From the dazzling jogo bonito footwork on the backstreet turfs of Rio de Janeiro to enrapturing thousands of fans at Wembley, talent is a key component to the success of any soccer player. But sadly, talent isn’t enough to get you to the very top of the beautiful sport. A soccer player’s gear, more specifically cleats, also has an important impact on overall performance.
Soccer cleats are designed to improve a player’s overall performance, which includes making you kick better. Biomechanical research shows that the shoe design of soccer cleats can influence your kicking speed and improve your overall accuracy.
In this article, I’ll explain the importance of soccer cleats to you as a soccer player and why you should consider getting a pair regardless of your skill level. Let’s get started!
Do Soccer Cleats Make You Kick Better?
Soccer cleats can make you kick better. It isn’t just some shoe manufacturers’ claim to get you to make a purchase.
Biomechanical studies have explored this subject and found that there are indeed benefits to kicking a ball while wearing soccer cleats.
More importantly, specific designs of soccer cleats influence your kicking speed and accuracy, with some designs producing better results than others.
Over the years, soccer cleat designs have evolved significantly to boost player performance. Science has been used to inform designers’ and manufacturers’ decisions, and the evolution continues to this day.
For this reason, careful thought should be put into choosing which brand and model of soccer cleats you buy.
The variations in designs and silos could make a difference in your foot morphology and overall play style. A pair of soccer cleats best suited for your feet can help you kick faster and more accurately.
If your budget allows it, you should consider going for the more recent models, as these designs are influenced by the latest research and findings.
Do Kickers Wear Soccer Cleats?
American football players have often been spotted donning soccer cleats on the field of play instead of the footwear specifically designed for their sport.
Placekickers, or kickers, are among the football players who are often seen wearing soccer cleats. Players of other positions include punters, wide receivers, and cornerbacks.
Differences between soccer and football cleats make the former preferable to some American football players. For instance, soccer cleats are lighter and have more flexible ankle movement due to the low-cut design.
In the case of kickers, their specialized position entails kicking duties for field goals and extra points. It’s also interesting to note that they are known for their kicking style, and some are called “soccer-style” kickers.
This is because they apply the same kicking technique as in soccer, from approaching the ball to striking it with the instep.
A placekicker’s choice of soccer cleats is then reasonably practical as this footwear was specifically designed for a sport that mainly involves kicking a ball and one whose technique they emulate in their own sport.
Do Soccer Cleats Help You Play Better?
Soccer cleats can help you play better. A lot of biomechanical research has gone into designing this footwear to help players perform optimally on the field.
Scientists and designers have focused on creating shoes that improve a player’s performance in several key points, including speed and accuracy, without compromising comfort and stability.
The main benefit of using soccer cleats is usually attributed to player movement. The spikes on the outsole of this footwear provide traction that allows you to move on the field with ease, even during abrupt speed and directional changes.
Moreover, research on soccer cleats has also found that they influence their wearers’ kicking speed and accuracy.
With that in mind, soccer cleats are a must-have for anyone looking to take part in the sport and do well at it.
Do Soccer Cleats Make a Difference?
Soccer cleats make a discernible difference in the performance of a soccer player. Anyone who has played soccer on an outdoor field with regular rubber sole sneakers can attest to this.
The most noticeable advantage soccer cleats provide is better movement, thanks to the traction from the footwear’s underlying spikes. But that’s not all.
According to one study, soccer cleats can also:
- Increase speed by 3%
- Diffuse stress
- Reduce pressure peaks
- Improve stability
- Improve comfort
While some of these other advantages are not as readily observable, one thing is certain about soccer cleats. They do make a difference in a player’s performance!
Is It Easier To Play Soccer With Cleats?
It is easier to play soccer wearing cleats primarily because of the added traction provided by the studs that line the outsoles of this footwear.
Without these studs, your movement on the pitch would be affected when sprinting, running, and changing direction. To some degree, soccer cleats can also impact how you strike the ball.
These differences are more discernible when playing on uneven turf. You would relate to this even more if you enjoyed a kickabout on basically any patch of grass in your childhood or youth.
Soccer cleats give you a much-improved grip, and this couldn’t be better illustrated than when you sprinted for the ball as it rolled down that sloping end of the pitch. They gave you a clear advantage over your buddies who showed up in their flat, rubber sole sneakers.
Of course, the professional scene is an even playing field when it comes to footwear. Athletes have sponsorship deals with the leading manufacturers and are always sure to sport the finest cleats in training and on match day.
Skill and technique are at the forefront here. But anyone with doubts over what soccer cleats contribute to a player’s performance should think back to their grassroots days.
How Can I Make My Soccer Kicks Stronger?
It’s incredible how some strikes, especially goal kicks, can take the ball from one end of the field close to the other.
At times, it looks like the ability to do that comes naturally to others. But if you are having difficulty doing the same, there are some tips you can follow to generate more power in your strikes.
Get a Good Pair of Soccer Cleats
There should be no doubt about it at this point. There’s the science to back it up. Soccer cleats do improve a player’s overall performance. So, getting a good pair of cleats should be the place to start if you want to make your soccer kicks stronger.
Your footwear alone will make a difference in how you kick the ball, from how firmly your non-kicking foot is planted beside the ball to how well you strike it with your kicking foot.
Learn the Proper Technique
Kicking a ball can be a random action that doesn’t require much thought. But striking it correctly is a different story. There is a technique to it that you will need to learn.
- Approach the ball – Take short strides in your run-up towards the ball. Your strike will have more power and control this way.
- Position your other foot – Your non-kicking foot should be planted beside the ball, not behind it, as is often the mistake made.
- Bring your kicking leg backward – Once your non-kicking foot has been planted firmly beside the ball, draw your kicking leg backward. The farther back you bring it, the more power you will generate.
- Bring your kicking leg forward – Bring your kicking leg back forward and strike the ball with the knuckle of your big toe. Keep your eyes on the ball as you kick.
- Follow through on your shot – After your foot has made contact with the ball, let your leg follow through. That is to say that your kicking leg should swing fully through to expend all its momentum on the ball. This same leg is the one you should land on after taking the shot.
Dedicate Time to Extra Training
Once you’ve learned the proper technique for a more powerful shot, the next thing you need to do is practice.
Whether you are part of a team that trains regularly or a lone wolf on the training ground, you must dedicate extra time to practicing your shooting if at all you want to improve!
Free-kick specialists like Juninho, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Pirlo, and Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t hone their shooting skills by simply showing up for the team’s daily training and leaving when it was over. They had to spend extra minutes — even hours — practicing their kicks!
If you hope to develop even a fraction of their skill level, you will need to put in an effort and take the time to practice those strikes.
Follow a Specific Exercise Plan
Certain exercises can develop specific muscle groups in your legs that will help you kick stronger.
Here are some you can add to your workout program if you would like that extra power in your soccer kicks:
- Front Squats
- Sumo Deadlift Variations
- Split Squats (and Step-Ups)
- Low-Back Extensions
- Ab Wheel Rollouts
Soccer cleats are a vital part of any soccer player’s gear. Their form and function positively impact your overall performance on a pitch.
Whether it’s in their movement, speed, control, or the contact they make with the ball, soccer cleats can definitely take your game to the next level.
- PubMed: Current Soccer Footwear, Its Role in Injuries and Potential for Improvement
- Taylor & Francis Online: The influence of soccer shoe design on playing performance: a series of biomechanical studies
- Stack.com: 5 Exercises That Will Increase Your Soccer Shooting Power
- wikiHow: How to Kick a Soccer Ball Hard