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

difference cleats on shelf

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

By Alex Flanagan

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.)

Are These Cleats Worth $250

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.)



Under Amour Baseball cleat click HERE to Buy

  • 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.


Nike football cleat click HERE to buy     Adidas football cleat click HERE to buy

  • 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 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.


Under Armour lacrosse cleats click Here to buy

  • 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.


Adidas performance soccer shoe click to buy

  • 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.
(ILTWYP participates in the Amazon Affiliate Link advertising program and will receive a small percentage of any items purchased)

More great articles you might like from
The Most Incredible and Easy Trick To Keeping Your Kid’s Laces Tied
Are These Cleats Worth $250
9 Things Good Sports DON’T DO

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 and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.




  1. Very nice explanation but the soccer shoes you put a link to aren’t very good. I’d prefer you do more research on the best value and quality for the money.

  2. I have a question for more experienced Baseball parents. My son has plantar fasciitis. He is a catcher. His current cleats hurt his feet something horrible. And having PF myself, I know I can not wear stiff soled shoes. What is recommended as a more flexible cleat? I was thinking soccer cleats would have a more flexible sole.halp?

  3. Would any of these cleated shoes, be them the soccer or football or lacrosse or baseball, work to prevent someone from slipping and falling on winter ice and snow, or not? As you know, they sell those shoe and boot cleats you can stretch over your boots or shoes, made of steel. But could someone purchase a pair of these cleated sports shoes and they do the same or would they not work that way? Thank you.

    • I would not use a plastic stubby cleat on ice. They will more than likely put you at more risk of falling and injuring yourself.

  4. Good info, but of course it is even more complicated. Baseball “cleats” can also be metal (legal in high school and above) and some sports (golf, track) permit metal “spikes” (not legal in baseball).

  5. The coach who flagged your kid for wearing the wrong cleats is an A.H. I coached kids, I didn’t care what they wear on their feet. The majority of the coaches are parents who volunteered to be there because their kids are in the team. Many of them have never played the sports. They read the manual at night and coached the next day. Cleats are studs to help players from skidding during wet snow or rain but then the game would be canceled anyway. I play soccer all my life with running shoes and scored lots of goals. Why not?

  6. Ha thanks for proving me right (even I didn’t know I was lol). Recent convo with my stepdad. “Here’s a cute pic of Max’ s first baseball practice” he says awesome, except the soccer cleats lol. Me – he’s 5. It’s fine. No cleats even required for this (5-7 coach pitch) league. Baseball loving stepdad – *appalled* he can’t wear soccer cleats for baseball! Me – Plus those are a 13 and I already have hand me downs in a 1, 1.5, 2, and 2.5. I don’t want to buy a 13 when the 1 will fit so soon. Him – we’re sending a pair.

    Lol, ok then. We are very lucky to have such generous grandparents

  7. 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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