Captain America's Shield and Wolverine's Claws are two of the most famed weapons in all of comics. Legendary gifts, integral to each character's origin, and part of what makes them a hero. But the lore behind them raises the question: what would happen if they ever met?
Fans know that Wolverine's Adamantium skeleton covers his entire body. While the fictional metal originated in the body of Ultron it became a household name when fused to the mutant, Wolverine. This supposedly unbreakable metal may make him susceptible to Magneto, but otherwise makes him one of the toughest superheroes in the Marvel Universe. So could his famously ferocious claws do actual damage to Captain America's shield?
The metal which makes up Captain America's shield somewhat varies, depending on the story and the medium. While the MCU's version of Captain America may wield a "vibranium" shield, the original comic Cap's is only said to possess a small amount of the Wakandan metal as part of its overall "proto-adamantium." Much like Captain America's own powers, scientists tried for years to replicate the metal alloy from which Steve Rogers' shield is made. This attempted replication ultimately gave them the less refined 'true' adamantium used with Wolverine, still a formidable metal with unbelievable strength. And a worthy opponent for the most famous shield in comics.
Fans may be frothing at the mouth for the chance to see Captain America fight side-by-side with Wolverine on the big screen, but they'll have to wait a long, long time (looking at you Avengers: Endgame and Logan). However, the two have met countless time in comics, and usually as allies and even fellow Avengers. But disagreements, even among friends, can get heated. The two famous fighters have even faced off as recently as 2012.
In Avengers vs. X-Men #3 written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by John Romita Jr., the two behemoths of Marvel Comics come to blows while chasing Phoenix across the galaxy. The two didn't hurt each other, but the famous claws clashed against the stars and stripes of Captain America's shield. A shower of sparks rained across a beautiful Romita-drawn panel, with captivating colors from Laura Martin. It was a glorious glimpse at a violent "what if?" of the Marvel Universe. But ultimately the conflict ended... without much conflict. Captain America's Proto-Adamantium shield was left unscathed by Wolverine's claws, as it would be in most comic cases.
The MCU and X-Men Universe versions of the characters, on the other hand, would have a very different battle of metal. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can guess why "proto-adamantium" doesn't technically exist, due to Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox's previous licensing issues. Thus the live-action Captain America fans know and love is equipped with a vibranium shield in lieu of the non-existent prototype. But Captain America better have a few contingency plans in place. Because without altering any continuities, if Fox's Wolverine and Marvel's Captain America were to come to blows, the claws would slice through the shield like a hot knife through butter. Vibranium can absorb kinetic energy, but it isn't indestructible (as evidenced by Thanos destroying the shield in Endgame).
The comics have told a different story: ferocious slashes and bashes from Wolverine's claws can beat most supervillains and super-mutants, but most of the time they can't break through Captain America's trusty shield. At best, scratching off some of the surface paint. So even if the question isn't answered definitively on film, fans know how it should play out.