10 Best Soccer Cleats Reviewed & Rated
Soccer is one of the most popular sports worldwide, with some sources estimating that over 3.5 billion people are fans of the game. As a game which can be played anywhere by almost anyone, it is a great way to burn calories and have fun, seeing that it combines aerobic exercise with competitiveness and team spirit. But, whether you’re an aspiring professional or someone who likes to get together with friends and have a casual game during the weekends, you are sure to require a good pair of soccer cleats that will help bring your game to the max.
The type of boots used for association football is made to perform on firm ground fields with considerable technological advances since their invention in the 19th century. With studs on the outsole which provide the grip needed on grass fields, these shoes also need to allow the player to be able to fully flex their feet, gain speed, make quick starts, cuts, and turns, as well as to provide ample protection and comfort in order to keep them going for 90+ minutes.
- Adidas Copa Mundial
- Double Density Outsole
- Leather Upper
- Nike Magista Obra II
- Expanded Strike Zone
- Dynamic Fit Collar
- Dream Pairs 160860
- Great Price
- Fold-Over Tongue
This article looks at the best pairs of shoes designed for association football available for purchase in 2018, including the latest models by a wide variety of brands including adidas, Nike, Mizuno, Under Armour and Puma. With a wide variety of featured products, you are sure to be able to find the perfect pair of soccer cleats for your budget and skill level, ensuring that you make a purchase you will be happy with. In order to get even more information about what to look for in soccer shoes, make sure to read the Criteria for Evaluation and FAQ sections that look deeper into what makes a good pair of football boots.
10 Best Soccer Cleats
1. 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.
Cost and Value
The Adidas Copa Mundial be considered a costly shoe, but that is to be expected from a pair of performance footwear made classic over the years. While it might not be affordable for everyone, you won’t lack any aspect of soccer performance while wearing this pair.
No Impact Damage
Double Density Outsole
Unsuitable for Wide Feet
Hefty Price Tag
2. Nike Magista Obra II
The Magista Obra II features an asymmetrical lacing system which expands the strike zone, allowing you to have more ball control during play. The precise touch upper improves the grip of the ball and allows for more effective shots in key moments.
Super Soft Upper
If you want a pair of shoes that will be flexible enough to allow you to develop maximum speed, then the Magista Obra II is a great choice. The upper is made out of mesh, Kanga-Lite and NikeSkin materials, all of which were developed to combine a good fit with a lightweight feel.
Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the Nike Magista Obra II may not be for everyone’s budget. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent pair of cleats that are well-worth checking out if you are after better ball control and good flexibility. And if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you might want to check out the Pro and Academy versions as well.
Expanded Strike Zone
Asymmetrical Lacing System
Dynamic Fit Collar
Fine Element Analysis Stud Pattern
May Cause Pain Due to Stud Pressure
3. Adidas Predator 18+
While some manufacturers go with asymmetrical lacing system in order to maximize the strike zone, Adidas goes in a completely different direction with the Predator 18+. This shoe features a laceless design with a Purecut sock forefoot that has no edges or protrusions that would get between your foot and the ball.
If there’s one piece of technology that Adidas is known for, it has to be their BOOST cushioning which provides some of the best possible energy return available on the market. If you opt for the Predator 18+ you get to reap the benefits of the BOOST, which will return just as much as you give when on the field.
Cost and Value
The Adidas Predator 18+ is the highest ranking pair of cleats on this list, which may dissuade some people from giving them a try. Nonetheless, if you’re after stability, precision, and control, as well as a design that allows easy entry without the hassle of dealing with laces, then this is definitely a pair of footwear for you.
Hybrid Stud Tips
Molded Heel for Snug Fit
Personalisation Comes Off Quickly
4. Mizuno Morelia II
In addition to its flexible and soft upper, the Morelia II Made in Japan also features a sole plate that was designed to allow for maximum flexibility of the foot during all running and kicking movement. Paired with 13 studs that have been strategically placed to reduce pressure, this is a pair of shoes suitable even for the most demanding players.
Being made with the greatest care, this is a pair of football boots that will last you for several seasons to come. Being made in Japan, it ensures outstanding quality control that will give you peace of mind that your shoes are just as ready for any game as you are.
Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the Mizuno Morelia II Made in Japan is a rather expensive pair of equipment. However, if you want a pair of durable cleats that will perform just as well after several seasons as they did on the first day, then you should definitely check these out. If you’re still looking to save some money, you might want to check out the Morelia II models made in Indonesia, as they are just as well-made but are sold at a much lower price.
Premium Quality K-Leather Upper
No Breaking In Required
Suitable for Wide Feet
Studs May Cause Pressure to Feet
5. Nike Tiempo Legend VII
Utilizing Fitmesh technology in the lining of the Tiempo Legend VII, these Nike shoes are an excellent choice if you value good forefoot lockdown that will prevent your feet from sliding inside the cleat. Not only does this prevent injury, but it can also maximize your efficiency during training and games.
In addition to the high quality upper, the Tiempo Legend VII also features elements in the sole that contribute to a great boot overall. It features a Hyperstability Plate which is made out of nylon coated in Pebax, which is not only stable, but also provides the required level of flexibility, as well as being lightweight at the same time.
Cost and Value
Ranking average to high on this list when it comes to price - depending on whether you opt for the cheaper Pro or the more expensive Elite version - the Nike Tiempo Legend VII is an excellent choice for playmakers looking for a comfortable fit that will allow them to perform at their highest level.
Flyknit and Kangaroo Leather Upper
Academy, Pro and Elite Versions Available
May Cause Heel Blisters
6. Adidas Nemeziz 17.1
An improved knit material, the Agility Knit 2.0 that’s featured on the forefoot portion of the Nemeziz 17.1 is meant to give you excellent fit and responsiveness, without the need for a breaking in period.
Using 360 Torsion Tape technology, these boots will allow you to be fully supported, while still maintaining full flexibility in the foot. The Dual Lock Collar adds an extra level of security in providing ankle lockdown in order to minimize the chance of injury during tough games.
Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the Adidas Nemeziz 17.1 is a pair of cleats that will work best for those looking for a high level of support, both lateral and medial, and those who may be looking for models specially designed for women. Having been inspired by and developed with Lionel Messi, you can rest assured these boots are going to be a good choice.
360 Torsion Tape Upper
Women’s and Men’s Models Available
Agility Knit 2.0 Forefoot
Will Work on Wet Ground
May Cause Heel Blisters
7. UA Magnetico Select
Using a combination of variously shaped studs, Under Armour made these shoes to give you the best possible traction during a wide variety of movements that are all part of the game. Bladed and round conical studs will enable you both to run fast, as well as to stop and change direction at high speeds.
Using a sockliner with antimicrobial technology, the Magnetico Select ensures that you have a comfortable feeling underfoot with the right amount of air flow. This level of breathability will prevent the overgrowth of bacteria in your shoes that otherwise lead to unpleasant smells.
Cost and Value
With a price that is surprisingly low, the Under Armour Magnetico Select ranks low on this list when it comes to cost. It’s an excellent pair of football boots for players who are looking for a good grip of the ball, a comfortable fit, and plenty of flexibility that will allow them to run fast during the offense.
Locked In Support
Easy To Break In
Runs Slightly Narrow
8. 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 this shoe’s surface and the ball. This enhances traction, generating superior striking power and adding more pronounced curves to every strike.
Cost and Value
The Hypervenom III is one of the most expensive items on the list, which may turn some away. Nonetheless, it is a pair of shoes that are made with performance in mind, and are even endorsed by world soccer superstars. Utterly expensive, but utterly efficient.
Dynamic Fit Collar
9. Puma One 18.1
The knit collar of the Puma One 18.1 is an excellent addition for those who are looking for added ankle support. It’s thicker and softer than most other collars available on the market, and it transitions into the rest of the shoe well, without creating any unnecessary bulk in either part.
Excellent for All Positions
Whether you’re an offense or defensive player, you will definitely benefit from the One 18.1. Thanks to the Kangaroo leather forefoot that’s thin and soft, this shoe will allow you to have great control of the ball, while also providing the necessary padding.
Cost and Value
Ranking above average on this list when it comes to price, the Puma One 18.1 is still more affordable than similar models by competitor brands. It’s a great choice for players in all positions, seeing that it’s a comfortable shoe which allows for excellent ball control and good traction on firm ground fields.
Kangaroo Leather Forefoot
Conical and Blade Shaped Studs
Great Ball Control
Easy to Break In
Heel Padding Sits Low
Lacks in Sole Flexibility
10. 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 shoes for soccer 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 stand out 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.
Rubber Molded Cleats
Fold Over Tongue
Sizing Runs Large
Choosing the right model of cleats is no easy task. As with any other type of footwear, you will need to try a few different styles and figure out what works for you best. This list focuses on shoes that deliver firm-ground functionalities that are necessary when playing soccer. 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.
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. Of course, you can also go with a cheaper model of cleats, but it goes without saying that the performance level and durability you can expect of those is incomparable to flagship models by leading brands. Nonetheless, you are sure to find a perfect model for your preferences and budget on the list above. For even more information about what to look for in your next pair of shoes, make sure to read the Criteria for Evaluation section that will give you some useful facts and tips for a successful purchase.
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 for adequate airflow.
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 shoes 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, and the impact it causes with soccer shoes 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 worse, 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 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 shoe for association football. 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, and 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.
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 comes 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.