Finding the best soccer cleats for your needs can be extremely confusing and overwhelming especially with so many high-end athletic brands flooding the market with new products. Your soccer cleats are going to be undergoing a ton of wear and tear so you must ensure that you pick the best soccer cleat that’s up for the job and not just a fashionable look (although that’s also important).
When spending cash on a new pair of cleats you need to make sure they will last you a long time while simultaneously giving you the proper support needed during practices and games. Here are several things you need to keep in mind before you purchase your new cleats and decide which model is best for you.
Choosing the Best Soccer Cleats: Factors to Consider
Make Sure to Get the Right Fit
Your typical shoe size won’t work when buying soccer cleats. Because of excessive movement during the game and the rapid footwork required of the sport, your cleats will need to fit more snug than your everyday running shoe.
Cleats shouldn’t be too tight that they’d cut off circulation or too loose that you risk losing them on the field. Typically the rule for cleat sizing is buying half a size smaller than your normal shoe size. The shoe should fit your foot snugly but still allow toes enough room to move.
Consider the Ground Type
When buying your cleats you also need to consider what kind of ground and surface material you’ll be playing on and which will be the best indoor soccer shoes or the best turf soccer shoes.
If you’re primarily playing indoor soccer opt for a cleat that has a flat rubber sole. It will give you the proper traction on the floor’s surface.
If playing outside or on artificial turf opt for the cleats that have studs on the base of the sole to dig into the turf for appropriate traction, balance, and stability.
Take Note of the Upper
This is the part of the shoe that laces up and gives you a secure fit. Pay attention to the materials used to construct the upper to ensure that it can withstand various weather conditions and high impact scenarios.
The material used to construct the upper will also playa factor based on the position you play. Some cleats will be constructed with special materials designed to keep the ball “glued” to your feet for better control and quick foot movements.
Get the Proper Padding
The midsole section of the cleat is the section that provides the most padding and cushioning for your foot. Make sure the foam used for the padding provides you with enough arch support to avoid any injuries due to strain.
Choose Between Loose vs Firm Collar
Just like everyday running shoes and sneakers, cleats also come with different collar lengths. Choose from a low, mid, or high ankle cut when choosing your cleats. The high mid-ankle cut, or firm collar fit, features an almost sock-like sleeve that helps wrap fully or partially around your ankle and increases a snug fit. The firmer collar creates more controlled movements as your ankle is slightly constricted, but still allows for quick movements. Ideally, the firm collar gives you more support during grames so you won’t strain your ankle and tendons. A low cut ankle cleat or a loose collar fit doesn’t have the extra sleeve and looks more like a typical sneaker. Some cleats have the low cut collar, still made from the common knit material as a firm collar cleat, but the loose collar cleat does optimize your ankle for maximum movement.
Pay Attention to Stud Design
Studs on the bottom of the cleat may all look the same to the untrained eye, but the studs on cleats come in different materials and different positions on the sole based on desired results like agility or traction. There are two different types of outdoor cleats: ones with blades and molded cleats.
Molded cleats are the standard stud designed shoes. These can have studs made from different materials, like rubber, plastic, or metal. Metal is much more durable than plastic and slightly longer, so it has less risk of breaking during a game as well as it gives you better traction on the field.
However, metal cleats are sometimes prohibited in leagues because of a higher risk of injury and increased likelihood of causing more damage to the field and turf. The best indoor soccer shoes are going to be bladed cleats or cleats with plastic studs.
The studded design of molded cleats is meant to provide players with greater stability on the field. Cleats with the bladed design have the sole of the shoe divided into raised sections that help provide traction and speed.
Keep Play Position in Mind
The type of cleat that you’ll need and is best suited for you will depend on the position being played. Midfielders require more padding in their shoes while Defenders will require a cleat that offers strong support in the upper of the cleat. Think about the position you hold and the physical exertion that the position demands before choosing your cleats. You need to make sure that the cleat will be able to sustain the amount of strain, friction and high impact contact your position requires.
Don't Overlook the Aesthetics
While they’re a lot of important factors involved in choosing the best football cleats for you that come before aesthetics, looking good is still a concern for players. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice arch support for a sleek look.
Modern soccer cleats come in a variety of colors and usually feature synthetic mesh materials for a modern sleek look. Some cleats come made in rubber or leather materials, which also look contemporary but provide a functional purpose on the field as well.
These stylish men’s cleats are best used on outdoor terrains and turfs. The short and angled styled stubs give players more traction on short, grass fields, and slightly wet conditions.
Materials and Construction
The shoe’s Upper is designed with Nike’s Flyknit material, making it flexible with your movements. Nike’s Flyknit technology mixes synthetic yarns and fabrics to create an ultra-lightweight yet durable material.
Designed with Nike’s infamous Dynamic Fit collar for a snug and secure play, the Mercurial cleat makes sure to support and protect your ankle as you play without restricting your movements. The fit of this high cut collar moves with you like a second skin for ultimate comfort and support.
The outsole is constructed of durable and flexible rubber and can sustain high impact motions.
Nike’s iconic Dynamic Fit design gives players great support around their ankles while the mesh material made for the upper creates an ultra-lightweight shoe that bends, shifts, and moves with you.
The Non-Stop Grip design on these cleats will give you the advantage on the field against your opponents.
Materials and Construction
These cleats boast a specially designed upper. Instead of the common fabric and mesh combination, these cleats have a non-grip, slightly raised upper that allows the ball to stay close to your feet.
This style of cleat has no lace-up closure allowing for zero obstacles to get between you and the ball.
The Purespeed sports a mid-cut ankle design for stability and comfort, without restricting your range of motion.
Designed with a rubber outsole, the Purespeed is meant to provide the utmost speed and traction for dry, natural surfaces.
Innovative design in the Upper and lack of lace closure to increase contact and control with the ball, but is not ideal in wet conditions or softer turf making it one of the best turf soccer shoes on the current market.
This adidas cleat is designed to overcome any challenge presented on the field, as long as it’s a firm ground surface. From design, to support, these shoes have everything any soccer player could want.
Materials and Construction
Designed with pure performance in mind, these cleats have no laces, no edges, and no overlays so that there is nothing to block contact between your movements and the ball. These cleats allow for optimum ball control.
Combining comfort with performance, The Predator also has extra cushioning. The addidas Primeknit upper gives the player a secure and comfortable fit with adaptive support.
Has a strong, rubber outsole and mixed material studs.
A fantastic design for comfort and performance, the Predator is one of the best football cleats. Best used on firm ground surfaces.
Made with an eye-catching leather design and textured upper for premium control. The Tiempo Legend combines looks with functionality.
Materials and Construction
Made with a premium kangaroo leather and textured forefront for ball control. Although leather, the unstitched and textured design is made for both wet and dry conditions. And the unscrewable metal studs are fantastic for outdoor terrains. But be mindful as metal studs tend to be longer than plastic, these shoes would not make the best indoor soccer shoes as they would damage the turf.
Consists of a Quad-Fit mesh lining for a snug and comfortable fit. The mesh tongue also helps to keep your foot secure while supporting flexible movements. Screw-in metal studs for extra traction and increased stability on wet terrains.
Built with anti-clog traction technology on the soleplate to help prevent mud from getting stuck to your shoes so you won’t get slowed down.
A small but powerful soccer cleat that combines style with performance. Its attractive leather design works for varying weather conditions without sacrificing comfort or performance. With its innovative anti-clog traction technology these shoes are designed for the toughest, wet conditions of a professional soccer game.
The Nike Phantom Vision has raised the bar when it comes to sleek design and performance. From their intriguing “ghost lace” look to the dynamic fit collar, the Phantom Vision is one of the best soccer shoes for looks and durability.
Materials and Construction
The aesthetically pleasing Phantom Vision is designed with a foot-hugging inner sleeve and a Flyknit mesh outer layer for ultimate comfort and flexibility. They’re laceless without actually being laceless. The one of a kind ghost lace feature has the laces tucked away out of sight for a smooth aesthetic loo. Tug once on the laces to tighten to your preference for the perfect fit that moves with you.
The Phantom Vision is designed with a dynamic fit collar made with a soft knit material for snug and flexible wear.
The outsole is constructed from the same rubber material as the forefront of the foot for aesthetic continuity and better ball grip and control.
Best used on short-grass fields, this cleat is one of the best turf soccer shoes. You won’t have to sacrifice comfort for looks with the unique Ghost Lace design and the Flyknit mesh inner and outer layers.
An attractive smooth cleat design for a snug and secure fit.
Materials and Construction
Consists of textile upper design with Tension Tape for a secure, personalized anatomical fit. The studs on these shoes are configured in a way to promote quick and easy directional changes and optimal agility.
The tension bandage design makes these cleats incredibly comfortable as the design forms to your feet for a personalized, stretchy yet snug fit.
Designed to give players ultimate mobility and flexibility, these adaptive shoes have a Torsion System insole and split outsole to move with the player’s every twist and turn.
One of the more simplistic soccer cleats adidas offers, Nemeziz is a great shoe that showcases your style with comfort and agility.
Best Cleats for Soccer Midfielders
With the amount of passing and dribbling that midfielders do in a game of soccer, having a pair of cleats that have enough padding to support all the action is quintessential. Out of the cleats we listed we recommend the Nike Phantom Vision 2 Elite Dynamic Fit FG Firm and the as the best soccer shoes for midfielders. The Phantom Vision sports an inner mesh sleeve and dynamic fit collar that hugs and supports your foot from every angle. Meanwhile, the Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Elite Soft Ground Boots Pro offers the softness of kangaroo leather, a supportive mesh tongue, and a mesh lining at the forefront of the shoe to keep your foot secure, and well protected from high-impact moments.
Best Soccer Cleats for Defenders
Defenders require a lot of upper support in their cleats to block shots, as well as a strong heel to withstand jumping and landing to intercept incoming goals. The adidas Nemeziz 19+ Firm Ground Cleats are great for defenders based on the tension tape-like design that holds your first in snugly and gives you a full range of motion and flexibility. The adidas Copa 20+ is also a fantastic choice for defenders thanks to the plushy leather upper and the outsole of this shoe also targets pressure points, meaning you can jump and leap across the field without straining your nerves and joints.
Best Soccer Cleats for Forwards
It’s no surprise that for the position of forward you’re going to want a pair of cleats that have great touch control. Take every shot with confidence and accuracy. Several of the cleats highlighted are designed with innovative uppers and outer textures meant to give ultimate ball control when dribbling and shooting. You also want a lightweight cleat that won't weigh you down as you run or take a shot. For forwards we recommend the adidas Men's X 17+ Purespeed FG Outdoor Soccer Cleats and the adidas Predator 18+ Firm Ground Boots as the best soccer shoes. These shoes were designed to provide the ultimate touch control so that wherever and however you move, the ball is stuck close to you. The unique fabric on each shoe also makes them super lightweight, allowing you to move faster on the field and make quick turns and movements without excessive weight holding you back.
Before you start shopping for your cleats you should decide what exactly you’re looking for and expecting to get out of a cleat. Prioritize if you’re searching for a specific aesthetic look, like laces or laceless, or which shoes offer the most padding and support. You’ll also need to weigh what kind of fit you’re looking for and the pros and cons of a dynamic collar fit, versus a more relaxed cleat. Also, consider the positions you’ll be playing and how the demands of the positions affect your movements. Playing forward you’ll require a cleat that offers better grip and control of the ball. A midfield cleat requires padding for support. We’ve rounded up the best football cleats of 2020 that each highlight different designs in padding, support, and unique features like ghost lace technology, and screw-in metal studs. Ultimately you should choose a shoe that suits your needs and makes you feel comfortable and confident enough to tackle any practice drill, any game, and go toe to toe with any opponent.