Best Soccer Cleats
Buying a pair of soccer cleats is another one of those decisions we face when it comes to finding a happy medium between aesthetic, function, and price. Like almost any other high-performance sporting attire, purchasing a pair of cleats is going to cost you a substantial amount of money. Therefore, you need to go into this purchase armed with all of the pertinent information needed for your gear to perform its best and do so for a long period of time.
Things like sizing, outsoles, and upper material can all factor into your decision on which shoe is the best for you. It can't be stressed enough that you will need to actually try your shoes on, walk in them, kick in them, feel how they move, and how they hug your foot. The type of shoe one player likes won't necessarily be the one you will want, so do your homework before you drop that hard-earned cash. Feel free to refer to our soccer cleat buyer’s guide below for all of the essentials you should keep in mind when it's time to buy.
Adidas Mens Messi 15.2 Soccer Cleats
Nike Mercurial Vapor X Men's Soccer Cleats
Diadora DD-NA2 GLX 14 Soccer Cleats
Puma Mens Evopower 1.2 Fg Firm Ground Soccer Cleat
Mizuno Morelia Neo MD FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Jr. Mercurial Victory V Youth Soccer Cleats
Lotto Zhero Gravity VII 700 JR Youth Soccer Cleat
Adidas Predator Absolion LZ TRX FG Jr Youth Cleats
PUMA evoPOWER 4.2 FG JR Firm Ground Youth Soccer Cleats
Under Armour Kid's UA Flash HG Jr. Soccer Cleats
Nike Mercurial Veloce Firm Ground Women's Soccer Cleats
Adidas X15.2 Firm/Artificial Ground Women's Soccer Cleats
PUMA evoSPEED 4.4 FG Women's Firm Ground Soccer Cleats
Nike Hypervenom Phelon FG Women's Firm Ground Soccer Cleats
Under Armour Women's UA Flash FG Soccer Cleats 9 ALPINE
If you go the Adidas website and click on the link for the write-up on these shoes, the description is full of cool-sounding tech monikers with Messi's name slapped to the front of each one. The reason is because the Argentinian soccer great had an active hand in the creation and development of this shoe, tailored to his particular specs and preferences. The result is a pretty impressive shoe that puts the focus on touch and traction, first and foremost.
Adidas have given this soccer cleat an ultra-thin synthetic upper with a dimpled surface for better control at a faster rate of speed, with the dimples creating greater friction between shoe and ball on the fly. An external cage is wrapped around the shoe for improved stability and the soleplate has been outfitted with a cleat configuration that incorporates a collection of angled studs at the fore-foot and heel to grant you explosive speed and agility on both firm and artificial ground surfaces.
The Messi 15.2 is one step down from the Messi 15.1, which is nearly double the price. The differences are negligible which is why we feel you can save the extra dough and go with the 15.2. Here the upper is a bit stiffer than with the predecessor, so the break-in period is going to take longer and the stud plate is slightly different. But the comfort and performance are still top-notch, just like the more expensive version.
The first thing you notice on the Mercurial Vapor X is the dimpled upper. Much like the Messi shoe, the Vapor X uses a dimpled surface texture but here the dimples are much smaller than on the Adidas shoe. Nike calls it "micro-texturing", an apt description as the texture is finer and the material is designed to conform to the shape and size of your foot for a tighter fit. Nike has also added a special coating to their dimpled upper to provide consistent touch in all types of weather.
The sole-plate has been equipped with Nike's asymmetric Vapor blade pattern which was designed for greater traction and acceleration (especially at the fore-foot) where the studs were built with track shoes in mind. The rest of the studs are shaped like blades, so they cut in and release the ground with rapid response to provide that extra traction you want on a firm ground surface. Nike has also jettisoned the tongue on these shoes and used an eyelet design that makes the upper more aerodynamic and snug along the top of your foot. This brings down the weight as well.
The DD-NA3 has been built for speed, agility, and a lightweight feel on the pitch. Diadora's been known for having heavier shoes that are comfortable yet often weighed down with a lot of excessive padding and thick materials. But they've taken a different approach here to compete with the bigger brands who offer shoes built for quickness.
Their synthetic SuprellPro3L upper has been engineered to be thin for true and accurate touch on the ball and truth be told, the DD-NA3 performs well in that department. It starts out pretty stiff and rigid out of the box, but over the course of a few sessions of wear it begins to loosen up and feel more comfortable as it seems to mold to the shape of your foot. The DD-NA3 offers terrific heel support near the back as well.
This is a shoe that is best-suited for those with wider feet and find the other guys' shoes too narrow and confining. Diadora has given the shoe their exclusive Pebax GLX14 outsole which utilizes a combination of conical and diamond shaped cleat studs for terrific traction with clean acceleration, making them ideal for use on a variety of playing surfaces.
The thinking behind the evoPOWER line of shoes is simple: Build a shoe that best emulates the feel and motion of playing the game barefoot. Puma has engineered their new cleat to do just that, infusing it with materials and design choices that try to recreate the fluid, natural motions of your foot.
The shoes are flexible from the minute you unbox them, built with a Japanese synthetic Puma is calling Adapt-Lite which stretches vertically from the front of the shoe so you can bend your foot forward and back without hindrance. This allows for the most natural kicking motion possible, and that gives you more power and velocity behind your shot. Accu-Foam inserts have been placed along the inside of the upper to create a clean strike zone, flattening upon impact for a stronger release off the foot as you kick through. Both of these features not only offer improved shooting power, they also help make the shoe very comfortable.
Combined with their Gradual Stability Frame, a rib-like spine system that runs through the shoe, the evoPOWER 1.2 offers complete flexibility while keeping the shoe lightweight. The stud configuration of the sole uses a combination of blades and conical studs to provide terrific traction in addition to all of this lightweight mobility. At a weight of around 7.1 ounces, you'll feel like you're not wearing anything at all.
Mizuno Morelia Neo MD FG Soccer Cleats
The Morelia Neo MD works for one fundamental reason: simplicity. The shoe has a supple K-leather upper that is thin for good touch and feel on the ball, while remaining lightweight to keep it fast. The cut of the upper has a strong, snug fit but doesn't run too narrow like many other shoe popular shoe brands tend to; ahem, we’re looking at you Nike! There's also a minimal amount of padding and lining inside the shoe, contributing to the feel of a shoe that seems like you're barefoot on the pitch. But with the cut of the shoe not too narrow, you need not worry about blistering since there's such a distinct lack of interior padding.
You need not be concerned about the amount of traction the shoe offers either; with a collection of low conical studs in the front and rear of the soleplate, you have freedom of motion enabling you to accelerate, stop, even juke and cut with ease. Just be careful getting them wet because if you don't dry them properly and thoroughly, they could suffer potential moisture-related damage.
Designed for speed, the Mercurial Victory V features a dimpled upper with a similar micro-texture that Nike has been applying to many of their shoes for an increase in touch and feel on the ball. The upper's synthetic material isn't the softest in the world, but it does fit comfortably and will hold up well over months of active play. The liner of the shoe is contoured and fits anatomically to the shape of the foot but what really makes the Victory V worth your time is the rubber outsole. The cleat studs are blade-shaped and stubby and positioned in Nike's Vapor traction pattern, so the studs will work well in wet conditions and won't get stuck in softer surfaces which can increase the potential for injury.
Lotto Zhero Gravity VII 700 JR Youth Soccer Cleat
Lotto's Zhero Gravity VII is the latest model in the youth version of the company's ever-popular laceless, slip-on boot. This soccer cleat keeps it old school with a shoelace enclosure in a synthetic upper combining comfort and durability. The EVA insole provides ample cushioning designed to reduce the strain on young feet which have been running on cleats for extended periods. The company's PuntoFlex technology allows the foot to maneuver in its natural motion, providing flexibility while allowing energy to return along the forefoot. To top it all off, Lotto has used a TX outsole combining conical studs at the front, bladed cleats at the heel for quick acceleration, and sure grip providing total motion control on the field. Even better, the outsole has been stitched to the upper to extend the life of the shoe and prevent it from falling apart at some of the most vulnerable areas, giving you the best value for your dollar.
The Predator Absolion LZ TRX FG is the junior version of this popular men's cleat without sacrificing any potent Adidas sports technology in the process. The upper is synthetic leather designed with five Predator zones which increase friction on the ball for better control and handling. Adidas' has also enabled this shoe with the exclusive Traxionstud configuration providing superior traction on the field. There's also the placement of the cleat studs which promote a sure grip while evenly distributing the impact of every step throughout the shoe. The Predator Absolion cleats have a high retail price so it's probably best suited for more advanced youth players who want to come closer to the experience of playing with a dedicated pro shoe.
PUMA evoPOWER 4.2 FG JR Firm Ground Youth Soccer Cleats
Puma's evoPOWER 4.2 affords kids the same precision and accuracy found in the same shoes that the big boys and girls wear. Puma's given these shoes some of the sporting technology enhancements found in the adult shoe including the GripTex enhancement for increased ball control and a bladed cleat configuration for extra mobility and acceleration The 4.2 was designed with a soft synthetic poly-urethane upper durable enough to survive the scrapes and scuffs of an entire season while keeping the shoe protective and comfortable. Quilted pads at the vamp contribute to the snug feel of the shoe and an asymmetrical lace enclosure gives the shoe a sure fit. These are among the lightest of the picks on our list, weighing in at around 4.7 ounces so these won't weigh down your all star. With a generous retail price, your kids and your wallet will be thrilled with this purchase.
The Flash features a synthetic poly-urethane upper that's soft enough to fit comfortably but still provides maximum protection without sacrificing too much in the department of ball control. A die-cut sock liner provides extra cushiony comfort and helps ward off aching feet after they’ve been running around in studded cleats for hours at a time. Under Armor has given the Flash a dual-shape cleat configuration providing conical studs at the forefoot for fast directional maneuvers and bladed cleats at the heel for quicker timing and acceleration when it matters most. While the Flash can be considered a very basic soccer shoe, they’re ideal for the young player making their first foray into the world of soccer and at a price tag of around $32 at most online retailers, parents will feel these soccer cleats are the ideal choice as well.
The Mercurial Veloce uses a slim Teijin microfiber upper creating an overall lighter shoe with minimal break-in time to achieve maximum, long-term comfort. The material between your foot and the ball is thin enough to allow increased touch control while providing adequate protection from sudden physical contact. The Mercurial Veloce also features a puckered, golf ball surface texture to help grip the ball when you're moving it down the field which is a subtle but important touch. A contoured sock liner keeps the shoe cushioned and comfortable while providing the support you need to play hard along with a standard outsole providing flexibility and comfort without experiencing much drag. The cleat configuration uses only bladed studs which are positioned to give you a mix of fast acceleration and secure lateral traction on firm ground surfaces.
Proving their status of one of the titans in the industry yet again, Adidas gives us the X15. Designed with speed, control, and stability in mind, the women's version of the X15.2 isn't much of a departure from the men's version and displays only somewhat negligible differences from the top tier version of the shoe in the X15.1. They both have the exoSKIN molded synthetic and textile upper with just a hint of the company's non-stop grip (NSG) texture for increased control and feel on the ball and the X-CAGE reinforcement along the mid-foot for greater stability, so you can cut and turn on a dime at a moment's notice. The outsole utilizes a Adidas' claw stud configuration for maximum traction and acceleration on the field and they're suitable for use on firm and artificial surfaces.
Puma makes the cut with their 6.4 ounce evoSPEED cleat, a high-performance piece of soccer gear designed to provide a combination of comfort, flexibility, protection and speed. They began with a durable, scuff-resistant, synthetic leather upper, contoured to move naturally with your foot. Comfort and protection is enhanced by a TPU-injected outsole, a one-piece component providing even weight distribution throughout the foot while keeping your heel snugly in place. evoSPEED is fitted with a combination of cleat stud shapes, both conical and bladed, for sure traction letting you accelerate, cut or juke for quick directional changes or a sudden run for the goal.
The Hypervenom Phelon soccer cleats are great intermediate players working on improving their game and don't want to spend a lot. They're one of the best-looking picks on our list, offering total agility with a lightweight upper and a thermo-polyurethane outsole using a combination of stud shapes for superior traction. Conical forefoot studs allow for dime-cutting directional change while bladed studs near the toe and midfoot turn on the speed when you need it. The synthetic leather upper conforms to the shape of the feet enhancing your touch and feel on the ball. A shortened lace closure gives more of a striking area near the toe for better impact when shooting for a goal. These shoes are paired best with any short grassy field thanks to their firm ground cleats but not recommended for muddy conditions.
The Flash FG is a solid shoe for players who don't want to spend a lot to get a dependable product. Under Armour has given the Flash a dimpled synthetic upper that's lightweight and offers a good amount of touch and control on the ball. That texture is certainly more prevalent here than some other textured uppers out there, so you'll need to try them on to see if you like the feel. The outsole is all thermo-polyurethane equipped with a collection of 11 angled studs for strong traction and speed while the die-cut sockliner keeps them feeling comfy with a layer of cushioning. They're not the most breathable pair of shoes you'll ever slip on your feet but won't trap heat too much either, so you don't worry about excessive sweating.
Soccer Cleats Buyer's Guide
Plain and simple, the most important piece of gear for a soccer player is the shoe. Goalies have their gloves, but if you're on the pitch in any other position then all you need is a great pair of shoes. They keep your feet in the game with a combination of materials to give you plenty of grip on the run and protection in those scrums for the ball.
Many of the leading manufacturers enhance their shoes with exclusive technologies to help you play the game more effectively, but whether or not you feel like those elements actually contribute to the way you play the game is entirely up to you. While most of these cool sounding elements are marketing tools to get you to buy, there are certain fundamental components you must consider before you make your purchase. This guide is going to help you navigate through all of that confusion.
Men's and Women's Soccer Cleats
While the major manufacturers offer apparel lines built for the masculine and feminine foot separately, sizing, fit and comfort is important regardless of whether you're looking for a men's or women's shoe.
The rule of thumb to making sure you have the right fit for your shoe is to keep it snug on your foot. Toes shouldn't be jammed up against the front of it, there has to be a little bit of wiggle room. A little space between the heel of your foot and the back of the shoe is also important. If the shoe is too tight or too loose it's going to affect the way you play, and no amount of breaking a shoe in if it doesn't fit right the first time is going to help. Width is also a crucial component to sizing, everyone has different size feet and shoe manufacturers offer different shoes that cater to wider or slimmer feet.
Comfort and Fit
Fit concerns the size of the shoe and how much room you have for your foot inside of it. Is the shoe snug or does it afford a little bit of movement? Comfort is how the shoe feels on your foot when you're in the game. Do you have enough touch on the ball? How does it perform when you're running?
Youth Soccer Cleats
With kids' shoes the same issues of sizing, fit, and comfort are even more important because like adults, children need to be comfortable in their shoes. However, there's the additional consideration of growth. If you have a youngster who's especially passionate about the game, you don't want to have to buy new shoes every season just because your future All-Star's feet have grown.
Buying the right shoe is going to take a little bit of research so they can grow into the shoe future while making sure it still fits well enough in the present when they’re playing. A good option is to go with a leather upper which will stretch some as it breaks in, affording a little extra growing room to extend the use of the shoe.
Soccer Cleat Components
This is the portion of the shoe that covers the foot and makes contact with the ball during game play. The upper is usually made of a natural or synthetic leather material and each type of upper has distinct advantages that offer comfort, touch, and durability.
Not all materials are created equally of course, so you must determine what you're looking for the most in your upper. Fit, performance, strength, are all factors in selecting the right kind of upper and you have more than a few to choose from.
There are three types of leather material almost all soccer shoies are manufactured with including calf-skin, kangaroo and Pittards; all have varying degrees of softness, durability, and moisture retention. The Pittards leather material can only be found on Puma shoes but the others are used in most every brand. Break-in times and techniques will vary with each type of leather.
There are also synthetic leather choices designed to look, feel, and respond like leather but you lose a little bit where touch is concerned. The same goes for synthetic fabric or material which is usually much thinner and while it might not give you as much protection for your foot, these can be more comfortable to wear.
The outsole is the actual cleat; it refers to the bottom of the shoe making contact with the surface of the ground. As with uppers, there are plenty of styles from which to choose. Making this choice can be a little bit more straightforward knowing the type of surface area you plan to play on, mainly boils down to whether you’re playing an indoor or outdoor game.
Indoor shoes are pretty self-explanatory and you've narrowed the field down drastically with these types of shoes. Sure, there are still a wide variety of styles and brands to choose from, but you are dealing with a common rubber sole that is flat instead of a selection of cleated outsoles.
The cleated shoe is for the outdoor game. This is where things can get just a bit complicated as you're looking at four possible choices of sole-plate when choosing the right shoe. Soccer cleats come in firm, soft, and hard ground types of constructed studs.
- Firm ground studs are the most commonly purchased shoe and are designed for natural grass and dirt fields. The stud configuration is built for traction and control.
- Soft ground cleats are meant for routinely wet or soft soil surfaces and, because of the flexibility of many professional stadium surfaces, the superstars of the sport tend to prefer these types of shoes. There are often fewer studs and those are usually removable.
- Hard ground cleats are suited for artificial turf and hard-packed natural surfaces and these types of shoes will often have a large collection of shorter, round studs to enable comfortable movement on unforgiving terrain.
- Turf Shoes are usually made of a hard rubber sole-plate that resembles the closely spaced knob design of the hard cleat shoe. They're built for grip and versatility on hard or artificial surfaces and consumers will need to decide which of the shoes will fit their situation best. They are similar, but one will perform better than the other in specific instances.
Try Before You Buy
There's nothing worse than a pair of ill-fitting shoes on the pitch. The likelihood of trial and error through the mail could prove more of a headache than going to your local store and taking a test run in a few pairs first. Obviously, you're going to want to try on a few pairs of shoes and actually feel them on your feet and walk around in them first even if you’re planning on making a purchase online.