Mens soccer cleats can be tough to understand with so many variations and new models coming out weekly. Let me make it simple for you, in terms of cleats there are two types that you need to have in your arsenal, firm ground and soft ground, let's concentrate on firm ground for now. Picking the right shoe for you isn't easy, and I can't stress the YOU part, each of us want different things but there are a few things that are universal you should be looking for.
Comfort, build and feel on the ball should be nonnegotiable and should come standard in any shoe you choose. I know I know Nike just came out with the latest mens soccer cleats that can track your heart beat on the moon and everything else but don't be convinced by looks alone. Get a shoe that meets all your criteria but also has the look you want, gotta match your team jersey and socks am I right?
1. Flexible - You want the shoe to have some give so your foot can move and flex freely as it needs to while running, controlling a ball or whatever else movements you need. There's nothing worse than a stiff shoe that hurts with every step.
2. Made Well - Check the stitching and see if the seems are tightly sewn for starters. Then be sure that the materials that make up the upper part of the shoe, the sole plate and studs are in place firmly and can withstand a hit or two.
3. Name Brand - Stick to the brands that the pro's use and have withstood the test of time. Nike, Adidas, Puma, Under Armour and New Balance, if it's good enough for the pro's it's good enough for you and me.
4. The Right Weight - You want to remain light on your feet but still feel the support of a well built shoe. Ultimately the weight is up to you but try and get the right balance of a well built shoe that allows you to be light on your feet.
5. High Quality Leather/Synthetic - This is where it comes down to preference but either way make sure it is a high quality leather (kangaroo) or high quality synthetic material. Stay away from the plastic shiny materials or fake leather that won't last one hard tackle.
1. Right Fit/Comfortable - Too much space from your toe to the end of the foot or too tight on the arch of your foot? Either way that's clearly not the right shoe for you. We all have different sized feet so just because you want a certain shoe badly doesn't mean you have to get it if it doesn't fit like a glove.
2. Feel of Ball on Foot - What should trump everything is how the cleats feel while in contact with the ball. Most people like a thin upper layer to the closest possible contact with the ball. Whatever the feel you are looking for make sure when trying on you cleats you get some touches with a ball to see how it feels.
3. Durable But Light - You want a reliable boot that can take some punishment but you also don't want it to feel like you have cement around your feet. Durable, well built and light is the perfect combination you should be seeking.
4. You Get What You Pay For - It's best to pay a little bit more now and have a reliable pair of boots for the long term then going cheap and the shoe ripping before you get home. Go up a price level now and save money later.
5. Okay They Can Look Good Too! - Alright I get it you want to look stylish, well you can. Try not to sacrifice comfort, quality and how it feels on the ball just because the new Nike Swoosh is bigger or smaller or pink or whatever, you can have your cake and eat it too with this one.
1. Just Looks - I know I know they gotta like fly on your feet. Nothing wrong with that but don't make it the only reason you buy the cleat. It can't be uncomfortable, made poorly, doesn't feet good on the ball but look good and you buy it. Make sure it has all the right qualities and looks good.
2. Too Good to Be True - There they are, perfect colour, size and everything but something doesn't seem right about the price being so low. Check them out, put them on and see how they feel. Usually (not always) they could be knock offs or made from cheap material etc. Just be careful of some deals that seem too good to be true, often they are.
3. Random Foreign Brand - I know your cousin Gianpierro says he has a guy that can get you the Italian brand shoes with the rooster on them but be careful of buying into the unknown. Stick to your classic proven brands that the pro's wear.
4. Fancy Packaging & Materials - Comes with a boot bag and his made of super cyber chrome dura flex non sense. Don't be fooled by the fancy words or the glass case the shoe may come in. Well sewn and put together by a trusted brand, that's what you should be looking for.
5. Settling - If the shoe you want isn't there or is there but doesn't check all your boxes? Then wait. You don't want to be stuck with a shoe for a season or two that you just kind of like. Take your time, look online, go to other stores and get the boot that you know you'll love.
4. Under Armour
5. New Balance (Sorry Diadora and Lotto fans, you've been replaced)
At the professional level you will need more than one pair yes. Your club generally provides you with footwear but it is always good to have a couple of your own worked in boots handy.
Although we got new pairs of boots regularly I always liked my own sometimes that I had worked in over time and felt best in.
It’s always smart to have more than one pair in case one pair falls apart. You don’t want to have to buy a brand new pair then play with stiff shoes for a couple weeks until you work them in, especially if you’re on trial.
Leather vs. Synthetic
Every soccer cleat these days has a leather and a synthetic version and to be straight it really depends on the person. They both give you different things.
Leather Soccer Cleats Tend to:
1) Stretch half a size
2) Be More Comfortable
3) Need more attention to take care of
Synthetic Soccer Cleats Tend to:
1) Last Longer
2) Need less maintenance
3) Be the new trend of cleats
You have your two typical types of cleats on the bottom of your multi stud boots. They are rounded and sharp, and all tend to have their differences among top players.
The old school round ones are the traditional shape and are used most often with classic shoes such as the copas and puma kings. They are your standard circular cleat that are wider on the sole and come down to a point about an inch long. These studs are perfectly fine and give you a good touch on the ball and good traction on the pitch.
The newer school sophisticated boots tend to have sharp cleats that are designed more for control of the ball and a deeper traction on the pitch. They are skinnier and longer than the round cleat and vary in size depending upon where you find them on the boot. These are great for every part of your game and you can see them worn by pro's everywhere worldwide.
To be honest, a lot of the new technology to make you kick harder, have a better touch and run faster is just a lot of talk. Sure higher quality leather will last longer and lighter boots will make you a bit more agile but thinking a pair of shoes is going to transform your game is setting yourself up for failure. So to make it simple, keep it simple. Get everything you need in a soccer shoe and nothing you don’t. Don’t get caught up with all the bells and whistles, get a boot that’s going to be reliable and comfortable, period.
Firm Ground Cleat Specifications:
Cleat Upper: Leather or Synthetic
Cleat Sole: One piece
Stud Amount: 10-14
Stud Durability: Strong
Studs Removable: No
Suitable For: Firm Natural Surfaces
Weight: 5-9 oz.
Size and Width: All Shapes
Great question, like I said earlier the Firm Ground boots with their multi-stud sole is your most versatile shoe and can be used in several different field conditions. More often then not you can use them on all surfaces, they are a good option for most but not a great option for all. Below is the different field conditions and how firm ground cleats perform on that pitch with a rating of Poor, Below Average, Average, Good, Perfect.
Hard Field: Perfect
Not too hard or Soft: Perfect
Some Rain Fall: Good
Damp Field: Below Average/Poor
Like every marriage or perfect pair in life (in this case foot and boot), there are likely to be conflicts, growing periods, arguments, shear joy, shear pain and of course strengths and weaknesses. Forget about colour for now Versace and think about the comfort, weight, touch and traction you get from a boot before you start thinking about all the other bells and whistles that don't serve you any good once the ball is kicked. Before you start balling your eyes out about your lost love, lets talk about the strengths and weaknesses of a Firm Ground Soccer Cleat.
-Comfortable and spacious
-Durable upper and lower body
-Versatile in several playing fields
-Can take a beating throughout a season
-Great field traction
-Easy to maintain
-Come in both styles, leather and synthetic
-Not ideal for damp fields
-Some don't have adequate heel support
-Can't wear it out to the club that night after a big game! Well I suppose maybe some of you can pull it off.
There you have it! Everything you'll ever need to know about which weapon to use in battle. Now that you know what firm ground cleats are all about you now need to think about what kind of boot fits your game. Just remember if you're going to a pro side for a trial or pre season anytime soon don't assume boots will be provided for you. Bring a couple pairs in case you were thinking they were going to have people pamper you before they've even seen you play Maradona.
Still have a question? Feel free to ask a Professional Player what they think by clicking on the Contact a Pro. You can ask them anything about soccer cleats or anything at all to do with the game and succeeding on and off the pitch.