How to Choose the Right Soccer Cleats
PARTS OF THE SHOE
Understanding the different parts of the shoe will help you find the best fit for your foot and playing style. Here are the essentials…
Heel Cup → A proper fitting heel is vital for a well-fitting boot overall. When you put your foot into the shoe and lace it up, the first thing to check is the heel. Does is slip around when you bend your foot? Can you pull it up and down with your hands? If there’s more than a few mm of slippage then the heel cup is probably too big.
Upper (length) → If you have more than 1 thumb nail’s worth of space from your toe to the end of the boot, then the it is definitely too big. If your toe is squished against then, then it’s too small. The space in the toebox ultimately comes down to personal preference, but you should generally have enough space for your toes to expand as you run but not enough for the end of the shoe to trip over. In some sports, such as futsal, players like to wear their shoes a little tighter to get a better feel on the ball.
Upper (width)→ Look at the widest part of your foot, where the little toe and joint touch the side of the boot. Pull your thumb across this seam. If it’s super tight you’ll be able to feel it there. Some materials, such as kangaroo leather, are meant to mould to your feet so a little tightness is ok, as the material will stretch very slightly. Some materials don’t move as much so you want to make sure you get it right first time. As you pull your thumb across this seam, check the volume of the space in the shoe. If you have flatter feet the volume of the shoe might be large. If everything else fits, then you might want to consider a particular insole from a podiatrist to help make this fit even better.
Insole → Some insoles are fixed and some come with removable insoles. All Ida shoes have removable insoles so you can replace them with your own orthotics if you have them. Insoles can make a big difference to the feel of the boot so it’s worth investigating new insoles if your boot fits at the heel and the toe but something isn’t quite right.
Outsole → This is the bottom of the shoe where different forms of traction exist - some boots have fewer studs and some more. Go for a little jog, bend and flex the outsole. When you place the boots on the surface intended then you should feel as though the boots are working with you.
Studs → The spikes underneath your foot give you traction and will vary depending on what surface you’re playing on. Some cleats even have detachable studs for you to change depending on the surface.
Foot Plate → The footplate is what’s inside the outsole. Nike’s carbon fibre footplates helped Kipchoge break the 2 hr marathon mark in a controlled test.
Midsole → On running trainers and astro turf shoes, there is also a midsole. This provides cushioning on harder surfaces.
Ultimately it’s going to come down to what feels more comfortable for you in a shoe. If you feel comfortable, you’re going to perform better, recover quicker and be ready to play.
Weather can have a huge impact on field conditions and technology is ever-changing within synthetic turf fields. It's important to consider the types of fields you will be playing on and wearing the footwear that will optimize your performance and prevent injury!
Firm Ground → Think grass. This will be your most versatile type of cleat, especially for those players just getting started. It typically has permanently attached plastic studs that will work well on a classic grass field as well as on artificial grass.
Soft Ground → Think mud. This type of cleat has longer studs which are often made of metal and can be screwed on and off individually. Some youth leagues do not allow metal studs, so be sure to check with them before buying!
Artificial Grass → Think little black rubber pellets. If you are playing inside or outside on a surface with slightly longer fake grass, you can wear a turf-specific cleat, indoor shoe, or even a firm-ground cleat.
Artificial Turf → Think thin carpet. These fields are often indoors, though occasionally you may find this thinner turf on older football or field hockey fields. An artificial turf shoe with a high number of short studs or an indoor shoe with no studs at all should do the trick.
You will likely find yourself selecting between synthetic and leather soccer cleats, with some variations within each category. There are advantages for each style so find what works for you!
- Pros → Lightweight, waterproof, durability, and quicker to break in.
- Cons → Varying quality of different types of synthetic materials used.
- Pros → Durability, comfort, and will mold to your foot.
- Cons → Take longer to break in.
Laces → Ensure that your cleats are snug, secure, and comfortable.
Concealed Laces → Some brands suggest in order to create a smooth surface to strike the ball.
Laceless → Provide a smooth surface but may not be as snug and secure.
Fit is the most important part to enjoying and elevating your game! If your cleats don’t feel right or worse, they hurt, your game on the field will suffer. It’s important to look for a snug, form-fitting shoe that gives you a natural feel of the ball.
Common misfits to avoid:
- Your heel shifting left-to-right or up-and-down in the heel cup
- Your toes pressed against the front of the shoe.
- The outsides of your foot being squeezed too tightly in a narrow boot.
You can watch our Co-Founder Laura break it down further on IGTV!
Like any sporting equipment, there is a range in quality and cost. But typically you will find…
- High End → anywhere from $200 - $350
- Low End → anywhere from $50 - $150
While it may be tempting to buy a pair of soccer cleats purely based on color and aesthetic, it is super important to find the right fit for your foot, playing style, field type, and budget.
If you are looking for a soccer cleat designed specifically for a female foot, check out Ida’s Women’s Football Boot (FG)!