I'm a huge fan of two things, America and Wrestling Shoes. I own more clothes in the colors "red, white, and blue, than most people do. I also own more pairs of wrestling shoes than most. I may or may not have purchased more pairs in the last two years than I have number of times I've wrestled in them. As many of you know, I also enjoy combining my favorite things into these short pieces. So once again, here comes one of those passion projects. No rankings here, just sharing some of the greatest patriotic shoes known to mankind.
The Dan Gable Ultraflex
These are the first shoes that I remember as the shoes that only badasses could wear. When I first noticed these sorts of things, I was a Freshman in High School, and any time we wrestled anyone with these shoes, we lost in a quick and painful fashion. You may also recognize these as the shoes Cael Sanderson was wearing when he won his final college match/NCAA Title, as well as the shoes that Jordan Burroughs was wearing during the 2012 Olympics. These shoes were around during important wrestling moments, they don the great name of Dan Gable, and they look absolutely awesome. Probably the next shoes I remember as immediately patriotic are from another Wrestling great, Cael Sanderson.
Cael v. 1 & 2
It makes sense, you win all of your D1 NCAA matches, you get your own shoe. Cael's first and second versions of his shoes were about as awesome and patriotic as it gets. He wore these when he won his Olympic Gold in 2004, and we all know them for their comeback of late. Strangely enough, I also remember Sam Hazewinkle wearing these a couple times during his Olympic and World trials days. Another key component to this, only badasses were able to wear your shoes, and I only knew badasses to have these. In fact, the first person I knew to own these shoes, was 8th grade Scotti Sentes, and that kid was a bonafide badass (2nd in Florida in 8th Grade, followed by 4 state titles). Version 2 of the Cael's was the last one with a patriotic color scheme (that I can remember), and by version 3 they just transitioned from the two color options, black and America (also the only color scheme offered by the Dan Gable Ultraflex), to many more choices. Here are the two's, which I own, but rock the red laces with.
Another interesting move, these two have the full sole grip, which the Aggressors (and most of the wrestling community) have embraced. These were the only two versions of the Cael's to don the full sole grip. Should have kept it homie. Surprisingly, I'm down to the last two pair. I want to hear other suggestions by the way. The last thing I want is to create a completely subjective list without incorporating or acknowledging others suggestions. In 2012, Asics shared with us a glorious new shoe.
Asics Omniflex Pursuits
These shoes were awesome for a couple of reasons. First of all, everyone who was good and important embraced them immediately. Second, we got to see Coleman Scott and Jake Varner win Olympic medals (Scott Bronze and Varner Gold) in 2012) right away. I'm not sure if the shoes didn't hold up for long, if they were too expensive, or what, but after this brief period, they never brought this color scheme back. Let it be known that when you have a read white and blue color scheme, people will buy them. These were a short lived gem, but they stood out.
Gold JB Elite's v. 1
Prepare yourself, because this pun is as intended as a pun has ever been intended. These are the new Gold Standard of patriotic wrestling shoes. A couple of reasons. First of all, JB is arguably the greatest wrestler in USA History. Secondly, they have already moved on from the original version, which makes them rare. Also, JB comes with a great catch phrase, "All I See Is Gold", and rocks it with the only gold shoes out there. Nobody else can make gold shoes. EVER!!! Nobody who doesn't don the name Jordan Ernest Burroughs can ever have a gold shoe, and if they do, I will hate them forever (and you should as well). The number of World Championships he's won in these, and his third version of the shoes, is as brazen and as patriotic as it gets. "I'm the best, and I'm going to rock gold shoes before we even finish the match, because I'm untouchable, and I know it." They may not be red, white, and blue, but we all know what they mean. Another interesting fact, these came in only three colors. The original red, white, and blue ones with the gold Asics symbol, the black ones, and the JB Original Golds.
Wrestling shoes are awesome, but not as awesome as America, and now that we are the Champions of the World, we can all confidently rock the Original Gold JB Elites.
Honorable Mentions, Kolat's (all of them), The "Kendall Cross" Adistars, John Smith Mat Wizards v.1, Asics Ultratek