How to find the best soccer cleats for kids: A Shopping Guide for Parents
Finding the best soccer cleats for teenagers is something most parents of budding soccer stars all battle with, especially ahead of a new school year or sports season.
The best soccer cleats can help your teens reduce the risk of aches, pains, blisters and injury. But knowing what to look for and how to find the right shoes that’ll take your child’s on-field performance from zero to hero can be confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, let’s break it down:
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR
The surface your children play soccer on will ultimately determine what kind of cleats they need, which makes this the perfect place to start.
Indoor soccer shoes have a flat sole and look a little bit like traditional sneakers, but with some soccer-specific differences like suede uppers to help with ball grip and a specialized non-slip sole designed specifically for indoor soccer and indoor futsal surfaces.
Outdoor soccer cleats are designed with in-built studs spread across the sole to provide optimum foot support while playing on firm ground and artificial turf surfaces. Some artificial turf surfaces are indoors and suitable for soccer cleats, but not all turf is made the same.
BOYS SOCCER CLEATS VS GIRLS SOCCER CLEATS
A quick glance down will confirm that men and women have very different feet in more ways than one and this is no different in our kids.
Aside from female feet generally being smaller than male feet, females also tend to have a higher arch, a more curved inner foot, a shorter outer foot, a shallower big toe and wider toe box, and a narrower heel. Which is why putting on a pair of men’s shoes when you’re a woman feels so awkward and uncomfortable.
Understanding these differences before buying soccer cleats for children is important because these differences inform where studs are placed on the sole of a shoe, which can be the difference between soaring down the pitch or encountering injuries (something all growing kids want to avoid).
In the stores though, most soccer cleats will be labeled as either men's soccer cleats, boy's soccer cleats, or "unisex cleats" and women will be told to simply "size down". While not ideal, it has often been a female athletes only option. If you're able to locate IDA in stores or shop online, know that you will be shopping a female-specific design!
LACE UP CLEATS VS LACELESS CLEATS
While there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to self-lacing or laceless cleats, both come with different pros and cons.
The first and most obvious pro for laceless cleats is your kids won’t have to take time out to redo their shoelaces if they come undone mid-play (some pairs also look pretty cool, too).
The biggest con, though, is that there’s a lot less control when it comes to securing cleats to feet and how a foot feels inside the cleats. It’s for that reason that lace-up cleats are the best option for young players and experienced players alike. And don’t worry, classic laced cleats also look pretty cool. Just take a look at the pros!
The other major style option to consider before buying soccer cleats is if your child wants a pair with inbuilt ankle socks or a more traditional shoe cut. Both are great options and thankfully, this option really does come down to aesthetic and what feels most like them.
LEATHER CLEATS VS SYNTHETIC CLEATS
20 years ago, soccer players had to choose between leather cleats or synthetic cleats. While leather cleats are softer and offered improved ball grip, synthetic cleats molded to the feet faster and were often longer-lasting. There's also another solution.
Combining the best of both worlds, synthetic leather cleats mold super fast to the feet while also offering optimal ball grip and handling, and they’re guaranteed to go the distance. Even better, IDA's leather is vegan, making your kid’s soccer cleats more sustainable and environmentally friendly than other options out there.
The ultimate back to school shopping checklist for buying girl's soccer cleats and women's soccer cleats:
- Check if your child or teen is playing indoor soccer or outdoor soccer
- If artificial turf, ask for more information about the type of turf
- Ask the coach if the team has to wear a particular color of cleats
- If you’re shopping online, measure your children’s feet at home using the IDA Size Guide
- Talk to your kids about their preferences. Do they have a color they like? Do they prefer a built-in ankle sock or a more traditional cut? What are their pain points on their current cleats?
- Once a pair is bought, read our super handy guide of how to look after soccer cleats to make sure they go the distance and last all season long!