Soccer cleats, can make the difference between performing extraordinary or poorly. While we can’t all play like Messi or Ronaldo, we can still try to reach their level. And on the road to success, you need all the help you can get. That’s why you need to have the most amazing soccer cleats on your feet.
Although some players wear colorful soccer cleats as a fashion statement, that shouldn’t distract from their capability to improve one’s performance. And these shoes aren’t only meant for soccer either, they can also be seen in sports like lacrosse, American football, and a number of other field sports.
So who can you pick? You should look for ones that feel lightweight on your feet and have very strong studs. Firm studs will enable you to run across the field without risking serious ankle injuries.
When you’re watching a game, you see that the best players on the field look comfortable every single moment. Therefore, if you want your performance to stay at a high level, you need to find the cleats that suit your needs and feel comfortable on your feet at all times.
In order to help you have a top performance every time you hit the field, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the top soccer cleats for 2018.
Best 14 Soccer Cleats on the Market Today
Nike Men’s Mercurial Victory IV
Nike’s Victory line has been a staple cleat for players on a budget, for as long as they’ve been around. Just visit your local club’s practice, and you’ll probably see more than one young player wearing them. Possibly the biggest selling point of Mercurial Victory IV is the colors and attractive visual cues taken from the Vapor IX.
Right out of the box, you’ll notice that the colorway on these cleats is fresh and that it looks durable. The Victory IV is great for all weather conditions – it won’t even feel slippery in the rain. The upper texture will give you more grip and allow you to control the ball easier. They weight around 8.4 OZ, which is pretty good compared to other shoes in the same price range.
The texture may keep your feet a bit warm, but it more than makes up for it with ball control it provides. While the shoes are true to size, due to the quality of the upper, we recommend you go up half a size. They also don’t require too much time to break in and start feeling perfectly comfortable. In fact, you’ll be able to wear them to a practice or a game after a day or two.
Adidas Performance Men’s X 15.2
If you need something more economical, picking the mid-tier Adidas X 15.2 is a good way to go. The shoes look similar to the top of the line X 15.2 model. As a matter of fact, you need to take a deep look at the shoes to differentiate the two. But there is even better news – performance-wise, they also feel close to their top-tier cousin.
What’s more, they’ve received a ton of praise from players who usually wear only the top of the line cleats. The X 15.2 is lined with extremely soft material that simply oozes comfort. You can wear these cleats even without socks, and you’ll still feel completely ready for a 90-minute soccer match. We’re not actually saying you should wear them without socks, we’re simply trying to illustrate how soft the material inside the shoe is.
Some people may have been critical of Adidas in the past few years when it comes to performance, however, this model will probably change a lot of people’s minds. The company has seemingly taken a new direction, with a focus on revolutionizing the cleats market. This model in particular, features a nice mix of top-shelf materials, which will give you some much-needed comfort for a relatively low price.
Adidas Performance Men’s X 16.2
Right out of the gate, we have to talk about the look of these cleats. On the first view, they certainly look different than others on our list. This is due to the “Techfit” collar that protrudes from the top of the shoe. This lining makes the shoe fit almost like a pair of socks. Furthermore, the collar reduces the movement of the shoe when you’re running, thus, allowing you to use more energy during a match.
The upper is made of a special synthetic material called “Primemesh” that is designed to give players a better feel for the ball. Of course, this means you’ll have more ball-control when you’re running the field. The Primemesh covers the entire surface of the X 16.2, however, it’s more prominent in the front section that it is in the rear and on the sides.
In an effort to give players even more control of the ball, the designers covered the lace holes. This increases your foot’s strike zone when you’re kicking the ball with the front part of the foot. The rubber sole provides enough traction to feel completely comfortable while you’re playing. Plus, the sole is great for playing on both soft, artificial grass surfaces and real grass ones as well.
Adidas Performance Men’s Ace 16.3
The Ace 16.3 version might be a bit cheaper than the X 16.2 one, but that doesn’t mean it’s inferior. It uses the same material as the X 16.2 and provides the same level of comfort and helps you avoid blisters and burns when you run. The upper molds create a flat top that makes it easier to kick some shooters you wouldn’t be able with an arched top.
It has a synthetic interior, which locks down your foot and prevents the feet from sliding around during a game. Your foot will be locked down inside the Ace 16.3, and you’ll be able to play safely from start to finish. The FG Chaos stud configuration allows you to have a good grip on the surface and accelerate faster, whether it’s artificial or not.
This is a serious shoe for serious players. However, if you’re looking for something colorful, the Ace 16.3 has got your back. It comes in two distinctive color combinations that allow players to express themselves as they play the game. Last but not least, most people rank the Ace 16.3 among the top soccer cleats out there due to their agility and lightness that allow quick responses and full sprinting abilities.
Adidas Performance Men’s Ace 17.2
As we said before, Adidas is making major leaps with their lower-tier cleats. In the past, this field was dominated by Nike, and while they still have the grip on the market, Adidas is quickly closing in. With the recent release of Ace 17.2, Adidas has shown that they are paying more and more attention to their more affordable cleats.
These will allow you to deliver powerful performance during practice or during games. They are designed with extremely soft, close-fitting uppers that offer stability. The specially designed outsoles allow you to move explosively on natural and artificial surfaces, while the Aquatech collar bands provide great ankle support with a sock-like compression fit. In short, if you’re looking for something secure and cost-effective at the same time, this is one of the best soccer shoes for you.
The lacing system allows for you to have one of the better fits on the market. The texture on the forefoot will give you full control of the ball, plus, the area where the tongue is provides a perfect fit. Although this is certainly not the best shoe on the market, it will still give you the level of comfort and touch you’re looking for.
Nike Men’s Hypervenom Phatal
If you’re used to wearing top-tier models, you’ll definitely be surprised with the second-tier Hypervenom Phatal. It has the soleplate and the shape of the top-tier Phantom, and when you put it on your feet, it certainly feels like one of the best out there. Basically, the shoe has the look and feel you’d expect from a far more expensive model.
The biggest difference between Phatal and Phantom is the upper part of the shoe. Phatal has an extremely-thin, dual-layer synthetic material top. It’s one of the thinnest uppers that Nike manufactures. And this material provides that lightweight feel that allows you to run at full speed with no problems. The material feels good when you touch the ball, although it feels a bit unnatural against your foot. That’s the biggest complaint people have, however, there are some benefits that make for it.
What’s more, the thin material lets you feel every bit of the soccer ball when striking and the smooth finish gives you just enough grip. The Hypervenom Phatal has an off-centered lacing system that allows you to secure it without any discomfort. All in all, if you’re looking for a responsive striking experience, you’ll definitely be happy with Hypervenom Phatal.
Nike Men’s Hypervenom Phatal II Soccer Cleats
On the other hand, if you’re looking something that will feel secure on your foot, you should look at the second generation of the Phantom. It has a glass nylon soleplate, which includes a split-toe design that’s almost unnoticeable. Even though the shoe is a little bit stiff out of the box, you’ll hardly notice the stiffness only after a few hours on the soccer field.
Speaking of security, this model features Nike’s famed Flywire system, which gives the shoe a tighter grip on the foot. This prevents your shoe from slipping during a game. The most noticeable difference between the first-gen and second-gen model is the material used on the upper. The material is actually even thinner than the one found the Phatal I. So with Phatal II, you can expect a bit more comfort and closer touch on the soccer ball.
If you’re trying to find a shoe with a quality DF collar for a low price, this is possibly the cheapest option. The collar won’t overheat your foot during the hot summer months, however, it will keep your foot warm during the winter. There are some subtle design changes, and the shoe works well during the colder months, however, it’s still pretty similar to the first-gen model. Our recommendation is to go out there and try both models for yourself before you make a decision.
Nike Men’s Magista Orden Soccer Cleats
Most people weren’t really interested in a third-tier shoe before Nike released the Magista Orden. Just by looking at it, you’ll see that it closely resembles the Tiempo Legacy and evoPOWER 2s, the cream of the crop when it comes to second-tier cleats. It features the NikeSkin technology seen on high-level cleats and the top-quality Kanga-Lite leather upper.
Released just a few years ago, the shoe has already managed to become a favorite among mid-tier soccer players. It weighs around 8 OZ, which is rather incredible, considering that unlike other models in the series, the Orden’s upper is made entirely out of Thermo Polyurethane. With its shape and weight, it’s perfect an all-around playmaker at club level.
The textured finish around the foot will enhance your ball-control ability, while the TPU outsole – along with the conical stud pattern – will add stability and durability underfoot. The Magista Orden may a bit more expensive than the comparable Trequartista shoe, however, it’s still a perfect choice for your average Sunday league player.
Nike Mercurial Vapor IX Soccer Cleats
Back when the ninth installment of the Mercurial Vapor was first announced, the Internet went into a frenzy. Now, when the hype is over, we can still see that these shoes definitely lived up to the hype. The most noticeable difference between the VIII and IX is the dimpled synthetic upper, which has a golf-ball-like feel to it. On the VIII, we were treated to a suede finish that, although cool-looking, scuffed very easily.
Now, the Mercurial line is a bit more expensive than others on the list. No one wants to spend big buck on a new shoe and end up feeling disappointed. Luckily, the company has taken these cleats in the right direction and produced a winning package. The upper will give you a soft, almost elastic touch. It may have a slightly padded feel to it, however, it doesn’t take away from the natural feel players want while dribbling.
At 6.6 OZ it’s one of the lightest Vapor models to date so it will feel perfectly on your foot. The Vapor IX is true to size, but it will also give you some additional room for your feet to breathe on the sides. So if sizing has proven the downfall in your relationship with this particular line of cleats, the ninth entry might be worth considering.
Nike Mercurial Vapor X Soccer Cleats
The release of Vapor X was essentially eclipsed by the release of another model on our list – the Mercurial Superfly – but due to their quality and good word-of-mouth, they’ve managed to become yet another best-seller for Nike. For the tenth installment, the Shoos wanted to create something a bit different. This has less to do with the visual appearance and materials and more to do with small modifications that make this shoe a little more comfortable and efficient.
When it comes to color and design, the Vapor Xs rank among the best on the market. You instantly notice the lack of tongue that adds a fresh new dynamic. Combine that with the lightly-textured upper, and you get one of the best looking shoes in the last few years. But the design is not the only positive aspect of the Vapor X – the shoe is also extremely comfortable.
You’ll be able to break them in in just an hour or so. The shoe’s soleplate has a fantastic bend through the forefront, and the upper is moldable from basically the first wear. Also, the textured outer coating will give you an additional level of grip. Whether you’re shooting along the strike zone or simply controlling the ball along your instep, the texture has the same feel throughout. This a big benefit for forwards that like to defenders head-on.
Nike Mercurial Vapor XI NJR Soccer Cleats
After moving from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar got a brand new signature shoe – the Vapor XI. Of course, this is one of the soccer cleats for all the Neymar fans out there, because they actually contain a short timeline of his career. As a matter of fact, we’ll go as far as saying that these are some of the most detailed shoes you’ll find today.
The designers went into great detail in commemorating Neymar’s special moments in time. For instance, five starts on the side highlight his success with Brazil’s national team. The dotted figures on the shoe mimic maps of Brazil and Barcelona respectively. However, the neat design isn’t the only thing the Vapor XI has going for it, after all, the series is known for its quality.
And when it comes to performance, the cleat delivers everything you expect from a Vapor mode.
The upper part is made of Teijin microfiber, with Nike’s Speed Ribs on both sides. These ribs provide an additional cushion on the ball as you’re dribbling at full speed. The shoe was basically built for players that want lightweight cleats with solid traction that allow them to accelerate and decelerate quickly, without losing the control of the ball.
Nike Men’s Mercurial Superfly Soccer Cleats
This shoe right here has some serious specs and a makeup that is about as advanced as we’ve ever seen in a soccer cleat. Seeing how the Mercurial Superfly is the shoe of choice for Ronaldo, it’s not surprising that we’re all expecting to see them in this list, if not the best when we open the box. But from the look of things, it seems like the shoe has met all the expectations.
All materials used in the making of Mercurial Superfly interlock to create the efficient package possibly. The collar secures your foot to your ankle; the upper is made of a lightweight Flyknit material that allows you to run faster, and the horizontal-style ribs running across the shoe will give you additional definition on the ball. As the design team explains, they were planning to merger design with science to create the “fastest shoe in soccer.”
The shoes might be tight when you first put them on – it takes some effort to squeeze your foot in – but this just creates a secure fit from the collar through the whole foot. The material the shoe is made of works with the shape of your foot to fine-tune its true mold. That’s why the Mercurial Superfly is one of the most comfortable shoes released in the last few years.
Nike Men’s HypervenomX Proximo
Originally launched three years ago, the HypervenomX is the indoor court version of the Phantom II. It has basically the same features as the Phantom II, including the NikeSkin upper, Dynamic-Fit collar, and Flywire technology. However, this shoe right here has a flexible rubber sole. This detail makes these shoes possibly the best soccer shoes for indoor use. The X in the shoe’s name is actually a nod to the number of players in a five-a-side indoor soccer match.
The collar featured on these shoes can also be seen on MagistaX and MercurialX silos. It was designed to lock your foot into the shoe for additional quickness and precise ball control. As we mentioned above, the upper is made of NikeSkin technology in an effort to provide you a snug fit for ultimate ball touch. Also, the shoe has midfoot Flyknit cables that further lock down your foot and provide your ankle with the agility it needs.
The shoe uses a full-length Phylon midsole for lightweight support and cushioning. Another detail that might interest you is the off-centered lacing system that gives you a huge striking surface. You can find the HypervenomX in two versions – the Finale one and the Pro one that uses the low-cut design and comes at a more affordable price.
Nike Men’s Magista Obra Soccer Cleats
The last spot on our list is reserved for an older model well worth your time. As soon as Magista Obra was released, it managed to grasp the attention of soccer shoe fans all across the world. We’ve simply never seen such an imaginative shoe – it’s specifically designed to secure your foot providing a sock-like fit. The knit upper and the mid-cut collar make the entire fit move in-sync with your foot.
This was something that a number of top players requested, and Nike delivered. In addition to the unique look, the overall weight is only 7.2 OZ, which leaves the shoes in the lightweight category and adds more value to the overall package. And if you never wore them before, we can’t even explain how comfortable these shoes are to wear. If you want to know how the top players feel wearing the best, you’ll just have to buy a pair of Magista Obra and see for yourself.
When it comes to ball control, the texture design plays a large role, one that benefits central-styled players and playmakers that like to get on the ball. We have to say that this shoe won’t suit all player types – they don’t really suit strikers and wing players, because the Flyknit material may take away the natural style of those who look to go by defenders with the ball just off their step.
Buying Guide For Soccer Shoes
If you’re getting serious about soccer, you definitely need to look for the best cleats on the market. Being able to move quickly on the field will allow you to maximize your performance and feel less fatigued. You’ll also be able to tackle quicker and due to more solid kick-off from the ground.
And when your ankles are properly protected from torsion, you’ll be able to last longer out there on the field. Whether you’re a defender, striker, or even a goalie, you need to get the best footwear you can afford. Here are a few things you should pay special attention when shopping.
The Main Features To Look Out For In Soccer Cleats
In general, there are some factors that influence the quality of the cleat. No matter what position you play, some of these factors may boost or hinder your performance. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping around:
· How the cleats fit you
Of all features to look for in soccer cleats, perhaps the most important one is how well they fit your feet. This is crucial because you want to feel completely comfortable every second you’re out on the field. If you don’t feel “at home” in your shoes, you definitely won’t be able to perform at your best. That’s why you should look for features such as extra padding, the width of your foot, and the width of the toe box. The best thing to do in this situation is to look up a few models online, find them in a store near you, and go down there to try them on one by one.
· The firmness of the collar
The collar us closely related to the overall fit, however, the ankle is important for another reason. You see, the collar will determine how much ankle bending and rotation you’ll have. On the one hand, if you go for a loose-collar model, you’ll be able to rotate your ankle quickly and navigate smoothly around the field. On the other hand, this will leave you open to possible injuries from over-extending your joints. That’s why we recommend you get a pair of cleats with a firm collar. You’ll be able to make up for less maneuverability with additional training.
· The material it’s made of
The material the shoe is made of is responsible for everything from its weight to its flexibility. The best combine efficient, durable, and light materials. Even though thin materials aren’t as durable as thick ones, but with recent technological advancements, manufacturers have found a way to create a synthesis of light and durable materials like synthetic leathers. Keep in mind that thick materials don’t have too much flexibility. That’s why they usually dislocate the frame when trying to bend.
· Outsole flexibility
The outsole is pretty important, because it can optimize the flexibility of the shoe, however, it can also obstacle it. A flexible upper alone won’t provide sufficient flexibility, however, when combined with a flexible outsole, the results are much different. The outsole needs to be flexible in order to deal with impact and absorb shock. A lack of shock absorption is not only annoying, but it can get painful as well. In some cases, the pain extends to the next in the form of heel soreness.
· The weight of the shoe
In all honesty, all sports shoes these days have adopted weightless design, simply because light footwear allows athletes to move quicker. Needless to say, soccer is not an exception to the rule. Not only is it easier for people to run on the court with light cleats, but it’s also easier to dribble the ball. Massive cleats require more effort to move around. And while this effort won’t fatigue you much, it will reflect in your performance. Cleats with a minimalistic approach give a “barefoot experience” that allows players to stay focused and agile from the beginning to the end of the game.
· The stud design
In recent years, the cleat design technology has noticeably progressed. The changes in the technology have made their way from chevrons, to cylinders, to triangles, and numerous other different studs. A stud design focused more on the front of the cleat is more typical for striker shoes; an even spread is more common for defender cleats. While all of these designs have their advantages and disadvantages, we recommend a conical design for top performance.
· Padding in the right areas
Simply put – your shoe needs to be padded in just the right areas. A shoe with a ton of extra padding will do you no good in the long run. But the flanks of your feet – particularly the tip – are going to take a ton of strain from shooting and passing the ball. Therefore, you need to make sure that these areas of the shoe are properly padded to give you the support you need. Some players sacrifice padding in favor of less weight, however, your shoe needs to be adequately padded if you don’t want to injure your toes and heels.
· The upper quality
The front part of your shoe – or as most people refer to it, the upper – is crucial for more than a few reasons. Of course, this is the area of the shoe that’s exposed to the most wear-and-tear. Just think about it, you’ll pass the ball almost every minute and you’ll shoot it every few minutes, and this will take a strain on your shoes. So naturally, you have to find a pair with a quality upper if you don’t want your shoes to tear only after a few months of use.
As we said above, different positions require different cleats, so now, we’re going to talk about the features you should keep an eye on.
Selecting Soccer Cleats for Strikers
· The upper design
If you’re a striker, you’ll be shooting the ball a dozen or more times per game with high velocity. So you need to ensure that the upper of the cleat can handle some force. You want a cleat with strong material on top. Just make sure the cleat is not too heavy. Additionally, try to find a model made of flexible material that feels comfortably soft while you’re running and feels hard when you kick the ball.
· Lightweight cleats
When it comes to weight – the lighter the cleat is, the better. Strikers need to be able to fly across the soccer field unhindered after all. The more movement your cleats allow you, the simpler it will be to maneuver around the defenders, time and time again.
· Close-knit studs
The spacing between the studs is pretty important if you’re a striker. In this case, you should look for an arrangement that’s more closely-knit than a defender shoe. This is because striking requires more control. A well-balanced conical configuration will give all the control you need. Also, you should try to avoid an evenly-spaced stud configuration.
Selecting Soccer Cleats for Defenders
· Tight collar
Collars are there to keep your ankle fixed in place and prevent injuries. But that’s not all, a firm ankle will improve your defensive abilities, therefore, you should opt for something like the Mercurial Superfly. These shoes have elastic ankle support, which embraces your leg and lessens the strain. You don’t want to sprain one of your ankles on a bad turn, right? So look for shoes with a tight, firm collar.
· Evenly balanced studs
Defenders require maneuverability and steadiness, and evenly-balanced configuration will provide you the most mobility when jumping, landing, and closing in on offensive players. What’s more, the more evenly balanced the studs, the better your kickoffs and turnings are, at most angles. This stud combination will cause you to lose some speed, but in return, you have a whole lot of stability.
· Pretty tight fit
Just like the collar, the inside of your shoe needs to be pretty tight if you’re a defender. And some good inner padding is not a bad idea either. If you manage to find a shoe that has quality, durable padding, you’ll be able to intercept passes and make defensive tackles without losing any momentum. A tight fit will also help you avoid a number of nasty ankle injuries that can cause you to miss a lot of games.
Selecting Soccer Cleats for Goalies
· Sufficient toe padding
As a goalie, you need cleats that perfectly reflect your role as the last line of defense for your team. You’re definitely aware that if you’re not too careful, you might end up hurting your toes badly. Goalies often rely on their toes to dive for saves or make direction changes. So you need to find a padded pair of shoes that will keep your toes from being bent back too much.
· Enduring upper
While the strikers do the most kicking in a soccer match, the goalie also has to kick hard shots from his goal line every few minutes or so. Look for a pair of shoes with a though upper, made of some hard, enduring material. If you manage to find a pair with a synthetic/leather mesh blend, you’ll be able to keep your shots on target and protect your feet from injuries as well.
· Proper traction
A goalie is still a defender, so naturally, he wants to have a shoe with an evenly spaced stud configuration. This will give you pretty good traction and allow you to move in any direction. This is pretty important because a goalie never knows where he might need to turn next. Also, push off is a lot easier with strong studs, so look for a cleat that has broad, large studs.
And with that, our little guide is finally over. We’ve looked at some of the absolute best on the market, we’ve talked about some of the things you should pay special attention to, and discussed the needs of players in different positions. We hope we managed to point you in the right direction and helped you narrow your choice down. In the end, we hope you’ve enjoyed the article, and if you want to add something or ask any questions, make sure to leave a comment in the section below.