Can Soccer Cleats Be Used for Track – The Answer May Surprise You!

If you compete in more than one sport, you are probably hoping to save money on cleats by mixing and matching. If you’re a soccer player and a track runner, you may find yourself wondering – can you use soccer cleats on the track?

Soccer cleats cannot be used for track running. The spikes on soccer cleats are shorter and less rigid than those on track cleats and are not fit to grip the synthetic running track.

In the rest of this article, we will delve into the reasons why soccer cleats and track cleats are, unfortunately, not interchangeable. 

Can Soccer Cleats Be Used for Track?

soccer cleats
Soccer Cleats

Track runners should not use Soccer cleats. Track runners should invest in proper track cleats with longer spikes that dig into the ground without sliding. 

Using soccer cleats for the track would compromise your ability to run quickly and safely.

Even if you are a distance runner for the track, you should stay away from using soccer cleats during competition and practice. There is a much higher chance of slipping and sustaining injuries on the track when you are wearing improper foot gear. 

Are Soccer Cleats and Track Cleats the Same?

Different Cleats
Different Cleats

Soccer cleats and track cleats are not the same. Soccer cleats are made for a sport played on grass or turf, while track cleats are meant to propel a runner forward on a grassless track.

All sports have their own set of cleats designed for the sport’s specific needs. While soccer cleats are sometimes used for other sports with grass or turf involved (such as football or baseball), track sports are a different matter. 

Because many track courses are made of a unique, synthetic rubber substance, cleats from other sports will not help you run on them. You could even scuff and damage your soccer cleats by wearing them on a track course.

Differences Between Soccer Cleats and Track Cleats

Types of Soccer Cleats
Types of Soccer Cleats

Track runners have needs that soccer players do not, and vice versa. This is why soccer cleats and track cleats are designed very differently.

Here are 3 of the main differences between soccer cleats and track cleats:

  • Soccer cleat spikes are shorter and stubbier.
  • Track cleats have more spikes in the front.
  • Track cleats offer little foot support.

We’ll dive into each of these differences in more detail below.

Soccer Cleat Spikes Are Shorter and Stubbier

The goal of soccer cleats is to give the players more traction on the field without compromising their ability to slide tackle their opponents or fake injury. These things cannot be done with the sharper, sturdier spikes on track cleats.

Soccer players need speed and mobility – something that is not as necessary for track runners. Track cleats are made to grip the course and prevent a runner’s foot from slipping, which is not something every soccer player wants.

Another critical reason soccer cleats have more knobby spikes is so that the players do not weaponize the bottoms of their feet. Goalies often bend down close to the ground, and players often jump in the air for better shots – if they had heavy-duty spikes on their feet, it could cause severe injuries to other players. 

Track Cleats Have More Spikes in the Front

The front half of a track cleat contains most of the shoe’s spikes. This is because a track runner needs to start a race strong with a good push-off. Soccer cleats, on the other hand, have spikes all over the bottom of the foot.

Soccer cleats will not give you the same starting traction as track cleats because they were not made that way. Soccer players do not want their feet to be embedded in the ground such that they can not maneuver the ball. Likewise, track runners do not want to slip right at the start of a race.

Track Cleats Offer Little Foot Support

Track cleats are not meant to be worn for a long period of time. They are intended to ensure that runners and jumpers perform as well as they can for a short time. Therefore, they do not often offer the long-term foot support that other cleats do.

The whole bottom front of track cleats is often made of solid plastic to support the spikes and help the runner stay on their toes. While this design is perfect for short-distance sprints, they are painful and useless for long-distance running.

Soccer cleats, however, are made to be worn non-stop for an entire game, which can be upwards of ninety minutes. These cleats must be comfier and with better support; otherwise, no player would be able to endure the game’s length.

Can You Wear Soccer Cleats for Running?

Soccer Cleats For Turf
Soccer Cleats For Turf

Soccer cleats should not be worn on pavement, gravel, or running tracks. Soccer cleats are intended for grass or turf and are not suited for other types of ground. 

If you plan to sprint on a track for practice or competition, you ought to wear your track cleats.

Soccer cleats will not offer a sprinter or distance runner the same benefits they provide soccer players. You will not be faster, and your feet will not be able to grip the track. You may even experience pain in your feet since they are supported by stubby spikes meant to go in the grass.

Track cleats are designed with a completely different intent than other sporting cleats. The spikes are sharper and less mobile than those on other shoes. It is better to wear tennis shoes for the track than any other cleat not explicitly made for the track. 

Final Thoughts

Though it is disappointing to hear that your soccer cleats cannot double as track cleats, it is for the best. Soccer cleats are relatively easy to come across in used sporting goods stores and can last for decades if you take care of them and use them correctly.

Do not let your lack of track cleats keep you from trying track. The skills and stamina you gain from the track will help you in soccer, and track shoes are not usually necessary. Whatever shoes you decide to run in, make sure they are up for the task!


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