Americans have become much more enamoured with soccer over the last couple of decades, and the popularity of the sport, especially among young people is a testament to that. Soccer brands and accessories are becoming highly popular, and the introduction of new products and new ways of purchasing them has made good quality products more affordable than ever.
One clear indicator of this rising trend is the increased popularity and sale of soccer cleats. Over the last several years the technology has changed considerably. The growth of modern cleats has really taken off and brands turn out new and improved models almost every quarter.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best soccer cleats on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about soccer cleats
- 3.1 What are soccer cleats exactly?
- 3.2 Which cleats are suitable for each surface?
- 3.3 Which soccer cleats are best for each position?
- 3.4 What types of soles do soccer cleats have?
- 3.5 What size soccer cleats do I need?
- 3.6 How should I take care of my soccer cleats?
- 3.7 What are the most recognised brands of soccer cleats?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Soccer cleats are great for helping improve touch and control.
- Getting the right studs is important for different pitch types.
- You can prevent injuries by getting good cleats made from quality materials.
Ranking: The best soccer cleats on the U.S. market
The below section contains a list of some of the best cleats on the U.S. market right now. If you want to get a boot that is both comfortable and provides you with maximum ball control, you need to know how to select the different brands and evaluate their materials. Brands are always competing to innovate and corner more of the market, and you will find brand new shoes alongside time-tested classics.
No. 1: Nike – Mercurial Superfly 6 Academy FG
Anyone who knows about soccer and about cleats knows that Nike’s Mercurial Superfly 6 Academy FG boots are one of a handful of superstars. All around the world, young soccer players dream of one day lacing these cleats up. And for good reason. These durable, synthetic, modern cleats with dynamic fit collar fit your foot like a glove to provide you with maximum comfort and control. The microtexture of the material lets you feel every square inch of the ball on your foot for precision passing and the lightest touch.
One of the really nice features of this cleat is that the versatile multi-ground plate gives you great traction on both natural and artificial grass, so you can use these wherever and get great performance. While the cleats never makes the player, at the high end like this, these cleats are designed to maximize your ability to twist, turn, accelerate and feel comfortable on any pitch. Keep in mind that these will take some time to successfully break-in so be prepared to work a bit at it.
No. 2: Adidas – Predator
Made from a combination of textiles and synthetic materials, the Adidas Predator undoubtedly is one of the most talked-about boots on the planet. A cleat that is favored by both amateurs and professionals alike, the primemesh upper creates a nice wrap around your ankle for added comfort and stability while playing. This is designed to help give you increased ball control which, along with the profile laces, make this a superior cleat – especially when compared to older models.
It has a lace-closure and lockdown fit that grips your foot and optimizes your contact with the ball. It comes in a range of different colors, so there is something out there to suit your personality and your playing style. Many of the comments on this cleat suggest getting at least a half size bigger than you would normally wear with your day-to-day and casual shoes as the breaking in process does involve a bit of rubbing sometimes. All in all, one of the world’s most popular cleats.
No. 3: Adidas – Copa Mundial
Adidas’ Copa Mundia (Spanish for “World Cup”) cleats are classic Adidas black and white design and are made from leather with a synthetic sole. The low profile lace cover minimizes the amount of deflection the ball takes when receiving passes, shooting, and controlling the ball. The Die-cut EVA midsole on this boot evenly distributes the stud pressure across the sole so it minimizes pressure points on the bottom of your feet. These cleats are designed to provide amazing traction on firm ground.
These cleats are made from kangaroo leather, which has been a popular cleat material for many years thanks to its ability to mould and shape to your foot. The material is designed to expand a little as you break these cleats in so make sure that you are getting the size of shoe you would normally wear. Durable, well-made soccer cleats that, if properly looked after and cleaned, should last for at least a few years of constant playing.
No. 4: Adidas – Goletto 6
The Adidas Goletto 6 is a synthetic Adidas cleat that comes in the traditional Adidas black and white design with red accents on the studs and laces. It is an imported shoe with a synthetic sole and a light, robust leather upper. You want the leather upper on top because it moulds to your foot better and therefore increases the sensitivity with which you feel the ball. This means improved control. These are junior soccer cleats and are not full size so keep that in mind when purchasing.
Another nice feature of this soccer cleat is that it fits wider feet quite well. Many soccer players complain that a significant portion of the cleats on the market are not made for wider feet, so this product helps fill that gap. It is also quite a breathable shoe, so it is nice for summer weather and hotter climates where little feet can easily overheat while playing. The black and white Adidas design is also, unlike many of the more colorful soccer cleats out there, quite easy to clean and keep looking good.
No. 5: Nike – Phantom VSN
Nike and Adidas are without a doubt the two largest footwear brands in the world, and the two that had cornered most sports markets, and for good reason. The Nike Phantom VSN is one sleep, well-made, state of the art soccer cleat. This dynamic fit multi-ground cleat works great on both synthetic and artificial grass surfaces, and the “ghost lace” system conceals your laces and provides a flush surface for contact with the ball, maximizing touch and control.
The breathable fabric inside the shoe and foam insole helps to mitigate the pressure from the cleats, so you don’t finish each game or practice with sore feet. Another really nice feature of these cleats is the dynamic fit ankle collar which wraps your ankle to provide both added stability but is made from stretchy enough material to allow free-flowing movement. The textured upper material is also great because it means better grip and control in wet conditions.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about soccer cleats
When you purchase soccer cleats, the main characteristic you are looking for is that they fit like a glove and are comfortable on your feet. This is how it is why most shoes, essentially. With soccer cleats, however, you also have to consider the manufacturing material, the type of sole included, and the upper. Below are some of the most commonly asked consumer questions surrounding soccer cleats to help make your decision easier.
What are soccer cleats exactly?
Soccer cleats are the footwear worn by players of the most popular sport in the world. The primary feature of these shoes is the studded bottom which helps grip grass and astroturf.
Because the studded bottoms can be dangerous, they are regulated by sport governing bodies. Referees typically inspect the cleats of every player before a game (especially at the amateur level). Whether you call them boots or cleats, they all serve the same purpose the same.
Which cleats are suitable for each surface?
This is one of the primary questions you must answer. Your cleats will impact your traction, balance, and help provide stability and support. Below we have provided a breakdown of the different features of different kinds of soccer cleat based on the kind of pitch they are used on:
- Natural grass: This is the cleat most often used by professional players. Almost all professional matches are played on this. Cleats with aluminium or interchangeable studs are ideal for this kind of pitch. T
- Synthetic turf: You should play with rounded studs to give you greater stability and avoid potential injuries. This is a more common pitch to find amateur or semi-pro players playing on.
- Dirt: You need soccer cleats with rubber studs for this surface.
- Concrete/asphalt: You won’t use shoes with studs on these surfaces. The cleats therefore have flat soles, but the material and design won’t vary very much from the type mentioned above.
Which soccer cleats are best for each position?
Just like the clothes don’t make the man or woman, cleats don’t make the player. But they can give you slight edges that improve performance, and they also make playing more comfortable. Most defenders favor synthetic leather as they are more resistant and won’t break down from constant contact. They also allow for hard contact with the ball without pain.
Midfielders tend to like cleats that provide more precision. They also like boots that have reinforced uppers for better strength while shooting. Wingers tend to be the speediest players on the field and therefore need footwear that is going to maximize their ability to run. Strikers like boots that provide them with optimal sensitivity and touch so they can score goals better.
What types of soles do soccer cleats have?
There are generally four kinds of soles found on the market. The surface you play or practice on dictates the number of studs and material you need, so pay close attention to this. If you get the right soccer cleats for the right terrain, you will feel more comfortable, will have better ball control and striking, and will avoid injury better.
|Soft ground||Natural grass||Aluminium or mixed|
|Firm ground||Natural grass||Rubber|
|Artificial grass||Artifical grass||Rubber|
|TURF (multitack)||Dirt, cement, asphalt||Rubber multi-studs|
What size soccer cleats do I need?
The most important is naturally that they fit perfectly to your foot. Don’t get them too small or you will end up with injuries or constant blisters. Get the ones that fit your foot tight, but not too tight. Also, keep in mind that soccer cleats are made more narrow than most other shoes.
If you have a wider foot you might require a customized insole. If you don’t get one, you might end up seriously injuring yourself. Specifically, the fifth metatarsal, which is the bone on the outside of your foot, may be undersupported. Over time that can lead to tension fractures. You can always purchase some lasts to help properly shape your cleats before you wear them, but the best thing to do is to get a cleat that fits properly.
How should I take care of my soccer cleats?
Soccer cleats are made from sensitive materials to meet the demands of the sport, and they are also subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Over time, things like water, grass, and contact with other cleats and damage them. You should always dry your boots off when they get wet and wipe them down with a damp cloth when dirty.
If you get leather soccer cleats, they will require special preparation that synthetic ones do not. You should hydrate them with something like horse fat or spray them with a waterproofing spray. Storing them properly, on a flat surface, and in a dry environment is also important.
What are the most recognised brands of soccer cleats?
As previously mentioned, Nike and Adidas are without a doubt the biggest names in sporting apparel and definitely the most important when it comes to soccer cleats. The worlds most famous soccer players have sponsorship deals with one of these two companies, including players like: Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, etc.
However, other brands out there also offer quality soccer cleats. Puma is the third company in the market that manages to sometimes give Adidas and Nike a run for their money. They also have sponsorship deals with top athletes like Antoine Griezmann and Sergio Aguero. Other well-known brands in the industry include Reebok, Lott, Topper, Diadora, and Umbro.
There is an incredibly wide selection of soccer cleats on the U.S. market. This is great news for you because that means a near-limitless number of possibilities. It also means, however, that you need to be selective. The below section presents some of the most important purchasing criteria to keep in mind when buying a soccer cleat.
- Type of surface
The very first thing you have to think about is the variant of soccer you’ll be playing. You might play classic 11-a-side soccer or 7-a-side. You might play futsal. The first two use similar cleats and are essentially variants of turf and grass. Futsal requires flat soles because it is played on a hard surface.
Type of surface
As previously noted, the type of surface you play on will influence the kind of cleats you get. If you play standard 11-a-side soccer, you need cleats designed for grass, turf, and dirt. In each of these instances, your cleats will have studs for better grip.
Now that you have almost all the important information to get the right cleat, you need to know a bit more about the studs. Studs are likely the most important feature of any boot you are considering. Without studs, it would be almost impossible to play on grass, turf or dirt.
Aluminum studs are the ideal ones for playing on natural grass, although there are many soccer cleats with plastic studs that also work well. The latter is best for playing on synthetic surfaces. When it comes to pitches, they are generally categorized into first, second and third generation.
We’ve looked at the basics of soccer cleats, for which you’d really be paying the price in case of any mistake. It is not exactly the same where manufacturing materials are concerned. It is a factor, but it will not dramatically affect the kind of soccer you can play or the way you are able to play. It’s mostly about what you prefer and find comfortable. There are basically two options available to you:
|Natural leather||Very flexible, it adapts well to your foot and stride.||It absorbs water, affecting the weight of the shoe. The dyes will fade over time.|
|Synthetic material||It won’t absorb water at all. The dyes come in a wider chromatic range and will last longer. Made from the same material as the ball, their offer a more natural contact.||It won’t adapt to your feet as easily.|
Goalies need to get cleats that are made for goalkeeping. There are special cleats made for this position, and goalies tend to be very particular about the kind of soccer cleats they wear. There is no room for error as a goalie, so cleat selection is key.
If you slip and fall and allow a goal, you will feel as though you have betrayed your team. You should pay extra close attention to suitable studs for the pitch you’re playing on. Grip, improved contact, ball control, and stability are all essential. If you choose your cleats with these four qualities in mind, you will be able to do your job as the last line of defence between your team and your net.
The number of new products that the big brands turn out year after year is quite staggering. A startling amount of money is poured into R & D every year to produce newer and better products. Things change fast, new trends take hold, and soccer cleats have evolved before people even know what happened.
Nike goes and builds some amazing synthetic leather hybrids and Adidas claps back with two similar models, though they all use slightly different materials. Soccer cleats have changed considerably throughout the history of the sport, and, like most sports shoes, have only gotten better. New models come and are replaced, and new generations of players popularize different styles and designs. With that being said, there are always fundamental qualities that will be sought after (durability, grip, control, sensitivity and comfort).
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(Source of featured image: Anek Suwannaphoom: 42199020/ 123rf.com)