Breaking into the world of soccer can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right pair of cleats.
We have compiled this buying guide for new soccer players looking for their first pair of soccer cleats in hopes that the process can be made simpler.
When considering what pair of cleats to buy, players must first determine what type will fit their specific needs.
Cleats can be categorized by the playing-surface they are intended for. Whether a cleat is built for use on firm-ground, soft-ground, turf, or an indoor court will have a lot to do with how the shoe is made and will perform.
Below, we have described the specifics of each category and given players three great options for each to consider buying.
Firm-Ground Soccer Cleats (FG)
If shopping for cleats built for use on dry natural grass surfaces, look for firm-ground (FG) options.
These cleats are the most versatile and popular among soccer players, as they are intended for playing on regular soccer fields which receive little rain. The base of these cleats will have molded studs to stick in the ground and provide players with the traction they need perform their best during the game.
For players looking for a firm-ground pair of cleats, we suggest the following three shoes.
- Nike Premier Men’s FG Soccer Boots: These cleats will offer players great comfort and stability during the game. The studs differ in size and thickness to offer players the very best traction, speed, and stability on any-condition field. The lining of this cleat was built to fit the natural shape of a foot, and this anatomical design allows for easier acceleration. Additionally, these shoes are made with kangaroo and goat leather, and the supple feel allows better flexibility than many other options.
- PUMA Men’s Evospeed 3.4 FG Soccer Shoe: Just like the name suggests, these cleats were built with speed in mind. They feature a mix of real and synthetic leathers, which makes them durable but also allows for them to be extremely lightweight and easy to run in. These cleats remain secure as players run with a lace-up design.
- Adidas Men’s Soccer Messi 15.1 Firm Ground Cleats: We recommend these cleats because of their traction and comfort. They feature a foam insole, soft fabric lining, and padded collar so that players can remain comfortable the entire game. They have a lace-up closure and a signature messiFRAME which wraps around the entire foot and ensures stability. The cleats also utilize signature messiGAMBETRAX stud configuration, which makes their traction better than most and allows players to perform at top-speed.
Soft-Ground Soccer Cleats (SG)
If playing on natural surfaces that are wet rather than dry, new players should choose a soft-ground cleat. These cleats work best on muddy playing surfaces or fields that are well-groomed, and will cause stud-pressure pain or even injury if used on firmer ground. They typically have fewer and more spread-apart studs than firm-ground cleats.
For players looking for a soft-ground pair of cleats, we suggest the following options.
- Nike Tiempo Legend V SG-Pro: We suggest this pair of cleats because they are specifically made to hold up in wet playing areas. Made of kangaroo leather and hydromesh, these cleats not only absorb less water on the field, they also dry faster after the game. The kangaroo leather also makes this pair lightweight so players can count on speed and stability even on more slippery areas.
- Adidas Performance Men’s World Cup Soccer Cleats: This pair of cleats is an excellent option for players who wish to customize their studs depending on how soft their playing field is. The studs screw out and can be replaced, promising sure-footing in any condition. They feature a TRUplate design which is lightweight but also durable on muddy playing-ground.
- Under Armour Men’s UA Speedform CRM Hybrid: These cleats feature replaceable studs as well, making them great for a variety of fields. We suggest them, however, for their comfort and traction. The heel of this cleat is seamless and fits anatomically. Paired with a lace-up closure, this makes these cleats extremely comfortable and stable. The plate is lightweight for traction and acceleration.
Turf (Artificial) Soccer Cleats
If playing on an artificial turf field rather than a natural one, players should choose a cleat made specifically for this type of ground. Instead of the longer studs, these cleats are made with very small rubber studs, which can grip on to the harder surfaces of turf. The soles are made of rubber to offer players traction on these surfaces.
For players looking for a turf pair of cleats, we suggest the following options.
- Adidas Performance Men’s Ace 16.3 Primemesh TF Soccer Shoe: This pair of cleats features a PRIMEMESH upper for an anatomical fit that is also breathable, making it comfortable even on hard surfaces. The small rubber studs on this cleat are uniquely designed to create a pocket on the sole, and this allows for players to get a better grip on the field as well and more control over the ball.
- PUMA Men’s Evotouch 3 TT Soccer Shoe: We recommend this pair of cleats for their durability and the fact that they are lightweight. They are made with a synthetic leather which is scratch-resistant, so they don’t wear out quickly even when playing on harder surfaces. The rubber sole offers the great stability as well.
- Nike Men’s Tiempo Genio II Leather TF Turf Soccer Cleat: These cleats are great for movement and speed. The leather upper is more flexible than most, allowing playing to be their most mobile. Additionally, this cleat also features many short rubber studs which are good for control over the ball.
Indoor Soccer Cleats
If playing on an indoor court rather than an outside field, players should choose a cleat with a flat sole made of gum-rubber which won’t leave marks on the court. These shoes are perfect for players who practice in a gym or a recreational facility.
For players looking for an indoor pair of cleats, we suggest the following options.
- Nike ELASTICO II Men’s Indoor Soccer Shoe: This pair of cleats offers a multi-directional grid on the soles, making them great for traction indoors as well as ball-control. They are constructed with breathable mesh and cushioned at the forefoot and heel so players remain comfortable even with flat soles.
- Adidas Performance Men’s Samba Classic Indoor Soccer Shoe: We recommend these shoes because their low-profile gum rubber sole was originally designed for frozen pitches, so players can rest assured that they get the best-of-the-best when it comes to traction. Also, these shoes were made to be lightweight, allowing for even more agility on the court.
- Puma Men’s Invicto Sala Soccer Shoe: We recommend these shoes for their durability and comfort. They feature a removable cushion so players can determine the right comfort and fit for themselves. The toe of these shoes has a rubber enforcement, offering protection from the hard surface and making these shoes one of the most durable pairs players can buy.