distance walks. As with any walking shoe, it is important to find a good fit and to test the walking sandals at shorter distances and with or without socks. Today's running sandals and trail sandals provide athletic shoe features such as motion control, flexibility, and secure strapping systems so your feet don't get rubbed raw by the straps.
The Justin Timberlake take on the new Air Jordan 3 wasn’t just a game changer because it used the original Tinker Hatfield sketch for the iconic Jordan 3 as the design base (that includes a Swoosh that seems intrusive 30 years later), but also because Nike dropped the shoes when Justin Timberlake took the stage during the super bowl. It was a true sneaker moment that definitely goes down as a hallmark of 2018.
The sentiment that Real Men Wear Pink was proven with the Comme des Garçons Air Max 180s. In a trio of pink scale sneakers, each version is fresher than the last. It offers a range of executions, from the subtlest black and pink to a full-on exploration of how many shades can fit on a single shoe. They sold out immediately and continue to break necks for those who were lucky enough to grab pairs.
It was only two years ago that Acronym released its first Presto with Nike, even though it feels like a generation ago in terms of sneaker releases. Predating the Off-White collection, the remix that Acronym brought to the Presto was a big surprise—at that point Nike very rarely let collaborators edit its silhouettes. It was a shot across the bow for traditionalists, and caused a well-deserved fervor. This year they followed up the partnership with a trio of Prestos that played with pattern as much as texture, and color as much as expectations. We don't think the 2018 pairs quite live up to the 2016 pairs, but they're still a welcome addition to 2018's list.
A sleeper hit, the LeBron 10 made in collaboration with John Elliott is pitch-perfect to Elliott’s aesthetic. The JE brand is known for taking daily staples and elevating them, and rather than purely elevating the LeBron 10, Elliott distilled the sneaker to its constituent parts, taking the shoe from an earlier era and bringing it into the present. After that work was done, he went about utilizing the panels and pieces in black and white to create depth and implicit texture. At a quick glance it may not appear that there’s much to these kicks, but there are layers to them and they deserve recognition.
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.
It's no secret that the Air Max 270 Bowfin is one of the stranger silhouettes that released this year, but it suddenly made sense when we caught the Atomic Violet colorway. The shoes are wild: The uppers are a mess of materials with an attached tongue, a ribbon-constructed lacing system that culminates in a lacelock, and even a ripstop top that acts as a shield for the rest of the shoe. The sole is a triumph on its own: texture and line come together with a bright mudguard, and then a 270-degree air bubble at the heel. There are subtler colorways of the kicks, but with a blend of lavender, pink, mustard, white, and black, the details of the shoe are elevated and we get to see what makes it truly unique.
You’re going to see every other end of year list place the Union L.A. Air Jordan 1s right near the top, and we totally get why: one of them certainly deserves it. The black, red, and white colorway is very dope and sits right in the new tradition, catalyzed by Acronym and perfected by Off-White, of remixing silhouettes of classic sneakers. This release was perfectly timed to hit all the best-of lists. Like a December movie release timed for Oscar season, Union's well-hyped collaboration was still fresh on everyone's minds while they wrote their lists. These are definitely one for the books, and we can't wait to see what their staying power proves to be.
Off-White's collaborations with Nike will forever mark a turning point in what the major brands allowed collaborators to do with their beloved sneakers. As much as that represented a paradigm shift, there will always be projects like the MAGIC STICK Air Force 1, which creatively experiment within the limited confines of heritage silhouettes. The MAGIC STICK AF1s utilize unique materials (Tyvek and 3M in addition to leather and suede) for a look that is at once subtle and eye catching. With piping that reflects light and a neon ankle strap against the white upper, MAGIC STICK did a lot within a series of limitations that the industry is leaving behind.
2018 will go down as the year Nike and Jordan Brand started thinking about the women’s market seriously. Jordan created an entire sub brand devoted to their female customers, and launched pieces with the “1 Reimagined” program. Ten new takes on the Jordan 1 and Air Force 1 offer complete shakeups of these classic designs, shuffled up for a female customer base. Don’t let the gender designation get in the way; some of these deserve full market distribution.
Your foot rolls through each step, and your walking sandal must be flexible enough to roll with it as well. Too stiff of sole will have your foot fighting the sandal with each step. The sandal should be able to flex in the forefoot. Look for running sandals or trails sandals that provide the cushioning, support, and flexibility features of athletic shoes.
We know there are a lot of Jordan IIIs on this list (It makes sense; it is one of the very best basketball sneakers of all time.), but these "International Flight" Jordan IIIs are amazing and worthy of attention. They're not doing anything crazy—on the contrary, it's a colorway that seems like it should have released years ago. What's surprising about this sneaker is the off-white leather that dominates the upper. Jordan Brand is known for its combinations of white, black, red, and blue, so these more subtler tones add a sort of aged quality to the look in a way that's more than welcome. These are by no means classics, but they deserve recognition.