They say that good shoes will take you to good places and it’s no different even on the football field. Winning the game and becoming a skilled football player starts with dedication and regular practice. Knowing that football is a dangerous sport, footballers need to be careful about choosing the right gear.
According to the data gathered by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Injury Surveillance System (ISS), the rate of foot and ankle injuries was 15 per 10,000 athletic exposures.
To avoid foot and ankle injuries while playing football, you need a pair of football cleats that aren’t just comfortable but durable and reliable as well. However, it isn’t easy finding the perfect footwear for wearing on the field. Below is a list of what we think are the most valuable football cleats for passionate fans, student-athletes and pros alike.
10 Best Football Cleats
A good pair of cleats offer a feeling of control and security while on the field but not a lot of people know how important this is. Having great lockdown may not be the top priority for some football players, but a pair of cleats without it can screw up the entire game. Lockdown for a pair of cleats means that you feel more connected to your footwear.
In our opinion, the Nike Alpha Shark Football Cleat is one of the most renowned in terms of lockdown and aggressive traction. The TPU outsole and 12-cleat configuration provide impressive traction while Nike’s Dynamic Fit System provides support and unbeatable lockdown. But its features do not stop there. The Nike Alpha Shark Football Cleat delivers in terms of comfortability, especially on its underfoot. In short, this pair of cleats covers all the basics.
If you’re looking for an affordable yet reliable low-cut pair of cleats, then you can’t go wrong with the Nike Alpha Shark Football Cleats. This pair is recommended for practice or training but they are also sturdy enough for games and competitions.
- Easy to find the right fit, comfortable and yet snug at the same time
- Offers a wide range of sizes; can be used by youth athletes as well as adult players
- Sold at a very pocket-friendly price
- The durability isn’t as great as other options
- Might be too narrow for some users
Adidas had speed and power in mind when they designed the Freak X Carbon. This cleat is actually available in low-cut, mid-cut, and high-cut. Apart from the cut of the cleats, there isn’t much of a difference. But for this list, we would be focusing on the mid-cut Freak X Carbon.
The Adidas Freak X Carbon Mid Football Cleats is mostly made with traditional materials, but it also has a bit of mesh on the top as well as the tongue for more breathability. On the outside, the Freak X also has iron skin which is great for users who want a pair that’s well-protected. Despite being slightly lighter in weight, the iron skin really adds to the durability of the cleat.
But what we loved most about this cleat was its razor frame feature which provides superior traction like no other cleat on the market today. The frame also has conical sprint studs located at the top of the forefoot. They are meant to not only add traction but they are also for going forward with both speed and power.
- Provides excellent fit, has zero space similar to the classics
- Has plenty of cushioning for comfort
- Simple lace design that stays tight during the game
- The added cushion and the material adds to the weight
- Takes a bit more time to break-in due to the type of materials
At first glance, the Under Armour Highlight MC Football Cleats may remind you of boxing footwear. It has a simple yet impressionable appearance, but that’s not all it has to offer. What captivated us the most is the technology used to develop these cleats. Under Armour utilized 3 of their latest technologies on these cleats, making them one of the highly recommended pairs a footballer can own.
The first notable thing about the Highlight MC is the unique cut on its upper which makes a great addition to this high-cut cleat. This allows a true custom fit for the user while also offering more support for the ankle. Speaking of ankle support, the Under Armour Highlight MC was also developed with the Clutch Fit technology. The unique style of the upper provides ample flexibility and maneuverability at the same time.
Additionally, these cleats were also made with Under Armour’s V56 Technology which helps prevent hyperextension to on the toe. The interior on these cleats is also worth mentioning as it has 3D Molded Insole Interior technology. This means that the interior is supposed to mold to your feet, making them as comfortable as possible while you move. In addition to this, the plasma X traction plate is supposed to mimic your natural foot motion for improved traction. In short, no other cleat can offer this much room for personalization. Now you don’t have to get used to a pair of cleats – the cleat is molded according to your foot and your habits.
- Offers the best fit possible on a cleat
- Developed with the latest cleat technology
- Extra durable; prevents rip or tear
- Padding and choice of material adds to the weight
- Lacks ventilation, the material is not breathable
Are you looking for a practical, no-frills type of football cleats? The Nike Alpha Menace Pro might interest you. Although this pair is of an older model, there’s plenty of reason why many still find it to be the go-to pair for training or practice.
The Nike Alpha Menace Pro is a star when it comes to ankle support and agility. Quarterbacks and linebackers will benefit from its snug fit and durable outsole for traction. While running backs will appreciate its construction for agility and speed.
What we loved most about these cleats is its material; the synthetic and mesh combination makes them breathable yet durable enough to withstand the rigors on the field. When it comes to getting the right fit, Nike’s Flywire technology guarantees a locked-down fit incomparable to other cleats within the Alpha Menace Pro’s price range.
Other notable areas of these cleats are its TPU traction plate. This material allows it to be lightweight yet durable at the same time. The collar on the Nike Alpha Menace Pro also provides a comfortable and secured sock-like fit.
- Great ventilation; offers better breathability
- Provides excellent fit and comfort at the same time
- Made with lightweight material but durable enough for rigorous play
- Too narrow for users with wider feet and might require going one size up
- Sizes tend to run small in comparison to the standard sizes
Here’s a cleat that seems to be made for younger athletes. The Under Armour Hammer Mid RM Junior Football Cleats feature a rubber molded outsole which is perfect for young trainees who play mostly on grass or synthetic surfaces. But don’t be fooled because although they are made with rubber outsoles, these cleats are durable enough for playful competitions and games.
The Under Armour Hammer Mid RM is engineered with synthetic mesh material for its upper, making them more durable than most junior football cleats. We love how its material is also moisture-wicking and breathable, offering comfort and lower maintenance at the same time.
Speaking of comfort, its interiors are also sufficiently padded. And together with its die-cut foot head, the Hammer Mid RM is also shock-absorbent, making it one of the most protective shoes available on the market today.
- Great for youth athletes who play on grass or synthetic surfaces
- Provides ample ventilation thanks to its ultra-breathable material
- Low maintenance in comparison to other cleat types
- Cannot be used on all types of surfaces
- Getting the right fit may be tricky
- Durability is weaker than other options
The Nike Vapor Untouchable 3 Elite was designed specifically with skill players in mind. Quarterbacks, safeties, and running backs will benefit from the Untouchable 3’s speed and durability. In our opinion, the most impressionable feature of this cleat is its FlyKnit material.
Nike has been developing its knit technology for a couple of years now, but nothing comes close to its newest FlyKnit technology. Some say that although it is thinner than previous knits, it is 7x stronger than the previous Vapor Untouchables. Interestingly, this cleat was not meant to be a high-cut. But the designers took advantage of the special knit to give players that extra ankle support without compromising the flexibility and maneuverability.
On the inside, the Nike Vapor Untouchable 3 Elite has perhaps the thickest padding available today. It’s soft, comfortable, and allows zero space for a more snug fit. The padding also supports a better ankle lockdown, making you feel more secure and connected to your shoe. All this may sound amazing already but our favorite part is still the traction plate. It’s lightweight and with its 4-sided studs, the Nike Vapor Untouchable 3 Elite also offers impeccable traction.
- Has excellent knit quality for comfort and flexibility
- Special high-cut design that does not interfere with maneuverability
- Allows zero space, easy to find the perfect fit
- Comes in lighter colors; gets dirty easily
The Adidas Performance Filthyspeed may be an old model but that just proves its amazing track record as a football cleat. This pair is simple, straightforward, and practical – perfect for those who are looking for a no-frills pair of cleats.
It has everything a training athlete would want, from the durable synthetic upper to the secure closure for a better fit. On the inside, it has ample padding for comfort and protection from impact. The soft breathable mesh material is also another plus, especially for those who want a bit of ventilation in their cleat. And lastly, it has a reliable and durable outsole that will give players the stability they need while in the game.
Overall, the Adidas Performance Filthyspeed may not be at the top of the ranks. But it is a longtime favorite and a great option for those who are just starting out and for those who are looking for a great pair of cleats of practice.
- Sports a stylish design while also providing a great fit
- Has excellent traction and built for speed
- Comfortable to wear and snugged at all the right places
- Does not last very long compared to other cleats
- Sizes tend to run small, especially for users with wider feet
The Nike Lunarbeast Pro TD is another old model with a proven track record. We would recommend this pair for younger athletes who are working their way to the top through rigorous training and competitions.
The padded ankles may not be the best in terms of flexibility and maneuverability. But it does add to ankle support and comfort. The Nike Lunarbeast Pro TD also comes with a convenient strap that not only keeps the cleat snug and fit, but it also prevents the laces from getting untied too often which is a great addition for youth athletes.
- Comes with a convenient strap to prevent laces from getting untied
- Has a wide strap for extra midfoot stability
- Great for younger athletes
- A bit too narrow for players with wider feet
- Stretches out too widely when used for more rigorous plays
- The heel is a bit stiff and not shock-absorbent
The Adidas Adizero 8.0 is perhaps one of the most talked-about pair of cleats of the year. It’s the newest addition to the Adizero series and it is rumored to have all the most amazing features so far among all the other cleats in the series.
The star of the show is Adizero 8.0’s mesh material. If you think that the Adizero 7.0 was super soft, the mesh on the 8.0 is even more pliable and moldable than that. This impressive mesh material gives the Adizero 8.0 a way better fit than most cleats. Plus, it also adds to the overall comfortability of the shoe.
The next attractive feature on this pair is its toebox. While some may love the wider toebox on the 7.0, some players may find that the extra room makes them feel that their cleats were too big on them. The thinner, more durable toebox on the 8.0, however, may be narrow but it gives off a more secure feeling than wider options. If you are a big fan of the wider feature, then purchasing one size or half a size up will solve the problem.
Another great thing about the Adizero 8.0 are the heels. The 8.0 features the traditional heel which is said to have better ankle support than the modified version on the 7.0. Lastly, this pair of cleats are a dream to wear because of its synthetic mesh. The flexible material allows users to easily put their cleats on without much trouble.
- Made with impeccable mesh material; pliable and flexible
- Has a thinner toe box for a snug and comfortable fit
- Easy to wear thanks to the stretchable synthetic mesh
- Users with wider feet may be required to get a size up
- A bit on the expensive side
Looking for a reliable pair of molded cleats? Not a lot of people mention the Reebok NFL Burner SPD III but we think that it deserves to be on our list. If you haven’t heard about this cleat then you are missing out on an otherwise good quality pair of molded cleats.
As you may already know, molded cleats aren’t very versatile due to their permanently-attached studs. When one breaks, you’d have to replace the whole thing. But what if they were durable enough to withstand the intense and rigorous play? The Reebok NFL Burner SPD may be all about speed but it’s mostly about durability as well.
This 100% synthetic cleat isn’t just affordable and low-maintenance, they are highly supportive, comfortable, and best of all, lightweight. The NFL Burner SPD III is perfect for players that need to cover the field. Additionally, the material on these cleats is also moisture-wicking with Play Dry lining on its color and tongue. This allows excellent breathability, making it one of the most highly recommended options for breathability as well.
- Moisture-wicking and offers plenty of ventilation
- Very light and sturdy, great for dynamic movements on the field
- Comes at a very affordable price
- Lacks traction
- The studs are irreplaceable
Familiarize Yourself With Cleat Styles
No matter if you’re buying a pair of cleats for yourself or for a loved one, learning more about them is the best way to guarantee a good purchase. A basic understanding of its parts and materials goes a long way, and it will help you understand their purpose in the game.
PARTS OF THE CLEAT
Cleats have three parts – the upper, the midsole, and the outsole. True to its name, the upper is the top part of the cleat. It’s where the laces are tied together, allowing the shoe to give a snug and safe fit. Uppers are typically made out of leather or synthetic leather, and they are meant to withstand the wear and tear of playing football.
The midsole, on the other hand, is often referred to as the footbed. It’s the cushion of your foot and heel and it is meant to reduce the impact of playing football. Not to mention, the cushions also provide comfort during play or practice.
And lastly, you have the outsole or what many would identify as the tip of the shoe. The outsole is perhaps the most important part of the shoe as it provides traction and stability. Outsoles also come in a variety of spike options that may help you out with your cutting skills and acceleration.
Above learning the parts of the cleat and its functions, familiarizing oneself with the various cleat styles is also important. In general, cleats come in three styles: Molded, Detachable, and Turf. These shoes are categorized by their studs or nubs.
Molded cleats have permanently attached studs. That said, the whole shoe must be replaced if the studs are damaged. Molded cleats are not very versatile because they can only be used on one type of surface. The length of their studs cannot be changed either. However, among all cleat types, they require the least amount of maintenance and they are also the most affordable.
Detachable cleats, on the other hand, are perhaps the most expensive option for cleats. But at the same time, they offer plenty of features that football players might find useful. In short, they do all that molded cleats cannot. They can be used in almost any kind of field, the stud length and the studs themselves can be changed. However, this also means that maintenance is a lot higher than keeping a pair of molded cleats.
If you’re looking for something in between, then perhaps the last type of cleats is the option for you. Turf cleats tend to have small rubber nubs on its soles, and they are made particularly for providing more traction. Although they do not offer the same versatility as detachable cleats, they can be used on both firm ground and synthetic surfaces. Some people regard this type of cleats to be the best type of cleats for training as well.
Find Out What You Need
A lot of football players tend to choose their cleats according to their designated positions on the field. Choosing cleat styles may be a personal preference but the cut may depend on what your role is in the game. High-cut cleats, for example, are best for linebackers, guards, and centers. These cleats provide the most support but having more material to the cleat also adds to its weight at the same time.
Mid-cut cleats, on the other hand, may still provide a bit of support but because of its lower fit, users will find it easier to maneuver during a game. Cornerbacks, mobile quarterbacks, and running backs may benefit the most with mid-cut cleats.
Last but not least, low-cut cleats are best for players who need to be nimble on the field such as the tight ends, free safeties, and wide receivers. Although these cleats provide the least amount of support among all cleat cuts, it is also the most lightweight option.
Get The Right Fit
Even a good pair of cleats can be the cause of an injury if it does not have the right fit. Luckily, it’s not that hard to find the perfect pair as long as you follow a few pointers. The first step is to take a look at the material of the cleat.
Cleats made out of real leather stretch over time, so it is best to anticipate how the cleat would fit when they eventually stretch. Meanwhile, synthetic leather cleats do not stretch so the getting the exact size at the time of purchase is recommended.
After checking the material of cleat, the next step is to try it on. Make sure that there is no more than a finger width of space in between the heel and the forefoot.
The cleat should be comfortable yet snug, and it should not cause any pain or pressure when executing dynamic movements. To check whether or not the cleats have the right fit, always remember to bring a pair of socks. Try standing, walking, and running in the cleats to see how flexible and comfortable they are as you use them.
Consider Getting Accessories
Accessories are, of course, not required. But proper care and cleat maintenance may require them anyway. Besides, coming in prepared is a good practice for all athletes. The last thing you’d want to happen is missing out just because your gear is broken and unfit for the game.
Extra shoelaces, for example, may come in handy in case the one you’re using breaks. Replacements studs are great to have nearby especially if you have detachable football cleats. And last but not least, regular maintenance with the help of shoe protection, oils, and conditioners, will help keep your cleats in their best form.
Are baseball and football cleats the same?
Although both baseball and football cleats are made for the purpose of helping players get a firmer grip on the field, they are, in many ways, different from each other.
First of all, they differ in weight. Football cleats tend to be heavier than baseball cleats. Lighter cleats allow baseball players can benefit from lighter footwear as it allows them to run faster. Football, on the other hand, requires cleats than can handle the rough nature of the sport. That said, the added support and heavy-duty materials make football cleats significantly heavier than baseball cleats.
Another big difference between football and baseball cleats can be found by looking at the spikes. Baseball cleats tend to have metal spikes to accommodate various baseball pitches that may be difficult to achieve while wearing other types of shoes. Football cleats, on the other hand, do not have spikes made of metal. Instead, most football cleats have spikes made of plastic or rubber. It’s also good to note that baseball cleats may also have plastic spikes.
Lastly, football cleats have varying lengths while baseball cleats tend to come in a standard size. The different lengths of football cleats are made to support varying football positions as well as the surfaces of play.
Are rubber football cleats good?
Rubber football cleats are neither good nor bad, but they may be more appropriate for certain players and environments. Rubber football cleats are recommended for youth athletes since most of their play occurs on grass or synthetic surfaces. Cleats with rubber bottoms are said to be the best for these types of playing fields.
How are football cleats supposed to fit?
Comfort is an obvious factor when it comes to finding the perfect fit for cleats. Your cleats should not cause you any pain, discomfort, or pressure when you walk, run, or even stand. Additionally, there should never be more than a finger width of space; your choice of cleats must have a snug fit on its forefoot and the heal must not lift as well.