All Cleats are NOT the same. The Differences Between Soccer, Baseball, Football and Lacrosse Cleats


My son recently got flagged for wearing his football cleats in a soccer game. Who knew cleats aren’t one sport fits all? (OK. I actually did, but thought I could get away with it.)

If you haven’t shopped for cleats, WARNING… it’s not as easy as it seems. Before you go shopping read this quick 101 on cleats. (If you need more visuals, see my cleat 101 video).

My three tips:

  1. Make friends with a family with older kids or children with bigger feet and ask for hand me downs. Cleats are expensive and often only last a season because your kid’s feet are growing.
  2. Buy neutral colors. If you have both boys and girls, they can share a black or blue pair of cleats. I didn’t think of this until my son boycotted wearing his older sisters nearly new pair of hot pink soccer cleats.
  3. In a pinch, use soccer cleats. Soccer cleats are the most versatile of cleats. Unlike football, baseball and lacrosse cleats, which CANNOT be worn in Soccer. You can wear soccer cleats in lacrosse, football and baseball. (Not recommended for ultimate performance, but they will be allowed by the official.)



  • Have a toe cleat in front that digs into the dirt and helps with quick acceleration.
  • These shoes are NOT made for contact or for stepping on other players.



  • The actual cleats on the bottom of the shoe are longer. They are made which to dig into the field to give your child traction and allow them to make cuts and turns.
  • The leather on football cleats is heavier and thicker than other cleats to protect your child’s feet when they get stepped on.
  • 3 heights = high tops, mid cut and low cut. The high cut are for less mobile positions. Typically offensive and defensive line players. Mid cut for linebackers, running backs and quarterbacks. Low cuts are designed for speed positions, like cornerbacks, safeties and wide receivers.



  • Cleats are on the outside of the sole for stability and for side-to-side movement.
  • Lacrosse cleats have a Toe cleat, like a baseball cleat, which means you CAN NOT wear a lacrosse cleat in soccer, but you can use a baseball cleat for lacrosse.
  • Usually a mid level cut to offer ankle support.
  • Similar to soccer cleat in weight.


  • The most versatile cleat. It can be worn in other sports in a pinch. But you cannot wear baseball or lacrosse shoes that have a toe cleat in soccer. It’s not safe.
  • Lighter than football and baseball cleats.
  • Always low cut.
  • The actual cleat is shorter because it’s made for running and agility.


  1. Some solid advice in the article about hand me downs and versatile cleats.

    IMO, until a kid reaches their growth spurt, it’s highly unlikely that specialized cleats are going to make a difference in their performance. But companies will be glad to sell you four different types of cleats so you can dress your 8 year old like a pro.


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