The Best Wrestling Shoes

best wrestling shoes of all time

A question I commonly answer on social media and through my website is "What are the best wrestling shoes?

This question comes sometimes from those new to the sport and sometimes it comes from high-level wrestlers looking for the rarest pair of shoes out there.

For this reason, I divided this post into 2 sections.  You can jump to them by clicking the links below.

  1. The best wrestling shoes of all time 
  2. The best wrestling shoes you can still buy in 2022

When it comes to the question "what are the best shoes", quite frankly, I never had an answer.  I have my favorite wrestling shoes, but does that deem them the best? Not necessarily.  So I went to Google.  And what I found were horrible recommendations from Amazon Affiliates trying to make a quick buck on referring products without reason.  They do this by making a commission from the sales generated from their posts.  After many attempts at finding a good answer for this question, I turned to those I know in the wrestling community.

I reached out to several lifetime wrestlers to get their thoughts on the best wrestling shoes on the market and the best wrestling shoes ever made.  Even as a collector for over 10 years, the results were surprising.

To compile the two lists lists found in this blog, I got responses from:

  •         9 NCAA Coaches
  •         2 NCAA Champs
  •         10 NCAA All-Americans
  •         15 NCAA Qualifiers
  •         25 state medalists, 9 of which were state champs in their home state
  •         Countless district champs, regional champs, and state qualifiers

The lists below are compiled solely on the data from my responses.  Unlike other lists you will find online, I am not an affiliate or partner with any of the brands mentioned below.  All of the responses are subjective to the respondent.

Below are two different lists answering the question regarding the best wrestling shoes in different ways.  The first list is simply the top responses I received. The second is the top responses I got for shoes you can still buy retail.  The shoes in the first list are likely going to cost you a few hundred dollars or more since they aren't still made.  The shoes in the second list are going to be your best bet if you're looking to spend under $200 on your wrestling shoes.

Best Wrestling Shoes Ever Made - A Top 6 List

Now for the answers you’ve been waiting for.  This list highlights the top 6 responses I received based on volume.  Due to a few ties, there are actually 8 shoes mentioned below!

1. Asics Rulon Gardners

asic rulon gardner wrestling shoes red pair and gold pair

Colorways offered: 

  • Red and Black
  • Gold and Black
  • Blue, Black and Silver
  • Orange, Grey and Black

Estimated price: To buy in new or like new condition you'll be looking at  $400-1000 (Varies on size, condition, and colorway, but I've seen new with box Gold and Red Rulons go for over $1000)

29 of my respondents had Rulons atop their list of the best shoes they ever owned.  This really wasn’t surprising.  These are also at the top of my personal list of favorites.  Rulons are known for being some of the most durable shoes ever made.  They’re comfortable, cool, and last through years of wear and tear.  There are many reasons why Rulons landed at the top of this list, with more than double the responses than any other shoe on this list. Interested in learning more about Rulon wrestling shoes? Click to view the guide.

2. Nike Kolats

3 styles of kolat wrestling shoes

Pictured above are 3 of the 4 models of kolats.  From left to right are kolat 2000s, kolat speeds, and the blue version of the kolat 2000s.

Colorways and Models offered: 

  • Kolat speeds - Red & Black
  • Kolat Internationals - Blue & Red OR college colors for schools such as Oregon, UNC, Illinois and Portland State
  • Original Kolat 2000s - Black and Silver OR Blue, Silver and Black OR Dark Blue With an Orange "I" for Illinois on the tongue
  • Kolat 2k4s - Black and White OR college edition (college colorways with logos on the lace guard)

Estimated price: To buy in new or like new condition (varies on model): $400-1200.  Most models in great shape would be $400-$750.

I know there are multiple makes and models of Kolats.  I grouped them into one because quite frankly, Kolat Speeds and Original Kolats are so close in design that it is hard to differentiate them for the sake of this post.  17 respondents had Kolats at the top of their list.  11 of the 17 picked Kolat Speeds.  4 had OG Kolats. The other 2 votes were split between Kolat Internationals and Kolat 2k4s. Interested in learning more about Kolat wreslting shoes? Click to view the guide.

3. Asics Aggressors

asic aggressors red white and blue originals

Pictured above is a pair of red, white and blue original aggressors, or aggressor 1s.

Estimated price: To buy in new or like new condition (varies on model): $100-350

Colorways and Models offered:

  • Aggressor 1s:
    • Yellow/black
    • Red, white and blue
    • Blue/yellow
    • Red/black
    • Grey/blue
  • Aggressor 2s:
    • Black/white
    • White / Black
    • Blue/yellow
    • Baby blue/orange
    • Yellow/grey
    • Red and black plaid
    • Red/grey/black
    • Lime green/baby blue
    • Blue/grey
    • Camoflauge/orange
    • Grey and white camo with lime green/red
  • Aggressor 3s:
    • Gold/black
    • White/black
    • Gold/Grey
    • Black/silver
    • Red, white, blue
    • Comic hero design
    • Blue/grey
    • Dark blue/grey
    • Baby blue/black
    • Gold and Black "Legends" with Dan Gable, Cael Sanderson, Dave Schultz, and Rulon Gardner on them
  • Aggressor 4s:
    • Black/white
    • White pearl
    • White/black
    • Red/black
    • Red, blue and gold
    • Red, white, blue and gold
    • Blue and gold
    • White, grey and teal

Now on the “Aggressor 4”, Asics is coming in on the list at number 3 with a shoe that’s very similar to the Rulons mentioned at #1.  Aggressors feature a sole that is known to last for years.  Of the shoe models still made today, Asics Aggressors has 16 votes from those I talked with. I’ll speak from first hand experience when I say these shoes are loved for their comfort, durability, and performance

4. (TIE) Nike Inflicts

nike original reissue inflict wrestling shoes in black and gold

Pictured above is a pair of reissue original inflicts in the black and gold colorway.  These shoes in great shape typically sell for $400+.

Estimated price: To buy in new or like new condition (varies on model): $400-800 for originals or original reissues. $150-350 for discontinued colorways of inflicts made after 2008.

Colorways and Models offered:

  • Originals
    • Black and gold
    • Red and black with tan sole
    • Blue and black with tan sole
  • Original Reissues
    • Black and gold
    • Red and black with red sole
    • Blue and black with blue sole
  • Inflict 2s
    • Grey, black and white
    • Red, black and white
    • Blue, black and white
    • Yellow and grey (these are super rare!)
  • Inflict 3s
    • Gold/black
    • Blue, red and white
    • Grey and black
    • Volt green, pink and black
    • Yellow and black
    • Royal blue, white and black
    • Orange, white and grey
    • Neon green and grey
    • Baby blue and grey
    • White, grey and red

Coming in tied for #3 was another shoe line that was not overly surprising.  Nike Inflicts have been around since the 90s for a reason.  There are still versions of inflicts being released today.  They’re now on the Inflict 3, which is arguably the most popular shoe among athletes competing in the 2020 era.  I had 13 respondents who had Nike Inflicts on their list of the best wrestling shoes ever.  9 of the 13 noted the originals as their favorite, but if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable the Inflict 3s are not much different than the originals. Interested in learning more about Nike Inflict Wrestling Shoes? Click to view the guide.

 4. (TIE) Adidas Combat Speeds

red and black og combat speed colorway

Pictured above is a pair of combats from the early 90s. The red and black combats were an original colorway and the colorway is still used today.

Estimated price: To buy in new or like new condition (varies on model): Newer versions are typically under $100.  Older models vary from $300 and up.  Some models from the late 80s/early 90s will be $1000+ in new condition.

Colorways and Models offered:

  • 1988 West German combats
    • Pink, purple, green (extremely rare shoes - near impossible to find)
    • Blue, red, yellow
    • Teal, pink, yellow
      • 1988 combats are near impossible to find and will cost at least $1500 in decent condition
  • OGs or Original Combats
    • Red, black and white
    • Teal, pink, and yellow
    • Red, white and blue (2 pair in this colorway)
    • Blue, yellow and red (2 pair in this colorway)
  • Combat Speed 2s
    • Red, black and white
    • Teal, yellow and pink
  • Combat Speed 3s
    • Black
    • White
  • Combat Speed 4s
    • Teal, pink, and yellow
    • Red, black and white
    • Blue, black and white
    • Blue, black and lime green
    • Yellow and orange (David Taylor Edition)
    • Neon green and black
    • Red, white and blue
    • Red, blue, gold, and white (Jordan Oliver edition)
    • White and blue
    • Dark blue, royal blue, and white
    • Orange, black and white
    • Black and white
    • Green, grey, and white
    • Grey, red and white
  • Combat Speed 5s
    • Teal, pink and yellow
    • Black and silver
    • White and black
    • Red, white and black
    • Red, white and blue
    • Blue and black
    • Red and black
    • Blue and white
    • Yellow, grey, and black
    • Red and white

A holy grail for Adidas wrestling shoe collectors.  Adidas Combat Speeds have been on the market since the late 1980s.  They’re still on the market today for a reason.  Much like the inflicts, they’ve changed slightly in design, but are still very much the same in look and feel as they were 40+ years ago when they were first released.

5. Blue and Black Adidas Adistars

adistar wrestling shoes blue and black

Note: The adistars pictured above had the lace cover removed.

Estimated price: To buy in new or like new condition: $300-450

Colorways: These shoes only came in blue, black and white as pictured above.

This is by far the most surprising result for me.  Adistars were shoes that hit the market in 2005.  They were and still are popular, but I never thought they’d crack the top 5 of this list, or even top 10 for that matter.  If we count the tie, they came in at 5th for the best wrestling shoes of all time.  Pretty impressive for a shoe that only came in one colorway and that was only released one time – unlike every other shoe on this list.  7 of the 150 responses voted for the blue and black Adistars for their pick.

6. (TIE) Asics Pursuits

camo asics pursuit 1 wrestling shoes

Pictured above is a camo/black colorway of the Asics Pursuit 1s, known as Camo P1s.

Estimated Price: To buy in new or like new condition (varies on colorway): $125-350 for pursuit 1s, $250-450 for pursuit 2s.

Colorways and Models offered:

  • Pursuit 1s (or P1s)
    • Camouflage
    • Black and yellow
    • Blue and silver
    • Grey and white
  • Pursuit 2s (or P2s)
    • Grey, white and black
    • Red, white and black
    • Blue, white and black
    • Marigold (yellowish-orange), white and black

6 respondents had Asics Pursuits at the top of their list.  4 of these were bigger fans of the Pursuit 2s, while 2 of the 6 liked the Pursuit 1s. Known as p1s or p2s, these shoes were found on feet all over the country in the early 2000s.

6. (TIE) Adidas Sydney 2000s

black and yellow adidas sydney 2000 wrestling shoes

Pictured above is the black and yellow colorway of the Sydney 2000s wrestling shoes.

Estimated Price: To buy in new or like new condition $300-$500

Colorways offered:

  • Black, yellow and white
  • Blue, white, and yellow
  • Grey, blue, and black

Commonly noted as the most comfortable shoe ever made by wrestling shoe collectors.  Made in 2000 for the Sydney Olympics, these shoes were made in 3 colorways.  6 responders had these at the top of their list for the best shoes ever made.

Best Wrestling Shoes You Can Buy in 2022

Below are the 4 shoes that respondents in my survey voted as the best wrestling shoes you can still buy in 2022!   I apologize in advance for not having any images of the aggressor 4s, or up to date images of the Nike Freek colorways still offered.  Most of what I own are discontinued shoes, so I don't currently have any images to use for them.

1. Asics Aggressors 4s

Approximate retail price for Aggressor 4s: $120

Now on the “Aggressor 4”, Asics is coming in at the top of this list and at #3 of our all time favorites with 16 votes.  The results from this survey should speak for themselves.  If you’re looking for a pair of great shoes, the Aggressors are a favorite across the board.

2. (TIE) Nike Inflict 3s

nike inflict 3 wrestling shoes 2 colorways

Pictured above you'll see two of the inflict 3 colorways.  These 2 are extremely popular.

Approximate retail price for Nike Inflict 3s: $105

Nike Inflict 3s are again a remake of one of the shoes mentioned above.  With 13 votes, it’s hard to deny the popularity of these shoes.  Nike inflicts are a favorite of collectors and newbies alike, which is why Nike chooses to keep these shoes on the market today.

2. (TIE) - Adidas Combat Speed 5s

teal yellow pink combat speed 5

Pictured above you'll see the classic teal, yellow, and pink colorway of the combat speed 5.

Approximate retail price for Adidas Combat Speed 5s: $85

Note: some colorways that are either discontinued or out of stock can go for 2x that estimate if they aren't bought retail.

There is a reason why Adidas is on the 5th version of the Combat Speed with their release of the Combat Speed 5s.  These shoes have been around since the late 1980s. Yes that long, which is one of many reasons they have 13 votes.  With the exception of the Combat 3s (for a few reasons), Combat Speeds design and overall look has withstood the test of time.  The design used in 2022 in these shoes is very close to that used back in the late 80s and early 90s.  Commenters noted that these shoes “feel like socks” and “fit like a glove” which is one of many reasons they landed themselves on both of these lists.  They are also affordable, with retail prices of less than $100. They’re the lowest priced shoes you’ll find with ratings this high.  As someone who has worn these shoes for years, I can attest to their durability and comfort.

3. Nike Freeks 

NOTE: These shoes were discontinued after the start of 2022.  There has been no word as to whether Nike plans to release these again.

blue and white nike freek wrestling shoes

Pictured above is a pair of Nike Freeks.  This colorway is one of the originals that was offered. Similar colorways were made of this shoe when they were brought back on the market after being discontinued for almost 10 years.

Approximate retail price: $125-135

Note: Now that these are off of the shelves for the most part, you'll see them listed for $250-300 if new.

This shoe can stand on its own with the fact that it was listed 5 times from my respondents, and it’s the only shoe with no history.  Aggressors, Combat Speeds, and Inflicts all have predecessors.  The Inflicts and Aggressors have been made for 2+ decades.  Even the Aggressors are very similar to Rulons, which is essentially their predecessor, despite their name difference.  Nike Freeks are a great wrestling shoe.  I wore these in college and high school for matches, so despite note voting for them, I can see why numerous people did. These shoes, similar to the Aggressors, are known for a long lifespan and years of wear.  They’re also extremely comfortable, which is why you’ll see many athletes wearing them at the NCAA tournament in March!

Questions About The Best Wrestling Shoes Ever Made?

If you have any questions regarding this list of the best wrestling shoes ever made, please reach out!  I can be contacted by using this contact form and I'll get back to you as quickly as I can!

Meet The Author

nolan barger wrestling ncaa championship

Nolan Barger

A wrestling shoe expert with over 10 years of shoe collecting under his belt, Nolan is the owner of Rare Wrestling Shoes Co.  He's owned over 1000 pair of wrestling shoes.  Day to day, Nolan works for a Digital Marketing Agency.  In his wrestling career, he was a PA state medalist and a 3x D3 NCAA All-American.

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About Rare Wrestling Shoes Co:

As a wrestling shoe collector for over 10 years, I'm constantly trying to buy new shoes and learn the history behind them.  If you have questions about old-school wrestling shoes, shoot me a message.

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