What is the Difference Between Football and Soccer Cleats?
If you play soccer or football, you already know how important cleats are to your performance on the field.
What is the difference between football and soccer cleats? Even though soccer and (American) football cleats look fairly similar, they have their differences that can affect how a player performs. From the stud shape to the outer layer of the cleat, the difference can have a significant impact from sport to sport.
In this article, we will examine the distinctions between football and soccer cleats as well as which is most appropriate footwear for each sport.
The most significant difference between football cleats and soccer cleats is their weight.
Cleats for football are heavier than those for soccer. A pair of football cleats weighs about 11-15 ounces, whereas a pair of soccer cleats typically weighs about 7-10 ounces.
In contrast to football cleats, soccer cleats are designed to be lighter for several reasons.
The first is that soccer is played with a lot of constant running. Players can run up and down the pitch for 45 minutes straight with less fatigue if they have lightweight shoes.
While football cleats are typically heavier, the appropriate weight for a player’s cleats changes depending on their position. Receivers and defenders sometimes prefer lighter, less supporting cleats than players in other football positions.
Soccer and football cleats are both made of comparable materials. Most of the time, the outer layer is made of leather or a synthetic material. But, they still do have their differences.
Soccer cleats are made from a thinner, more pliable material. The light and pliable materials enhance the touch with the ball. It allows more air to circulate, so the player’s feet don’t get too hot and sticky as they play.
On the other hand, football cleats are built with a more robust upper material to shield players from the rough nature of the game. The cleats can endure more contact and less bending because of the thick materials.
Studs – Design & Layout
Another distinction between soccer and football cleats is the amount and shape of the studs.
The studs on football and soccer cleats provide traction and keep players from slipping and harming themselves. The athletes’ abilities will also benefit from better traction.
Depending on the brand and style, soccer and football cleats can have studs of varying sizes and configurations. Most of the time, the studs have a square shape.
Football cleats have a higher grip because of their sharper and longer studs than soccer cleats. On the other hand, soccer cleats feature shorter and flatter studs. This helps to prevent injuries from which a player might kick the foot of another or dig in to kick the ball.
Aside from the shape, the number of studs is another difference between soccer and football cleats. Comparing football cleats to soccer cleats, you’ll see that the former features more studs. Football cleats also have a more significant number of studs in the forefoot than other sports shoes.
You will also notice that football cleats have a spike on the toe. Football toe spikes are necessary because they offer better traction when blocking or stepping forward to escape a tackler. Yet a soccer cleat doesn’t need a toe spike since it interferes with players’ touch on the ball.
In soccer, cleats have different styles based on the field material. We’ve addressed this in the article ‘Types of Soccer Cleats’.
Football cleats are designed with an extra midsole. The cushioning layer between the cleat’s outsole and insole is called the midsole. The midsoles of football cleats are often made of phylon.
Football players need a midsole because of the abrasive nature of the sport. It acts as a shock absorber to protect players from getting hurt.
Soccer cleats don’t have a midsole and therefore don’t give any additional comfort to the player. It’s because soccer players must maintain a low center of gravity and stay close to the ball, making them more agile.
Agility helps players to move more freely while playing, which improves their performance.
The outsole is the component of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. Football cleats’ outsoles are more robust and substantial. They’re sturdier, so they can provide better stability on the grass or artificial turf fields.
Soccer cleats’ outsoles are often thinner and lighter. These outsoles help athletes perform better on the field by increasing their agility and quickness.
Given the variances between the two sports’ outsoles, using football cleats for soccer would restrict the movement necessary to be effective.
Because soccer players want lightweight footwear, most of the cleats are low-cut. The low-cut style makes it easy for the players to flex their ankles and kick the ball like they want.
In American football, there are three types of football cleats: low, mid, and high cut. The low-cut style is comparable to a typical soccer cleat, while the mid-cut and high-cut styles are comparable to basketball sneakers.
Each style of football cleat has its benefits. The low-cut model boosts players’ speed, while the mid-cut model provides both speed and ankle support. Football cleats with a high ankle cut offer support for the ankle.
I hope that helps you understand the difference between football and soccer cleats.
Just know that there is a difference and players shouldn’t be using football cleats for soccer. Soccer cleats provide more movement and flexibility for players.
The stud design and layout allows for players to continuously run and cut on the soccer field without digging too much into the ground.
If you are in the market for new boots (cleats) for soccer, I suggest sticking with firm ground (FG) type of footwear. Adidas and Nike are great options but there’s also more affordable cleats from smaller brands such as New Balance, Puma, Under Armour and Umbro.