Soccer cleats are designed to support a lot of running (up to 6 miles in one game) and help you dig in with every step. We kick up our heels and test some cleats on the field.
The upper (boot) is typically leather or a synthetic material. Leather costs more but molds to fit your foot. Unless you’re a serious player, however, synthetic uppers should do the job.
For cleats, plastic blade-like studs molded into the base of the shoe are the most popular choice. Most professional teams still use the traditional screw-in studs.
Newer models have more studs or blades, which give much more support for your feet.
The right fit is crucial to comfort: soccer shoes fit more snugly than regular shoes (remember: leather uppers stretch). The snugness lets you feel the ball better, giving you more control.
Try shoes on at the store wearing proper soccer socks and shin pads.
To help with all the side moves associated with soccer, the middle portion of the shoe should not twist easily. The ball of the foot, however, should be much more flexible.
Here are some quick tips when it comes to fitting kids:
Make sure the heel is snugly held by the boot to avoid slippage, which can cause painful inflammation of the heel bone area.
Support is key for growing feet, so molded plastic cleats are the best bet.
Save money by buying cheaper synthetic uppers, since they’ll likely grow out of them each season.
We’re not skilled soccer players, but we tried these different shoes on for comfort and hit the field with some professional women players:
- Adidas (synthetic upper): $60
- Umbro (leather upper): $200
Our specific tests and results include:
- The leather shoes were definitely more comfortable and less constricting than the synthetic.
OUR TOP PICK
We preferred the leather Umbro shoes for their comfort, but we recommend the synthetic Adidas if you don’t play regularly, or if you’re buying for children who’ll grow out of them quickly.