The Complete Guide to Understanding Soccer Shoes: What They Are and Why You Need Them?

Introduction

Unless you are well-versed in the sport there’s a good chance that you are unaware of how important Soccer Cleats can be in a soccer player’s performance. If you have discovered an interest in the sport it is important to play with high-quality equipment. Low-quality equipment can not only hurts your ability to perform but it can make the sport unenjoyable. This can discourage new players and leave them to quit playing the game altogether. Luckily, it is fairly easy for you to prevent this from happening by simply educating yourself on the fundamentals of soccer equipment.
Wikihow Recommends that you look at your soccer shoes first if you are brand-new to the sport. This is because in term of equipment they have the most diversity and the most direct impact on your play style. The right pair of shoes is not going to win any championships for you on their own, however wearing the wrong pair of cleats can certainly cost you one.

Soccer Shoes Basics: The Fundamentals You Need to Know before Buying a Pair of New Cleats

Soccer cleats are far more complex than you might imagine. The popularity of the sport has led to a proliferation of innovation in the athletic shoe industry. The first soccer shoes were made from natural leather exclusively, but today’s athletes can choose from a selection of precision-made performance athletic materials. Now, if you are brand-new to the sport you don’t need to memorize every detail. However, you are going to find it much easier to get started if you do a little bit of background research beforehand. That way you are not entirely lost when you are shopping for new equipment. Let’s start by answering one of the most basic questions that people ask whenever they are getting started playing soccer.

Do You Need To Buy A Pair Of Cleats?
One question that is universally asked among newcomers is whether cleats are required or not. The answer may surprise you. There are not any international rules specifically requiring professional athletes to wear cleats on the field. They are permitted to and almost all players that play on outdoor fields have them. The only time that wearing a pair of cleats is a bad idea is if you are playing indoor soccer. There is a separate type of soccer shoe that has been specifically made for indoor play that we will go over in greater detail later on in the article. For now, here is a list of the basic concepts that you should familiarize yourself with while searching for new soccer shoes.

A Basic Overview of What You Need To Learn To Become A Soccer Shoe Pro

  • What Are The Basic Pieces And Components Of A Soccer Shoe?
  • What Types Of Materials Are Used To Make Soccer Shoes?
  • What Are The Major Types Of Soccer Cleats?
  • Do Different Soccer Shoes Perform Differently Depending On The Playing Surfaces?
  • How High Do You Want The Angle Of The Shoe To Go?
  • How Heavy Of The Cleat Are You Comfortable Wearing?
  • What Are Some Of The Top Brands?
  • How Much Are You Willing To Spend?
  • What Is The Right Fit For Your Foot?

Addendum: Some tips on how to find the fit of your shoe has been included at the bottom of this article. It is one of the the most important part of the shoe buying process. That’s why you will find a special bonus short shoe fitting guide at the bottom of this article to help.

An Overview of the Soccer Shoe It’s Pieces and Components

Soccer.com says that the most basic place to start when learning about soccer shoes are the components that they are broken down into. Below we are going to show you what the five pieces are of a soccer shoe, how to recognize them, and what their purposes are.

Upper

The Upper part of your soccer shoe is more or less the area where the shoelaces are. It is located above the insole and the midsole. The way the upper is designed on a soccer shoe will have a direct impact on your ability to control the ball. Different materials are going to impart a different feel when you touch the ball so experiment until you find the one that works the best for you.

Outsole
The outsole is everything that is below both the insole and the midsole or, in other words, the bottom of the shoe. Most shoes are going to use a rubber or other synthetic material to make this part of the shoe. Different materials are going to perform better on different surfaces. If you play on multiple surface types and are a serious competitive player it may be beneficial to get multiple shoes for each type of service that you compete on.

Insole
The insole of your shoe is found inside of the shoe itself and is what your foot rests on whenever you are wearing them. While they may not be visible they are just as important as every other part of the shoe. All she will come with basic insoles but some can come with special insoles with different properties. There are also aftermarket insoles that you can put into your shoes yourself. They can help to reduce foot pain and stress on the foot and ankles. If you are somebody that is dealing with pain around this area of the body upgrading your insoles could potentially help.

Midsole
The midsole is everything that is in between the insole and the outsole. The material that is used for this part of the shoe is most commonly designed to absorb shock. There are different materials and they will interact differently with the materials that are used for the other parts of the shoe. This means that there is a staggering variety in the way that a shoe can feel so experiment until you find something that you like.

Heel
The heel is at the very back of the shoe. It is primarily meant to provide support while you are running or walking. People have differently shaped feet so there is no one best heel shape. What you must do is try on a bunch of different shoes until you find one that supports you while still allowing you to have the control that you want.
Stud
The little spikes on the bottom of your cleats are called studs. There are a few different designs that these can typically fall. The three most common types are either bladed studs, hard grounded studs, and around studs. The type of stud that is going to perform the best for you will depend greatly upon what type of service you are playing on.

Choosing a Soccer Shoe Based Upon the Position That You Play

New Technology that can help the performance of the shoe can vary in effect depending on the position you hold for your team. The types of activities and maneuvers that players are expected to perform will change depending on the position that they are holding for their team. Different cleats offer different performance boosts so it would make sense that if you are playing a position that is more often since then getting cleats that are more often simply favored would be beneficial. The same is true for all positions.

Defense
If you are playing in a defensive position you are going to be a lot more interested in your control and stability. The best cleats for these types of positions will be the ones that provide the traction that you need to quickly change directions and stay in control at the same time. Additionally, as a defender, your shoes are probably going to put through rougher conditions than players in other positions so make sure that the shoe you get is fairly durable if you want it to last for more than just a few games.

Forward
All forwards are often said players but they do not all have the same offensive strategy. The type of shoe that you decide to choose should be decided by looking at the type of strategy you implement whenever you are on the field. Some players are more reliant on their agility while others utilize brute force. After analyzing how you play you can use this information to inform the decision-making process of buying a new shoe.

Striker
Shoe choice for a striker is going to look very similar to a forward. They may want to get something that offers a little bit more power at the expense of speed since they are more often going to be striking the ball with as much force as they can muster. This is not a hard several however and the best shoe was going to ultimately depend on your play style.

Goalie
The goalie is one of the most important positions on the team. It is their sole responsibility to be the last line of defense in preventing the opposition from scoring. Probably the most important factor for a high-quality goalie is the speed that they can react. The best shoe is going to be something made out of a sturdy yet lightweight material that allows you to have great control will also moving lightning quick.

Midfield
Players that hold midfield positions are going to have the most variety in the type of cleats that works best for them. Again the strategy that you are going to use if you are a midfielder when selecting a shoe is to analyze the strategy that you use when you are on the field. Since a lot of midfielders will change strategy throughout the game depending on situations that arise a lot of players in these positions will deal with hybrid shoes that carry both offense and defense of qualities.

Cleats and How Surface Types Affect Them

The science behind your soccer shoes shows that many factors can affect your performance. Just to give an example let’s suppose you are playing on a field that has a ton of loose dirt and mud. Playing with shoes that were designed to be used on indoor turf will just leave you sliding around the field all day unable to keep control of yourself let alone the ball. Most serious players will keep a couple of different pairs of soccer shoes around so they are prepared for any type of surface.

Firm Ground
When you are shopping for soccer shoes you will see two-letter initials that indicate what type of ground they are best suited for. If you see a pair of shoes with the letters FG and these are firm ground soccer shoes. Firm-ground soccer shoes are the shoes that have been designed to perform the best on regular grass that is dry and hard-packed dirt beneath them. These types of shoes can also be used reliably in a pinch if you’re playing on artificial turf.

Artificial Ground
Soccer shoes with the letters AG are artificial ground soccer shoes. These are the most recently introduced type of soccer shoes. Artificial turfs have taken over many of the world’s arenas and shoe manufacturers have responded by creating new cleats specially designed to perform the best on these types of services.

Soft Ground
Soccer shoes with the letters SG are designed to be used on soft ground. The ground can be considered soft whenever the studs on a pair of cleats are capable of penetrating the ground just by standing. These are the type of cleats you are going to use when you play on a field in an area that has a high amount of rainfall. They will allow you to keep traction even whenever the ground is not as stable as you might like.

Indoor
These types of shoes are very limited in their application but almost necessary when you are playing indoors. The two-letter acronym for endorser shoes will be IN. If you are playing on an indoor court and not artificial turf then these are the shoes for you.

Turf
These are the predecessors of the newer artificial ground turf shoes. The two letters for these shoes are AT. They are best used for artificial surfaces. Typically they have conical studs for the cleats and are fairly low cut around the ankles. These are gradually being phased out in favor of artificial ground soccer shoes.

Hard Ground
soccer shoes with the letters HG are hard ground soccer shoes. Although these types of shoes have mostly been discontinued there are still some players out there who swear by them. They’re great for playing on dry services that do not have very much grass. They are a little better at helping you keep the balance in this type of field than other shoe types.

Different Types of Material and How They Affect Soccer Shoe Performance

The best brands understand that each part of your soccer shoe can be made of different materials. Each of these materials can impart different characteristics to the shoe. You can probably see how this leads to such a staggering array of shoe options. Let’s break down some of the most common types of materials that are being used to make soccer shoes today and their characteristics.

Synthetic Leather
Synthetic leather has been increasing in market share for years now. Players seem to feel that these materials offer entirely new benefits compared to some of the older materials. Most of the time they are much lighter weight than conventional alternatives. Just be aware that these materials don’t offer as much stretch room as other shoes to so you may want to go a size larger than normal if the shoe is tight at the store.

Kangaroo Leather
Kangaroo leather is the oldest material used for making soccer shoes. It was what the original soccer players first use when the sport was created. It is incredibly soft also surprisingly durable. It is almost impossible to find a pair of shoes that use these types of materials nowadays but there are still some out there if you are persistent enough to find them.

Natural Leather
Natural leather shoes would include any type of shoe that is made of leather from living animals. These types of shoes can feel a lot different than other materials although they are heavier so if weight is a primary concern for you other options may be better suited.

Mesh and Knit
Soccer shoes featuring mesh or knit materials in the upper have been becoming more prominent in recent years. The primary benefit of this type of material is that it is very lightweight. They are not moisture-proof so if you do not enjoy having wet feet they probably won’t be your favorite type of shoe

Research Any Additional Considerations before You Begin Shopping for Your Shoe

Now before you begin shopping let’s go over a few additional considerations you want to answer. There are two big questions every shoe shopper should ask whenever they are looking for a new pair. How much does the shoe weigh and what am I looking to gain from this shoe?

Consider The Weight Of The Shoe
The weight of a shoe has a surprisingly strong impact on how it feels to wear it. The more that your position in soccer requires you to move the lighter that the shoe is the better you will feel that it performs most likely. Heavier shoes are great for debility and traction but not for reacting quickly or getting across the field as fast as possible.

What Are You Looking To Gain Out Of Your Shoe?
Because shoes can offer different characteristics before you go shopping you need to know what you want to gain from them. There are three major areas of your athletic skill that could be enhanced with the right shoe.

Dexterity
Dexterity is roughly your ability to control the ball. Some shoes are great at getting the ball moving hard and fast while others are better at maneuvering the ball. In your position which is more important?

Agility
Agility is your ability to move quickly and change directions without losing speed. Some soccer positions need players that can be all over the field in a moment’s notice. Are you the type of player that is only in one area of the field or do you need to be able to go everywhere quickly?

Strength
Strength directly relates to your ability to kick the ball hard. Some shoes will be able to transfer the power and momentum of your kick much more forcefully into the ball. Is that going to be an asset in your position on the team?

Combination
Finally, some hybrid shoes can offer you a mixture of all of these characteristics. They may not be the best at any one of these but for some players that need both offenses and defensive capabilities, no other cleat is going to be better.

The Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Brand-New Pair of Soccer Shoes

Now that you have the basics of soccer shoes under your belt it’s time to learn how to go about buying a pair. Using the above information about the different materials and designs that soccer shoes can take place using the below list of questions to ask yourself how the position that you play on your team and the places that your team plays might affect your shoe buying decision? Once you have answered all of these questions you are going to be ready to make a purchasing decision.

Let’s give you an example. Say that you are a soccer player who plays for a team that uses outdoor fields in an area that does not get much rain. You play a midfield position and you favor offense but occasionally need defensive assistance. The leak that you play for does not allow metal cleats and you have wider feet than normal. You are gonna look for a shoe that is either made for firm ground or hard ground with bladed cleats and a wide insole.

Questions That You Need To Ask When Shopping For a New Pair of Soccer Shoes

  • What Type of Surface Will You Be Playing On?
  • Are You Playing In An Indoor Or Outdoor League?
  • Does Your Team Allow the Use of Metal Cleats?
  • Are The Shoes Going To Meet Regulation Standards?
  • Do You Need Any Special Fitting Considerations?

What Are The Major Brands Of Soccer Shoes?
there are quite a few smaller brands that produce high-quality shoes but they can be hit or miss. Pretty much any shoe from the biggest three manufacturers of soccer shoes will be a good piece of equipment. Those manufacturers are Nike, Adidas, and they produce the vast majority of soccer shoes used by players all around the world. There is a reason why they have such a dominant place in the market for soccer shoes.
Are There Any Additional Considerations That You Should Keep In Mind When Shopping?
My Youth Soccer Guide recommends that you keep the price as one of your final considerations. It is a good idea to spend a little bit of money on a nice pair of cleats but you do not need to buy the most expensive pair if you are a brand-new player. A good pair of cleats will make a bigger difference for a player that already knows how to play the game than it will for a beginner.

Soccer Cleat Guide Recap: How to Arm Yourself with Knowledge and Confidence

Buying soccer shoes can be a challenging experience if you do not make the necessary preparations. The guide above as all of the information that you need to walk into a store with confidence knowing that you are armed with all of the necessary knowledge. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself because soccer is just a game. Have fun with it and enjoy the process of shopping for your next pair of soccer shoes.

Bonus Beginners Soccer Shoe Size Fitting Frequently Asked Questions

A good fitting pair of shoes is going to perform much better than a poorly fit shoe. If you had to choose between an incredibly expensive but ill-fitting shoe or a less expensive but properly fit shoe choose the latter every single time.

If you have any questions refer to this video made by soccer.com to see a quick recap of the information we have covered so far.

Figure Out The Shape Of Your Foot
Every shoe is going to fit your foot a little differently. The best way for you to figure out the shape of your foot is to go into a store and simply try on different shoes. If that is not possible then you can try talking to other players or reading reviews online for specific shoes to see if other people with your foot shape like them

Is The Shoe Too Large Or Too Small?
The easiest way to determine if your shoe is large or small on your foot is to use your thumb. If there is enough space between your toes and the end of the shoe whenever you have it on to put your thumb in between then it is too big. If there is no space between your toes and the end of the shoe and it is too small.

Remember To Break Your Shoes In
Finally, if you do buy a pair of shoes and are discouraged to find that they are uncomfortable or do not perform as well as you thought they would whenever you first put them on do not worry. A lot of the players go through this but it is simply because many people do not realize that shoes are made to be broken in. They will not perform their best until after they have been worn around for a little while so try to go ahead and get this taken care of early.

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