The Difference Between Soccer and Football Cleats. Plus, baseball and Lacrosse Cleats
By Alex Flanagan
The difference between soccer and football cleats. Plus, baseball 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? Apparently, all cleats are NOT the same. (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, especially if you trying to figure out the difference between soccer and football cleats. (If you need more visuals, see my cleat 101 video).
My three tips:
- 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.
- 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 sister’s nearly new pair of hot pink soccer cleats.
- 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.)
ALL CLEATS ARE NOT EQUAL
- 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.
- They are lighter than football and baseball cleats.
- Always low cut.
- The actual cleat is shorter because it’s made for running and agility.
- The actual cleats on the bottom of the shoe are longer. They are made 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 is 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.
- 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.
- Cleats are on the outside of the sole for stability and 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 offers ankle support.
- Similar to a soccer cleat in weight.
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Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website alexflanagan.com, and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.