Soccer shoes (cleats) are a game essential. If you understand the makeup of a soccer shoe, you can better select the right footwear for your position and playing field. Your shoes are supposed to support your speed and agility, so consider the following when shopping for your next pair of cleats:
The Anatomy of a soccer shoe
The “upper” of a soccer shoe speaks of everything that is above the insole (midsole). Soccer shoes come in two basic upper materials: leather and synthetic. Whichever material the upper is made of determines the price, performance and weight of a soccer shoe.
Natural leather is made from animal hides, and is known for softness, excellent ball touch and ability to conform to the foot. Kangaroo leather is preferred by professional players, and is an extremely light and soft material, but it is not waterproof or as durable as calfskin and cowhide leather. Kangaroo leathers will generally stretch after a few uses. Calfskin leather offers an ideal blend of softness, thinness and durability. It is water-resistant and maintains its shape better, but is a bit heavier than kangaroo leather. Full-grain leather is usually thicker and tougher than calfskin and kangaroo, making it heavier. It is a water-resistant and durable material, and conforms to the foot for a fit.
Natural leathers tend to absorb water more than synthetic leather, making it heavier and harder to clean. Natural leathers are not recommended for consistent use on wet fields.
Synthetic leather is a man-made material, and is almost always lighter than natural leather, but it doesn’t offer the same comfortable fit as leathers. If choosing a synthetic, watch out for cheap and heavy material, and make sure that the synthetic is breathable.
Other parts of a soccer shoe
The OUTSOLE is the bottom of the shoe (everything below the insole/midsole).
The INSOLE is the cushioning built into the shoe, and can either be removable or attached.
The HEEL COUNTER AND CUSHIONING is the back portion of the shoe that offers heel support.
The VAMP is the front portion of the upper. This part is also known as the strike zone – where the boot makes contact with the ball. Usually the vamp is stitched or has added technologies to enhance shot power and ball control.
The LAST is the three-dimensional foot model on which a shoe is constructed. It gives shoes their size and shape. If you have a shoe with a “Wide last”, it means the shoe is made for wide feet.
The “studs (cleats)” are the blades or cones on the bottom of many (not all) soccer shoes. They improve traction, and can be fixed or detachable.
There are three main types of studs: bladed, hard ground and round/conical. These apply to different playing fields. Studs may be made of plastic or rubber, or they may be metal-tipped. Metal tips are not allowed in all leagues.
Bladed studs offer greater traction and speed, while conical studs offer a quicker release and greater stability. The conical studs offer more points of contact with the field, which means better stability and less risk of injury.
Soccer shoes with exchangeable and removable studs can be customized for playing conditions and fields.
The studs on soccer shoes are usually evenly spaced across the bottom of the shoe and spaced further apart than some other types of cleats. This spacing prevents dirt and grass from becoming trapped between the studs and allows the foot to grip the ground without slowing the player down. Cleats provide the traction as a player runs. Indoor soccer shoes have textured rubber soles, though.
Different playing fields
Different playing fields offer different challenges. The right pair of soccer shoes will provide the grip and balance you need on specific surfaces.
If you are playing on a hard and firm surface, you should use studded, firm ground shoes that make you feel comfortable. Soccer shoes created for soft ground play have longer studs for added traction on wet, muddy fields, and are usually have a smaller number of cleats. Artificial grass shoes are pretty similar to firm ground cleats, but have a lot more studs that are shorter for better support. The studs on an artificial grass or hard ground soccer shoe are usually rubber and designed to be extremely durable. Turf soccer shoes usually have an extremely durable, rubber outsole, and are slightly elevated at the bottom. Artificial turf shoes have small rubber studs or patterns on the outsole to improve traction on hard, natural fields and artificial turf. Turf shoes can be used for soccer training, or as a back-up pair of shoes for play on hard surfaces. Indoor soccer shoes usually have gum rubber flat outsoles. They can also be used as leisure and street wear. Indoor soccer shoes have a lower profile fit and look like a lightweight sneaker.
The position that you play also greatly influences the decision you have to make concerning the soccer shoes you will purchase. A striker needs lightweight shoes (140-230g); a midfielder needs shoes with cushioned pads, insoles and midsoles to accommodate the amount of running he has to do; a defender needs shoes with strong outsoles to withstand the kicks from attackers; and a goalkeeper needs shoes that enable quick traction.
Proper maintenance can lengthen the lifetime of your soccer shoes.
After each game, clean out the dirt and debris from between the cleats/studs, and wipe off the upper of the shoe. Put them in a place where they can properly dry out (not in direct sunlight).
Because of the great stress soccer cleats are under during a game, the average cleat will last one season.
Soccer shoes should be a snug fit, especially when kangaroo uppers are chosen (because they stretch after use). Soccer cleats should fit as close to the end of the foot as possible, without touching the toes. A 0.5cm–1.5cm gap is ideal.
Women’s sizing is smaller by a size to a size-and-a-half (designed on a narrower last). For example, if you wear a women’s size 8, you would wear a men’s 6.5. Youth or junior sizes are simply smaller men’s sizes (sizes 1-6).
It’s imperative that your shoes fit properly and are comfortable while you play. Shoes that are too large can cause painful blisters, and shoes that are too small can squeeze your toes. Put on thick soccer socks before you try on shoes to make sure you get the best fit. The leather upper should be tight enough to provide support for your foot and keep your foot from moving inside the shoe, but it shouldn’t be so tight that it’s constricting or tight around your toes.
At Arons Sports we offer a wide range of soccer shoes, and you are sure to find the right pair for you. Our stock includes
Puma Speedframe Soccer Boots – EvoSpeed 1.4
The super light Puma evoSPEED SL Men’s Football Boots. are a superb choice for fierce competitors with fast feet. The evoSPEED SL minimizes weight and maximises speed with an ultra-thin synthetic leather upper. The sleek, low-profile, design sits on minimalistic SPEEDFRAME designed to deliver high speed stability and balanced agility to swift sprinting feet; while a combination conical/bladed stud pattern ensures essential field grip.
- Puma engineered for lightweight speed
- Ultra-thin synthetic leather upper reduces weight and amplifies speed
- Traditional lace up front ensures a secure and supportive fit
- Extra pair of removable insoles offer additional cushioning and support
- SPEEDTRACK spine provides side to side stability
- Innovative Puma SPEEDFRAME structure promotes stable acceleration and balanced agile mobility
- Durable dual density nylon outsole with combination conical/bladed stud pattern ensures excellent traction for swift multi-directional movement
- Weight: 100g (size 9)
Puma EvoSpeed 1.3
Adidas World Cup FG Mens Soccer Boots
The Adidas World Cup FG Mens Football Boots have been a popular choice for professional football players for over 20 years. This boot in particular comes made from a K-leather upper, which adds to the durability of the boot whilst also offering a lightweight feel and a glove-like fit.
The EVA insole offers much needed comfort, whilst the soft synthetic lining is not only comfortable but quick-drying too. The TPU plate provides you with lightweight performance and durability, and finally the screw-in studs offer much-needed grip for use on Firm Ground surfaces. Finished off with Adidas branding to the sides, heel and tongue for a trademark look.
The Mens adidas World Cup SG Football Boots have a classic design and feature a lightweight upper leather that allows greater feel of the ball. These Adidas Football Boots have a formed heel unit for a more secure fit and also feature removable studs for use on soft ground
- Mens football boots
- Shaped ankle
- Lightweight Kangaroo leather
- Formed heel
- Removable studs for use on soft ground
- Adidas 3 stripes
- Leather upper, Synthetic/Textile inner, Synthetic sole
Nike Mercurial Veloce III DF CR7 AG-Pro Soccer Boot
Nike Mercurial Vortex III CR7 Kids’ Astro Boot
The Nike Mercurial Vortex II Astro Boot has a textured upper for exceptional ball control. Perfect for footballers of all levels, with rubber studs that enhance multidirectional traction on turf surfaces.
- Soft, supple synthetic leather upper
- Lacing system for a secure fit
- Internal cage provides a locked-down fit
- Unique texture on the upper
- Large Nike Swoosh on forefoot
- Treading on rubber outsole is tuned for turf surfaces
- Moulded rubber outsole perfect for artificial surfaces
- Upper: Synthetic
- Inner: Textile
- Outer: Synthetic