Football (as it’s called in Europe) it’s arguably the most popular sport. Soccer (as it’s called in U.S.) is gaining a lot of ground lately, and it’s not one of those fancy games that require lots of expensive equipment. All you need to get started is the ball. Ok, and a pair of cleats, if you want to enjoy it on any pitch. Some of the best soccer cleats have lots of cool features, but before buying a new pair of cleats there some things to consider and some terms to familiarize with to understand better what’s on the market.

 

The right stud pattern for each pitch type

FG (firm ground) – cleats labeled this way are suitable for dry courts with natural or artificial grass. They have at least 10 studs evenly spread. These standard studs have moderate hardness and sharpness.

SG (soft ground) – for the soft grounds, in places with frequent rain where the courts are often muddy. These shoes have around 6 studs distributed in a pattern that offers maximum traction and stability. Some of these studs are blade shaped, some of them conical.

AT (Turf) – these shoes have a large number of small rubber conical studs. They would have an awful performance on grass, but they are best suited for turf.

In (indoor) – with a flat surface and a rigid sole plate, indoor soccer shoes must feel very light. There’s no particular requirement for them to have much traction.

 

Besides the pitch you’re playing, another factor in the decision is what position you’re playing and the individual style. Each member of a team has specific demands for their cleats.

 

The position

Strikers – speed is the keyword for this position. They have to be able to launch in sprints very often. The cleats should be as light as possible, and they should have bladed studs to maximize the traction. The strike zone of the shoe must be clear.

Midfields – players in this position are mainly controlling the game. Statistically speaking, they have the longest ball possession, and for this, you need good ball control. The best cleats for midfields have textured upper to enhance the grip whenever you touch the ball. The stud pattern offers traction and allows twist and pivot movements.

Defense – here’s where things get rough. The cleats worn by players in this position have to sustain a lot of punishment. There’s frequent contact with other players and dangerous tackles so the shoes must have a hard upper. The studs on the sole plate are arranged for stability and to allow pivot movements.

 

The brand

Before deciding to a particular brand make sure you check everything is available. For soccer equipment, the big names are Nike, Adidas, and Puma. You can find lots of useful info on websites dedicated to sportswear reviews.

The right size

Last but not least, you should pay attention to the size of your cleats. Tie your lace all the way up and check the tip of the shoe with your thumb. If it fits between your big toe and the tip of the boot, it’s too large. If there’s no space between your toes and the tip of the boot, it’s too short. If you check the size for a kid, apply the same rule, but using the baby finger.