What is Toe Wrestling?



Have you ever engaged in an arm wrestle with a sibling or a friend? After all, if you think of it as a competition, it may be an enjoyable way to spend some quality time. In this strength activity, two competitors grab each other’s arms and attempt to pin the other’s hand to anything. Nowadays, arm wrestling is a concept that virtually everyone is acquainted with. What about toe wrestling, though? Say what? Yes, toe wrestling is a strength sport in which two competitors lock their toes and attempt to pin each other’s feet down. It is like arm wrestling.

What is Toe Wrestling?

Most people are familiar with arm wrestling and thumb wrestling, but there is another peculiar sport that has similar gameplay mechanics as the two mentioned sports, but the body part that is used for it is probably surprising for some. This weird sport is called toe wrestling, and as its name suggests, competitors will have to use their toes proficiently in order to win a match or the entire tournament. This strange sport has been around since the 1970s, and it has steadily increased in popularity over the years, and many of the people attracted to it are either arm or thumbs wrestling champions who wanted to try a new game with similar mechanics or those who want to have fun and experience a totally bizarre sport. To know more about who invented it and how it is played, let us invite you to take a look at a short introduction to toe wrestling.

How It is Played

feet out of the swimming pool

The set of rules of toe wrestling is similar to arms wrestling, although there are a few adjustments to it so that it would better fit the toe’s anatomy. Before starting the game, the two players who will compete in a single match must remove the socks and shoes that they are wearing in order to expose their toes. The modern version of toe wrestling includes a mat or board wherein the players’ foot will be placed. This game mat or board has a line in the middle, and the player’s foot should be placed above the line. After the two players have placed their feet properly, one player must link his or her biggest toe to the other player’s biggest toe, and this is done by placing the biggest toe between the opponent’s biggest toe and second toe.

Once the toes are linked, a moderator will start the match. The objective of each player is to pin down the opponent’s toe, similar to how arm wrestling is played. In addition, the player must pin down the other player’s toe for three seconds in order to win the match.

There are three rounds that should be played for each match, and it is often in a best-of-3 format, which means that a player must win two rounds. Most tournaments require players to use their right foot first, and then the left foot should be used for the second round. The third round can either be played with the right foot or left foot, but it is usually the right foot that is played on almost all competitions.


Toe wrestling was invented in 1974 at the Ye Old Royal Oak Inn, an establishment located in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. The sport was the brainchild of four friends who love to drink at the pub. During a drinking session, they talked about how the United Kingdom has produced only a few champions in different sports compared to other countries. They then decided to create a sport that only they and some British people will know about so that the UK can finally produce many champions, although it is only in a single sport. Before arriving at toe wrestling, the group of friends tried creating other unusual sports like “push of war” and “ear wrestling” until they have found the perfect formula for a proper peculiar game by linking their toes and playing a different version of arm wrestling.

It was also during that time that they created the first “World Toe Wrestling Championship,” and the only competitors were the four drinkers. The names of these inventors are Eddie Stansfield, Pete Cheetham, Pete Dean, and Mick Dawson.

Dawson was considered the first world champion after beating all his friends in the matchups, and he retained the title the following year in the second championship. In 1976, the number of participants became five, as a Canadian tourist saw them playing it and wanted to join in the fun. Soon after, the sport became well-known around Staffordshire, and the World Toe Wrestling Championship became a legitimate tournament.

The competition was held at the Ye Old Royal Oak Inn for a long time until in the 1990s when the venue was changed to the Bentley Brook Inn, which is located nearby at the border between Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The most famous toe wrestler is Alan “Nasty” Nash, who appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when he won the championship in 1997.

The organizers of the toe wrestling tournaments once applied for the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Game in 1997, but their request was denied. Now, two businessmen named Alan Nash and Ben Woodroffe own the rights to toe wrestling after they bought it from the inventors in 2018. After the acquisition, the World Toe Wrestling Championships are held in different parts of the world, including India, China, and Pakistan.

Toe Wrestlers

There is a tiny but devoted group of toe wrestlers who frequently participate in competitions and events. A few famous toe wrestlers are listed below:

1. Alan “Nasty” Nash is one of the greatest toe wrestlers of all time and a multiple world champion.

2. One of the sport’s first participants, Mick “The Toe” Pickering is a past world champion.

3. Linda “The Flea” Banbury is a female toe wrestler who has participated in and triumphed at several competitions.

4. Former world champion “Big” Al Blakemore was one of the best and most able toe wrestlers of his era.

5. Known for his aggressive and unconventional approach, “The Toe Crusader” is a rising star in the toe wrestling community.

These are only a handful of the several skilled toe wrestlers that have established themselves in this peculiar and amusing sport. Toe wrestling has a committed community of players and spectators that come together to celebrate the fun and distinctive spirit of the game.

Fun Facts

Person’s right foot

1. The current women’s toe wrestling world champion is Lisa Shenton, popularly known as Lisa “Twinkle Toes.”

2. Toe wrestling is a sport that is exclusively British and dates to the 1970s in the UK.

3. At the Bentley Brook Inn in Derbyshire, England, the first recognized toe wrestling match took place in 1976.

4. The contestants stand facing each other with their feet touching as the sport is performed in a ring with specific dimensions.

5. The size and form of the ring, the scoring method, and the several maneuvers that can be employed to win a bout are all exclusive to toe wrestling.

6. There are toe wrestling contests staged internationally, notably in Australia and the US, thus the sport is not simply popular in the UK.

7. The World Alternative Games, which showcase unusual and eccentric sports from all around the world, now include toe wrestling.

8. Ben Woodroffe and Alan Nash, the joint proprietors of the sport, are also two of its most illustrious players.

9. Toe wrestling is a difficult and engaging sport to watch and play in because it calls for a special blend of strength, dexterity, and strategy.

10. Toe wrestling enjoys a devoted following, with competitors and spectators uniting to appreciate the unique and fun nature of the sport.

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