Evolution of the Wrestling Uniform

November 10, 2017

When you think about the sport of wrestling, one of the first images that likely comes to mind is the singlet. This one-piece wrestling uniform is what we have grown accustomed to seeing during wrestling matches. Whether you love them or hate them, singlets are what you will typically see these athletes wearing. However, this was not always the case. To help you get a better understanding of how we have gotten to today’s gear, let’s dive into the evolution of the wrestling uniform.

Black Tom

One of the very first wrestling uniforms was referred to as a Black Tom. Wrestlers would wear a black outside supporter over full-length tights, and wearing a shirt with the Black Tom was optional. This type of apparel was commonly seen in the 1920s and early 1930s, but some athletes chose to wear a Black Tom into the 1950s.


During the late 1930s and early 1940s, some athletes began to switch up their wrestling gear. Wrestlers at a few colleges, including Oklahoma State and Kent State University in Ohio, started wearing tight-fitting trunks that were made of wool. And that’s it. No tights or shirts were worn with the trunks.

Trunks with Tights

After World War II, the wrestling uniform made another slight change. Now, wrestlers were choosing to wear tight-fitting trunks over full-length tights. Most athletes did not compete with a shirt at this time.

Three-Piece Uniform

The NCAA made the decision to ban shirtless wrestling in the mid-1960s, and athletes were required to wear a three-piece uniform during wrestling matches. This uniform consisted of:

  • Tight-fitting trunks made of cotton, nylon, or wool
  • Full-length tights
  • A sleeveless shirt that came down long enough to fasten at the crotch


Did you know that singlets were actually banned by the NCAA for several years? Once it was approved, the singlet started making its way onto the collegiate wrestling scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Singlets are a one-piece wrestling uniform, which essentially combines the shirt and trunks of previous uniforms. Tights were still mandatory through the 1970s, but wrestlers were eventually allowed to just wear the singlet.


Also known as two-piece uniforms, doublets are still relatively new to the wrestling scene. After being used at several colleges over the last few years, two-piece wrestling uniforms were also recently approved for use at the high school wrestling level as well. These uniforms consist of compression shorts or looser shorts that have been specially designed for wrestling and a form-fitted compression shirt.

Today’s Wrestling Uniforms

The wrestling uniforms you see athletes wearing today are better than ever, and Cisco Athletic is proud to produce some of the best singlets and two-piece uniforms you will find on the market. Our uniforms are made with lightweight Lycra fabric, and they also feature moisture wicking and antimicrobial technology, making them both comfortable and functional. Additionally, all of our uniforms are custom printed with sublimation, meaning the graphics and lettering are dyed directly into the material.

Contact us today for a free quote or visit our wrestling uniforms or wrestling doublets page to learn more.


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