Did you know that 15 out of every 10,000 athletes suffer one form of foot and ankle injury at every athletic exposure? That is some alarming statistics and it increases the risk of playing football without the right football cleats. This is more concerning because football is what you would call a “rough” and “dangerous” sports with high injury rates.
Although there are literally millions of football cleats in the market, it’s still a herculean task to find not just an original pair, but also the right fit. So, in this article, we’ll be helping you to overcome this challenge by presenting you with a list of the best football cleats you can find in the market. Are you ready to ride?
Best Football Cleats 2021
1. BEST OVERALL: ADIZERO CLEATS
The Adizero Cleats is made with a mesh and TPU upper to provide utmost comfortability, breathability and durability to last you a full season. It has a Sprintframe plate that helps keep it lightweight while maintaining an elevated traction. The Sprintstuds and rotational traction zone on the Sprintframe further delivers an outstanding grip on the field.
Moreover, the Adidas Adizero Cleats supports a regular fit with lace closure to keep it tight. With a good break-in, it’s known to retain its fit that hugs the foot all season long. However, there are customer reviews that say that this pair of cleats is too narrow for players who have wide feet. Yet most reviews praise the cleat’s comfortability, weight, and clean design.
2. Best for Speed: ADIZERO PRIMEKNIT CLEATS
This pair of cleats was built for speed. It is designed for making quick and decisive cuts in the gridiron. Additionally, its TPU overlays provides maximum durability so the cleats will last all season long.
The Adizero Primeknit also comes with a Sprintframe plate with Sprintstuds to increase grip and traction on the field. It will help you juke your defender more powerfully.
This ultralight football cleats is great for players with both narrow and wide feet due to its material that easily adjusts. It also comes in four different colors so matching with different uniforms won’t be hard.
3. ALSO GREAT: Adidas Adizero 8.0 Football Cleats
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 toe box. While some may love the wider toe box 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 toe box 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.
4. Best for Wide Receiver: Adidas Freak X Carbon Mid Football Cleats
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.
5. BEST for LOW CUT: ADIDAS PERFORMANCE FILTHYSPEED
Overall, this masterpiece from the Adidas brand 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 cleats of practice.
6. Best for High Cut: Under Armour Highlight MC
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.
7. BEST YOUTH FOOTBALL CLEATS: UNDER ARMOUR HAMMER MID RM JUNIOR
Also on our list of the best football cleats is the Under Armour Hammer Mid RM Junior Football Cleats. It’s a cleat that seems to be made for younger athletes. It features 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 mesh and synthetic materials for its upper, making them more durable than most junior football cleats. We love how its material is also moisture-wicking and breathable, offering you comfort and lower maintenance.
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.
8. Best for Running Back: Nike Men's Alpha Menace Pro Mid Football Cleat
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.
Check out our write ups on:
9. Best for Wide Feet: Nike Alpha Shark Football Cleats
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.
10. Best Nike Cleats: Nike Vapor Untouchable 3 Elite
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, one of the most impressionable features 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 brand ensured that this cleat 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 pretty lightweight and offers impeccable traction.
Check out our other guides on: Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro Review
11. Best for Linemen: Nike Lunarbeast Pro TD Football Cleat
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.
Also see our review on Nike’s Lunarbeast Elite TD cleats.
12. Best for Affordability: Reebok NFL Burner SPD III Low M3
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.
Factors To Look Out For When Choosing Football Cleats
#1. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE PARTS OF A CLEAT
There are three major parts of cleats. They are the upper, midsole, and outsole. The three of them synergizes to give you the comfort and protection you deserve from cleats. Familiarizing yourself with them will help you know what to look out for the next time you go out to buy cleats.
- The Upper, as you’d have guessed, 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.
- The Outsole is 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.
#2. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE CLEAT STYLES
There are three different types of cleat styles, which are Molded, Detachable, and Turf. These styles of cleats are categorized according to the studs or nubs, just as we’ll explain further.
- Molded cleats have permanently attached studs which means the whole shoes should be replaced is these fittings get damaged. These 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. Nonetheless, 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 can be changed just as the length can be adjusted. However, this also means that maintenance is a lot higher than keeping a pair of the former. 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 artificial turf surfaces. Some people regard this type of cleats to be the best type of cleats for training as well.
#3. FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED
You need a football cleat that will give you the comfort you need to play in your designated position on the field. Because your position differs from that of other, your preference and the cut of the cleats should also be personal.
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 for someone playing as a wide receiver. Although these cleats provide the least amount of support among all cleat cuts, it is also the most lightweight option.
#4. GET THE RIGHT FIT
To find the right cleat fit, there are a few pointers you need to follow. 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 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 while taking cognizance of your playing position. 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 any dynamic movement. 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. If it’s not flexible enough, you may have to reconsider getting it.
#5. THE EASE OF GETTING ACCESSORIES
The ease of getting accessories depends on the brand and model of the cleats you bought. Although cleats don’t necessarily need additional accessories, you may be forced to buy new ones if yours get damaged. That’s why you need 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 sole protection oils and conditioners, will help keep your cleats in their best form.
Make sure you are all geared up. Head over to our list of best football gears!
Frequently Asked Questions
No, baseball cleats and football cleats are not 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. These are the differences between them:
Football cleats have different weights. While some are seemingly light, others can be quite heavy. On the average, football cleats tend to be heavier than baseball cleats. Lighter cleats allow baseball players to 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. Depending on the nature of the field, heavy cleats may be just fine. But then, you need to ensure that the weight of the cleats won’t impede your movement in any way.
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 surface of play.
Rubber football cleats are neither good nor bad, but they may be more appropriate for certain players and environments. Depending on their playing positions, 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.
The best way to know if a pair of football cleats fits is to check its different features and materials it is made of. You should check the studs, and their length. Also ensure that your cleats don’t 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
1. Incidence and Severity of Foot and Ankle Injuries in Men’s Collegiate American Football. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4622345/