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The Adidas AdiZero 2 wrestling shoe is quite possibly the best sequel in wrestling shoe history. We weren’t sure how Adidas was going to one-up the wildly popular and amazingly comfortable version 1 of the Varner, but they’ve worked their magic and completely blown us away with this new release. The Varner 2 has kept and improved upon the features everyone loved about the original, and reimagined the certain design aspects that were holding it back from true greatness. As the name implies, this is the signature shoe of Olympic Gold Medalist Jake Varner. As such, Adidas designed this shoe around his wrestling style, and used his input to create one of the best elite-level wrestling shoes ever.
Like version 1, the entire upper is made of a highly breathable, single-layer mesh that is engineered to be both incredibly comfortable and highly durable. The sock-like fit of this mesh layer gives the Varner 2 that lovely broken-in feeling right out of the box. They’ve made some slight changes, making it more tightly knit, to be stronger and more rip-resistant. It also comes with more reinforced stitching at the seams along the heel and between the outsole and upper. What looks like a snazzy design element is actually a thin vinyl and synthetic leather overlay that helps provide support and holds the shape of the mesh upper. While it is mostly a functional feature, we must admit, those lines give this shoe an extra “wow” factor that many elite wrestlers look for. One less noticeable, but important update, is the lace pocket at the top of the tongue. Now, you can finally tie up your laces and tuck them away neatly, without having to tape them or worry about them coming untied.
What has changed, you ask? Well, the most significant change that Adidas made to this shoe is the outsole. While many people really loved the previous outsole of the Varner, not everyone was a fan. It was similar to the Combat Speed sole, in that it was very minimal with just two small areas for grip, and had a slightly more pointed toe and raised heel. Great for some, but we heard a lot of feedback asking for more grip and a more rounded toe box. Adidas must have heard the same things, because they added a ton of grip, using yet another entirely new outsole. The outsole is kind of a hybrid, has all the flexibility of a classic split-sole, and it comes with a narrow strip of rubber down the center so you can maintain traction at all times. The heel is slightly rounded as well, to help you smoothly transition between stances and find grip in more positions. If you look at the way the molded rubber teeth align, you can tell this shoe is made for an aggressive wrestler who is always moving forward. The EVA midsole has a slight wedge shape to it, which will keep your weight a little more over your toes to help you take the action to your opponent!
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