Best soccer cleats
Soccer cleats – Buying Guide, Ratings, & Comparison
Although good equipment will never make up for a lack of skill, the best soccer cleats will help you put all those hours of practice to good use, since even top players are prone to slipping on wet grass or to tire when wearing uncomfortable footwear. We’ve compiled a list of good soccer cleats below, which covers models intended for a wide range of uses, from light and stable midfielder’s shoes to high top soccer cleats for women. Parents might be especially interested in the Adidas ACE 16.4 FxG J, an excellent pair for use on all types of hard ground, where it offers impressive stability as well as ball control thanks to a very tight upper section. The Adidas X 15.3 might provide the best service for adults, as the new X-CLAW stud configuration can significantly improve sprinting on firm surfaces, especially as the knit fabric construction gives them good weight and flexibility.
Top features to consider
There hardly is such a thing as the “best soccer cleats,” since a player’s footwear will have to satisfy different demands depending on what his role is on the field. A forward, for example, will require footwear to maximize his performance while kicking and controlling the ball, while the best soccer cleats for defenders should offer good foot protection above all else.
We might add to this the player’s personal preference and the features that he or she might favor in a shoe — after all, these first and foremost need to fit! With all this in mind, what are some of the general things to know before buying a pair of soccer cleats?
Material and how it affects performance
While the vast majority of today’s manufacturers prefer using synthetics in for their sporting shoes, natural leather soccer cleats can still be found, especially at superior levels, since they are considered to offer the best feel for the ball.
Synthetic leather has come a long way in recent years, with top-end varieties replicating the softness and malleability of the real thing to a significant degree. Significantly, these materials don’t share any of the faults of real leather, such as poor water resistance and stretching.
Other synthetic materials are used for their reduced weight and thickness, but while newer polymers offer a significant amount of water resistance, they tend to tear somewhat easier than leather and aren’t consider to allow for the same tactile acuity. It’s also important to note that these will also give less with wear.
Meshes are exceptionally light, comfortable and allow a good feel for the ball. All varieties, with the exception of the “knitted” types from Adidas and Nike, will do a very poor job of keeping the water at bay.
Find boots for the right field
Depending on how the tread is designed, a shoe will be better suited for some surfaces rather than others, so it is very important to consider the pitch you will be playing on and decide accordingly. Manufacturers usually let you know the type ground their product is designed to be used on by adding two or more letters at the end of its model name.
Cleats designed to be used on firm ground bear the indicative FG. This effectively means dry grass, both natural or artificial, and the “FG” shoe employs regular-sized studs. Longer studs, sometimes made of metal, are used on soft ground, as you find on wet pitches. These bear the marking SG and are often removable to be replaced with general purpose varieties.
Artificial ground (AG) studs are relatively new and made specifically for artificial grass pitches, where they provide outstanding traction. Hard ground (HG) is an older configuration that works well on poorly maintained pitches, where the earth is often left bear. These have a large number of short studs, and can also be effectively used on dry grass.
Other less common configurations are AT, which means turf and are used on artificial surfaces and IN, for indoors, that usually feature a large number of small ridges instead of studs.
What would make the best choice for your position?
Forwards will need a light shoe with a good strike zone so that they aren’t encumbered when delivering forward kicks. Some prefer a clean vamp that lets them get the best feel for the ball, preferably made out of smooth leather.
A winger is primarily concerned with stability, so he might even look towards the best soccer cleats for wide feet for a pair to use. Grippy studs are also important, as he will need to quickly accelerate and change direction.
Defensive players might prefer shoes made of synthetic material, as these provide the greatest protection, while the best midfielders’ soccer cleats must be first and foremost light and comfortable. Leather and mesh or knit material will deliver well in this regard, while artificial leather substitutes might enhance the overall lifespan of the shoe.
How should they feel?
Like nearly all other types of sporting footwear, soccer cleats will feel significantly tighter on your feet than regular shoes or boots. This is necessary because they are intended to transmit the movement of your feet as accurately as possible to the ground or the ball.
Loose fitting shoes also open you up to the risk of slipping on the top sole (the part of the but your foot directly rests upon), especially since they can get pretty wet, so manufacturers take great care that the shoe will wrap as neatly around the foot.
If you want to find something like the best indoor soccer shoes for wide feet you might want to look towards cheaper brands, that allow for poorer manufacture tolerances.
Top rated products
Considering the wide variety of products available, finding some good soccer cleats for sale might often prove a chore. We’ve taken the time to browse through what’s available on the market, and narrow down the potential list of choices to a few top items, selected according to the marks received in online soccer cleats reviews.
Adidas Performance ACE 16.4 FxG J
One of the best-rated series of children’s soccer cleats out there, the ACE 16.4 from Adidas offers good stability, as well as ball control and it’s versatile enough to perform on many types of pitches.
In case you were wondering why they are there, the classic Adidas stripes are intended to provide a tight wrapping around the middle of your feet for superior stability. While on other models these might be employed strictly for looks, on the ACE 16.4 they are strictly functional, as many reviewers commented that these shoes feel noticeably tight around the arch.
This is a good thing if your intention is to have the footwear stay on while hard kicking a ball and rapidly changing direction on the grass. Dry grass, that is, both natural and artificial, as the studs on these boots are medium in length.
The flexible ground outsole employed by Adidas does, however, offer a measure of versatility, and due to the placement and size of the front studs, these boots can perform acceptably well on hard terrain, the type of dirt covered playground a kid might use them when playing soccer with his friends.Buy from Amazon.com for ($25.93)
Adidas Performance X 15.3
The famed Adidas stability is taken one step further with the X 15.3 series. By surrounding the middle of the shoe in low-stretch synthetic material, the whole upper won’t move as easily when you are swiftly changing direction, providing you with a firm footing.
Another important element when performing fast-paced footwork is grip, an area where the X 15.3 performs equally well. Although primarily designed for firm ground, their soles are adaptable enough to perform well on turf and hard ground, so you can be sure you’ll find a place to use them on.
While a defensive player might like them because of the added padding the cage provides, their lightweight and good ball control will recommend these shoes for pretty much any position.
Forwards will like their lightweight, and the feel for the ball that they allow since a material that was knit was used on significant parts of the upper, although the relatively thin strike area might leave their feet sour after hard kicks.
Midfielders will be impressed by the good level of comfort they allow, and wingers should find their good grip offered by the X-CLAW stud configuration useful for short sprints.Buy from Amazon.com for ($47.83)
NIKE Mercurial Victory VI DF FG
If you want good speed and acceleration of firm ground, then the Victory VI series from Nike will surely deliver. They employ a new type of wedge-shaped studs which stick firmly in the soil, allowing you to deliver as much force as possible when sprinting forward. Furthermore, the outsole is made of TPU material for added traction.
Breakaway speed is not the only thing these soccer shoes are good for. Most people who’ve tried them find that they are tight enough to stay on your feet when kicking the ball but also loose enough for comfort.
This is probably thanks to the “internal cage” configuration employed by NIKE, which is advertised to keep the shoes stable on your feet while also allowing for better sensitivity for the ball. Needless to say, this is a good feature to have when judging the right spot to hit.
The smooth, synthetic material used for the upper might not allow for the same natural feel as leather, but this also means that they can serve you for a good while before stretching too much to be used effectively.Buy from Amazon.com for ($84.99)
NIKE Mercurial Victory VI CR7 FG
These might not be the best Nike soccer cleats right now — that honor goes to the DF series above — but the Mercurial Victory CR7s do use a couple of the features you’ll find on the company flagship, which you can get for a potentially lower cost.
They employ a similar cleat configuration, with wedge studs meant to push against the ground as you sprint. This means you’ll be able to accelerate faster from a standing position, or change direction more swiftly, which are both particularly important for wingers or goalies.
As opposed to the DF, the studs on these are facing multiple directions instead of just forward, which might help your footwork a little. They are intended to be used on firm ground, which means dry grass, either natural or artificial, but most of the newer models designed as such can usually work acceptably well on hard ground and turf.
Another feature they share with the DF series is the textile high top, which continues inside the shoe and basically acts like a sock that’s glued to the upper and the sole. This provides for a better feel of the ball and generally better stability.Buy from Amazon.com for ($120)
Adidas Performance Ace 16.4 FXG W
These are the version of the 16.4 covered above sized specifically for women. If we in any way would have exhausted everything there is to say about the 16.4, then this short presentation would have ended with a “well, that’s that, thanks for reading!”, but there’s quite a deal more to say about this model.
Their exterior skin is textured so that it offers the greatest degree of padding for the minimum added weight. It is obvious how this will help a defensive player, that often finds his feet under the opponent’s boot, but it will make life easier for attackers as well as they won’t get sore from hitting the ball for too long, which has been reported to be an inconvenience with cleats that employ mesh designs.
Otherwise, these can perform effectively on both firm and hard ground, they offer good stability, they do a good job at keeping your foot in place, and the ladies who bought them commented that they fit very well. There are a number of sizes to choose, and they can be comfortable for women with wide feet provided that they go half a size up.Buy from Amazon.com for ($50)
Adidas Kids’ Ace 17.3
A “budget” solution from Adidas, the price range for this series can start below $10, depending on the retailer, while the full-featured version does meet more expensive models in regards to price. A good pick for the young casual player, they provide a level of comfort reminiscent to a regular sporting shoe, with which it shares a number of features.
The tongue is made from mesh for better ventilation, and the midsection can be adjusted to a significant degree. Somewhat unusual for a soccer boot, their laces are thick and follow a cross pattern, which makes them a lot easier to manage.
The top is also mesh padded, just like in a regular sneaker, but the similarities end there, as the sole of this lean-looking shoe is filled with medium length cleats, good for sticking into firm ground. The manufacturer mentions that this particular design will work best on artificial surfaces, both older generation and “long bladed synthetic fiber” types.
Otherwise, they fit just like any other soccer shoe — tight but not too tight, good for staying on when kicking the ball but still workable for 90 minutes of running and sprinting.Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.99)
Adidas Men’s Nemezis 17.3
You can dazzle your opponent with these 17.3 from Adidas since all the versions in the series have a similar color pattern to a zebra (or early 20th-century warship, if you will). While this is their most striking feature, it’s definitely not the only one.
They incorporate something called Agility Mesh, which is soft on the player’s feet while also improving ball control. People who’ve reviewed them praised the remarkable level of comfort these provide, both against the competing models and earlier generations of the 17th series, so we might conclude that this mesh isn’t there just to make product descriptions wordier.
There’s also a “dual lock collar”, which basically means that your feet will be kept inside the shoe with two support points. A textile strip rises on the front tendon leading to the ankle for better support, useful when forcing your weight around with sudden movements while the shoe stays firmly in place, connected to the ground with mid-length cleats.
These work well on firm surfaces, like dry grass, artificial grass of all types and should prove okay on hard ground and turf.Buy from Amazon.com for ($58.09)
Adidas Performance Goletto Vi FG
Another model that’s specially tailored for women from Adidas, the Golettos should provide a good, tight fit for most lady players out there. There are as tight as a soccer cleat should be, so they stay put during fast sprints and speedy maneuvering.
Customers found very little to criticize about this shoe, most of it centering around Adidas’ poor choice in color, since being white, these will be very easy to stein on the grass. This is not a big issue, considering how they won’t really be used outside of a soccer court.
The Golettos will have plenty of chance to get all green from the grass since the synthetic material the uppers are made of will last a long time before stretching or tearing. The sole is rubber, which arguably offers the best traction, while the triangle-shaped mid-sized cleats should prove great for firm ground pitches.
Smaller sizes can make a good choice for parents that want to get a good quality pair of soccer boots for their growing daughters. While comfortably outside the “cheap” zone, their price is fairly reasonable, so you won’t feel like you’ve wasted too much money when the child grows out of them.Buy from Amazon.com for ($41.63)
Dream Pairs 1160860-M
These might make a good choice for people that are budget-minded about their soccer equipment. Part of their low cost is justified by the fact that Dream Pairs is not really a recognizable brand, so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions regarding their quality, especially as they received decent ratings on retail sites.
They provide the same functionality as any other soccer cleat does, meaning they allow for your feet to stick to the ground while moving around and kicking the ball. The only recurrent complaint these received was that of being a little too loose, relative to other sporting shoes that are notoriously tight.
Besides allowing you to use them with thicker socks, this will also prove a benefit for people with especially wide feet, who report being able to fit into these without any pre-stretching. Since wider generally means more comfortable, midfielders, who have to run the most out of a team might like these better over more tight-fitting models.
They can be effectively used on all varieties of dry grass, either natural or synthetic, but also turf and hard ground, since the stud-shaped cleats adorning their under sole are just a little shorter than usual.Buy from Amazon.com for ($45)
Nike Jr. Mercurial Superfly V
Recommended for kindergartners between the ages of 4 and 6, these soccer cleats from Nike come with a set of special features that should make them suitable for this demographic.
Since the bones of small children can easily deform, special attention has been given that the Superfly Juniors closely follow the shape of their feet, with a compressed nylon plate offering additional support for the child’s sole.
The sock liner is also designed to minimize stud pressure that might build up in certain areas of the foot, as well as to provide an extra layer of padding. The textile extends to a high top, which grips the foot to provide better traction in-between it and the top sole.
In matters of performance, the Junior can be said to deliver, as it features the same wedge-shaped studs you find on other Nike soccer shoes. These are optimised for firm ground and are made of entirely synthetic materials, although their ends might seem metal due to the shiny finish.
All this engineering doesn’t come cheap, however, and considering their intended purpose, the Juniors definitely on the pricey side. With this being said, the base model won’t run you down so low, and young children do require special attention.Buy from Amazon.com for ($50)
Nike Women’s Magista Ola FG
With a synthetic leather exterior and a clean shape, these boots from Nike look elegant enough to be used on a daily basis, if it weren’t for the cylindrical cleats on their outsole.
Looking closer, you’ll see a lot more elements which establish the Magista as a soccer shoe. The lacing is asymmetrical, in order to increase the ball control area, and the heel counter is shaped in such a way as to maximise running performance on grassy surfaces.
Both conical and blade cleats have been employed, to provide adequate traction on a variety of surfaces. They should handle very well on firm ground, but also turf and hardened soil. The blades are considered to increase performance on second-generation artificial grass surfaces.
This is an increasingly popular type of terrain, on which traction is required at least as much as penetration since the long grass that covers it might act as a cushion against the outsole and keep the cleats from getting a firm grip in the soil beneath.
Besides giving you a larger control area, the smooth upper will better translate the motions of the ball to your feet, giving you better precision when passing and dribbling.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Frequently asked questions about soccer cleats
Will soccer cleats stretch?
The short answer is yes, and how much they will stretch depends on the material. Leather is well known to stretch with prolonged use, as well as certain types of nylon meshes. Synthetics, on the other hand, will only stretch a little, so if you bought an especially uncomfortable pair of synthetic cleats, you might be better of sending them back instead of waiting on them to give.
Will soccer cleats work for rugby, football, or baseball?
If you’re the type that prefers high ankle support football cleats, then the answer is no, since most models available right now for soccer are low cut. However, the prime impediment for both rugby and football would be the lack of adequate foot protection, although they will provide more than enough traction to play either of the sports. In the case of baseball, there’s no reason not to. Just go for a comfy pair!
Can soccer cleats be washed in the washing machine?
While they’re definitely flexible enough to handle all the rough and tumble of a washing machine turbine, you might want to treat an expensive pair of soccer cleats a little better than that. Furthermore, the studs are rather rigid and, if anything, they’ll make an unbearable noise banging at the washer’s walls. If you really must do it, use a lot of soft, fluffy laundry as padding.
Where an when were soccer cleats invented? And who invented them?
Expectedly, it was England, and they were the brainchild of one Cornelius Johnson, who made some cool football cleats for his king, Henry VIII, back in 1525. While technically a pair of “cleats,” as they had studs and were intended for playing soccer, these differed significantly from what we are used to today, resembling a mid-top army boot more than anything else.
Which soccer cleats are best for defenders?
Among the members of the team, the defenders are the ones most in need of foot protection, since they are expected to effectively snatch away the ball from the feet of the attacker, who is running and wearing studded boots. So they will need thicker footwear, even at the expense of traction and weight, as defenders aren’t expected to run as much or make as many passes as other players.
Why wear soccer cleats?
Soccer cleats offer a number of advantages over regular sneakers. First, there’s better traction, which is required on a potentially slippery surface such as grass. Second, they are a lot thinner and more flexible, for better contact with the ball and better precision. Third, they are tighter so that your feet won’t slip on the insole of the shoe, which can happen quite frequently with sneakers, as any child or former child can attest.
Are soccer cleats metal?
Metal is indeed used as a material to manufacture studs, but not to the same extent as it used to be. This is partly due to safety concerns, as a fast moving metal cone can leave quite a wound on the ankle of another player, and part due to the effect they have on a playing surface, since metal is not particularly kind to strips of grass.
What are the best soccer cleats brands?
One of the best-known sportswear manufacturers out there, the German firm makes anything from regular sneakers to high top soccer cleats for women. It is a little-known fact that the first models they ever produced were aimed exclusively towards professional athletes, and the trend only caught on among the general public because of the unprecedented level of comfort their footwear provided. Their legacy in competitive sports carries on to the present day.
A relative latecomer in the world of sporting footwear, Nike started out by making track shoes for the University of Oregon athletics team. It since branched out to cover nearly all areas of modern sport, including soccer. Their latest Mercurial Victory VI series is considered to include some of the best models out there, employing innovations such as molded sock lines, a unique type of bladed stud and ribs texture.
While other popular sportswear manufacturers like to compete in every niche of the market, ASICS mostly covers the premium segment, with relatively pricey but high-performing sporting footwear. Their soccer cleats are known to offer good protection and a substantial level of comfort, thanks to the use of cutting-edge material such as their trade-mark cushioning gel. They are also one of the last manufacturers to use kangaroo leather on their soccer cleats.
The basic parts of a soccer cleat
Most of the readership will already be familiar with the parts of a shoe but to make things as clear as possible, we will describe some of them here, since very precise terms are usually employed when discussing high-performance footwear.
The whole part of a soccer cleat that sits above the sole is commonly referred to as an “upper.” It is made of either leather, synthetic leather, various plastic materials and meshes that can range in quality and function. Against the popular misconception, natural leather isn’t always “better” than the other materials, but synthetics can range in quality to a higher degree.
The section of the upper that is most important in soccer is the vamp, also called the “strike zone.” This is the part between the toe and the ridge that gets in contact with the ball when performing long kicks. Some manufacturers apply inserts intended to increase performance around this area, while others leave it as clean as possible to allow for good sensory acuity in contact with the ball. The strike is not the only part of the shoe used for passes, of course, that’s why it’s preferable for the entire surface to be as smooth as possible.
The outsole will be the part that contacts the ground, on which the actual cleats are placed. It should offer good traction and grip, although these two parameters often get ignored since it is (correctly) assumed any that the presence of the studs would make any additional treads redundant.
However, when playing on certain fields, such as long grass, the stubs might not sink in the soil enough to be fully effective, so additional solutions are employed, such as blade cleats, which look like long and shallow ridges.
As the name suggests, the midsole is the median part of the “sandwich” that constitutes a soccer shoe’s sole. It should act as a cushion while also being rigid enough to distribute the pressure that can be felt from the cleats more evenly. This creates a trade-off between adequate weight distribution and flexibility.
The insole is the part that gets into direct contact with the player’s feet. It also performs two functions; one is providing traction between the foot and the shoe, the other is cushioning. To perform the first, it must be textured and shaped in a way that follows the contours of the human sole for a greater area of contact. Cushioning isn’t all that thick in soccer shoes since the heel is expected to dig into the dirt.
Very often, a heel counter will be used to better fixate the player’s feet inside the shoe. This sometimes looks like an extension of the outsole hugging the back of the soccer cleat, but it can also be molded inside the body.
While high tops are out of fashion for soccer, some manufacturers use a fabric collar on their models. This can be an extension of a sock-like lining covering the inside of the boot which is used to give better control, as well as ankle support.
Budgeting – How much money do you need if you want to take up soccer?
If by “taking up” soccer it’s understood playing in local community events, under the tutelage of organizations such as the YMCA or the AYSO, then most of the time you’ll only have to invest in the proper equipment. Ironically, the fact that there are usually no membership fees, coaching fees, and travel expenses means that you will be left with more money to spend on the proper gear at this level.
You can buy soccer boots for as low as $20, while the best cheap soccer cleats fall anywhere between $40 to $80. A higher price is not necessarily a sign of quality in this relatively low ranges since some manufacturers factor in things such as brand recognition and aesthetics.
The rest of the required equipment can be found even cheaper, with shin guards running upwards of 5$ and an affordable ball at around $10.
The real expenses come when you decide to join a league since the administrative costs are largely covered by the membership. This could cost you between $500 to $1500 per year, depending on the region you are from and your playing level.
Salaries paid to coaches and other professional trainers, as well as capital costs for renting sports complexes and fields, will drive most of the price, with referee fees coming second and other expenses such as insurance and registrations costs making up the smallest chunk.
Most competitive teams attend a number of tournaments each year for which traveling expenses are considered to effectively double the figures above. Besides the money spent on gas and lodging, you’ll also have to buy different gear for specific weather conditions.
You won’t be able to use the same jersey in Washington during fall that you would in Florida at the height of summer. Same goes for the cleats. Even players from dry areas of the country are often required to buy a pair of soft-ground boots specifically for away games.
What adds to the issue is that the equipment required for competitive play must be above a certain threshold in regards to quality. Not even considering the impediment on player performance that faulty gear might impose, a cheap pair of cleats have a slim chance to last for an entire season of competitive play.
The most common advice floating out there is to go for the “best buy” options in regards to essential equipment and cut costs on uniforms and other paraphernalia.
Depending on the number of innovations employed, soccer cleats from the same manufacturer and series will sell at different price points. The Adidas Performance 15 series, for example, features boots that sell for as low as fifty, to a high of over two hundred.
Serious amateur and most competitive players generally pick models from the mid-to-high price range, meaning $80 to $150. This is because best affordable soccer cleats can sometimes perform as well as more expensive ones, which go well in excess of $150, so this is probably the most cost-effective option if you can spare some time to do the appropriate research.