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Common Questions About Soccer Cleats

Buying new soccer cleats can be a bit daunting for first-time buyers. There are multiple factors involved, and good cleats are not cheap. There are also numerous brands present in the market, which can further confuse buyers. Hence, it is essential to do the necessary homework before taking a plunge. In this guide, we answer all the common questions about soccer cleats that first-time buyers might have.

Furthermore, if you already own cleats, you would find a lot of helpful information on how you can extend their lives. We suggest that you check out our article on the history of soccer cleats.

What Do Soccer Cleats Look Like?

Modern soccer cleats look like any other shoes, but they have pointed spikes at their bottom. These spikes are called studs (or cleats), and they are present to provide grip on the playing ground. Most professional soccer is played on outdoor grass pitches, so it becomes imperative for players to maintain their grip while running. These studs can be made of plastic or metal. Furthermore, these studs can be permanently attached, or in some cases, they are detachable.

Some forms of soccer are also played on indoor hard surfaces. Thus, indoor soccer cleats might not even have studs on their soles.

What Is The Difference Between Soccer Cleats And Football Cleats?

At first glance, soccer cleats and football cleats might look the same. However, there are minor but crucial differences between the two. And for this reason, one kind of cleats can’t be used for another sport. The significant difference is that football cleats have a toe spike at their soles while soccer cleats don’t. A toe stud is essential for football players as it helps them maintain their grip while blocking or pushing against a tackler.

Soccer cleats don’t have a toe spike because it interferes with players’ ability to kick the balls. Furthermore, soccer cleats are mostly low-cut, whereas football cleats also come in mid-rise and high-top designs.

Why Do Soccer Players Wear Cleats?

The official rulebook of the FA, the governing body of soccer in England, only specifies ‘footwear’ as a requirement and doesn’t mention anything about cleats. However, soccer is a fast-paced sport that involves a lot of physical contact. Furthermore, players often must run and turn at full speed. Hence, soccer cleats are a necessity for soccer players to maintain traction on soft grass pitches. Soccer Cleats become even more critical when the pitch is wet or slippery. Thus, players wear cleats on grass pitches to avoid slipping up and any possible injuries.

What Are Molded Soccer Cleats?

Molded soccer cleats, or firm-ground cleats, are classic soccer footwear. These cleats are most commonly used as they are suitable for most natural grass pitches. Their soles consist of non-removable studs which are either bladed or conical in shape. These studs are usually made of polyurethane or thermoplastic urethane. For soft ground (muddy pitches), players prefer cleats with metal tips, which provide more traction. Molded cleats might also not be suitable for playing on artificial grass pitches. Most popular soccer cleats such as Adidas Predator belong to this category.

What Are Laceless Soccer Cleats?

As the name suggests, these cleats don’t have laces, and they have been a product of technological advancement in soccer cleats since the turn of the century. Laceless cleats provide players a clean strike zone on cleats and, thus, more control on the ball. The first laceless cleats were Lotto Zhero Gravity, which was launched in 2006. Recently, Adidas has dominated the laceless cleats market, and Predator, Adidas X, and Nemeziz are some of the most popular cleats in this market. However, laceless cleats have also attracted criticism and have been called a gimmick because they are not always a perfect fit on foot. Without laces, they fail to provide a locked-in fit to wearers.

Who Invented The Predator Soccer Boot?

Adidas Predators were launched in 1994, and they went on to become one of the most famous soccer cleats. Former Liverpool player Craig Johnston was responsible for developing these cleats. After retiring from soccer, Johnston moved to Australia to take care of his sister. While working with school kids in his native country, he started working on a new soccer cleat. These cleats would have rubber strips on top of their soles to increase friction between the surface and the ball. Thus, these cleats allowed players more control over their shots. Johnston eventually sold his design to Adidas for a 2% share of all future sales.

How To Choose Soccer Cleats?

Several factors determine the choice of soccer cleats, such as playing position, playing surface, etc. Forward players often depend on their pace; hence they prefer lightweight cleats, or speed cleats, to aid their movement. Midfielders rely on their close control and first touch. Thus, midfield players prefer cleats with extra padding to provide a better touch on the ball. Defenders tend to switch between both types depending on their style of play.
There are multiple options based on the playing surface: firm ground cleats, soft ground cleats, artificial turf shoes, and indoor shoes.

How Should Soccer Cleats Fit?

A soccer cleat should fit tight on foot and should not allow too much room for toes. If you are used to wearing size 9 in casual shoes, then a size 8.5 is ideally your perfect soccer cleat size. A cleat too big can negatively impact a player’s ability to control and hit the ball. It can influence players’ movement and sometimes cause injuries. Ideally, it should fit perfectly on the end of your toes and not have a gap larger than ¼ inches between toes and surface.
Furthermore, players should also take into account the arch and width of their feet.

How To Break In Soccer Cleats?

Newly purchased soccer cleats can be a bit tricky to break in. The first step is to identify a perfect size of cleats for yourself. Then try them on without tying their laces. Next, take a walk, with laces open, to see if they feel comfortable. The next step is to tie up laces and check if cleats still feel comfortable on their feet. New cleats should be put to the test in training first rather than a game. If cleats feel comfortable in training sessions, they can be used in actual games. If there is discomfort, players need to loosen the upper. This can be done using a shoehorn or rolled-up paper.

In the case of leather cleats, they can be put in warm water. This loosens the stitching and softens the leather.

How To Stretch Soccer Cleats?

There are multiple ways to stretch your cleats. You can wear multiple socks underneath and walk around your house. As we stated before, warm water can also be used to extend leather cleats. Players can also try alternative lacing techniques to allow some room for their feet. Players can also use shoe-stretchers to stretch their cleats. Another method is to place water-filled plastic bags insides cleats and then place them inside a freezer. As water freezes, it will stretch out the cleats. Players can also put a tennis ball, or rolled-up paper, inside cleats to stretch their uppers. Bending soccer cleats with hands also stretches them.

How To Tie Soccer Cleats?

There are multiple ways to tie your soccer cleats. The standard lacing technique is the most common among players. This works just like you would tie the laces of your casual shoes. A popular technique to tie soccer cleats is the Top Lock Loop. This lacing technique is used for a tight feel, keeps your heel in place, and prevents slippage.

Another common way to tie soccer cleats is Forward Foot Lock Lacing. This is similar to Top Lock Loop Lacing, but it involves locking laces in the middle rather than at the top. This technique helps in keeping cleats tight around feet throughout the game

How Tight Should Soccer Cleats Be?

Buying a perfect size of soccer cleats can be a bit tricky. Soccer Cleats can’t be too tight or too loose. The general wisdom says that your soccer cleats should be half a size smaller than you usually wear. In other words, cleats should feel snug on your feet. On the other hand, if your toes are touching the shoes, they are likely too small. This guide indicates that the ideal gap between the end of your toes and cleats is a ¼ inch.

Players should also remember that the shape of their feet also matters. For example, if your feet are wide, you should look for a brand that is more suited to your feet’ shape.

How To Clean Soccer Cleats?

We have previously advised soaking shoes in warm water to loosen them. However, this should be avoided for repeated cleaning as it could damage the cleats. We also strongly advise against putting your cleats in a washer or a dryer. The ideal way is to use cool soapy water and scrub your shoes with a soft brush. When the shoes are clean, dry them properly using a towel. To dry the insides, stuff your cleats with newspaper and leave them overnight.

If your cleats are made of natural leather, you could also polish them using a leather conditioner. It will enhance the life of your cleats.

How To Stop Soccer Cleats Smelling?

If soccer cleats are not cleaned regularly and kept in an enclosed space, they will smell. If not paid attention, this smell can turn into a horrible stench. Hence, we suggest you clean your cleats regularly and dry them in the open air, preferably not under direct sunlight. After a game, it is best to stuff the cleats with paper and leave them in the open air overnight.

Furthermore, there are a few products in the market that can be used to remove the smell from your cleats. Lysol is an effective product, and there are also new products like Skunkies and Glove Stix Odor Reducer.

How To Dry Soccer Cleats?

Drying your soccer cleats is a relatively simple process, but it can damage your cleats if not done correctly. To dry your cleats, first, remove their laces and insoles. Then stuff them stretched-out balls of newspapers, so the entire inner surface is in contact with the paper. Leave them like this in the open air or under a fan overnight. This should get the job done.

Direct heat can damage your cleats, and it is never advisable to use a drying machine or a hairdryer to dry your cleats.

tips when buying soccer cleats


Have you ever wondered when soccer started and what soccer cleats used to look like? Make sure to check out our cornerstone article on the history of soccer.

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