Breaking in wrestling shoes might seem like a daunting task but with the right guidance, it doesn’t have to be.  Whether you’re an amateur wrestler getting ready for your first match or a professional veteran looking to get the most out of your gear, we will help you break in and care for your wrestling shoes so that they can last as long as possible. With these tips in mind, not only will you get more from this essential piece of gear but also increase the likelihood of scoring victories on the mat!

Breaking in wrestling shoes properly can enhance their performance and increase their lifespan. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure you break in your wrestling shoes the right way.

1. Indoor Fitting:

Before you start the break-in process, it’s essential to confirm the shoe’s fit. Always try your wrestling shoes indoors. This not only prevents them from collecting dirt but also ensures they’re in the best condition for an accurate fit. It’s worth noting that feet tend to swell slightly during the day, so an evening trial can offer a more representative fit.

2. Home Acclimatization:

Start the break-in process by wearing the wrestling shoes around the house. This gently acclimatizes the shoe material to the shape of your feet. Initially, you might want to wear them for short durations like 30 minutes, increasing the time gradually as they become more comfortable.

3. Initiation with Light Training:

Once you’ve familiarized your feet with the shoes at home, it’s time to introduce them to the mat. Start by wearing them for light training sessions. During these sessions, focus on basic drills, footwork exercises, or even just shadow wrestling. This eases the shoes into the pressures and movements unique to wrestling. Remember to keep these sessions short to prevent any undue discomfort.

4. The Thick Sock Method:

To expedite the stretching process, consider wearing thicker socks, preferably made of cotton or wool, which provide cushioning. However, ensure the thick socks don’t reduce circulation or lead to potential blisters. The added thickness can help stretch the shoe faster but remember to monitor comfort.

5. Cautionary Moisture Application:

For certain shoe materials, like leather, a bit of moisture can make them more pliable. You can gently rub a damp cloth over the tighter areas of the shoe. However, always let the shoes dry naturally in a well-ventilated space. Avoid direct sunlight or heaters, as these can compromise the shoe’s integrity.

6. Alternation Strategy:

To give your new shoes and feet a break during the breaking-in period, consider alternating between your new wrestling shoes and an older, broken-in pair. This ensures you aren’t overstraining either and allows the shoes a ‘rest’ period between uses.

7. Employing Stretching Tools:

If the traditional methods aren’t giving the desired results, you might want to look into shoe stretchers. These tools can be particularly effective when there are specific tight spots in the shoe. However, they should be used cautiously to prevent overstretching and potential damage.

8. Proper Storage Techniques:

Properly storing your wrestling shoes post-use can have a significant impact on their longevity and comfort. After each session, it’s a good idea to loosen the laces and let the shoes breathe. Store them in a cool, dry space with adequate airflow. For those keen on maintaining the shoe’s shape, shoe trees can be beneficial. To keep them smelling fresh, consider anti-odor balls or sprays.

9. Manual Flexibility Enhancement:

To actively work on the flexibility of the shoes, use your hands to manually bend and flex them. Focus on the areas that naturally bend while wrestling. This hands-on approach helps in softening the material and simulates the motions your foot would typically go through.

10. Targeting Tight Spots:

Lastly, if there are specific tight spots causing discomfort, spend a few minutes massaging these areas. Applying gentle pressure can soften the material and alleviate tightness, leading to a more comfortable fit over time.

The Importance of Well-Fitted Wrestling Shoes:

Wrestling shoes play a critical role in the performance and safety of a wrestler. A well-fitted pair provides optimal grip on the mat, allowing swift and controlled movements. The snug fit also minimizes the risk of foot and ankle injuries by offering essential support during intense matches.

Furthermore, a comfortable shoe can enhance stamina, enabling the athlete to maintain their energy levels throughout the contest. Poorly fitting wrestling shoes, on the other hand, can lead to discomfort, distraction, and potential injury, severely impacting performance. Thus, investing in a properly fitted pair of wrestling shoes is an absolute necessity for any serious wrestler.

Do’s And Don’ts When Breaking in Wrestling Shoes:


1. Do Break Them In Gradually:

Avoid wearing brand-new wrestling shoes for a full-intensity match or training session.

2. Do Check The Fit:

The shoes should be snug but not too tight. Your toes should have a bit of wiggle room.

3. Do Keep Them Clean:

After each training session, wipe them down to prevent dirt and sweat from breaking down the material.

4. Do Listen To Your Feet:

If you’re feeling pain (not just discomfort) when breaking them in, something might be wrong. Check the fit again or consult with a coach or specialist.


1. Don’t Use Direct Heat:

Avoid using direct heat like hair dryers or placing them near heaters to speed up the stretching process. This can damage the shoe material.

2. Don’t Soak Them:

Submerging your shoes in water can lead to damage, especially for shoes not made of pure leather.

3. Don’t Use Them Outside:

Wrestling shoes are designed for the mat, not for pavement or grass. Using them outside can wear down the soles quickly.

4. Don’t Ignore Persistent Discomfort:

If, after several sessions, your shoes are still not comfortable, they might not be the right fit or style for your foot shape. Breaking in your wrestling shoes properly can greatly impact your performance and comfort during matches. Make sure to follow these steps and tips to get the most out of your wrestling footwear.

Caring For Your Wrestling Shoes Post-Break-In:

Once your wrestling shoes have been properly broken in, they will need regular care to maintain their fit and performance. This involves the following guidelines:

  • After each use, take a few minutes to clean your wrestling shoes. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or grime.
  • Never leave your shoes wet or damp. Moisture can degrade the material, leading to premature wear. Always allow them to air dry, but avoid direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • When not in use, store your wrestling shoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid cramped spaces to maintain the shoe’s shape.
  • If possible, have two pairs of wrestling shoes and alternate between them. This gives each pair time to fully dry and reduces wear.
  • Check your shoes for signs of damage regularly. Early detection can prevent minor issues from developing into major problems.


Ultimately, breaking into wrestling shoes is an essential step to maximizing comfort and performance. Not only will a properly broken-in pair of shoes feel comfortable against your feet, but they’re also less likely to get damaged while out at practice or competitions. No matter which route you choose, ensure that your wrestling shoes fit properly and are well taken care of before any wrestling events. If done properly, wrestling can be a great sport for athletes of all ages and levels, and having the right gear is essential for success.

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!