In a world with thousands of soccer cleats, ranging from microfiber uppers to kangaroo leather ones, how can you know what cleats to buy? Especially during this time where players are picking out what boots to wear for the upcoming season, SER thought it would be pertinent and informative to have this guide! SER can help you answer this seemingly never-ending enigma to find soccer cleats that suit your position!
Before you start reading this guide, please note that there will be a complete guide for each position, where we will look in-depth at each position and the cleats that are suitable for it. This is just a sample of what is yet to come!
Probably the position with the most amount of options, professional goalkeepers around the world wear a huge variety of cleats. Some wear customized Nike Talaria V’s (Thomas Sorensen), Adidas Predator X (Edwin Van der Sar), and many others. There really are no ‘specific’ football boots for the goalkeeper position, however, from my opinion, these are the cleats I would choose if I were a keeper.
Surprisingly, the relatively new company and their Concave concept are on my list for ‘Best Cleats for a Goalkeeper.’ However, if you think about it, the majority of a goalkeeper’s touches (at least the majority of touches with their feet) of the ball are on goal-kicks. The PT+ Classic is designed for power, and with the Concave component, your goal kicks can have that little extra ping to them. However, note that it will and does take some time to get used to kicking with the Concave component.
A much less surprising choice is the Adidas Predator X. It’s the power boot for Adidas, and while it may not add as much power as the Concave’s, it is still certainly a cleat to look at if you are a keeper. As you can see, I favor power boots for goalkeepers, but note that I am not a goalkeeper. If you are a goalkeeper, please let us know what you think are the best cleats for you! However, seeing that many goalkeepers across the world wear the cleats, from Manchester United’s Edwin Van der Sar to Germany’s Manuel Neuer, they seem like a top boot for goalkeepers.
Another shoe-in for SER’s ‘Best Cleats for a Goalkeeper’, the Nike Total 90 Laser III is Nike’s power boot. An advantage the Laser has over the PT+ Classic is that it has a wide selection of colorways as well as a choice between kangaroo leather and synthetic leather versions.
Once you get past the goalkeeper, there are much more position specific soccer shoes. However, with that exclusivity comes a much more difficult choice as well (in my opinion). In the upcoming in-depth post, ‘Best Cleats for a Defender’, we’ll talk much more about the options for the back-line (including center-back and side-back specific boots), but you will have to make do for now for this little snippet! Also note that these aren’t in order of preferred cleats.
The power boot from Puma has both protection and power in mind, which is exactly what hard-tackling defenders are looking for. The PowerGils which cover the upper of the boot are meant to add power as well as protect the top of the foot as well, namely the metatarsal. The epitome of rough-housing center-backs is Serbia’s and Machester United’s Nemanja Vidic and he wears the Puma Powercat. The kangaroo leather upper is also very comfortable which is obviously a bonus.
A football boot meant for the controlling center-midfielder, the Nike CTR360 Maestri can definitely be used by defenders as well. Compared to power cleats, the CTR’s are pretty light-weight (9.8 oz), however they don’t sacrifice protection while shaving off the couple extra ounces. The Kanga-Lite upper offers more protection than most kangaroo-leather uppers yet still retaining a very high standard of comfort! The Nike CTR360 Maestri truly is a soccer cleat anybody can wear!
Once again, Concave have sneaked onto my guide, but this time for ‘Best Cleats for a Defender.’ Currently leading the market in terms of protection, defenders will have little to fear when going in for tackles with the PT+ Classics. The Concave component truly acts as a barrier to studs, while also adding power to your clearances and shots. I am currently testing the PT+ Classics right now, and can honestly say the Concave’s do add power and are the most protective cleats available! The PT+ Classic also comes in a kangaroo leather upper, making it very comfortable. However, like I said before, it takes some getting used to the Concave component, seeing as it is an entirely new concept on football boots.
Seeing as there is such a wide variety in playing styles for midfielders, I will break down this category by Central-Midfielders and Wingers. However, be sure to come back soon and check out the in-depth ‘Best Cleats for a Midfielder’ post.
I think by far the most ‘well-rounded’ cleats available are the Nike CTR360 Maestri. They can be and are used by players at every position, however, the players they were specifically designed for are central midfielders. Players like Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta wear the cleat effectively in the center of midfield as they drive their teams forward. The CTR’s, as I have mentioned before, are of a decent weight (9.8 oz) whilst still offering great protection. They also are very comfortable, which surprised me, seeing as I walked into testing them out with skepticism over the Kanga-Lite upper. Just an all-around great soccer cleat!
While it may not be the most heralded cleat out there, do not write off the Umbro Speciali! It is light years ahead of any other football boot in terms of comfort, and I do not say that lightly. With that comfort comes a great touch and feel for the ball as well. A negative about the boots however is that they don’t have the greatest protection in the world. Studs do sometimes hurt your feet, due to the extreme softness of the leather upper. The Speciali’s are quite cheap compared to other top-end cleats though, selling at a low $120 USD. They are very under-rated cleats, but definitely should not be!
Another kangaroo leather cleat making the top three for ‘Best Cleats for Central Midfielders’, the Adidas Adipure III is another relatively cheap, yet high-quality boot. With top central midfielders such as Kaka and Frank Lampard wearing the boots, the Adipure III should not be trifled with! Like the Umbro Speciali, the Adipure has exceptional comfort, yet lacks a great amount of protection. However, retailing at $130 USD, the Adidas Adipure III is quality with good value!
Weighing only 6.0 oz, the Adidas F50 Adizero is the second lightest cleat in the world, and for speedy wingers, lightness plays a huge role in their game. However, I specifically put the Leather Adizero above, because I think it is a much better boot than the synthetic version (which only weighs 0.2 oz less). It’s leather upper makes it much more comfortable and protective, and it still only costs $200 USD. Also, compared to the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II which costs $200 USD more, the Adizero has good value. It has a very high level of comfort compared to other speed cleats, due to its leather upper. For the ‘Big 3′ in the speed cleat market (Adizero, Puma V1.10 SL, and Nike Superfly II), it is the cheapest and most comfortable. Another thing that plays testament to the cleat is the number of players in the World Cup and in the world in generaly who wear the cleats. Not only do a high number of players wear it, top-quality players sport them as well (Lionel Messi…). The Golden Ball Winner (Diego Forlan), Golden Boot and Young Player of the Tournament Winner (Thoman Mueller), and Silver Boot and Golden Ball Winner (David Villa), all wore the Adidas F50 Adizero during there very successful tournaments in South Africa.
Currently the lightest cleat in the world, the Puma V1.1o SL is only 5.3 oz. It has a decent comfort level (relative to other speed cleats), as well as a solid protection level (once again relative). However, at $250 USD, it costs $50 USD more than the Adidas F50 Adizero, while at the same time you can look at it and say it also costs $150 USD less than the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II! Even though it hasn’t been around very long, the V1.1o SL doesn’t have the same number or caliber of players wearing them. SER just received the V1.10 SL, so we will be able to give you more info on the cleats in the upcoming weeks, however at the moment, I heavily favor the Adidas F50 Adizero.
3. Lotto Fuerzapura-
With an option of kangaroo or synthetic leather, the Fuerzapura is another top quality boot that retails for a pretty cheap price! With star wingers (or side-backs) in Glen Johnson and Capedevila, the Fuerzapura is also another underrated cleat. Not very light cleats, the Fuerzapura weighs 10.8 oz for the k-leather version, and 10.2 for the synthetic one. They come at relatively cheap prices, ($130 USD for the synthetic, $160 for the kangaroo leather), whilst still offering top-quality. However, they do offer protection and comfort, especially the kangaroo leather version. Once again, we haven’t reviewed these cleats, but thought it would be an interesting twist to place these on the guide.
Strikers have the luxury (sometimes a curse) of choosing almost any cleats they want. Just looking at top strikers in the world, there is such a wide variety in terms of the footwear they choose to score their goals, that it is very hard for amateurs to choose what they should wear. As I’ve mentioned, this post is just a preview of what is to come, so stay tuned for the ‘Best Cleats for Strikers’ post where we will analyze the situation more, but you’ll have to settle for this for now! Note again, this is not in order of preference.
Once again, I believe (along with thousands of top professionals!) that the Adizero is one of the top boots for attacking players. I won’t go over the cleats again, because the same mostly holds true for wingers as it does for strikers. However, one thing to note for the Adizero in terms of strikers specifically is a stat; 43 goals were scored by players wearing the Adizero in the past World Cup. The next closest boot to match that many goals was the Nike Total 90 Laser III with 19.
The power boot from Nike makes another appearance on my guide, but this time apart of the search for ‘Best Cleats for a Striker.’ You don’t necessarily have to have the lightest cleats to be a world class striker, as Fernando Torres and Wayne Rooney prove, but have to be able to finish. That, along with power, is the main purpose for the Total 90 Laser III. With two different types of upper materials available (kangaroo leather and synthetic leather), as well as a huge stable of colorways, the Laser III offers a lot of options. It also offers protection. The protection level is very high, especially compared to lightweight cleats such as the Adidas F50 Adizero and Puma V1.10 SL. For those strikers not completely focused on speed, the Nike Total 90 Laser III is a very viable option.
Another surprise entry to my guide is the Mizuno Wave Ignitus. While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test out the cleats, they have been very well received across the web and through reviews, and you can see why such a fuss has been made about them. They are officially a power boot, yet weigh only 8.1 oz, which qualifies them as a lightweight as well! Also, they are made of kangaroo leather, pretty much automatically making them comfortable as well. From what we’ve heard and seen, the Wave Ignitus has it all, and are a very top quality boot. And if all that isn’t enough, the cleats only cost $150 USD, which is $50 lighter than the typical top-end boot! We’re working very hard on getting a pair of the boots to review, so stay put for that as well!