March 4, 2018

12 Best Football Cleats Reviewed for Traction, Grip, Turning & More

American football

When it comes to playing football, the gear is crucial to your performance. You can’t expect to get the ball into the end zone with a mediocre pair of cleats. With all the available choices on the market, it can be difficult to determine what the best options are.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you find the best football cleats for your game.

Don’t sacrifice your game to a low-quality pair of cleats any longer. Invest in the best so you can play at the top level.


Comparison Table - Best Football Cleats


Image 
Product Name
High/Mid/Low
Colour Options
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
View Product
Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Football Cleats

Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Football Cleats

High

10 options

$$$$

Adidas Men's Performance Turf Hog LX Low Football Cleat

Adidas Men's Performance Turf Hog LX Low Football Cleat

Low

Black/Titanium/Black, Black/White/Black, Black/White

$

Nike Men's Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat

Nike Men's Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat

Low

33 options

$

Adidas Performance Men's Filthyspeed Mid Football Cleat

Adidas Performance Men's Filthyspeed Mid Football Cleat

Mid

Red/White, Black/Platinum, Blue/Black, Black/White

$$

Adidas Performance Men's Turf Hog LX Mid Football Cleat

Adidas Performance Men's Turf Hog LX Mid Football Cleat

Mid

Black/White, Black/White/Silver

$$

Nike Vapor Carbon Elite TD Men's Football Cleats

Nike Vapor Carbon Elite TD Men's Football Cleats

Low

55 options

$

Nike Men's Alpha Shark Football Cleats

Nike Men's Alpha Shark Football Cleats

Low

5 options

$

Nike Men's Field General Pro TD Football Lacrosse Cleats

Nike Men's Field General Pro TD Football Lacrosse Cleats

Mid

7 options

$$

Under Armour Boys' UA Highlight RM Jr

Under Armour Boys' UA Highlight RM Jr. Football Cleats

High

Black/White, Black/Team Royal, Black/Classic Green 

$$

Nike Kids Vapor Shark 2 BG Football Cleat

Nike Kids Vapor Shark 2 BG Football Cleat

Low

8 options

$$


Differences Between Cleats for Adults and Cleats for Youths/Kids


One of the main differences you’ll find between cleats for adults and cleats for kids is the price tag. Most styles of youth football cleats are going to be priced anywhere between $35 to $100. In comparison, adult football cleats generally seem to range from $60 to $200. That’s a big price difference.

Obviously part of the price discrepancy is due to the extra materials that are needed in a larger cleat size. There’s another reason for the varying pricing as well.

Durability! Keep this in mind; your children are going to get a pair of football cleats at the beginning of one season and then what happens? That’s right! They outgrow them before next season. That means each year, you’re buying brand new football cleats for them.

Adults can purchase a pair of football cleats and they could last for years if properly taken care of. For that reason, youth football cleats don’t need to be made as strong as a pair of adult football cleats. You’re going to find some reinforcements and additional quality standards in many adult options.

I’m not suggesting that youth football cleats aren’t made of high-quality materials, but I’m recommending that you choose your pair carefully.


Considerations for Buying Quality Football Cleats


When preparing to purchase a new pair of football cleats, there are several features to look for.

Ankle Support

 

There are two main varieties of cleats that offer varying support for the ankle. A mid-cut cleat is going to support the ankle without restricting movement. They’re generally available in a variety of different heights.


A low-cut cleat is lightweight and can be worn by skill position players. Without an extended top on these cleats, you receive maximum maneuverability but less ankle support.

Durability

 

Durability tends to go hand in hand with the cost. Most often, the more you spend on a pair of football cleats, the longer they tend to last. 


An affordable cleat offers lightweight performance and is ideal for a youth or some college players. They will typically feature synthetic uppers, few advanced technologies and a basically configured outsole.


Higher end football cleats are geared more toward the professional player. These will deliver pro-level speed, performance and maneuvering. They tend to be made from high-quality leather and synthetic uppers.


In addition, you can expect to find comfortable ankle support and innovative cushioning systems.

Materials

 

Football cleats can be made from a variety of materials. Some of the more common are:

  • Pebax – thermoplastic elastomer which is resistant to impact, flex, fatigue and weather.
  • Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) - lightweight, water-resistant material made to be used in extreme temperatures.
  • PORON® Urethane - breathable material that keeps water and perspiration away from your feet.
  • Polyurethane (PU) - durable material which offers the elasticity similar to rubber.
  • Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) - flexible but still durable material resistant to cracks from stress or age.

Cleats Designed for Speed (Wide receivers/running backs)

 

When you need speed, only the best football cleats for speed are going to work. Search for a pair that offers lightweight materials and capability. In addition, look for mesh or synthetic skins that create a breathable, light upper to keep your feet cool and dry.


You must choose a pair of cleats based on the position you play if you want the best performance. The best football kicking cleats are going to be made differently to the best football cleats for cornerbacks.


You also wouldn’t want a shoe designed for a kicker if you’re looking for the best football cleats for fullbacks.

Foot Type

 

When shopping for football cleats, you need to take your foot type into consideration. They should have a tight fit, but you don’t want them to be too tight.  When you have wide feet, it can be difficult to find the balance of tight fit without causing more pain. Thankfully, there are cleats specifically for wider feet.


In addition, players with flat feet might need to invest in orthotic insoles to provide the comfortable fit needed. Pay attention to the anatomic arch support of the cleats before making a purchase. This is especially important if you suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Outsole

 

You can choose from one of two outsole designs. The hard molded bottom cleat features hard plastic molding spikes. These grip the field for superior traction. They are best on firm ground or astroturf. Many youth leagues and high school teams use these because they are less expensive.


The detachable stud cleats are longer and more powerful spikes that provide amazing traction. They can be removed or changed based on your preference or condition. They tend to be used by professional or college players. The additional features mean that they are also more expensive than the molded football cleat.


Best Looking High-Quality Brands


There are many brands of football cleats you could choose from, but here are my three favorites.

Nike

Whether you’re preparing for practice or the big game, Nike’s football cleats always deliver a premium performance meant for any athlete. They offer gripping traction, lightweight support and a locked-down fit to help you have the best game possible.

Many of the styles feature Hyperfuse construction which is made from three different layers of materials. These are fused together to increase durability, stability and breathability.

They offer a nice selection of styles available for both men and youth. Find that style that works for you and then pair the colors to your team’s colors for a superior uniform appeal.

Adidas

Get ready for a great season with cleat technology offered by Adidas.

These cleats wrap around your foot to provide remarkable support. 

The responsive midsoles and footbeds offer comfort through the entire game.

You can find a wide range of colors and styles for men and kids. It is easy to find a pair that will match your team’s uniform.  

With more than 60,000 people employed in over 160 countries, you know they make a high-quality product.

Under Armour

You’ve picked up high-quality pads, helmet and compression wear, so it makes sense that you want the best in football cleats as well.

Under Armour provides critical traction, support and stability. In addition, they have superior padding and breathability to make the entire game comfortable.

You’ll find a wide range of colors and styles available for both adult and youth.

Some of their popular lines include Under Armour Highlight MC Cleats, Under Armour Highlight LUX RM Football Cleats and Under Armour Renegade Football Cleats.


Price Guide


You could spend a lot of money purchasing a pair of football cleats if you want. The price is going to widely vary based on the materials, brand and style of cleat you’re looking for.

A high-quality pair of youth football cleats can run anywhere from $35 to $100. Considering they will probably only wear them for one season before outgrowing them, you may not want to spend more than that.

Adult football cleats are made with a different target consumer in mind. They offer features for people with wide feet, plantar fasciitis and other ailments that most youths aren’t concerned with.

Because of that, you could easily spend $200 on a pair of football cleats. If they’re properly cared for, they can last for many years to come so it is still a good investment.


12 Best Football Cleats For Both Adults & Youths


Here are our picks for the best football cleats on the market. We have found that the top brands spend more time and money developing their shoe ranges and this is why they dominate our list below. 

1. Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Football Cleats

When you need the best football cleats for ankle support, you want to check out the Under Armour brand.

The UA ClutchFit upper wraps your foot in a material that feels like a second skin. This means you receive additional support and superior feel.

The lightweight material innovation forms to your foot. In return, your joints and muscles will feel better, even after a long game.

The molded 4D Foam conforms to your foot’s shape which eliminates all slippage. Finally, the 3D molded MPZ tongue conforms to your foot to provide even more protection.

Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Football Cleats

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

85%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • UA ClutchFit upper
  • Lightweight
  • Offers ankle support
  • Molded 4D Foam
  • 3D molded MPZ tongue

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Fit can be small
Adidas Men's Performance Turf Hog LX Low Football Cleat

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

74%
 Chance of Success

2. Adidas Men's Performance Turf Hog LX Low Football Cleat

Sometimes you just need a little extra room in your football cleats. This pair of Adidas cleats is the best football cleats for wide feet.

The breathable coated leather and textile upper provide a snug fit that doesn’t cut off circulation. In addition, this cleat offers no-tie elastic laces to provide for step-in comfort.

The EVA cushioned midsole offers some additional support, especially if you suffer from foot ailments. There are three different styles of shoes you can choose from; to customize to your personality.

This Adidas cleat also features a multi-surface grip outsole to make traction easier than ever before.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Great for wide feet
  • No-tie elastic laces
  • Low-cost

Cons

  • Don’t offer enough color choices
  • Can run slightly small

3. Nike Men's Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat

This pair of Nike cleats could easily be one of the best football cleats of 2017. The rubber sole combined with a padded tongue and collar offer a superior style and fit. It also has a lace-up closure to make the cleat feel snug and secure.

The breathable fabric lining allows for a great in-shoe feel. In addition, the full-length Phylon midsole delivers a responsive cushioning unlike any other.

Whether you’re just practising or playing a championship game, you’ll find your performance enhanced with this pair of cleats.

To top it all off, they are available in countless colors.

Nike Men's Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

76%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Phylon midsole
  • Phylon midsole

Cons

  • Some styles can be pricey
  • Seem to run narrow
Adidas Performance Men's Filthyspeed Mid Football Cleat

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

84%
 Chance of Success

4. Adidas Performance Men's Filthyspeed Mid Football Cleat

When you need speed, you need the best football cleats for a wide receiver.

The impressive style matches the speed at which you’ll be running! This cleat offers superior lightweight traction and a durable plate for precise cuts.

They also have a rubber sole, structured yet supportive synthetic upper and an EVA foam comfort insole. No matter how many hours you wear these cleats, you’ll remain pain-free and comfortable.

There are also four amazing, eye-catching styles to choose from. No one will miss you on the field.

Pros

  • Impressive style
  • Lightweight traction
  • Durable plate
  • EVA foam comfort insole

Cons

  • Could use a little more arch support
  • Can be pricey

5. Adidas Performance Men's Turf Hog LX Mid Football Cleat

This pair of adidas is the best cleats for turf football. That’s because they feature a multi-surface grip synthetic outsole.

It also has a breathable coated leather and textile upper featuring no-tie elastic laces. That allows for more room if you have a wide foot.

They’re designed for step-in comfort and even offer an EVA cushioned midsole with foam lining.

You’ll find that even after hours on the field, your feet don’t feel tired.

Adidas Performance Men's Turf Hog LX Mid Football Cleat

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

75%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Made for turf football
  • Multi-surface grip outsole
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Only available in two styles
  • Some people thought they were still too narrow despite the additional room for a wide foot
Nike Vapor Carbon Elite TD Men's Football Cleats

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

72%
 Chance of Success

6. Nike Vapor Carbon Elite TD Men's Football Cleats

The Vapor is one of the best Nike football cleats available on the market currently. The lightweight synthetic leather upper is designed for performance and superior comfort.

The injected outsole offers a 2014 TD pattern for precise cutting and outstanding grip plus control. It would be easy to suggest that this is also one of the best cleats for speed in football.

As with most Nike cleats, the wide array of colors and styles makes it easy to match any uniform or stand out when needed. Express your own personal style however you wish.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 2014 TD pattern for precise cutting
  • Amazing grip
  • Made for speed

Cons

  • Some people don’t like the attached tongue
  • Heel can feel loose for some with a narrow foot

7. Nike Men's Alpha Shark Football Cleats

Nike understands when you need speed so they offered this best football cleat for running backs.  

It offers a TPU outsole with a 12-cleat configuration and excellent traction. The dynamic fit system allows you to cinch up for an incredible lockdown.

The 3/4-height collar supports the ankle during lateral cuts while the forefoot cleats enhance traction on toe-off.

Unlike many other Nike choices, this cleat is only available in five styles, but there is still a nice selection to choose from.

Nike Men's Alpha Shark Football Cleats

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • TPU outsole with a 12-cleat configuration to provide excellent traction
  • Ankle support
  • Can be low cost depending on the style

Cons

  • Only a handful of colors available
  • Tend to run small
Nike Men's Field General Pro TD Football Lacrosse Cleats

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

86%
 Chance of Success

8. Nike Men's Field General Pro TD Football Lacrosse Cleats

This pair of Nike cleats are the best looking football cleats I’ve seen yet. They’re mean, tough and appear to be in charge on the field.

Aside from the style, they also offer a durable mesh upper for lightweight breathability. The low-profile EVA foam sock liner enhances player comfort.

In addition, the ¾-length Phylon wedge midsole will allow for more cushioning during gameplay. The TPU plate with seven cleats offers durable traction you can rely on.

Finally, the four supplemental TPU cleats enhance the traction at toe-off and during a lateral cut. This is style and performance you can rely on.

Pros

  • Lightweight breathability
  • Unique style
  • Superior cushioning

Cons

  • Can be tight for wide feet
  • Some styles are pricey

Children


1. Under Armour Boys' UA Highlight RM Jr. Football Cleats

This style is much like the men’s version and is considered one of the best youth football cleats.

The UA ClutchFit upper wraps your foot like a second skin to provide an advantage over the competition. Its powerful support and incredible feel are only heightened by the extended eye row cut-outs for easier entry and flexibility.

The Die-cut EVA footbed allows for maximum comfort plus stability. The rubber molded cleats provide you with aggressive traction on any surface while remaining lightweight and comfortable.

Under Armour Boys' UA Highlight RM Jr

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

87%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • UA ClutchFit upper
  • Extended eyerow cut-outs for easy entry
  • Die-cut EVA footbed

Cons

  • Not designed for maximum speed
  • Only available in three colors
Nike Kids Vapor Shark 2 BG Football Cleat

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

86%
 Chance of Success

2. Nike Kids Vapor Shark 2 BG Football Cleat

This pair of Nike cleats has been rated one of the best football cleats for kids. There are so many styles to choose from. You’ll easily be able to please even the pickiest player.

The lace-up closure allows for a snug fit that keeps feet comfortable through the entire game. It also features a padded tongue and collar plus breathable fabric lining for maximum comfort.

The Full-length Phylon midsole is known to deliver responsive cushioning plus there’s a molded foam insole that provides a little more bounce in each stride.

Pros

  • Many styles available
  • Breathable
  • Full-length Phylon midsole

Cons

  • Slightly narrow in the toes
  • Light on the padding

3. Under Armour Youth Hammer Mid Molded Football Cleats

This pair of Under Armour is a great choice for the best football cleats for linemen.

That’s because of the synthetic upper which offers a clean, fast look while still providing support and comfort. The die-cut EVA offers even more durability which is important in youth cleats.

The rubber molded outsole offers aggressive traction no matter what surface the kids are playing on. In addition, it has an overall lightweight and comfortable feel.

Under Armour Youth Hammer Mid Molded Football Cleats

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

77%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Stylish look
  • Maximum support
  • Die-cut EVA

Cons

  • Only three colors
  • Runs a little small
Boy's Nike Alpha Shark 2 - 0

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

4. Boy's Nike Alpha Shark 2 3/4 Wide Football Cleat

Our final choice for the best youth football cleats for 2017 is this pair of Nike. Unlike some of the other choices, this only comes in two colors but offers some amazing benefits.

This pair of cleats offers an aggressive shark rubber outsole combined with Nike fast-flex. All of this combined means a natural performance thanks to the speed midsole.

There’s also a full-length Phylon for responsive comfort profile. It’s their toughest, most aggressive shark ever produced. Plus, it’s lightweight with the synthetic leather upper and comfort collar that offers maximum performance and great fit.

Pros

  • Aggressive shark outsole
  • Fast-flex
  • Full-length Phylon

Cons

  • Toe feels thin
  • Pricey

Conclusion


Now that you’ve had a glimpse at all the best football cleats on the market, you’re ready to make a decision. Make sure you choose the kind which works best for your position and pick a style you love.

With all the reputable brands available to you, there should be no trouble finding exactly what you need and want at a price you can feel good about.

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