Monday, 11 February 2013

Buying Soccer Cleats

Your cleats are the primary piece of equipment that you will use on the soccer field. It is essential that they are comfortable and fit your foot if you want to succeed on the pitch. When you decide to buy a new pair of cleats, there are a number of factors you need to consider.

Which Cleats?
The right cleat for you will be the one that forms an optimal balance between the following three factors:

Need
Ask yourself what level of a player you are, and what specific attributes you are looking for in a cleat. Do you want leather or synthetic? Do you want outdoor shoes or turf shoes? Long studs or short? Do you want replaceable studs or fixed studs? These are all questions you need to figure out before you make your purchase.

Surface
Figure out the primary type of surface on which you will be playing so that you get the appropriate type of cleat. Some cleats are designed to be used on a multitude of surfaces, but if you are a competitive player, you might want to consider getting multiple pairs of situational cleats.

Budget
Soccer cleats can get very expensive. A fancy pair with all the bells and whistles may provide a slight advantage on the pitch, but it won’t necessarily make you a better player. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to buy a solid pair of functional cleats. Determine what you are willing to spend, and then make an educated decision to get a pair with the features that are right for you.


Online vs. Offline Purchase


The internet is probably where you will find the best deal on cleats, but it may not always be your best option. The importance of finding a cleat that fits your foot cannot be stressed enough. By ordering cleats online you will not have the luxury of testing its fit, and may find yourself with an expensive purchase that doesn’t suit your foot. If you have the option of trying on cleats in a store, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. You may not be able to get the best price, but at the very least you can determine the exact cleats you want, and then order them online at a more competitive price.

Fit
The most important aspect of a cleat is whether it fits your foot. Your ability to perform on the pitch will be severely hampered by an ill-fitting boot, which is why your priority should be finding one that’s right for you. Also consider that some cleats tend to run large or small, and wide or narrow, depending on the brand. Sizing charts are a rough guideline, but by no means are they a precise science, especially when it comes to products from different countries. Almost all cleats will list both the American and European size on a tag, but you should absolutely still try them on before you buy them.

Trying on Your Cleat
When trying on a cleat in the store to determine the necessary size, be sure that you are wearing the socks and shin guards you plan to wear when you are playing. Normal socks will not give you an accurate idea of how a cleat fits in a game situation. So do your best to avoid buying a shoe that fits in the store, but not on the field.

Leather vs. Synthetic
Synthetic cleats, ironically, can be found on both the lowest and highest end of cleat prices, depending on the quality of materials. You can find a pair in the $20–$50 range, but these are primarily for beginning players and tend to lack durability.


Most mid-range cleats are made of kangaroo leather and are priced between $50 and $150. One benefit of a leather cleat is that it will gradually mold to the specific shape of your foot over time, giving you a more comfortable fit. The advantage of synthetic cleats is that they are more resistant to water, and are significantly easier to clean. If you play regularly and consider yourself a competitive player, then it is worth investing the money on a pair of mid-range cleats.

At the top of the price range are synthetic cleats made of expensive materials like carbon fiber. These cleats can reach the astronomical price of $350 at the top of the line. These are designed to be extremely light in order to improve your speed. While a pair of cleats this expensive will undoubtedly give you an advantage, they are unnecessary for anyone but the most serious and accomplished of players.

Molded vs. Studs
Most cleats currently on the market are molded cleats. This means that the sole is comprised of a set of fixed studs that cannot be replaced. Depending on your level of play, you may own more than one pair of cleats for varying conditions. Longs studs are typically recommended for muddy or wet field conditions, whereas short studs are primarily used for dry conditions. The third option is to buy cleats with removable studs, which will allow you to swap out long and short studs depending on field conditions.

Style vs. Comfort


It would be a lie to say that the “look” of a cleat doesn’t factor into many players’ decision-making when they choose a pair. However, the best advice to heed regarding the aesthetic style of your cleat is to completely disregard it. Don’t allow the look of the cleat to be your primary motivation when making a purchase.

Cleat Care
When you are done using your cleats, make sure that you hand-wash them thoroughly and ensure that there is no grass or mud stuck in the seams. If you notice that the leather is cracking, you can apply some polish to prolong their durability. Also try to avoid walking on concrete to prevent wearing down your studs.

Cleat Brands
There is no right or wrong brand to purchase, merely a variety of choices that may or may not suit you. The easiest way to choose which brand to purchase is by trying on cleats in the store and then buying the one that fits you the best.

Cleat Brands

If you are looking to buy a pair of cleats, here are the names of several trustworthy brands:
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Puma
  • Reebok
  • Diadora
Make Your Choice
Now that you have an overview of all the necessary information, you can make an educated decision when purchasing a pair of cleats. Be sure to do your research, and always remember that a pair of cleats that fit your feet is essential in order to enjoy the game of soccer.

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