The Gridiron season is fast approaching so its time to consider what the best style of football cleat is to purchase. Your game will either be enhanced or hindered by your choice. Good cleats should above all be comfortable and effective adding to your game skills, keeping the enjoyment, all to help reach your potential.
First thing to consider is the style of shoe upper you prefer, whether you want extra ankle support or you are happy to have lower cut soccer style shoes or something in between.
- High top shoes offer the greatest ankle support especially against sprains from lateral movement, where linemen are more at risk.
- Mid-cut shoes while still offering some ankle support do restrict full maneuverability; this style suits players in skill positions requiring more deft movements – backs and receivers.
- Low cut styles are less popular on the whole but some players of the skill positions prefer them because they are very lightweight and allow a lot of easy movement around the field but they offer less support or protection from ankle injuries.
Any of the above shoes uppers can be made of a number of materials, either from leather of different synthetics.
Leather is durable, breathes well to reduce sweat, generally moulds well to a players individual foot shape and retains flexibility of cared for. They do tend to be in the more expensive ranges.
Synthetics are generally not as breathable as leather but developments are changing this aspect. Even if the shoe leather they may have some synthetic components to increase stability and provide reinforcement. Fully synthetic shoes tend to be on the less expensive end of the price spectrum.
When considering the most suitable cleat for your games think about your particular league regulations as well as your personal choice. Cleats which are actually spikes attached under the shoe can be either detachable or molded to the shoe.
It is fairly self explanatory that molded cleats cannot be changed so will be designed for general playing situations and various playing surface and are usually cheaper . Those designed for turf surfaces usually have rubber cleats that offer spring and traction to the player. If you play on both turf and artificial surfaces then you will need a multipurpose cleat.
Shoes with detachable cleats have the advantage they can be changed for different surfaces, hard or soft turf, artificial grass and the can be replaced or if damaged or worn out. Shorter studs are better on firm surfaces, longer on deeper or wetter when traction is required. However the wrong studs for surface may increase risk of injury. Be aware that longer studs while seeming more stable may be so unyielding that joints like knees are more prone to injury.
Detachable studs can be made of various materials including plastic, metal or rubber so again always be aware of league requirements. Sizes available are 1/2-, 5/8-, 3/4- and 1-inch.
Keep your shoes and cleats in good condition with regular cleaning and in the case of leather use good conditioning products. Carry spare laces too – no lace, no shoe, no game.