Whether you play in a competitive league or just in the park with backpacks as goals, good shoes will help you perform better and reduce the risk of injury. There are a lot of variables to think about when deciding on the best shoe for you, but the surface you play on is the most important. U.C. San Francisco women's soccer assistant coach Halle Bissen says, "There are firm-ground shoes with hard plastic cleats for your average grass field and soft-ground shoes with metal stud cleats to prevent slips on soggy grass fields and mud." Cleats on multi-ground shoes aren't as short as those on turf shoes or as tall as those on firm-ground shoes, making them suitable for both types of surfaces. There are also indoor shoes that resemble basketball shoes in that they have a flat sole with a bit of tread and stick. ”

Midfielder for the New England Revolution Scott Caldwell says that once you know what surface you'll be playing on, everything else is up to personal preference. When asked about shoe preferences, he says, "Some people are looking for lightweight shoes, some like the quality of the material, and some prioritize the fit." Personal Opinion: "The Material and the Fit are Crucial." Assuming they stay put, a good pair of cleats will be supportive, and I'll feel confident throwing, catching, and dribbling the ball. Alex Ivanov, current head coach of the Massachusetts-based Nitehawks Sport Club and a former semi-pro soccer player in the Empire State league and decathlete, has said that he "wants a cleat to feel like a part of my foot. I prefer shoes made of soft, durable leather that bends and stretches with my foot in all its possible positions.

Lighter synthetic shoes don't last as long or shape to the wearer's foot as well as leather ones, but they're easier on the wallet. When Ivanov was younger, he would "blow through cleats by wearing out the top of toes by dragging them," he says. Good leather will last longer than synthetics, he says, "so I don't blow through and have to break in another pair when I finally get a boot that feels like part of my foot." Chicago's West Loop Soccer Club's head coach Stefan Markovic concurs. When asked about his footwear preferences, he insists that everyone give leather shoes a shot. They can last as long as five years with proper care, while synthetic shoes typically only last a year at the most. One word of caution, though: "Leather gets heavier than synthetics if you play on a wet field." ”

We surveyed professional soccer players and coaches from across the country to help you choose the best pair of shoes for your game. What they suggest is detailed below.

Adidas Copa Mundial Soccer Cleats
Adidas Copa Mundial Soccer Cleats Men's Soccer Cleats by Adidas for the Copa Mundial


Experts almost unanimously praise the Adidas Copa Mundial as the best shoe ever made. Newton, Massachusetts soccer club owner James Bede has worn the Copa for years because "it moves with and molds to my foot." You might as well be playing barefoot when you make contact with the ball. He likens the feel of kangaroo leather to "when you wear sandals and your toes are comfortable, exposed to the air," calling it "smooth, like velvet." "The leather material provides a really good fit to my foot," Caldwell says, "and for a long period of time if you keep up protecting the leather." I like the timeless design of this shoe. In comparison to other boots, this one provides superior comfort and boosts my self-assurance. These are Markovic's favorite shoes, too. His own pair, he says, "I got in 2014, and I still have and use today." Ivanov agrees, saying that the shoe's stiffness provides the extra support that new players need to avoid injuries.

Nike Phantom Vision 2 Pro Dynamic Fit FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Phantom Vision 2 Pro Dynamic Fit FG Soccer Cleats Cleats for the field, the Nike Phantom Vision 2 Pro Dynamic Fit FG


These laceless cleats are one of Bissen's favorites (and, she claims, are worn by players on the UCSF women's team) so look for them if they're available in your size. She gushes over how snugly they fit her foot, saying, "They are like a slipper." She explains that the shoe "holds your foot in slightly more snugly than usual, almost as if it were molding to your foot." Because of the snug fit, she warns that these shoes need to be broken in gradually. I had a hard time putting them on for the first month. She reflects, "Now I put them on, no problem." Once I put them on, my feet feel like they are in sock boots." This makes me feel very safe. Not a lot of motion is being sensed from my foot. Like many other players, Ivanov thinks laceless cleats are best for those who "like to hit knuckleballs, where you want the ball coming off your foot with no spin. ”

Please be aware that while Amazon does offer a wider selection of sizes, the vast majority of these are only sold by third-party vendors who impose additional shipping costs.

Adidas Predator Mutator 20.1 Firm Ground Cleats
Adidas Predator Mutator 20.1 Firm Ground Cleats Cleats for Firm Surfaces by Adidas, Size 20.1


Though Ivanov has experimented with other brands, "he keeps going back to Adidas," he says. The vast majority of his team also wears Adidas. As for the price, he says, "you get what you pay for" because these are his current go-to synthetic shoes. "At this price point, you almost forget you're wearing it." I need shoes that won't bother my feet if I'm going to be on the field for a long time. Any high school junior varsity or varsity player, or college athlete, comes highly recommended by him. Bede says that you can't go wrong with any Adidas shoes, even though he prefers leather cleats. I'm dependable Never have I used cleats from any other manufacturer. ”

Sizes are extremely limited at both of the stores listed below. If your size is still available, you should probably grab it up quickly.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Elite FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Phantom Venom Elite FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite FG Soccer Cleats

Though Bissen claims that synthetic shoes as a whole tend to run a little more narrow than natural materials, Bede insists that Nikes are the best option for those with narrow feet. Some UC San Francisco players choose to wear the following two narrower options that she recommends.

Nike Premier II FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Premier II FG Soccer Cleats Cleats for soccer played on grass, model Nike Premier II



Markovic says that the Premier is a reliable shoe that maintains its high quality over time. But, he warns, you must maintain it like any other leather footwear. He suggests drying wet leather shoes thoroughly before applying shoe polish or cream to revive the material.

Please be aware that Amazon only seems to carry a small selection of sizes, and that third-party sellers often charge for shipping. Following this link will take you to a highly rated vendor whose selection is limited to children's sizes. Nike offers a wide selection of sizes and free shipping.

Puma King Top FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Tempo Legend 8 Elite FG Soccer Cleats
Nike Tempo Legend 8 Elite FG Soccer Cleats Men's Soccer Cleats, Nike Tempo Legend 8 Elite FG



Bissen claims that this is the only leather shoe worn by UCSF players because the majority of them wear synthetics. When I was in college, Tiempos was my go-to teammate. She likes how "the real leather opens up a lot more than the synthetic leather." As an added bonus, Makovic says this shoe is great for those with wider feet because it's so sturdy. Bissen concurs, noting that the natural stretch of leather makes it a superior material for accommodating wider feet.

Mizuno Rebula III Japan


Markovic claims, "Mizuno are very good shoes," and adds, "with the guys I was playing with in youth soccer in Europe, Mizuno was a popular brand." And, he adds, "a lot of professionals buy them." Markovic argues that the higher price is justified. The garment looks and feels great on you. Being completely yourself is easier with this leather gear on. Take good care of the leather, and its suppleness will make the ball easier to handle. " Kangaroo leather, which is the ultimate because of stretch, durability, and comfort, is used in both Mizuno and Bissen's favorite brands. ”

Adidas Samba Classic

Ivanov "lives in Sambas," so he must think all Adidas shoes are fantastic. "They have a little grip to them, while still being totally flat, with no cleat on the bottom," says Bissen, who also enjoys wearing the shoes. Ivanov says the Sambas are "more of an indoor shoe," but he also finds them suitable for turf. He says, "I liked to glide so if I wanted to slide into a tackle without going down or dragging a toe it made a big difference for me." He finds them useful in his roles as a coach, player, and casual pedestrian.

Adidas Mundial Goal Shoes
Adidas Mundial Goal Shoes Adidas World Cup Shoe Ads



Mundial Goal Shoes come highly recommended by both Markovic and Bede. Bede wears them when playing Futsal, an indoor soccer variant played on a hard court, because he "needs to be able to feel the ball," and Markovic recommends them for use on such courts because of their bottoms' slick finish. Markovic recommends the Copa Turf Shoe, a shoe with small cleats designed for use on artificial turf.

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Cleats that both coaches and players agree are the best for the sport