Soccer Shoes, Boots or Cleats
There are two major performance considerations that should shape your decisions with soccer footwear. Your boot choice will primarily rely on these two questions:
- What kind of surface do you play on?
- How much touch does your game demand?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the right boot for you.
The outsole is the part of the shoe that touches the ground. The field on which you play should determine the type of outsole you choose.
Firm Ground (FG) or Molded
These are built for most firm natural surfaces. They use molded studs to provide traction on most pitches and are the most popular and versatile outsole for natural surfaces. Molded boots feature both conical and bladed studs.
Soft Ground (SG) or Replaceable stud
For soft or wet natural surfaces (i.e. well-groomed pitches or mud). Traditionally, soft ground/replaceable have used fewer well-spaced, longer replaceable studs, however many now have bladed studs that are not actually removable. They are the choice for many professional players on manicured pitches. If used on pitches that are too hard, they can create stud pressure pain and lead to injury.
Hard Ground (HG) or MultiGround (MG)
Created for artificial or hard natural surfaces like artificial turf or solid, sun-baked ground. Hard ground soccer cleats generally have a large number of short studs that are usually evenly distributed across the entire outsole. They also provide a good option on frozen fields.
Turf shoes or turf boots usually feature an extremely durable rubber outsole. Turf shoes often feature small rubber studs or patterns on the outsole to improve traction on hard, natural fields and artificial turf.Turf boots are also great for soccer training and can be used to play indoor or on hard surfaces.
These soles are designed for indoor or dry artificial surfaces. An indoor soccer shoe will generally feature a gum rubber flat outsole. They are created for playing indoor soccer or futsal, but will also work for leisure and street wear. Often referred to as flats, indoor boots generally have a non-marking rubber sole.
Other Types of Shoes
Running and training shoes for general fitness are a staple for any player. Generally, running shoes feature rubber outsole and nylon uppers. Some soccer trainers now offer a soccer upper and a running shoe outsole. Trail shoes are built like most other running shoes, but have a heavier outsole, and should be able to take heavier use. Sandals are key for many soccer players. These rubber slides offer some much-needed relief after 90 minutes in a match or intense training.
The primary factor determining the price of a boot is the quality of the material used in construction. The amount of technology that goes into a shoe also has an influence on its price. The higher level the player generally the more money he or she will invest in boots. Some considerations to take note of when looking at the price of soccer boots, cheaper boots do not last the more expensive the better the materials and technology the boot has, and therefore the longer it would last.
Boots should fit snugly in the heel and the toe a snug fit improves both performance and comfort. A comfortable width is important, as well. Comfort is your driving factor, the more natural the boots feel on your feet the more comfortable you'll be on the field. The width and feel of shoes (dependant upon the last, which the shoe was molded on) varies with manufacturers and models. Keep in mind the material of the shoe in determining fit you can expect high-quality, natural leathers to stretch some. Therefore they should definitely be snug when new. As a note to parents of junior players: We do not recommend buying shoes too large for players to "grow into." An overly large or poorly fitting shoe can contribute to accidents or injury as players push themselves to their limits.
Women's vs. Men's Shoes
It used to be that women soccer players could only buy men's shoes and a lot of the time high quality shoes were not made in sizes that were small enough to fit a women's foot. No longer! World Soccer Shop now carries a complete collection of shoes designed specifically for the female player. But if you are a female and find that you can only find a man's shoe that suits you, then sizes usually translate. A size 5.5 men's usually equals a size 6.5 women's as demonstrated in this size chart: