Soccer

Proper fitting soccer cleats are essential for optimal performance for players of all ages and skill levels. The type of soccer cleats you select will often depend on comfort, your level of play, the type of field on which you are playing, weather conditions and how much you are willing to spend.

Types

There are three major types of soccer cleats

1. Hard/firm ground cleats

Hard ground cleats are used most for outdoor field conditions and have non-removable studs on the outsole.  Studs provide friction against the potentially wet and slippery ground.

2.  Soft ground cleats

Soft ground cleats offer greater stability and control on wet, soft fields as they have removable, metal-tipped studs that can be removed, replaced and exchanged depending on the field conditions.

3.  Indoor cleats

Indoor soccer shoes have a flat rubber outsole, often with a herringbone pattern, to increase traction on artificial turf or gym hardwood or tiled floors.

A good soccer cleat should have the following characteristics:

Fit

A soccer shoe generally has a tighter fit to allow you to better feel and control the ball. For best performance and comfort, a soccer cleat should have between a ¼ and ½ inch gap between the end of your toes and the shoe.

Width

A soccer cleat should fit snugly so that your foot cannot move from side to side inside the shoe while playing. Many brands of soccer cleats only come in one width and you may need to try several different brands and shoes before finding a good fit. A relatively tight fit is ideal.

Material

Soccer cleats are made of leather or synthetic materials. Leather shoes offer the best fit, are usually more expensive, require waterproofing for repeated use in wet conditions, and mold to the shape of your foot allowing for an ideal fit. Synthetic shoes are also available.   They are cheaper, ideal for wet weather conditions and easier to clean, however, they may not fit as well as leather cleats.

After purchasing a new pair of soccer cleats, wear them indoors to ensure the correct fit. Your soccer cleats should fit more snugly than other athletic shoes with your toes close to the end of the shoe, but not touching. Try soccer cleats on while you are wearing shin pads and soccer socks rather than regular athletic socks to ensure proper fit. An ideal fitting soccer cleat will cause no discomfort or pressure points. [1,2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

[1] http://www.about-soccer.com/soccer-shoes.  Accessed 3/25/2012

[2] http://www.livestrong.com/article/134647-how-do-soccer-cleats-fit.  Accessed 3/25/2012

Images

Hard ground cleat: Photo Credit soccer shoe image by Daniel Gillies from Fotolia.com.  Accessed 4/16/2012
Soft ground cleat: http://www.soccershoes4sales.com/adidas-world-cup.  Accessed 4/16/2012

Indoor soccer shoes: http://www.soccershoes4sales.com/adidas-world-cup.  Accessed 4/16/2012

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