Last updated: September 9, 2021

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Football, often just called "The Beautiful Game" is the most popular sport globally, and it has been growing in popularity for some time now. It is played by many hundreds of millions of people around the world, and international championships like the World Cup regularly attract billions of viewers. As the market has grown, the prices of great products have dropped.

One clear case of this trend in action is how football cleats have dropped in price over the years. As markets have grown, manufacturing technology has improved, and more and more people have started to play the game, good quality boots have become more accessible.




Key Facts

  • Football boots are designed to improve your contact with the ball.
  • Getting shoes with the right studs is important for different surfaces and styles of football.
  • Avoid injuries by getting high-quality boots made from good materials.

Our selection: The best football cleats

In the below section we have put together a list of the best football cleats currently on the market. If you want to get the most out of your boots, pay attention to the summaries we have included of each product's primary characteristics. The big brands continue to innovate and create better products.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about football cleats

When you get new football cleats you want them to be comfortable and to hug your feet tightly. This is basically the way it is with most shoes. When buying football cleats, however, you need to make sure you are getting shoes with soles made for the right surface, and ones made from high-quality materials. Below we have compiled some of the most commonly asked questions by past buyers.

What are football cleats exactly?

Football is the most popular sport in the world with the highest number of people playing it. The defining characteristic of a football cleat is the studded sole which helps grip the ground better. They allow you to run and turn at high speeds without slipping and falling.

 legs of two soccer players vie on a match

Referees often check players' cleats before games to make sure they comply with the rules and regulations set out by the sport's governing bodies.(Source: sportgraphic: 18246912/ 123rf.com)

Boots are highly regulated. Most referees inspect them prior to starting a match to ensure they are up to standard and are safe for play. Whether you call them football cleats, football shoes, or simply boots, they all mean the same thing.

Which football cleats are suitable for each surface?

This is obviously the first question you ask when thinking about a new football cleat. Depending on the surface, you will need different cleats for better traction, balance, and protection from injury. Below we have laid out the different characteristics of each kind of boot based on the pitch you're playing on:

  • Natural grass: This is the surface most often used for professional matches. The best cleats for this surface are those with aluminium or plastic interchangeable studs.
  • Synthetic turf: You should always play with rounded studs so you have more stability and are less likely to injure yourself and others. This is more commonly played on by young and amateur players.
  • Concrete/asphalt: You won't use shoes with studs on these surfaces. The boots, therefore, have flat soles, but the material and design won't vary very much from the type mentioned above.

Which football cleats are best for each position?

The fact remains, boots don't make the player and just because you buy the best pair on the market, doesn't mean you will be the best player on the field. But they are able to help boost your performance in certain areas as well as make playing more comfortable. Defenders are going to want synthetic leather boots because they are more durable and won't wear out from constant contact. They also let you kick the ball extra hard without hurting your foot (great for emergency clearances of the ball).

The game in midfield is generally more about precision. To avoid injury, midfield players require boots that have reinforced uppers for better strength and composure while shooting. Wingers, on the other hand, which tend to be the fastest players on the field, need cleats that make running as easy as possible. Strikers are going to want boots that maximize the amount of sensitivity they have in tight situations.

What types of soles do football cleats have?

There are four different possible surfaces to play the game on and different surfaces have different requirements in terms of studs (number and material). If you choose the right ones, playing will be more comfortable, and it will be easier to control and strike the ball, as well as avoid injury.

Type Surface Studs
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 football cleats do I need?

The most important is naturally that they fit perfectly to your foot. If your football cleats are too tight they might end up blistering and otherwise injuring your feet. Always be extra careful when choosing sizing and remember that this footwear is made to be more narrow than other footwear.

If your foot is particularly wide you might be interested in getting a custom-made insole. If you don't, you might end up hurting yourself. The 5th metatarsal is the bone on the outside of your foot, and without proper support, over time, you can end up with tension fractures. You can get lasts that help shape your boots before wearing them, but the best course of action is to get one that fits well.

How should I take care of my football cleats?

Football cleats, despite being made for sports, are somewhat delicate and if you play on a regular basis, you will definitely put them through their paces. Contact with the elements, especially water, can damage them and render them useless after a while. You should dry your boots out after you use them when it's wet out, and wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove dirt.

If you get leather boots, they take longer to prepare than synthetic ones. You need to waterproof them with horse fat or some kind of waterproofing wax or spray. You also need to transport and store leather properly so it doesn't warp and deform.

What are the most recognised brands of football cleats?

When it comes to sports equipment and clothing, the German brand Adidas and the American Nike are by fat the biggest around, and it's no different in the football world. The world's best players have sponsorship deals with these two brands, including Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Felipe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, Neymar and others.

Kids play football on outdoor field. Portugal team fans. Children score a goal at soccer game. Little girl in Portuguese jersey and cleats kicking ball. Football pitch. Sports training for player.

There are generally 4 kinds of boot sole on the market, and you will need different ones based on the surface you're playing on.(Source: famveldman: 103987536/ 123rf.com)

There are, however, a number of other brands out there that try and compete with the big two. Puma is probably the brand the does this best. The company sponsors some big name players like Manchester City and Argentina star Sergio Aguero and French star Antoine Griezmann. Other known brands in the football world include Umbro, Kappa, Uhlsport, Topper, Lotto or Reebok.

Shopping Criteria

There is a lot of variety on the market when it comes to football cleats. This is great for the consumer because there are so many great choices out there. It also means you have to take some time to carefully evaluate the selection and get the right ones for you. In the below section we have laid out some of the most essential shopping criteria to apply to your purchase.

Variant

The first thing to keep in mind is the needs of the particular style of football you're playing. If you play 11-a-side or 7-a-side you need studded cleats that are quite different from the ones required for futsal, for instance. If you are playing on hard, flat surfaces, you need boots that have flat soles.

Type of surface

As we just laid it out, you need to be aware of the different soles required for different surfaces. If you play classic football, you need cleats made for grass, artificial turn, or dirt. But that's not all you have to consider.

Studs

Now you have almost all the necessary information to get the right cleat for you. As previously touched on, the studs are the defining characteristic of a football cleat, and perhaps the most important consideration. It would de very difficult to play on grass, dirt, or artificial turn without them. It would hard to maintain your balance and to accelerate and slow down.

Aluminium studs are best to play on natural grass, although you now have access to mixed aluminium and plastic cleats that can be effective. The latter is best if you are playing or practising on artificial turf. There are generally three kinds of pitch: 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation.

Material

Now that we know about the basics when it comes to football cleats, and how important it is to get the right studs, sole for the surface, it's time to look at the manufacturing material(s). The material is not quite as important as the aforementioned qualities. They won't really have a major effect on how you play or the type of football you can play. Your preferred material is basically a function of your personal tastes and which you find the most comfortable. There are basically two material options to choose from:

Material Advantages Disadvantages
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, they offer a more natural contact. It won't adapt to your feet as easily.

Keepers

Goalies need special boots for their position. There are specific goalkeeper boots out there just for this unique position. Goalies have a tremendous amount of responsibility and are the last line of defence. This is why they need to carefully purchase their cleats.

If a goalie slips while defending the net and lets a goal in, they tend to feel terrible about it. Goalies, therefore, require good quality studs that provide maximum grip, control and contact. Pay attention to the studs if you are a goalie because they might just make you a hero.

Summary

The technology that underpins football footwear is always evolving. Changes come fast and Adidas and Nike are constantly revolutionizing and reinventing the market. They both do a ton of research and development constantly to make the best products.

Nike has already developed hybrids made with synthetic and natural leather. Adidas responded with two similar cleats. It can be easy to think that these high-tech boots couldn't possibly evolve any further, but just wait. There will be new models next year that are lighter, made with better materials, more aerodynamic and more comfortable.

If you enjoyed our guide to football cleats and found it useful, share it with your friends and family on social media. Additionally, you can leave a comment in the below section and let us know what you think.

(Source of featured image: Anek Suwannaphoom: 42199020/ 123rf.com)

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