Outdoors Magazine

What Is the Difference Between Wrestling and Boxing Shoes?

By Perry Hua

Wrestling shoes and boxing shoes are fairly similar in appearance, but there are subtle differences that can affect your game significantly on the mat. Although each performs the best for their respective sports, wrestling and boxing shoes can be used interchangeably at the cost of some performance. So whatever you end up choosing, whether a wrestling or boxing shoe, choose wisely. For instance, wrestling shoes don’t provide as much traction as boxing shoes, and boxing shoes don’t provide as much protection as wrestling shoes. In this article, we’ll cover what makes a shoe, going over key parts that add functionality to each. If you’ve ever wondered what is the difference between wrestling and boxing shoes, you’re about to find out.

What Is the Difference Between Wrestling and Boxing Shoes?

Wrestling Shoes Boxing Shoes

Upper Upper

Wrestling Shoe - Upper - Athlete Audit
Boxing Shoe - Upper - Athlete Audit

  • The upper of a wrestling shoe is often sturdier for added stability
  • Wrestling shoe uppers offer a bit more protection than boxing shoes
  • Most wrestling shoes come in either mid-cut or high-tops
  • The upper of a boxing shoe is often very lightweight to allow you to be quick on your toes, at the cost of some stability
  • Many boxing shoes have an ankle strap to securely lock down the foot

Midsole Midsole

Inside a Wrestling Shoe - Athlete Audit
Inside a Boxing Shoe - Athlete Audit

  • A very thin midsole allows you to feel the ground underneath
  • Just like a wrestling shoe, a very thin midsole allows you to feel the ground underneath

Outsole Outsole

Wrestling Shoe - Outsole - Athlete Audit
Boxing Shoe - Outsole - Athlete Audit

  • The outsole of a wrestling shoe is probably the biggest difference you’ll notice. Wrestling shoes either feature a full unisole that covers the entire bottom of the shoe, or a split sole as seen above. A split sole has rubber that covers the heel and the front of the shoe, but nothing in the middle to increase overall flexibility
  • The outsole of a boxing shoe is made of really grippy rubber, but not too grippy that you can’t pivot on the ball of your foot. Some would say boxing shoes offer more traction than wrestling shoes, although that’s up for debate. There are also plenty of flex grooves that allow your foot to move naturally

Learn more about how to choose wrestling shoes here

Learn more about how to choose boxing shoes here


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