How to Choose Football Cleats

Man running in nike football cleats

When summer football camps start up, the buzz and excitement around the upcoming fall football season starts to set in. Whether you’re a football player or a parent of a player, you know that the right protection for the field is important to keep players safe. Finding properly fitting football cleats for your position is essential to making sure you stay on the field this season. The right pair of football cleats provides players with traction for quick movements, protection from hits, and support throughout the game. When buying new football cleats, make sure you’re familiar with the different types of cleat spikes, the cut of a cleat’s upper, and how a football cleat should properly fit.

Cleat Types

When buying a new pair of football cleats, you’ll want to pay attention to the type of cleat. The cleats are on the outsole of the football shoe and provide necessary grip and traction for the field. Each type of cleat offers a slightly different feel or use, so it’s important to know whether practices and games will be held mostly on turf or natural grass.

rubber molded football cleats

Rubber Molded

 For those who are learning the basics of football, a football cleat with a rubber molded bottom would be an ideal option. These cleats are permanently attached to the outsole of the football shoe and offer a comfortable underfoot feel. Plus, a football cleat with a rubber molded bottom usually is less expensive compared to other football cleat options.

hard molded football cleat

Hard Molded

Most football cleats have a hard molded bottom. Like rubber molded cleats, the cleats are permanently attached to the outsole. Made with a harder plastic, these cleats provide a mix of comfort and traction while maintaining a lightweight feel. Plus, hard molded cleats are perfect for any age of player from youth to collegiate.

turf football shoes


A turf football shoe can be used only on synthetic surfaces. With the small rubber nubs, you’ll experience a good amount of traction and more flexibility. Turf shoes primarily used as a training or coaching shoe rather than a game shoe.

Cut of Cleat’s Upper

Once you decide on which type of cleat spike would be best, you want to pay attention to the cut of the upper, also known as the top of the football cleat. There are three main cuts of uppers available for both youth football cleats and men’s football cleats. If you’re an advanced football player, you’ll want to base which type of cut you wear based on your position. Beginner football players will want to buy based on fit and comfort.

low cut football cleat

Low-Top Cut

A low-top football cleat is the lightest cut of football cleat and is designed for any skill player position. This cut offers the freedom to accelerate for maximum speed on the field. Typically wide receivers or defensive backs wear low-top football cleats because they’ll experience maximum mobility for quick multi-directional movements. However, low-top football cleats provide less ankle protection which could lead to injury.

high top football cleat

High-Top Cut 

For positions like offensive lineman or defensive lineman, you’ll want to wear a high-top football cleat. With an upper that wraps around your ankle, these football cleats offer the most ankle support and protection for those players who are focused on blocking rather than running. Although these football cleats are heavier, these positions need the stability and protection that high-top football cleats offer.

mid top football cleat

Mid-Top Cut

With a mid-top football cleat, you get a blend between low-top and high-top cleats. With this type of upper, your ankle is better supported compared to low-top football cleats, but you’re still able to enjoy the same lightweight feel for speed. This type of football cleat is perfect for those skill player positions that may need a bit more protection from hits such as a running back, linebacker, tight end, or quarterback.

Cleat Fit

It’s important to not only buy the right style of football cleats but also make sure that your football cleats fit properly. If you wear poorly fitting football cleats, you’ll end up with sores or injuries that will distract you from the game. Follow these steps to finding the best-fitting football cleats.

1) When trying on football cleats, make sure to shop later in the day and bring your football socks with you. Since your feet swell throughout the day, it’s best to avoid trying on football cleats first thing in the morning. For the most accurate fit, you’ll want to try the cleats on while wearing your football socks too.

 2) Once you have your football cleats on, feel towards the front toe of the cleat to make sure your longest toe is about half an inch from the end. You’ll want the forefoot and the heel to fit comfortably snug. It’s important to pay attention to what kind of material the upper is made from because a full leather upper will stretch while a synthetic upper will not. 

 3) Take some time to walk around to make sure the football cleats are comfortable and flexible enough for quick cuts on the field. If you notice any pressure or discomfort from the cleat spikes, you’ll want to try on a different pair of football cleats. 

Kids’ Football Cleats

Often kids try several sports to see which ones they would like to play when they are older. With growing children, buying a new pair of football cleats each year can get expensive, so parents often ask the question: Can my child wear soccer cleats while playing football? Yes, young football players can wear soccer cleats while playing football, but parents need to know that football cleats cannot be used while playing soccer. It’s also important to make sure your child’s football cleats fit properly each year. It’s tempting to buy a pair of football cleats that they will be able to grow into, but football cleats that are too big for the player increase the risk of injury. 

Finding the right pair of football cleats helps set you or your football player up for a successful season. For additional help in buying a new pair of football cleats, contact an expert at your local SCHEELS.