There is no one choice that tops all the others when talking about the football cleats. Every position needs a specific design and level of protection. And, depending on the terrain, not all studs will be equally effective.
Factor in your age group, skill bracket, common weather conditions in your area, and you’ve just scraped the surface of what conditions your ideal football cleats have to meet.
The good news is that unless you plan on buying competition-ready shoes, the choices don’t matter as much.
Some soccer cleats can prove effective for football players under the right circumstances, but not so much the other way around. Check out five of the best football cleats on the market. There’s at least a pair for every position and wallet.
Football Cleats Reviews
1. Nike Men’s Vapor Untouchable Pro 3
These football cleats are designed for players who need a good balance between flexibility and protection.
The Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 football cleats feature a soft mid-top design. They are ideal for quarterbacks and other skill position players. The cleats vary in price depending on the size, but you get the same level of durability you would expect at every price point.
These cleats don’t use any leather. They come with a flexible upper that’s made from a combination of synthetic and mesh skins. This also helps to reduce the overall weight of the shoes, which should further improve the athlete’s performance.
The design also features carbon fiber plates, which improves the overall durability of the shoes. At the same time, the carbon fiber improves traction and thus the overall performance.
In terms of appearance, the Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 comes in a staggering number of color patterns. However, it is surprising that this model doesn’t feature any NFL team colors
What's to like about the Nike Men’s Vapor Untouchable Pro 3
If you’re not a stickler for high-end leather, then the Untouchable Pro 3 pair of cleats may be the one for you. The reliability you get during crunch time more than makes up for the higher price tag.
What's not to like about the Nike Men’s Vapor Untouchable Pro 3
Although nothing was spared to make a highly flexible pair of synthetic cleats, this still falls short when compared to proper leather cleats.
2. Vitike Soccer Football Cleats
Striking a good balance between affordability, durability, and flexibility, these Vitike soft high-top cleats offer an unparalleled level of comfort in their price range.
These shoes are labeled as soccer shoes. However, due to their high-top cut (high for soccer but soft mid-top for football) they’re also useful to football players. The shoes are also thicker than regular soccer footwear, which means they offer plenty of protection.
The rubber molded spikes mean only one thing – the shoes are made for artificial fields. Therefore, these aren’t exactly game-day cleats but rather practice cleats, unless you play for the handful of high schools that have an artificial turf home stadium.
The V-shaped design of the cleats offers great traction during wet and dry conditions. The shoes also use something called AG-Pro Outsole, which also improves stability at high speeds and quick cuts.
What's to like about the Vitike Soccer Football Cleats
The main highlight is that these cleats are viable for both soccer and football.
What's not to like about the Vitike Soccer Football Cleats
Vitike only makes these cleats in kid and teen sizes. Of course, the fact that they only have real value on synthetic grass makes them even more situational.
3. Adidas Performance Men’s Crazyquick 2.0
Available in sizes 8 through 13, the Adidas Performance Crazyquick 2.0 mid-top football cleats offer great mobility and comfort.
The soles are equipped with both sprint studs and quick studs. The combination of the two allows players to perform quick cuts on the field without losing speed.
The traction is also great, due to the use of blade studs at the heel. Although the shoes are not designed for defending positions, they seem to have a very reliable stopping power on the field.
What's to like about the Adidas Performance Men’s Crazyquick 2.0
Apart from the build quality, there is one feature that really stands out for the Crazyquick 2.0 – the lockweb system. This keeps the laces in place even when under extreme stress. This helps improve the comfort as well as provide protection to the wearer.
What's not to like about the Adidas Performance Men’s Crazyquick 2.0
Despite having a very comfortable and breathable insole, the shoes still have a rather narrow design. This makes them unsuitable for kids with wider feet.
4. Dream Pairs Men’s Football Cleats
If you’re struggling to check every item off the list, consider completing your football equipment with a budget-friendly pair of cleats.
If you play wide receiver you might appreciate how light and soft these DP football shoes are. The low-cut design is good for speed. It doesn’t offer the best ankle support and protection but it allows the player to be more flexible with his movements.
The studs are molded and non-replaceable. They’re placed in a rotational traction configuration, which according to DP, is designed specifically for improved control and grip on damp playing conditions.
What's to like about the Dream Pairs Men’s Football Cleats
Because the durability of these shoes is hardly worth discussing, the main attraction becomes the price tag. The shoes are considerably cheaper and just as comfortable as what you may get from competing manufacturers.
What's not to like about the Dream Pairs Men’s Football Cleats
These shoes suffer from the same problem as many others in this category. However comfortable the insole may be, the shoes don’t accommodate players with wide feet.
5. Under Armour Men’s Highlight RM Football Cleats
The RM stands for rubber molded. Don’t let that fool you. The traction is quite comparable to what Under Armour plastic molded cleats offer.
These shoes are all about support. The high shaft and TPU ankle cage improve ankle stability and reduce the risk of injury when blocking and pushing.
Because these are synthetic shoes, you can expect to feel light on your feet while wearing them. The traction is very good. Of course, it’s ideal only when playing on artificial grass; the studs aren’t long enough to handle real grass and very slippery field conditions.
The synthetic material used for the shoes is an Under Armour special. It wraps around the foot nicely and makes you feel comfy even though the shoes have a tight fit.
What's to like about the Under Armour Men’s Highlight RM Football Cleats
What’s most important and commendable about these Under Armour cleats is the overall build quality and durability. You get your money’s worth, which doesn’t always happen, even with Under Armour.
What's not to like about the Under Armour Men’s Highlight RM Football Cleats
The combination of a high price tag and lack of support for players with wide feet are the only real drawbacks of these cleats.
Football cleats vary. There are three types of cleats, each catering to specific roles on a football team so getting the right type for your position is very important. The right pair of cleats will help you perform your duties as a player while also keeping you safe from the most common injuries at your position.
Low-top football cleats are characterized by their lightweight build. The upper ends just slightly above the ankle to aid players that need extra mobility. You will often see low-top cleats worn by wide receivers and defensive backs.
Although this design offers more mobility, it also offers less protection against ankle sprains at the point of contact.
These shoes serve as a middle ground between mobility and protection. They are usually the main choice for quarterbacks, running backs, and other players near the line of scrimmage that require more skill.
Although not nearly as comfortable as mid-top cleats, high-top football cleats are very important. Linemen benefit the most from these shoes as they provide extra support, stability, and traction.
The ruggedness of the shoes and the high shafts are great at preventing ankle rolls when your feet are planted. This is the main reason why this type is recommended for linemen. When playing at that position, you’ll often find yourself moving from side to side and pushing and blocking other big guys, which puts a lot of extra strain on the ankles.
There’s not a lot to discuss about football cleat materials. Although the shoes are carefully molded for specific positions, the fabric variety is not amazing.
Leather is the main ingredient. Leather offers breathability, flexibility, and tons of comfort. It’s also very durable, which is why it’s also an expensive material. The upper is usually made either from leather or synthetic materials.
Keep in mind that no football cleats are pure leather. You will find synthetics used at least in some crucial areas. Synthetics are used either to lower the cost of the shoe or to act as reinforcement. More precisely – as support for the ankle, midfoot, or forefoot.
Football cleats come in various shapes, types, and styles. However, picking the best pair isn’t all about getting the right type for your position on the team. The size or fit of the shoe is equally important.
Although not all football cleats are created equal, there are some things that you need to pay close attention to if you want to feel comfortable and safe on the field. Some cleats are made for regular foot widths, while others are made for wide feet. If you have extraordinarily wide feet, look for cleats that come in E or EEE width, as compared to the regular D width.
To ensure you will feel comfortable for a long time in your new cleats, check to see how much space there is between the side of your sole and the interior face of the midsole. If you can fit more than one finger there, the shoes are likely too big.
Unlike soccer and baseball cleats, football cleats are considerably heavier, but negligible compared to the rest of your equipment. The reason they are heavier is that they are thicker and sturdier than other cleats.
Even so, not all football cleats are of the same weight. There’s a substantial difference between low- and high-tops.
The spikes, or cleats, or protrusions, are the design features that give football players their traction on the field.
When it comes to spikes, there are two types you have to choose between – detachable and molded.
These spikes are replaceable. This type of studs is also generally longer to provide better traction and stability on the field. Of course, what makes these very popular is their versatility.
You can keep the same shoe and just replace the spikes, depending on the terrain or weather conditions. Of course, this level of versatility comes at a cost. Detachable cleats are usually pricier and they’re also more high-maintenance.
Molded spikes can’t be replaced. Once they wear down, you have to replace the shoes. However, molded spikes have their advantages too. They require less maintenance because there’s no need to take them out and clean the holes. They’re also less expensive for the most part.
The same variety in size and materials applies to molded spikes. Therefore, you should be able to find the right spikes for your needs.
There’s another type of spikes you may come across. Professional football players often use what’s called turf cleats or turf football shoes. These have less prominent spikes – instead, they feature multiple rubber, small protrusions, or nubs,
The reason why turf cleats exist is for the benefit of players who practice and play on artificial terrains, such as Astroturf. These cleats give amazing traction on artificial ground but they’re not ideal for grass.
How to clean football cleats?
A lot of people think that cleaning football cleats is hard. In reality, it’s not at all hard as long as you don’t wait too long. If you want to keep your cleats looking pristine and performing as new, you have to start cleaning them as soon as you take them off after the game.
Start by banging the soles and cleats together to get most of the dirt off. Take a trusty toothbrush to the soles and brush between the protrusions to knock off the excess dirt.
Keep in mind that most football cleats are leather. Don’t use detergents or other commercial cleaning supplies that might damage the leather. Water and mild laundry detergent will do just fine.
After you’re done scrubbing, dry the cleats. Here’s a very interesting fact: Although cleats should not be stored wet, you shouldn’t dry them with a blow dryer or in direct sunlight. Let them dry at room temperature.
Cleaning the exterior is only half the battle. Oftentimes it’s the insides that cause the most problems. Take out the insoles and throw them in the washing machine. Depending on the durability of the insoles, you may want to consider sealing them in pillowcases, socks, or pant pockets before starting the washing cycle.
How should football cleats fit?
To get the best fit, you must try shoes in certain conditions. For one, consider wearing your game-day socks or something of a similar thickness. Walk, run, and stretch the cleats a bit while trying them on. Don’t settle for putting them on and standing in front of a mirror.
There are a couple of signs for a perfect fit. If you’re already doing all of the above, then look out for the following
- Lack of pain when moving
- Flexibility when simulating drills
- Not a lot of space between the foot and the side of the shoe
For this last part, you also want to gauge the fit of the heel. It should be snug so that your heel doesn’t lift while moving but not too tight that you feel any pressure.
Since most football games are played in the afternoon or at night, it’s also recommended to try on football cleats during that time of day because your body goes through certain changes from the time you wake up and the time you go to bed; these may influence weight, swelling of the extremities, and so on.
How to customize football cleats?
Custom football cleats are generally reserved for popular professional players. The guys who get endorsements always have access to custom footwear. That doesn’t mean that you can’t change the appearance of a generic pair of cleats.
You can get the cheapest pair of leather football cleats and paint them in the colors of your favorite team. It just takes some time, patience, artistic flair, and a couple of supplies.
First, you will have to remove the factory finish from the cleats. You can do this by rubbing them with acetone-soaked cotton balls. Once the leather turns gray, you know the job is done.
After that, you can simply paint the cleats with leather paint in your favorite colors. Of course, like any other type of paint job, make sure to use masking tape to block out certain areas. This will allow you to get clean separation lines between colors and paint more complex designs.
Whether you own high-end or cheap football cleats, you should always apply the paint in thin layers. Allow each coat of paint to dry before applying a new one to enhance to color. You can speed up the process by using a heat gun or blow dryer.
When you’re pleased with the pattern and color intensity, allow the cleats to dry once again. After that, spray them with a matte finisher. This will help seal the paint, protect it, and make it less shiny.
Of course, you can also customize your football cleats by changing the individual cleats. Again, you can play with colors here. You can do the same with the laces. However, keep in mind that customizing football cleats not only takes time but it can also get very expensive.
What are football cleats?
Football cleats, or cleats for short, get their name from the design. The soles feature protrusions (cleats) or attachments with the sole purpose of providing extra traction on soft, slippery, or muddy terrain.
Although there are other sports that use shoes with sole protrusions and extensions, the term cleats is almost always associated with American football.
Are football and soccer cleats the same?
Soccer cleats can be worn by football players. However, if you’re going for optimal performance, there’s a reason they have different names.
There are very distinctive design differences between soccer and football cleats. Professional football players wear shoes that are heavier and have thick leather. This is needed for protection against other players stepping on your feet. Unlike soccer, the extra weight doesn’t matter when compared to the rest of your equipment.
The cleats themselves are quite long as they need to provide better stability when making cuts and turns. The extra length also offers more traction. These cleats also come in three shaft sizes, depending on what position you’re playing.
High-top shoes are usually worn by linemen. The mid-top is preferred by running backs, quarterbacks, and linebackers, while low-top shoes are generally worn by speed positions such as wide receivers.
Soccer cleats aren’t as customizable or varied. They’re always low cut and have shorter cleats that facilitate running and agility moves. Although there are plenty of accidental stepping fouls in soccer too, the cleats are still lightweight in order to allow players to move with more fluidity.
In a world where athlete signature shoes are all the rage, people forget that there are many more options out there when it comes to football cleats. Not all of them look as fancy, but oftentimes they’re just as durable.
Don’t think that you’re getting handmade shoes, as they’re all mass produced. It’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to pay a premium just to wear the brand that your favorite player endorses. Football equipment is expensive enough as it is.
A good pair of cleats doesn’t have to make you scrap your upcoming vacation. Choose something that lasts, something adequate for your position, and if possible, something that looks cool too. This list should contain at least one pair that suits your playing style.