How to Buy Soccer Cleats
The game of soccer completely revolves around how quick and skilled you are on your feet. With that in mind, a good pair of soccer cleats are essential, and can really help maximize a player's performance on the field. DICK'S Sporting Goods offers a wide variety of men's, women's and youth cleats. In order to narrow down which pair will best suit your game, you must determine which type of cleats you'll need, and which surface you will be playing on.
Types of Cleats
Players have two options when it comes to soccer cleats: molded cleats and detachable cleats. The style a player chooses is based on the field conditions they play in, their league's regulations and personal preference.
Molded cleats are permanently attached to the shoe. Players usually wear molded cleats for the traction the cleats provide, and their versatility on different playing surfaces.
Detachable cleats have studs that can be easily changed or replaced. Being able to change the studs is an advantage when playing in uncertain weather conditions. Shorter studs are best for playing on dry ground, while longer studs allow a player to dig in to wet, uncertain surfaces. These removable studs can be found in soft ground cleats.
NOTE: There are a variety of replacement studs a player can buy. Studs can be made of plastic, rubber, or be metal-tipped. Check your league's rules and regulations before buying replacement studs; metal studs are banned in some leagues.
Consider replacing your studs as they wear down; if you have molded studs, consider purchasing new cleats. Worn and uneven studs can pose a high risk for injury.
Whether you are playing indoor or outdoor, there is a specific type of cleat designed to work best on your chosen surface. Each style and design is meant to provide optimal traction and mobility for that specific type of ground. You want a cleat that is going to grip when and where it is supposed to, while still allowing you to move at lightning speed down the field.
- Built for most firm, natural surfaces
- Bottom is formed with non-detachable rubber or hard plastic cleats
- Purpose is to provide control and help you keep your footing when making quick cuts
- Designed for wet and muddy natural surfaces
- Feature both plastic and removable metal studs, allowing for versatile play
- Studs are typically longer for ultimate traction and spaced apart wider to avoid mud clumping
- Most have four studs under the ball of the foot, and two to four under the heel
- Perform best on hard or synthetic grass surfaces
- Feature round, plastic studs that are non-detachable
- Studs sit on top of the field as opposed to digging into it
- More studs in hard ground cleats than soft or firm ground
- Perform best on either outdoor or indoor artificial turf
- Shorter rubber studs cover a large area of the outsole
- Specialized rubber sole makes quick maneuvers easy and provides optimal traction
- Turf cleats are great training shoes, or work as a back-up for hard surface play
- Look like regular sneakers, yet the flat-surface outsole has intricate traction patterns
- Enhance foot control and multidirectional movement for indoor play
The upper is the area of the cleat that actually makes contact with the shoe. Different types of natural or synthetic leathers are used, each offering their own feel and durability. The most common uppers are as follows.
Kangaroo Leather Uppers
- Also known as "K-Leather"
- Soft, lightweight and durable
- Molds to your foot
- Provides excellent touch on the ball
- Best for dry conditions
- Soft and flexible material
- Molds to your foot, allowing for a natural feel of the ball
- Supportive and comfortable
- Offers strength and durability
- Soft construction does not hold up as well in wet conditions
- Holds up well in inclement weather due to water treatments
- Breathable construction
- Do not require a "break-in" period
- Easy to clean and dry out
How to Fit Your Cleats
Soccer cleats are usually narrower than other types of shoes, allowing for greater ball control. Because of the stiff leather, cleats can be tough to break in. Players often wear their new cleats in the shower, get them completely soaked and then walk around, or play in them while they are still wet. You can then stick newspaper inside them to dry. This process makes the leather more flexible while molding to your foot, for more comfortable play.
The cleats you wear on the field are an extension of you, so find a style and color scheme that best fits your personality.
*The following charts are a loose guide for you to follow when selecting a size. Actual sizes may vary. We recommend that you try on cleats with soccer socks and shin guards to make sure they fit properly.
Tips & Warnings
- Always loosen your laces before putting on or taking off your cleats to prevent stretching the shoe.
- Wipe clean with a damp cloth and remove mud after each use. This will expand the life of your cleats. Do not machine wash.
- Allow cleats to dry naturally. You can stuff them with newspaper to absorb moisture. Do not machine dry.
1. Can I wear soft ground cleats on hard surfaces?
Each cleat is specifically designed to be used on their specific playing field, and will be most beneficial for that situation. However, the suggestions above are for more serious and advanced players. Ultimately, choosing a pair of cleats should be based on your personal preference.
2. Are indoor shoes just like any other sneakers?
They might look like it, but they are in fact very different. The traction patterns are designed specifically for soccer use. Also, the shoe and toe box are narrower. This allows for better ball control and touch.
3. Are all soft ground studs removable?
Not all soft ground studs are removable. Soft ground cleats incorporate both molded and detachable studs. Longer studs will help you dig in on a muddy field, while shorter cleats provide the best grip on dry surfaces. Changing up the pattern allows you to customize your shoe for different playing fields and conditions.
4. What size replacement studs should I buy?
First, check your league's rules and regulations; some organizations may have certain restrictions about stud size. Also, take into consideration what types of fields and conditions you will be playing in; different sizes work more effectively in different situations.
5. How can I tell when my studs need replaced?
Check your studs to see if they are uneven; worn down studs can cause balance issues and pose a higher risk of injury. Consider replacing your studs when they are worn down.
6. Why are soccer cleats so narrow?
This narrow fit gives the athlete an optimal feel for the ball, which allows for better control. Leather cleats will mold to your foot after you wear them in, improving touch. Synthetic do not require a break-in period.
7. What are other ways to break in my new cleats?
When you first buy a new pair of cleats, it is important to break them in, to minimize blistering and being uncomfortable. You can lace them up with your socks and shin guards, and do some light exercises, so they begin to take shape. Some players will wear them in the shower, or hose them down. Again, do some light exercises in your wet cleats, and then stuff them with newspaper to dry. This helps the leather become more flexible, and mold to the foot.
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