How To Choose The Best Soccer Shoes/Cleats Based on Your Involvement in Soccer
Ok, so you’ve decided to check what all of the fuzz about soccer is, and you’re willing to give it a try but you’ve also realized that you’ll need some proper equipment in order to be able to. Well let’s face it, you can’t play soccer without shoes (cleats). And I can understand that with all the marketing nowadays about all of the different types of soccer shoes and cleats you’re feeling a little bit confused. You may be thinking why they just don’t make one type of cleats suitable for every occasion or that the soccer cleats don’t make the player? Well, I couldn’t disagree more with you and if you’re willing to spend 5 minutes reading this article I’ll do my best to explain to you why.
First of all, It’s really important to know the parts of every soccer shoe :
1.upper part of the shoe
2.midsole ( inside cushions of the shoe )
3.outsole ( bottom part of the shoe)
The upper part of the shoe is the most noticeable part of the shoe that you’ll see when searching for soccer shoes or cleats. There’s going to be different materials used to produce this part, with different technologies for different styles but what’s really important is that the upper part provides the famous feel for the ball, determines the weight and provides the comfort of course. Yes but how? Well, the heel support which is the back upper portion of the shoe will help a lot with the comfort and the vamp or the front upper portion of the shoe is the part used for achieving the fell for the ball. Again there’s going to be different designs, especially on the vamp part just because every soccer player has a different expectation/needs from the vamp (not everybody needs vamp to be designed for shooting, somebody needs control, somebody wants the lace on the right side instead of in the center etc).
So we’ve reached the first decision you’ll need to make – choosing your favorite upper material
The upper part can be made out of leather or synthetic leather. What you’ll choose will greatly affect the performance and the weight ( which is extremely important). I would recommend the leather if you’re serious about soccer even though it would be more expensive. When it comes to the leather used for the upper part most common are the kangaroo leather and the calfskin leather.
Kangaroo leather advantages:
*great ball fell
*molds to your feet
* soft and comfortable
Kangaroo leather disadvantages:
*will stretch after few uses
Calfskin leather advantages:
*soft and thin
*good ball feel
Calfskin leather disadvantages:
*heavier than kangaroo
The second most common material used in producing the upper part is synthetic leather. Each brand uses its own mixture of synthetic materials in production resulting in so many options available. But let’s summarize:
Synthetic material advantages:
*lighter upper part
Synthetic material disadvantages:
*not so great feel for the ball
*not as comfy as leather
So based on your budget and your seriousness about soccer you can make the first decision – choosing the upper material of your cleats. TIP: If you have wider feet do a research on the brands producing cleats for wider feets.
The midsole or the inside cushions, the inside part of the shoe is the greatest factor when it comes to comfort. I always recommend trying different types of cleats so you can feel the difference in the midsole. Or you can buy cleats with removable cushions and then you’ll have more options.
And we’ve come to the most important part of soccer shoes, the outsole or the bottom part of the shoe. This is the part that makes all of the difference. In the outsole, we have the studs or the cleats which can be fixed or detachable, conical or blade shaped and their main reason is to provide traction and aid grip. The actual stud is mostly being made out of plastic or rubber. The type and the pattern of the stud in outsole help us to choose the right cleats for the pitch on which we’ll be playing.
And we’ve got the second decision we need to make – choosing the stud’s type and pattern of the cleats based on the pitch we’ll be playing
Generally, outdoor pitch condition can be break into 4 categories:
In order to achieve maximum grab and traction for each of the pitch conditions, there are different types of studs and patterns.
Hard ground pitch or pitch with a hard surface is basically field not watered as often as it should with grass that looks like it’s been worn down. On these types of fields, you’ll need cleats that are not designed to dig into the ground but standing close to the ground, with grip for balance and studs in huge quantities.
Here’s my top 3 recommendation list of cleats for hard ground
1.- Nike’s premier soccer cleats
Nike’s premier soccer cleats are made out of kangaroo leather vamp and goat leather heel support which makes them light and comfortable. With 13 in total studs in the outsole, they are perfect for heavy grounds.
2.- The Adidas men F5
The Adidas men F5 cleats are specifically designed for grip on hard grounds, they’re synthetic made, with outsole made out of rubber and they’re very durable and light.
3.- Adidas performance men’s Copa Mundial
The really famous Adidas performance men’s Copa Mundial soccer cleats are definitely justifying all the fame about them. Made out of kangaroo leather with a rubber outsole with 12 studs in total is what makes them great on heavy grounds.
On firm ground pitch which means a pitch with natural grass, firm surface where it doesn’t rain too regularly you’ll need to use firm ground cleats. Firm ground cleats will have 10 or more studs, with either conical or blade shape designed to provide sufficient traction for playing. These are the most used type of cleats.
My top 7 recommendations for firm ground cleats:
1.- The Adidas Messi 10.1
The Adidas Messi 10.1 firm ground cleats are one of the most popular cleats nowadays with a unique mixture of leather and synthetic design highlighting the best player in the world. They’re constructed with a perfect balance between stability and weight customized for high-speed dribbling.
2.- Nike Men’s Mercurial Vapor XI
Nike Men’s Mercurial Vapor XI are really high-quality firm ground cleats made out of a mixture of leather and mesh, with the high-quality anti-skid midsole for increased traction inside the boot.
3.- Adidas Men’s Ace 16.1
Adidas Men’s Ace 16.1 are built for ideal comfort and performance with a synthetic outsole and faux leather upper part specifically designed for better control.
4.- Nike Tiempo Legend VI
Nike Tiempo Legend VI is one of the best synthetic firm ground cleats. They’re light weighted, water-resistant, they have 14 in total synthetic studs for a really great fit and comfort.
5.- Nike Men’s Hypervenom Phade II
If you’re looking for cleats in mid-price range Nike Men’s Hypervenom Phade II are by far the best choice for you. Their lightweight synthetic leather is perfect for great ball touch, they’re breathable and they have an accommodating fit for comfort.
6.- Adidas Messi 16+PureAgility
For moving with untouchable speed and ability on firm ground Adidas Messi 16+PureAgility is the perfect fit for you.
7.- Adidas Performance F5
And for the kids in the mid-range price, these Adidas Performance F5 cleats for firm ground has proven to be a great choice. With a synthetic leather and rubber outsole, they are really flexible and comfortable.
On the soft ground where it rains a lot, you’ll need to use soft ground cleats which are usually with longer studs/cleats and their studs are similar in shape to the firm ground studs but on the soft ground cleats, there will be 6 studs in total who are strategically placed for maximum traction.
My top 2 recommendation list for soft ground cleats:
1.-Adidas Performance Men’s World Cup
With 6 replaceable studs in total and upper part made of kangaroo leather for durability, the Adidas Performance Men’s World Cup is the best option available for soft ground pitches.
2.- Nike Hypervenom Phantom 3 DF SG-PRO
With a great combination of leather and mesh, Nike has produced these Hypervenom Phantom 3 soft ground cleats for great comfort and traction on wet soccer pitches.
Lately, the popularity of turf is increasing mainly because of the little cost included for maintenance for a consistent surface throughout the whole year. In response to the popularity, companies have started producing turf soccer shoes/cleats to adjust the switch. Turf cleats have a very tiny studs who are spread out over the entire outsole or bottom of the cleats. Their main goal is to offer traction on the turf.
Here’s my top 3 recommendation list for you:
1.- Adidas Men’s Messi 16.3
If you want to move with untouchable speed and agility on turf Adidas Men’s Messi 16.3 Turf soccer shoe is the right choice for you.
2.- Adidas Men’s Ace Tango 17.3
These Adidas turf shoes are synthetically made with rubber outsole specifically designed for achieving total ball control on artificial turf.
3.- Nike Tiempo Rio III
The Nike Tiempo Rio III turf soccer shoes are made of synthetic leather that gives them smooth look, they are very breathable and comfortable and great for turf surfaces.
And we’ve reached the 3rd or the last decision you need to make before you can be sure what type of cleats would be the perfect fit for you. The last decision is based on the position you’ll be playing. Yes, position matters.
If you’re central forward or striker you’ll need lightweight cleats because you want to be able to make all changes of direction really fast with less effort used. Also, you’ll need cleats with clear strike zone ( clear vamp or the front upper part of the cleats) so that you can be more connected with the ball especially for shots on goal.
If you’re midfielder you’re the runner in the team going back and forth all the time so my only advice would be to wear the most comfortable cleats that you can afford with the best insoles or cushions inside the cleats.
If you’re defender you’ll need cleats with high-quality outsole because you’ll be in a lot of strong duels so you want your cleats to be able to deal with it, plus clear vamp upper part because sometimes you’ll want to get rid of the ball fast.