Best Men's Soccer Cleats

Updated April 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
480 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s soccer cleats

Last Updated April 2020

Did you know that approximately 265 million people play soccer worldwide? Of course you did — you’re one of them. That’s why you need a top-quality pair of men’s soccer cleats.

Soccer cleats might all look the same, but when you slip into a pair and hit the pitch, you’ll find that each fit is totally different. Some players need a firmer style that is more supportive, while others prefer soccer cleats with maximum flexibility. In fact, there are a number of design elements you need to consider before you buy a pair of soccer cleats, including fit, lace design, cut, cleat shape, and even material texture.

If you feel like you’re in overtime trying to choose soccer cleats, let us help. Read on to learn more about finding the best pair for you and take a look at some of our favorites before you take your next shot on goal.

Your U.S. shoe size might not align with the size compatibility chart from European manufacturers. It’s best to try on more than one size to find the best-fitting cleats.

Key considerations

Soccer cleat components

Outsole: The outsole, also called the soleplate, is the outermost layer of the sole to which the cleats are attached. It’s often made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which allows enough flexibility to run comfortably. TPU is also preferred for its extreme durability, as well as its resistance to water, abrasion, and staining.

Cleats: Soccer cleats are made of dense plastic or rubber, though their design is determined by the field type for which they’re intended. They usually have a conical or rectangular shape, though some manufacturers are experimenting with other shapes. Cleats are arranged around the outsole in a pattern that follows the foot’s natural flow of motion as it connects to the ground.

Upper: Soccer cleats utilize various materials for the upper, and sometimes combine more than one in their construction. Genuine leather is a popular choice and is used alone or paired with synthetic materials like polyurethane (PU), nylon, or mesh. Soccer cleats that are predominantly leather are usually the most expensive. More affordable styles only have select leather details or stick to all synthetic materials.

Collar: The collar is the soccer cleat’s opening. Most soccer cleats feature the traditional cut that hits below the ankle. There are some newer styles popularized by Cristiano Ronaldo that feature mid- and high-cut collars. Low-cut styles tend to be more rigid, while higher cuts are softer and have a sock-like fit. 

Laces: Laces on soccer cleats span most of the arch. They usually begin where toes meet the foot and go up to parallel to the bottom of the ankle. Some styles go straight up the arch, while others go at an angle. While it boils down to preference, some players prefer off-center laces because they leave more surface area across the toe box for ball handling.

Field type

If you’d like to narrow your choices quickly, determine which type of field you play on the most. Most pitches, especially at schools or public fields, have natural or muddy grass. Artificial grass is less common, but many leagues play on it.

Firm ground: Cleats made for natural grass or firm ground are often marked FG. These styles have round cleats that are often removable. The intention is to provide better traction, especially on pitches with slightly uneven ground.

Muddy grass: Muddy, grassy pitches are much softer and, in some cases you sink a bit on the field. As a result, you need to look for cleats marked SG, which have longer cleats. Their length sinks deeper into the ground, helping you grip the soft surface. These cleats often have aluminum tips as well.

Artificial grass: When you’re playing on a field with artificial grass, you need cleats with slightly shorter studs. This is because the ground and grass are somewhat shallow compared to other surfaces. These cleats are usually marked AG.

Multiple fields: Do you play soccer in more than one league and more than one season? If so, it’s likely that you play on more than one type of field. In this case, it’s worth considering a hybrid cleat style, which is designed for use on multiple field types. These are usually marked MG.

EXPERT TIP

Air out your cleats in a well-ventilated area. The airflow will help eliminate odors.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Classic vs. high-top cleats

Classic cleats have been around for decades, though high-top cleats have grown in popularity in recent years. Not only do they have completely different profiles, but they fit differently, too.

Classic: Traditionalists like classic cleats. The collar is cut below the ankle to provide ample room for socks as well as shin guards with ankle-protection pads. Classic cleats also leave enough room to wear ankle braces without significantly affecting the overall fit.

On the downside, classic cleats leave the ankles exposed and therefore lack ankle support. They also tend to be made of firmer materials that require some breaking in before they’re totally comfortable.

High-top: These cleats fit more like a sock and are cut at or above the ankle. They have a streamlined, aerodynamic profile and provide additional ankle support and protection. High-top cleats also have extra curb appeal, especially with their groundbreaking, statement-making design.

On the downside, wearing shin guards with ankle pads or bulky ankle braces can be somewhat uncomfortable in high-top cleats. Also, the collar is made of a flexible synthetic blend, which after some wear can stretch out, compromising the fit.

EXPERT TIP

If you keep your soccer uniform and cleats in a gear bag, bring spare plastic bags to wrap up the cleats. It will prevent your soiled footwear from transferring dirt onto other items inside the bag.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Casual sandals: Adidas Men’s Adilette CF+ Logo Slide
Switch into casual sandals as soon as the game is over to avoid scuffing up your cleats. We like this pair from Adidas, whose wide cut is comfortable with or without socks. The durable synthetic blend makes them easy to spot clean or rinse off.

Shin guards: Adidas Adult X Club Soccer Shin Guards
Pick up a pair of referee-approved shin guards for the game. We like this pair from Adidas, especially with its additional padding around the ankle and Achilles tendon. They also have hard shield front plates to absorb shock and provide superior protection.

Men’s soccer cleat prices

Men’s soccer cleats cost between $30 and $200. While you’ll end up paying more for styles by premium brands, they do have significantly better construction.

Inexpensive: Basic soccer cleats with synthetic soles and uppers cost between $30 and $50. The fit doesn’t feel as tailored as that of more expensive styles, but they get the job done for recreational players.

Mid-range: If you spend between $50 and $120, you can find a broad range of good-quality cleats. These are lightweight with sleeker profiles and durable cleats. You’ll find a variety of brands in this range, from lesser-known companies to major names in soccer apparel.

Expensive: If you’re all about fit and performance, expect to spend closer to $200. These styles are engineered to help you navigate the pitch better with superior flexibility and arch support. This range includes the greatest number of styles with leather uppers as well.

EXPERT TIP

Try on soccer cleats with your uniform socks. They are much thicker than everyday socks and will help you judge how well the cleats fit.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Clean your cleats after each game or practice. In addition to removing mud from the cleats, wipe off any surface dirt from the rest of the shoe as well as the laces.
  • Wash the laces. Place laces in a delicates bag for easy machine washing and line drying.
  • Try more than one brand. Each manufacturer offers a unique fit, which is why it’s worth trying on multiple styles. The cleats you choose might surprise you.
  • Keep spare cleats on hand. If you have removable cleats, always have a spare set on hand so you don’t have to miss a game due to a lack of footwear.

Other products we considered

Don’t see your next soccer cleats in our matrix? We also like this modern take on classic cleats. The Adidas Copa 19.4 Firm Ground Cleats are a cut above the rest when it comes to traction and connection, whether the pitch is natural or artificial grass. The cleats also have a low profile in an aerodynamic design for better ball handling. Choose from all black or one with the white Adidas stripe.

We also like the Nike Phantom Club FG Soccer Cleats. These cleats have multiple textures in the black-and-gold colorway. The asymmetrical lacing system increases the overall striking area for better shots and ball handling. These budget-friendly cleats are a solid choice for casual players.

Even the most comfortable soccer cleats need to be broken in before a game. Go for a light jog on a grassy field and do some toe lifts to loosen up the instep and toe box.

FAQ

Q. How long will my soccer cleats last?
A.
If you’re playing and practicing regularly for an entire season, expect them to only last until the end of it. By then, the cleats will be worn out and the cushioning will be on the verge of deteriorating. If you’re a casual player, you can probably get a couple years out of your cleats since you use them much less often.
 

Q. Does it matter how I lace my soccer cleats?
A.
It boils down to preference. You’ll notice many players adopt their own unique lacing styles to provide support in different areas. One of the most popular lacing styles involves wrapping the laces around the instep area. This provides a tighter lateral fit, and many players believe it contributes to better arch support.
 

Q. Do my soccer cleats have to match my uniform?
A.
Not at all. Choose a pair with bright colors and a bold design to suit your style. Unless your team has specific rules about wearing certain colors, go to town and choose any cleats you like.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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