15 Best Soccer Cleats Reviewed
Soccer is a combination of aerobic motions that combine running, jumping, and remaining in control of the ball. It’s also a good calorie burner; the running alone is a considerable amount of exercise at the right intensity. However, just like in running, there are certain things you should (and shouldn’t) wear soccer specific cleats for.
There’s not much equipment behind soccer, especially if you’re a field player. All you can really justify wearing is a pair of cleats and a pair of shin covers. This is why the type of cleats you buy should be of high quality and made to last. Protection is key in a game like soccer, so ensure your feet stay safe, while also being able to run fast.
- Nike Mercurial Superfly V FG
- Ultralight Nike 3D Speed Plate
- Nike Hypervenom Phantom III
- Hyperreactive Texture
- Adidas Ace 16.4 FXG
- Chaos Outsole
Soccer is a sport where a wide variety of physical factors will determine the outcome of the performance. How fast you can run, how high you can jump, how big you are, and how much you weigh. These are some of the most important factors on the field. However, nothing beats skill. While cleats don’t determine the quality of your skills, they do have a considerable impact on your physical and dribbling abilities.
15 Best Soccer Cleats
1. Nike Mercurial Superfly V FG
The latest Mercurial models have been equipped with Nike’s top technology. A tridimensional shoe plate lets players enhance their speed administration while keeping control of the ball. Its ultra-light materials increase functionality without adding bulk and keeping a minimalist build.
All Conditions Control (ACC)
ACC technology enhances the quality of the contact between the cleats and the ball like never before. As you can guess by the name, this technology is reliable in both wet and dry conditions.
This pair is by far the most expensive shoe on this list. The Superfly V are arguably the best performance soccer cleats out there, used by world-class players. Technology in combination with premium fabrics compose a hefty price tag
Vapor traction cleat system
Sock material isn’t too durable
2. Puma evoTOUCH 2 FG
GripTex technology is applied on both the insole and the heel to secure a steady internal grip. A natural fit in combination with GripTex equipment reduce internal slipping and generate enough comfort.
The responsive speedtrack design takes torsion and reactivity to their limits on firm ground soccer fields. This design allows the shoe build to access a comfortable flex in any direction, at any speed. Speedtrack supports the flex of your motions from the ankle to the tip of the toes.
The evoTOUCH 2 deliver efficiency at a fair price. The cost is average; not cheap but not too expensive either in comparison to the rest of the list. Still, might be something not everyone can afford.
Optimized torsion and reaction
No internal slipping
Runs long in comparison to the EvoSPEED
Needs to be broken in
3. Nike Hypervenom Phantom III
Nike’s Hyperreactive Plate makes the forefoot extremely flexible which allows a responsive, stable base to support each gait. The quick reaction design helps you smoothly turn, cut, and twist in any direction without any difficulty.
The Hyperreactive Texture is specifically designed to improve contact between the cleats’ surface and the ball. This enhances traction, generating superior striking power and adding more pronounced curves to every strike.
The Hypervenom III is the second most expensive items on the list. It’s comparable to the Superfly V in both cost and performance, and is highly endorsed by world soccer superstars. Utterly expensive, but utterly efficient.
Dynamic fit collar
Pretty expensive cleats
4. Adidas Gloro 16.1
The Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) insole regulates shock-absorption around the whole foot. It counts with heel cushioning for greater comfort. This insole is also responsible for preventing internal slipping and providing a tight fit.
The Gloro 16.1 counts with a specialized outsole for firm-ground performance. These cleats supply quality traction with any firm-ground field. It also reduces the impact caused by the firm surfaces and features a very light, yet efficient design.
The combination of cost and performance make this shoe a favorite amongst many soccer players. It’s very hard to beat such a good performance to cost ratio. Definitely worth the investment.
Suitable for those with wide feet
Provides good support
Room for a brace or socks
Requires a break-in time for a good fit
5. Puma evoPOWER 1.3 FG
A Pebax® outsole offers a natural flex for jumping, running, and twisting. The Gradual Stability Frame reduces bulk and weight while adding support and flexibility to the whole shoe.
Adap-Lite upper technology delivers an anatomical stretch, allowing the upper build to flex comfortably. This combination delivers not only more power, but also a greater touch resembling barefoot performance.
PUMA’s evoPOWER 1.3 is above the average tag of this list, and can be considered expensive. Though, the quality of this pair stands up to every cent in the price tag.
Accurate barefoot kicking
Flexible frame and outsole
GripTex technology print
Stable conical studs
Lack of arch support
6. Adidas Copa Mundial
The outsole counts with twice as much the normal density. Thanks to this, durability is considerably extended. This feature allows players to get a greater grasp of the field and a much more stable platform.
Die-cut EVA Insole
The EVA insole is a specialist of shock absorption. Keeping comfort and protection at top, this insole prevents both internal slipping and impact damage. This material is also resistant to sweat and bad odors.
Could be considered a costly shoe. While it might not be affordable for everyone, you won’t lack any aspect of soccer performance while wearing this pair. Cost is considerably above average.
- No impact damage
- Double density outsole
- Leather upper
- A bit tight on the toes for wide feet
7. Puma evoSPEED SL 1.4 FG
The SPEEDFRAME structure delivers high levels of flexibility and responsiveness to provide smoother and more powerful motions. This feature was built especially to reach maximum running power in firm ground soccer fields.
The K-leather upper is superbly sensitive and light. This allows players to have a greater touch of the ball and thus better control of it. The synthetic materials are also easy to wash.
Near average cost, making every cent worth the purchase. PUMA products are things anyone rarely regrets buying, and their evoSPEED SL 1.4 are no exception. Quality at its best, for an average price.
- Superior comfort
- Resembles anatomic shape of feet
- K-leather upper
- Great flexibility
- The light build is not as durable as other cleats
- Run half a size small
8. Nike Tiempo Legend VI
The combination of All Conditions Control (ACC) technology and a kangaroo leather upper makes up for enhanced sensitivity. Thanks to this combination, the ball is much easier to handle and dribble; even on wet fields and while running.
The flexible outsole not only supports the natural running motion, but it also provides enhanced traction in all circumstances. The plate provides a firm base for stability, and conical cleats allow better underfoot ball control.
The Tiempo Leyend VI is quite expensive. Though not close to the Superfly V, the price tag is unquestionable hefty. Yet, you can’t expect less from a shoe that delivers this much power.
- Kangaroo leather upper build
- Conical cleats
- Durable materials
- All Conditions Control (ACC)
- Not enough arch support
9. Under Armour Spotlight FG
V56 technology is located in the forefoot and specifically engineered to allow the shoe to help limit toe hyperextension. At the same time, it provides the right amount of multi-direction flex needed to run naturally.
An innovative SpeedForm frame adapts to the anatomical shape of your feet providing unique comfort. The personalized fit works as a much steadier support while running, crossing, and stopping.
Excellent cleat for its price. Durable elements will make sure your inversion is long-lasting, as they can endure thorough games of full intensity. The price is average, and fair in relation to its performance.
- Very flexible frame and plate
- Ankle and heel support
- Precise grip on the ball
- Superb comfort
- Runs tight on toes and heels
- The cleats are plastic
- Takes a bit to break in
10. Adidas Ace 16.4 FXG
TechFit technology is a fusion of comfort, secure fit, and slip-on design for a zero time wear. Thanks to compressing materials, the ankles receive the support they need for a steady fit throughout the entire games.
Staying true to its name, this outsole unleashes chaos on the field. The firm-ground approach maintains stability and mobility smooth, allowing you to run and perform without any obstacles. Wet fields don't obstruct the chaos outsole.
This is unquestionably the best value of our list. The Ace 16.4 X counts with a great variety of functional technologies and features. Not so popular due to newer versions, but still a great performer and unbeatable price.
- Low price
- Comfortable build
- Durable frame
- Hard to break in
11. Asics Lethal Testimonial 3
If you suffer from heel pain and discomfort when you run, a raised heel can make a world of difference. The raised heel along with the cushioned footbed help to not only alleviate ankle pain but knee as well, which is great if you suffer from joint pains and have trouble running on the field for long periods of time.
No Break-In Period
You want your shoes to feel great right out of the box because nothing is worse than having to suffer through your cleats rubbing and irritating your feet while you try to focus on your soccer match. These allow you to be able to slip your soccer shoes on right away and have them fit you like a glove.
Cost and Value
These cleats are reasonably priced and a great choice especially if you suffer from muscle and joint pains and need extra support and cushioning. Unlike other cleats on this list, the raised heel will make a large difference in how you run, and how you feel afterwards.
- Leather Upper
- Cushioned Footbed
- True to Size
- Fold Down Tongue
- Cushioned Heel
- Fit Quite Snug; May be Painful For Anyone with Foot Issues like Bunions
12. Under Armour Highlight MC
Although these look like they may be bulky and heavy due to the high top design, they are one of the most lightweight pairs of cleats on this list. From the bladed cleats that give you optimum speed to the ClutchFit shell of the shoe that forms and contours to the shape of your foot giving you a perfect fit.
Get the sensation of a second skin with the comfort of the ClutchFit feature. Made to conform to your foot and especially ankle, to ensure you have extreme support throughout your time on the field. Some cleats can rub and irritate your ankle, or not fit perfectly in that area causing you to lose stability and speed when you run, these, however, fit like a glove and will help you to feel comfortable.
Cost and Value
A quite pricey pair of soccer cleats, these are definitely a pair that would be considered an investment. The unique style and lightweight comfortable design makes them stand out from others and makes them a great choice if you want superior ankle support and comfort.
- Contours to Your Foot
- High Top Style
- Color Selection
- 4D Foam Footbed
- Forefoot Technology Limits Hyperextension
- Lug Rubber Outsole
- Takes Time to Lace them Up
13. Adidas X 15.3
Ensuring a locked-in fit, the X-Cage is reinforced to ensure stability and help your foot stay in place during the game. Cleats should fit snug yet comfortably, and should not move around on your foot, as you want them to feel like a second skin for the best, and fastest results. Having a midfoot cage ensures that your foot will not slip around in the shoe.
This unique stud pattern helps to securely grip the ground ensuring you feel as secure and stable as possible. Regardless of the terrain, and whether or not it’s damp or dry, these cleats will help you go as fast as you need to, while still being able to stop and turn at any given second without the possibility of you slipping or losing your balance.
Cost and Value
Reasonably priced and a great value if you are looking to invest in a new pair of cleats that will get the job done. Not only are these long-lasting and durable, they feel great and will help you be the best soccer player possible.
- Reinforced Midfoot Cage
- Traction Outsole
- Synthetic Lining
- Mesh Upper
- XClaw Outsole
- Order a Half Size Up
14. Adidas Messi 15.3
It is important to not only be fast on the field but be able to get the ball and keep it. These cleats are designed to help you have complete and total control over the ball regardless of how fast you’re moving. If you like to do tricks with the soccer ball, these are a great option and will help you stay a step in front of everyone else.
This not only provides your foot with great protection while kicking the ball, it is also quite flexible and over time will perfectly conform to the shape of your foot making these feel custom fit and comfortable. This will give you a great feel for the ball during the game and help you to perform to the best of your ability.
Cost and Value
These are averagely priced and are perfect if you are just starting out with soccer and are not quite ready to invest in an expensive pair of cleats just yet. The added features in these will allow you to run as fast as you can, while still keep your stable and ready for whatever may happen during the game.
- 3D Leather Upper
- Center Stud
- Synthetic Lining
- No Break-In Period
- Insole is Not Removable
15. DREAM PAIRS 160860
One of the most important things when it comes to cleats or any sports shoe is ensuring that the laces stay secure throughout the entire game to prevent tripping or injuries. Not only do these laces stay tied properly, the fold over tongue allows you to further secure them, ensuring everything stays in place and you can play worry-free.
Depending on the brand, most cleats either come in bright, neon colors, or simple neutrals like black and white. DREAM PAIRS give you the option to get either or, or both which is great if you like to match your cleats to your outfit or uniform and want versatility. These vibrant colors will be sure to make you standout on and off the field.
Cost and Value
One of the most affordable pairs of cleats on this list, DREAM PAIRS is known for their high-quality items at average to low price points. This is great if you are not looking to quite yet invest in a pair of cleats, but wish to first try out a few brands. If you are set on these, however, and love them, at this price it’s easy to grab a couple pairs in a few different colors.
- Color Selection
- Rubber Molded Cleats
- Cushioned Insole
- Breathable Upper
- Fold Over Tongue
- Sizing Runs Large
Each type of field requires shoes that are specifically designed for it, which is why this list focuses on shoes that deliver firm-ground functionalities. Lacking features such as flexibility or ball grip can turn out to be expensive performance-wise. We’re not telling you that you need the top tier and most expensive cleats on the market, just keep in mind that the cost is often related to performance.
Your performance will vary depending on the quality of your shoes. While shoes alone won’t score the goals for you, they do have an impact on your ability to make them. Unlike other sports, soccer cleats are pretty much all the equipment you need as a field player so it is important to pick the perfect pair that is best suited for you to reach your optimal performance.
Quality draws a huge line between professional soccer cleats and cheap, low-quality ones. The difference is visible when running, striking, dribbling, and gripping the ball. It may seem like all cleats are the same, but the reality is far from that. Every single element in a pro cleat serves a very functional purpose; from the upper textures meant to improve ball spin and control, to the power outsole meant to enhance speed. These features are usually not present in a generic cleat, as they’re just meant to grip and strike.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Soccer Cleats
When running is involved it is extremely important for your sports shoe to have some flexibility to it. Running around on a soccer field for a long period of time with a stiff shoe will not allow for you to perform to the best of your ability. The natural motion of running involves the forefoot flexing, thus this is where soccer players need flexibility the most. When running, we obtain the impulse from the forefoot flex and reduce shock with the heel. If there’s no flexibility present, the running motion would be obstructed.
There is much more behind a shoe’s flexibility than just the running motions. In soccer, flexibility plays a role in dribbling, striking, and maneuvering in general. While the kicking shoe might not need to be flexible at the time of striking, the support foot does. Before striking the ball, the body assumes an inclined position that relies on the support leg, if the shoe does not flex properly, it’s much harder to assume the kicking position.
There are a few main components of a shoe that are majorly related to flexibility: Torsion, the type of material, and the outsole.
Torsion: The torsion ability of a shoe ultimately relies on the ankle support. Torsion is an aspect of flexibility that allows you to rotate instead of flex, which is necessary when soccer players want to change direction while running at high speed. Their ability to turn around or change directions will rely on the ankle support and flexibility of the upper build.
Materials: Fabrics have a big role in the flexibility of a soccer cleat. Stiff, hard materials won’t allow the shoe build to flex along with the foot in the running motion. The materials of the upper build should consist of thin, flexible materials. Bulky fabrics don’t have good flexibility; they’ll often dislocate the frame when trying to bend. Stick to soft leathers and other breathable materials that allow your feet to breathe as well.
Outsole: An outsole can optimize flexibility just as much as it can hinder it. A flexible upper alone cannot develop sufficient flexibility, but in combination with a flexible outsole, results are maximized. The materials of the outsole play a role in flexibility, but the design itself becomes an element as well.
The weight and flexibility of a shoe go hand in hand because the more lightweight the shoe the more flexible it will be overall. Sports shoes for all intents and purposes have quickly embraced weightless designs, this is due to the reduced effort required from athletes to perform motions. It’s not only easier for players to run with light shoes, but also easier to control the ball. By incorporating lighter, thinner materials to the build, players have access to superior ball sensitivity, which has a huge impact when it comes to running while in control of the ball.
Bulky shoes, on the other hand, require greater effort to move around. This effort will not necessarily tire out the athlete, but it will be reflected in their performance. Their motor skills aren’t necessarily adapted to heavy cleats, thus potentially making them an obstacle. Soccer cleats with a minimalist approach offer a barefoot experience which prevents the player from feeling dragged down.
All soccer players know the importance of an impact-absorbing cleat. Shock absorption is a particularly important element of firm ground soccer cleats because they’re more firm than artificial fields, the impact it causes with soccer cleats is much tougher. Firm-ground cleats should be equipped with superior impact absorbing technologies and materials. Jogging shoes that lack shock absorption generates heel pain usually around the first 60 minutes, compare that to soccer players who run intensely for 90 minutes; without proper shock absorption and cushioning you will quickly experience pain and discomfort.
A lack of shock absorption does not only become uncomfortable, but it can become quite painful at a certain point. In some cases, pain might even extend to the next day in the form of heel soreness which can cause you to miss out on future games, or wore create long-term damage to your feet. Cleats that properly reduce impact make running much easier and painless, Thus relevant technologies are placed there. The absorption relies on the soles (insole, midsole, and outsole).
Outsole: The outsole is the first element to contact the field’s surface, so it receives the full impact of each gait, which moves upwards in a vertical way. The outsole of soccer cleats is not made to absorb impact, this is due to the combination of the specific design and the outsole materials.
Midsole: Generally equipped with adequate materials to deal with the impact, the midsole plays the biggest role in the process of shock absorption. Some midsoles even use the same energy to impulse the next gait if performed fast enough. Depending on the amount of support and shock absorption needed, the midsole can range from quite thin to fairly thick.
Insole: The insole is the last element standing between the foot and the midsole. While the midsole should absorb shock efficiently, it would still cause damage if the foot was in direct contact with it. Not all soccer cleats have a shock absorbing insole, however, it makes a large difference in performance. The insole takes care of maintaining comfort during every impact, therefore if it is lacking in quality, you risk the possibility of experiencing discomfort while you run.
Materials: There are multiple factors that are taken into consideration when manufacturing a soccer cleat. The most effective shock absorbers are unquestionably rubber derivatives and polyurethane. They are what most outsoles and midsoles of professional modern soccer cleats are made of. However, incorporated technologies might feature different materials, such as foam. As for the insole, Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is the material with the best shock-absorbing qualities, despite its lightness, it’s a very tough compound when it comes to impact, it also possesses anti-vibrating qualities and resilience strength.
Cushioning: At first sight, you may assume the amount of cushioning in a shoe only has to do with comfort, however, it also takes part in absorbing shock. The EVA insole, for example, delivers cushioning and impact absorption at the same time. Cushioning technologies such as air cushions and gel cushions have proven to be very efficient as well, at not only being extremely comfortable but helping to ad support as well.
Control and Accuracy
Amongst all the other things a pair of cleats can do, they also help you remain in control of a soccer ball. Soccer shoes can improve control just as much as they can reduce it, therefore the best cleats deliver a considerable amount of ball grip through many of their elements.
Features such as external textures and patterns increase the quality of the contact between the ball and the upper, and although they may seem just for show and looks, these patterns make a huge difference in ball handling and dribbling. You can tell the biggest difference while running, as that is when it is hardest to control the soccer ball.
Getting a good grip on the ball is crucial, but it’s also important to get a feel for the ball as well. Which is where the idea of minimalist shoes come in, as they fit like a second skin and have little to no cushioning or barrier between your foot and the ball.
The top part of a cleat should consist of a quality combination of premium fabrics and specific texturing, these fabrics must contain both grip and lightweight properties to deliver greater ball touch and control. The grip is provided by special textures and patterns on the shoe’s higher portion, which usually comes in the form of dots, diamonds or shapes made of the same material, but with a wrinkled texture.
The hardest point of ball control is undoubtedly running. Without enough grip on the ball, maneuvering and dribbling will become much more difficult. As previously mentioned; bulky materials obstruct the foot’s range of motion, which is why it’s important for the upper build to feature lightweight materials as well.
Both the midsole and the outsole take part in ball control. The midsoles usually have lateral panels that contribute to lateral soccer ball control. Not every motion in soccer is directed forward, in fact, lateral control is critical in a wide variety of circumstances, including running control and dribbling.
As for the outsole, some football cleats feature underfoot design for ball control. This design includes a measured space and distribution of the studs, though not all cleats feature this design, shoes that do make quite a difference. One of the most important things to players in a soccer game is scoring. While soccer cleats can’t aim for you, or score the goals alone, they can determine the result of a strike. Multiple factors can determine whether the ball ends in the net or against the post.
The upper is mostly the element that determines the quality of the ball rotation after a strike. Given that technique is good, an upper build with the right features can make an enormous difference. However, there’s much more behind curves and accuracy than just fabrics, things such as; the weight of the cleat and the control over the ball. The materials that make up the upper of the cleat have an influence over the amount of friction between the soccer ball and the shoe. This friction is what’s responsible for the curve that the ball will have. Though it ultimately depends on the striking technique, these materials can mean the small difference between getting that goal – or missing.
Some soccer shoes include patterns around the most common striking areas to optimize each kick, these patterns make adding spin to the ball much easier, and more secure. Leather builds are great materials to keep control on the amount of spin and accuracy, the idea of the upper is not to give more or less spin; it’s to maintain the one you aim to give.
A shoe’s weight is another influencing factor in accuracy. By delivering a minimalist build, soccer shoes allow players to kick as if they were barefoot, meaning the lighter the shoe, the more accurate the shots. By accurate we mean the ball will go where you aim. A bulky shoe might add more force to the kick than what is really necessary, whereas thinner builds barely add any additional power or rotation to strikes.
How the cleat fits affect both curve and accuracy; a slim, tight shoe will prevent any internal movements, delivering a solid and precise strike. On the other hand, you can’t expect much from soccer shoes that are not fitted well and allow your foot to move around.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does FG/AG/SG mean?
A: Those all stand for the different surfaces of a field, which may make a difference when it comes time to playing and deciding which cleats to wear. FG: Firm Ground, AG: Artificial Ground, SG: Soft Ground.
Q: Is leather better for cleats?
A: Leather has different benefits, but it doesn’t mean it is necessarily better. It will add to the price as well as the bulk of the shoe, but this can be good in the upper for protection. If you do not have a thick enough material there, you may experience pain while shooting the ball.
Q: Should I get metal studs?
A: If you can train with them, then yes they do provide a better grip and usually are replaceable. They are not generally allowed during most competitions for safety reasons though, so ensure that you can remove them if need be.
Q: How long do cleats last?
A: They should last easily over a year if you take good care of them. A quality cleat could last 3 years or longer without any difficulties or replacements. It all depends on how you care for them, and if you invest in a quality pair or not.
Q: What size of cleats should I wear?
A: Your size according to the product chart. The fit should be snug, but not tight where it feels like it is constraining your feet. Ensure that you can properly bend and flex your feet while wearing them and no irritation occurs.
Q: Can I use them without socks?
A: It is not recommended to wear cleats without socks as the inner lining of a cleat is generally not made for sockless use. You do not want to experience irritations such as blisters on or off the field. If you think a sock may alter the fit of your shoe, try to either size up your shoe by half, or try thin merino wool socks. These not only feel great, they work wonders at wicking away moisture and keeping your feet cool.
Q: When were soccer cleats invented?
A: It’s said that the first pair was designed somewhere around 1525. The manufacturer was Cornelius Johnson, and he was attributed as the first man to design soccer cleats. However, soccer cleats have had a long line of changes and improvements over the years. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the popularity of soccer increased radically, along with the demand for better shoes. The first big reinvention came around 1940-1960 when manufacturing became stronger than ever before; cleats became cheaper and more functional. This reinvention is the base of modern-day cleats, where the shoes focus on performance rather than protection.