Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Soccer Cleats for You

The beginning of soccer season is an exciting time for all players, young and old. The first thing that needs to be lined up for the coming months is the perfect footwear.

When you shop for soccer cleats, you ought to look for a comfortable, lightweight pair that will complement your skills. Many top-rated sports companies offer soccer cleat models for all types of foot and field.

The following article answers your pressing questions about your shoe hunt and gives helpful tips and tricks for successful cleat shopping. 

Do I Need Soccer Cleats?

soccer cleats
Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats are required for soccer games regardless of a player’s age. Proper soccer cleats ensure the safety and mobility of you and the other players and are necessary for competition.

In any official game, the referee will check each team’s cleats to make sure they meet regulations. They will often have the teams line up and show the bottoms of their feet while tapping their tow on the ground. This inspection will prove to the referee that the cleat spikes are regulation size and that the shoe fits well.

Cleats from other sports are not permitted in soccer because of their toe spikes or sharper foot studs. Any cleat with toe spikes could endanger other players or pop the soccer ball, which is why soccer cleats never have them. 

The rubber or short metal spikes of soccer cleats are designed explicitly for a low-contact game where a person’s feet could be dangerous to goalies or other players. Coaches and referees closely monitor soccer cleats for the safety of all players.

What Are the Key Things To Look For When Buying Soccer Cleats?

Synthetic Soccer Cleats
Synthetic Soccer Cleats

Everyone wants to buy a good soccer cleat, but not everyone knows what a good soccer cleat contains. This section seeks to inform or remind you of the critical components of a quality cleat!

The most important factors to look for when buying a soccer cleat are good foot support, a comfortable feel, durable materials, and ball control capabilities. Without these elements, your shoe will not stand the test of the game.

We address each of these essentials in more detail in the paragraphs below. No matter how accustomed you are to soccer cleat features, these tips are informative and helpful to your search!

  • Good foot support. Without good foot support, you will have a higher risk of injury during the game. If possible, test the arch height of every cleat you consider. A soccer cleat should meld slightly to your foot, but it should not bend or collapse at key pressure points.
  • Comfortable feel. You will not be able to play your best if your feet feel pinched or wobbly. If an excellent brand or style does not feel comfortable to you, do not choose it. A good soccer cleat should be pleasantly tight without crushing your foot or impeding your ability to run.
  • The durability of materials. Expensive soccer cleats are often made of better materials, such as genuine leather instead of synthetic leather. Cheap soccer cleats will break down more quickly and can cause damage to your foot or your playing ability. If the cleat has an especially plastic-y feel, you may want to keep looking.
  • Ball control. If your shoe does not allow you to feel the touch of the soccer ball and guide it where you want it to go, it is failing as a soccer cleat. A slightly textured outer layer will prevent the ball from slipping away from your foot at crucial moments, but a completely smooth outer surface will minimize shooting inaccuracies. Consider these things while making your purchase and try to find a happy medium.

What Does FG and MG Mean in Soccer Cleats?

In the soccer cleat world, FG stands for Firm Ground, and MG stands for Multi-Ground. FG cleats work best in natural grass fields, and MG cleats work in natural grass or artificial turf. 

An FG soccer cleat is what you think of as a basic soccer cleat. They have rubber stud spikes and are perfect for outdoor games. There are also SG or Soft Ground cleats that are made for muddy grass and have short, removable metal-tipped tips; however, these cleats have fallen out of everyday use since the invention of MG cleats. 

MG soccer cleats are becoming more and more popular as fields change and players switch from outdoor to indoor play. These MG cleats have slightly rounder studs that work on artificial terrain or grass and are suitable for players who practice or play on a variety of fields.

If you know that you will be playing on both turf and grass, it may be best to buy MG-grade soccer cleats. FG soccer cleats will not work as well in indoor fields and may cause you to slip and injure yourself. But if you only foresee yourself playing outdoors, there is no real need for MG cleats.

Why Are Soccer Cleats Called Boots?

Soccer cleats are called football boots in most countries besides the United States. The term originates from the first ever soccer players who used their own work boots on the field until the first official soccer shoe debuted in 1891. 

Even after 1891, soccer shoes did not become standardized until after World War II. The boots became lighter and lower around the ankle to improve mobility. For a broader history of the soccer cleat, you can visit’s shoe evolution page.

Do Good Soccer Cleats Matter?

Good Soccer Cleats
Good Soccer Cleats

Good soccer cleats matter immensely. High-quality soccer cleats can help prevent foot and ankle injuries and heighten the performance of the player. Poorly-made soccer cleats will not last long in competition and could hurt the foot long-term.

Below is our discussion of some of the benefits and downfalls of good soccer cleats.

  • Benefits of good soccer cleats: Soccer cleats are an essential piece of sports equipment a soccer player will own. Agility and speed are necessary during a game; a stiff or weak pair of cleats will hinder a player’s ability on the field. Moreover, soccer cleats are worn for over ninety minutes of on-and-off action. Your feet will pay the price if you buy a poorly-made cleat.
  • Downfalls of good soccer cleats: The downfalls of good soccer cleats are minimal but worth consideration: they are expensive. The soccer cleats worn by professionals can cost up to $300.00, well out of the range of most mildly-competitive players. 
  • A good compromise: New model, top-of-the-line soccer cleats are not necessary in most cases. Good, sturdy cleats can come from a lot of different places, and the most expensive styles are not your only option. It is important not to buy the cheapest cleat you can find, but you do not need the most costly either.

Try to find a cleat with good reviews and quality materials. If you buy online, make sure the company offers free returns. Older models will cost less than newer ones, and though they will not use the most recent technology, they will still serve you well on the field.

Do Soccer Cleats Run Small?

Do Soccer Cleats Run Small
Do Soccer Cleats Run Small

Soccer cleat sizes often run small because they are meant to fit the foot snugly. Unlike ordinary footwear, loose soccer cleats inhibit a player’s ability to control the ball and put them at greater risk of a foot injury.

It is best to be open-minded about sizing while searching for the perfect soccer cleat. Depending on your comfort level, you may need to go up or down a half size. There are a lot of benefits to a tight cleat, but you do not want to be discontent with your cleat size or fit.

The “wiggle room” you are used to looking for in a tennis shoe is not essential in a soccer cleat. The cleat is a good fit as long as there is room enough for you to move your toes and perhaps pinch the tip of the shoe without touching your toes. Do not go out of your way to find a cleat you can “grow into.” 

Do Nike Soccer Cleats Run Small?

Nike Soccer Cleats
Nike Soccer Cleats

Nike soccer cleats run a little small but are not the tightest cleats you will find. There are several styles and fits of Nike cleats as well, so some models will be bigger than others. 

You should be able to comfortably wear your regular tennis shoe size of Nike soccer cleat. Though the cleats will feel much tighter on your foot, it is by design and for the best. Remember that if a shoe feels too close around the body of your foot when you first try it on, you can loosen and re-tie the laces to make it more comfortable.

Do Adidas Soccer Cleats Run Small?

Adidas soccer cleats tend to be wider than other brands, making them more true-to-size. The extra width is good for people who do not like their feet pinched but can be unsuitable for some foot sizes and shapes. 

Depending on your foot shape, you may have to go a half-size down if you are shopping for Adidas soccer cleat models. Adidas cleats are good for people whose feet are a little wider or who have a lower foot arch. 

Do Nike and Adidas Soccer Cleats Fit the Same?

Nike cleats tend to run smaller than Adidas cleats. Adidas cleats are often broader in the sole and arch, while Nike cleats are more close-fitting in the body and slightly roomier in the toe.

If you have a longer foot, Nike cleats will, generally speaking, probably serve you better than Adidas. However, it is best to try out different models of both brands to see how they feel. Do not get discouraged if one brand does not work for you because the other likely will!

Nike and Adidas are both excellent sports companies. In all side-by-side lineups, Nike and Adidas soccer cleats perform the same; the size and shape differences between the two will not substantially affect your game. Both brands produce excellent shoes that will serve you well during competition.

Do Soccer Cleats Need To Be Tight?

Tight Soccer Cleats
Tight Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats should be tight against your foot. Oftentimes, professional soccer players will intentionally go down half a shoe size when buying soccer cleats. Smaller sizes keep the foot safe from contact injuries and give players better control of the ball.

People often say that soccer cleats should have a “second-skin” feel. Your cleat should feel like part of your foot, and it should only ever enhance the way you play by fading into the background. We will go through some of the dangers of loose cleats in the list below.

  • Less foot support. A loose soccer cleat enables your foot to slide around inside of it, increasing the risk of injury and counteracting the shoe’s built-in supports. You will end up putting more stress on parts of the shoe that were not meant for it, such as the heel and toe. This stress will wear out the shoes faster and make them even less suitable for competition.
  • Less control of the ball. A tight cleat will let you feel the ball against your foot almost as you would against your skin. A loose cleat will decrease your ability to control the ball because of the distance between your foot and the side of your shoe. You will not be able to kick the ball as hard or with as much accuracy as you usually would. 
  • Increased chance of foot injury. A loose shoe will not adequately protect your arches and ankles. You will be less sure of your footing and have a higher chance of slipping while you sprint or make sharp turns. Slipping can cause painful ankle sprains that will not heal quickly– not something you want to invite into your life by wearing loose shoes.

Will Soccer Cleats Stretch?

All soccer cleats go through a breaking-in period. Ideally, the cleat will loosen up and mold itself to your foot over time without losing its shape or support-giving features. 

Like all shoes, soccer cleats may be uncomfortable the first few times you wear them. If they feel especially tight at first, it is good to loosen the laces. Loosening the laces will let the shoe stretch more gradually and accurately.

Make sure you buy them well before an important game so that you have time to break them in before the competition. Blistered heels and a critical game are not a good combination!

Should I Go Half a Size Up for Soccer Cleats?

You should avoid sizing up your soccer cleat when you can. Whatever size of shoe you usually wear, you will want your soccer cleats to feel tighter. It is better for a cleat to be too tight at first and stretch later than for it to be too loose.

Since soccer cleats tend to loosen up after a few days’ wear and tear, you will not want to buy a pair that does not fit snugly from the start. However, depending on the shape of your foot, you may not feel comfortable in a cleat the same size as your tennis shoe.

If you are not having success buying specific models of soccer cleats, try other brands or styles. Not every cleat from the same manufacturer will fit the same, so seek out a variety. As long as your foot is not sliding around in your shoe, you are safe!

What To Do if Soccer Cleats Are Too Big

Big Soccer Cleats
Big Soccer Cleats

If your shoes are too big, you can change the lacing, add padding to the shoe or your foot, or simply return the shoes. Cleats that do not fit your foot will lead to stress and sprains, so it is best to take prompt action.

We discuss each of the best options in further detail below. 

  • Change the lacing. A simple way to tighten your soccer cleats is to re-lace them as taut as possible. Unlace the cleats completely and then re-lace them with each side of the string going through both eyelets. This double-lacing will allow you to pull the cleats tighter without breaking the laces.
  • Use padded insoles. Padded insoles will not only make the inside of your shoe smaller, but they will also provide extra support and comfort for your arch. If you do not want an entire second insole, you can also use a toe protector or padding around your heels.
  • Wear two pairs of socks. Doubling up on socks will help fill the extra space in your soccer cleats. Make sure that the two pairs make the shoe fit snugly. If they do not, your foot may slide around in the shoe, causing more harm than good.
  • Tape up your ankles. More and more soccer players are taping up their ankles before a game. Taping your ankles provides more stability for your legs and will also make your shoes fit better. Ankle braces are also suitable and much easier to use.
  • Return the shoes. Despite our best efforts, we sometimes end up with soccer cleats that are just too big. If none of the above options appeal to you, the best alternative is to return the shoe and try to trade it in for a smaller size. Keep this in mind, especially as you buy shoes online, and try to find choices with free returns. 

Soccer Cleat Size vs. Shoe Size

Soccer cleats are known to run tight because of the nature of the game. However, depending on the brand, you ought to be able to wear the same size soccer cleat that you wear for tennis shoes.

A lot of pressure and stress is put on the feet of a soccer player, and tighter shoes help bind the foot and give it the extra support and protection it needs. It is far better to have a cleat feel too close than too loose, especially in the beginning. Because the shoe’s materials will relax over time, a loose cleat will only become looser.

How Many Pairs of Soccer Cleats Should I Have?

If you play soccer often, it is good to have two pairs of cleats. If you play on a variety of terrains, a pair of FG and a pair of MG cleats will help you play well, no matter the field or conditions. 

You can decide for yourself whether you want to buy two newer models or have one “nicer” pair and one fallback pair. You will be good to go if you have shoes that will work in several different scenarios.

Do Goalkeepers Wear Different Cleats?

Good Soccer Goalie

Goalkeepers wear the same soccer cleats as the other players. However, they may pay more attention to how the cleats feel while stationary than their team members. 

Goalies have plenty of running in the game, but they also have to stand attentively for some minutes. If a goalie’s cleats are uncomfortable to stand in, he will not have a happy game. Below, we discuss the two favorite cleats of goalkeepers.

  • Nike Tiempo Legend. The Nike Tiempo Legend is renowned for its comfortable fit and textured exterior. It is excellent for gripping and controlling the ball for better passing accuracy and is incredibly nice to stand in for long periods. They come in both men’s and women’s varieties and several different color combos.
  • Adidas Men’s Copa Gloro. The Copa Gloro is made from a combination of leather and synthetic material for maximum durability and comfort. Everything about these cleats is geared toward cushioning your foot as you run or stand in place. Copa variations come in unisex or men’s and are remarkably true-to-size.

Do Strikers Wear Different Cleats?

Strikers tend to choose lightweight cleat options to improve their speed. It is up to the player what kind of laces they want. Some strikers prefer the laces to be somewhat towards the outside of the foot for better shooting accuracy, but it is not necessary.

Whatever a forward’s strategy is, maneuverability is vital. The lighter and smoother the cleat is, the better the chance of controlling the ball and scoring. A fold-over tongue may also be helpful food leveling out the bumps of the laces, though it could also get in the way of aiming.

That said, there are no significant differences between types of soccer cleats, such that strikers or defenders only wear specific models. Any shoe can work for any position as long as they are comfortable for the player. 

Do You Wear Socks With Soccer Cleats?

Socks For Soccer
Socks For Soccer

It is best to wear mid-calf or knee-high socks with soccer cleats. These socks prevent blisters and prevent your skin from chafing against the inside of a synthetic shoe. 

Never wear ankle-height socks with your cleats. The low-cut socks will not protect your Achilles tendon from the shoe, and they may slip down under your heel and wreck your concentration.

Unique soccer socks are sold at many sporting goods stores and on Amazon. Soccer socks will be tall and stretchy enough to cover the mandatory shin guards and light enough that your feet and legs will not get uncomfortably hot.

Will Nike Replace Soccer Cleats?

According to the Nike Help website, Nike replaces all shoes with a proven manufacturing flaw up to two years after the manufacturing date. Full refunds are always available for defective items within 60 days of purchase.

You will need to go to the exact Nike or other retail stores where you bought the shoe to claim your refund. Online purchases and shoe exchanges must be made over the phone with a Nike representative. 

If you are unsure whether your soccer cleats meet the criteria for replacement or refund, try for it anyway. You have nothing to lose by calling customer service and explaining the problem. Nike is proud of its shoes and service and is more motivated to help you than you think.

Why Are Soccer Cleats So Ugly?

Bright colors and flashy designs are all the rage in the sports industry because neon tones are commonly associated with youth, new technology, and speed. The more brilliant and weirder the colors, the more high-tech the shoe appears.

Luckily, you can use this to your advantage while buying soccer cleats. If the shoe is comfortable but made in colors that trended two years ago and are now considered ugly, you will likely pay less for them. 

How a shoe feels is far more critical than how it looks. If you can bite the bullet and purchase a shoe that feels great but looks awful, your wallet might just thank you!

Do Soccer Cleats Make You Taller?

The short, rubber spikes on the soles of soccer cleats will make you marginally taller, but not by more than regular tennis shoes would. Since soccer is played on grass or artificial turf, the height difference is negligible. 

All shoes but the flattest sandals will give you a few more centimeters of height, but it is nothing to cause either celebration or concern. If you want to be taller in your soccer cleats, try using padded insoles. 


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