What Is The Difference Between Soccer And Football Cleats?

There are so many different sports that we can take part in, so it’s a valid question if sporting garments for one sport can be worn for a different one. An example is soccer cleats and football cleats.

Many people aren’t sure about the difference between football cleats and soccer cleats, while some even question if football cleats can be worn for soccer, and vice versa. So, is this possible? What is the difference between these two types of cleats? 

What Is The Difference Between Soccer And Football Cleats

We’ll cover the answer in this post, including how the cleats are similar and different to each other, why cleats are needed in football and soccer, and if it’s permissible for your kid to wear soccer cleats for football games. 

Are Soccer Cleats And Football Cleats The Same?

Essentially, no, football cleats aren’t the same as soccer cleats. If they were the same, each different cleat category would be pointless. Different kinds of cleats are specifically made for particular requirements of a sport.

Soccer cleats (see also: How To Break In Soccer Cleats)help deliver traction on the ground and enable better contact with round soccer balls. This is different from football, as football players only need cleats for reactions. 

Football kickers and punters may kick balls, but these balls have a spheroid shape that is different from round soccer (see also: How To Get In Shape For Soccer)balls. 

Main Differences Between Soccer And Football Cleats

Football cleats and soccer cleats may seem similar on the surface, but they have several distinct differences. 

These distinctions are outlined in the table below:

FeatureFootball CleatsSoccer Cleats
MaterialThick for increased protectivenessThin for greater flexibility
RiseHigh rise to defend the ankleLow rise
ShapeWide, long, curved topTighter and narrow fitting
StudsAdditional toe spike and extra studsToe spike not present
WeightHeavier for protectionLighter for better touch and speed

Soccer Cleat Bottom Design 

Firm-ground, typical soccer cleats are worn on regular grass. There are studs on the bottom of these shoes that help grip mud and grass for better traction.

The location and specific shape of the studs will differ with various cleat styles and manufacturers. In most cases, there are four studs in a square formation (see also: Best Soccer Formations)close to the heel. The cleats also have around six studs near the toe box, with three on both sides and a single one in the center. 

Football cleats look slightly different, as the studs are longer and there are more of them on the front, as well as a toe stud. The toe stud delivers better traction for driving against heavier adversaries, but not for soccer activities. 

Different Kinds Of Soccer Cleats

Here are some different kinds of soccer cleats to be aware of:

Astroturf Boots

These are designed for specifically playing on astroturf. These have shorter studs that grip the turf surface better.

Bladed Boots

These are used on artificial and firm grounds. The boots may also have metal tips for use on damp ground.

What Is The Difference Between Soccer And Football Cleats (1)

Futsal And Indoor Cleats

These have flat soles without any studs for harder fields. They are also rubberized for improved grip. 

Long Stud Boots

These are best for wet or particularly grassy pitches. They have screw-on studs made from a mix of plastic and metal. You can replace these with different studs, like rubber or plastic ones. 

Screw-in studs have a maximum length of 21mm. 

Molded Studded Boots

These are best on artificial turf or firmer surfaces. They have a large number of round molded studs, known as ‘moldies’. 

American Football Cleats VS Soccer Cleats

Football cleats may look like soccer cleats, but they have different designs and functions.

  • The cleats are established in a different form on the outsole, and they also have a toe stud for improved traction. This is ideal in football but will hinder soccer players.
  • The outsole usually weighs more to support larger players experiencing greater collisions.
  • A lot of football players have high-cut cleats for additional support
  • Some players that need ankle support wear mid-cut cleats for improved mobility.

Can My Child Wear Soccer Cleats When Playing Football?

While professional football and soccer players receive specialized equipment, kids that are just starting the game aren’t likely to get new cleats and shoe deals just yet. 

Their feet are also still growing, so parents that want to save money wonder if their child’s football cleats are suitable for soccer, and vice versa. The answer is simple: perhaps, but it’s not recommended.

The rules of football state that soccer cleats can be worn in football, but they aren’t designed for use in the sport. Additionally, football cleats are not permitted for use in soccer games.

The IFAB regulations on soccer equipment don’t prohibit football cleats, but a lot of referees consider them dangerous gear. This is largely down to the additional toe stud, as this runs the risk of injuring other soccer players.

Are Soccer Cleats A Necessity For Children?

Children grow out of cleats and shoes fast, so it can be hard for parents to purchase all of the equipment needed for different games. The reality is that particularly young children from three to five years may not require cleats to play football or soccer safely. 

Despite this, some parents may be tempted to use a single pair of cleats for football, soccer, and different activities. This is never recommended, as this can negatively affect your child’s performance and increase the risk of injury.

If you are only able to purchase one pair of cleats, it’s best to go for soccer cleats. These are more versatile than others, as football may allow soccer cleats to be worn. However, keep in mind that soccer cleats won’t deliver the best support or grip needed for the sport. 

It’s a good idea to look for used, hand-me-down, and sale cleats so that your kids have the best footwear for their chosen sports. 

The Bottom Line

Soccer cleats and football cleats can look similar at first, but they have a few noticeable differences. Soccer cleats are lighter, thinner, and tighter for improved touch and speed. Football cleats are heavier, thicker, and high-rise to protect the ankles and absorb greater impacts. 

It’s never recommended to wear soccer cleats for football, or vice versa.

The wrong cleats can affect your performance and make injuries more likely. You may be able to wear soccer cleats in football, but you cannot wear football cleats in soccer (see also ‘What To Wear To Soccer Practice?‘). It’s always best to purchase the right cleats for your sport. 

Adrian Turner
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