Soccer Shoes, Boots or Cleats
There are two major performance considerations that should shape your decisions with soccer footwear. Your boot choice will primarily rely on these two questions:
- What kind of surface do you play on?
- How much touch does your game demand?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the right boot for you.
The out-sole is the part of the shoe that touches the ground. The field on which you play should determine the type of out-sole you choose.
Simply put the upper is the part of the boot that comes into contact with the ball. Some prefer a more natural, glove-like fit that come from a leather boot, while others prefer to have a consistent performance provided by straightforward synthetic uppers which do not change shape through usage.
Here is a breakdown of the more high-profile materials you will currently will come across in today’s selection of soccer boots:
- Natural Leather – Leathers such as calf skin and surprisingly goat have been widely used on many top level boots. For the most part, these are the only natural leathers that companies still seem to be using. A leather boot offers a really unique feel on the ball and the opportunity to use them on a pair is definitely worth considering.
- Synthetic Leather – The top brands like Nike and Adidas are working to really produce high end replica leathers that mimic the same qualities as a Natural leather. In addition, they are able to add other traits, such as waterproofing, into the mix. You do loose some of the natural on the ball feel, but as newer materials are being developed, we are getting closer and closer to a pretty perfect performance match between touch and durability. Such products are in between ranges as you find some decent quality entry level made from this material.
- Synthetic – Then there are the uppers designed to offer a completely different experience for players on the ball. Synthetic boots tend to feature much thinner materials and actually provide players with a slightly larger fit from first wear. These boots range more towards the base models, as the higher in price you go the better the material. These boots however are the perfect match for someone who is starting to learn the game.
Other Types of Shoes
Running and training shoes for general fitness are a staple for any player. Generally, running shoes feature rubber outsole and nylon uppers. Some soccer trainers now offer a soccer upper and a running shoe outsole.
Trail shoes are built like most other running shoes, but have a heavier outsole, and should be able to take heavier use. Sandals are key for many soccer players. These rubber slides offer some much-needed relief after 90 minutes in a match or intense training.
The primary factor determining the price of a boot is the quality of the material used in construction. The amount of technology that goes into a shoe also has an influence on its price. The higher level the player generally the more money he or she will invest in boots. Some considerations to take note of when looking at the price of soccer boots, cheaper boots do not last the more expensive the better the materials and technology the boot has, and therefore the longer it would last.
Boots should fit snugly in the heel and the toe a snug fit improves both performance and comfort. A comfortable width is important, as well. Comfort is your driving factor, the more natural the boots feel on your feet the more comfortable you’ll be on the field. The width and feel of shoes (dependant upon the last, which the shoe was molded on) varies with manufacturers and models.
Keep in mind the material of the shoe in determining fit you can expect high-quality, natural leathers to stretch some. Therefore they should definitely be snug when new. As a note to parents of junior players: We do not recommend buying shoes too large for players to “grow into.” An overly large or poorly fitting shoe can contribute to accidents or injury as players push themselves to their limits.
Women’s vs. Men’s Shoes
It used to be that women soccer players could only buy men’s shoes and a lot of the time high quality shoes were not made in sizes that were small enough to fit a women’s foot. No longer! World Soccer Shop now carries a complete collection of shoes designed specifically for the female player. But if you are a female and find that you can only find a man’s shoe that suits you, then sizes usually translate. A size 5.5 men’s usually equals a size 6.5 women’s.