10 Best Soccer Cleats in 2021

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10 Best Soccer Cleats in 2021

Choosing the right soccer cleat can be a difficult task, especially for beginners. But worry not!

We have reviewed 70+ pairs of cleats to pick out the best performers. Whether you are playing on firm ground, turf, or indoors, we’ve got some highly recommended options for each surface.

Here you will also find some expert tips on choosing the right cleat for you. Scroll down to the guide sections below to learn about which cleat is right for your playing surface, what is the best material for ball touch, and how soccer cleats should fit.

How we choose the best soccer cleats

Here at RunRepeat, we give each soccer cleat a CoreScore from 0-100. This score is an indicator of how well liked the shoe generally is.

A corescore is computed by weighing in all the reviews that we could get--from expert reviewers, to players, and even ordinary users who leave their comments and ratings on retailer sites. We spend hours each day collating them. You can trust that the Corescore is a comprehensive quantitative assessment of each soccer cleat.

To come up with the list below, we surveyed almost 600 experts and around 67,300 users who leave their reviews on retailer websites.

Best overall

Adidas has its roots in soccer, so it really knows how to produce really effective soccer cleats! The Adidas Predator Freak+ is easily the most notable among all the 200+ soccer cleats that we are able to get our feet in. 

It’s not really difficult to see why the Predator Freak+ gets favored by many; it just delivers on every aspect that is important to us and every other soccer player out there.

With its Mutated Demonskin upper, it offers a very effective touch on the ball. It’s amazing just how this makes dribbling, kicking, and overall ball handling a lot easier to do. 

The upper material also provides great lockdown, giving us the confidence to move more freely and purposefully on the pitch. There is no slippage, no second-guessing, just pure mind-in-the-game performance. Now, who wouldn’t want this?!

Aside from that, the materials are light without jeopardizing function. The upper is still very supportive and comfortable; we did not feel pain even after a really grueling battle on the pitch. 

Of course, no shoe is perfect. The Adidas Predator Freak+ is reportedly in need of some break-in time. But seriously, which shoe isn’t? So very clearly, this is not and should not be a deal breaker. Just spend a little time playing in this shoe before your actual game and you are truly good to go.

See our full review and facts

Based on its own merits, we say that the Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 Elite FG is a great pick among more than 200 cleats that we’ve tested. On the firm ground and even on turf, the stud configuration delivers a remarkable grip. This made our sprints, turns, and even our kicks a lot stabler. 

In addition to that, the upper uses an engineered mesh with a textured finish for more friction. As a result, our dribbles, passes, and offensive kicks became more controlled and precise; even the most skilled opponents will have a hard time taking the ball from us! 

The mesh also conforms to the foot nicely, giving a snug and supportive fit. It is perhaps because of this that the soccer cleat feels light even if it’s slightly heavier than the previous version. What we feel bears more weight than what actually is there, doesn’t it?

Speaking of the previous version, it’s actually the current shoe’s waterloo. The 8 is indeed great and effective, but it doesn’t seem to add so much value to what the Superfly 7 has already achieved. Come on, Nike! Give us a compelling reason to pay another $275 to abandon the 7 and get the 8!

If you, however, are able to see past the past and just focus on what’s right in front of you, then the Mercurial Superfly 8 Elite FG is a no-brainer choice! It’s just that worthy performance-wise.

See our full review and facts

Best turf shoes

You can never go wrong with the classics, and the Adidas Mundial Team is an enduring proof of that. The Three Stripes did not change this turf cleat so much in terms of tech and appearance. Well, they didn’t really have to make any modifications; there’s nothing to fix really. 

The shoe provides the traction needed on artificial surfaces. Its bite is never too much nor too flimsy; it’s simply just right. The sole’s grip didn’t seem to be affected by the weather, either. Rain or shine, no problem! With this, it’s a given that this shoe works both indoors and outdoors.

What makes the stud configuration even more attractive is the fact that it does not put so much pressure on the foot. Pain? We didn’t feel it even after long hours of running, kicking, and some twists and turns. Before this, we never thought it’s possible to emerge from a battle unscathed!

 

Furthermore, extra-long games won’t be such an issue either also because the upper just feels so good on the skin. No blisters, no pinching; just pure cradling! It’s just among the most comfortable turf shoes we have ever tested. It uses good old kangaroo leather, after all. In soccer cleats, nothing is yet to beat the ‘roo when it comes to softness, flexibility, and durability.

Now if a turf shoe offers all of that for just less than a hundred dollars, then there’s no need to look further. The Adidas Mundial Team is still the GOAT.

See our full review and facts

Adidas surely was not playing games when they came up with the Nemeziz 19.3 for turf courts. This soccer cleat is above all else light and feels minimal on foot even with its snug fit. This makes it easy for us to do sprints, turns, and even aggressive kicks for the goal.

Our confidence on the court skyrocketed because of how supportive this soccer cleat had been. You see, lightness and dependable lockdown are always a lethal combo in soccer, or any game for that matter. Ankle support on this one was just superb! And it does that without making us feel like we’re being choked.

Now, what kind of soccer cleat is it if it does not deliver good ball control? The Adidas Nemeziz 19.3 Turf definitely made us feel that it’s designed as a control cleat. Because of how sticky the upper is, the ball was so easy to maneuver. Dribbling and eventually scoring were a lot easier to execute with the help of this one.  

The grass on turf courts may be fake, but the positive remarks about the Adidas Nemeziz 19.3 Turf surely are not. The fact that this shoe is also truly affordable and presentable is just the icing on the cake.

See our full review and facts

Best for indoor

Indoor soccer shoes are usually used for long hours of training. Naturally, they need to be really comfortable so players can withstand the rigor and intensity of their practices. This is where the Adidas Samba Classic becomes a superstar. Through the years, it has provided comfort like no other.

Aside from that, ball touch was, is, and never will be compromised with this one. We did not experience the ball slipping or becoming hard to control. Dribbles, passes, and kicks for the goal were so easy to execute.

Knowing that soccer is a contact sport with lots and lots of aggression, Adidas made sure that the Samba Classic is durable enough to withstand prolonged beating. We never had to worry that we’d have to sit out half of our training just because of torn shoes.

What made this model even more endearing to us is the fact that it resembles everyday sneakers so much. We really didn’t have to worry that we’ll look way too athletic when we go out in these. It’s like getting two shoes at the price of just one. 

Speaking of price, this shoe does all that we’ve mentioned while being affordable. This makes it easily one of the favorites of many, especially those who are part of teams that operate on tight budgets. 

Taken all together, the  Adidas Samba is enthroned in the brand’s pantheon of timeless greats, and it truly deserves to be there.

See our full review and facts

Adidas fans, even the most die-hard ones, surely won’t be disappointed with the Adidas Mundial Goal. This indoor soccer shoe successfully embodies the form, look, and feel of a soccer shoe from the Three Stripes; and it does this without the flashiness of new tech that will surely make this model even more expensive.

What the Mundial goal offers instead are classic techs that have already been proven to deliver comfort. We really didn’t have problems even if we wore this shoe for hours on end. No pain. No blisters. In effect, our minds were just focused on the game. 

It is obvious that this shoe is designed with more effective ball handling in mind. The upper features strategic stitches that allow for excellent ball contact. Truly, it was easy to bring the ball wherever we wanted through more precise kicks, dribbles, and passes. 

Now, even fashion-conscious players shouldn’t shy away from the Mundial Goal. This shoe has a streamlined look that makes it such an easy match with almost any outfit. Going on a gig right after a game or practice was never a problem with this one.

If we have something to complain about, it would be that this shoe isn’t as durable as we expected it to be. Fortunately, this is not something that proper shoe care cannot address.

See our full review and facts

Best high top

Though science has already proven that collar height does not have significant effects on performance, many soccer players still feel that they play better in high-tops. If you are one of those players, then you shouldn’t miss out on the Nike Phantom Vision Elite DF Firm Ground. 

This high-top soccer shoe features a Ghost Lacing system, and words can’t express how much we loved the shoe’s streamlined appearance because of it! Also, the laces didn’t get undone easily because the shroud protected it well. 

The shoe is so minimal and comfortable that it didn’t need that much break-in time. The shoe’s Dynamic Fit feature, Quadfit mesh, and Flyknit all work together to ensure a supportive yet truly soothing fit. Pain? We’re happy that we’re finally free from it because of the sock-like clasp of this soccer cleat.

Besides ensuring comfort, the upper is also textured enough to provide the friction needed for more effective ball control. When kicking or dribbling, it felt as if the shoe was one with our feet! This, we think, is what every soccer player wishes for.

Having said all those, we believe that the Nike Phantom Vision Elite DF Firm Ground is the best out there. It’s admittedly pricey, but it surely delivers what your every penny is worth.

See our full review and facts

Adidas understands that for a soccer cleat to deliver comfort, it must be made of materials that are not only light but also soft and flexible. It equips the Adidas Predator 18+ Firm Ground with Primeknit and a Sockfit collar, and we are totally on board! These innovations were totally kings in pampering the foot even while we were moving aggressively.

The flexibility afforded by the premium upper materials also made the fit quite supportive without being too restrictive. This and the quite secure grip that its stud configuration provides made us more confident to go wild on the pitch!

Besides that, this high-top soccer cleat also has extra Boost cushioning in the heel, and it truly helped in preventing blisters. We also felt it fueling our runs, saving us energy for other important game functions.

Speaking of other functions, overall ball handling was made a lot easier by the ControlSkin layer on the upper. This innovative add-on not only protected the shoe from abrasion, it also provided enough texture so that ball slips and other maneuvering errors were minimized. 

Given this model’s price, we are sad that many soccer players will be forced to miss out on this.  But hey! If you have the means and opportunity to do so, this high-top soccer cleat is surely worth saving for.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

Just because a soccer cleat is priced more affordably does not really mean it’s already of inferior quality. The Adidas Copa 20.3 Firm Ground is an enduring proof that options with less flashy techs are as beastly, or at times even better, as their pricier counterparts.

The Copa 20.3 FG is still made of leather, so it has a quite snug fit that we would describe as sock-like. With this, we were able to run fast without having to worry about slippage or unnecessary internal wobbliness. 

The leather material is also soft, so comfort was definitely there. Even if we played for hours on end, we still couldn’t complain about pain.

Aside from those, the light TPU outsole has an eleven-stud configuration that digs quite effectively into the firm ground. This gave us the stability needed to run and even kick more decisively. 

Speaking of kicks, the forefoot area has grooves with stitches. These ensure friction between the shoe and the ball. Indeed, with these grooves, we felt more in control as we ran up and down the pitch!

Generally, the Adidas Copa 20.3 Firm Ground just gave more than the money it took from our pockets. It’s simply the best budget soccer shoe out there. You just have to take our word for this.

See our full review and facts

The need to be broken in is a common issue among soccer cleats regardless of price tier. However, the Adidas Goletto 6 Firm Ground begs to differ. It was just so comfortable the moment we put it on. Its upper, though made of synthetic leather, was soft straight out of the box, and it wrapped the foot securely. 

Besides hitting the ground running in terms of comfort, this soccer cleat also boasts a slim and streamlined construction. This made it easy for us to move more freely, so our runs were more focused and quick.

The soccer cleat’s streamlined look also gave the Goletto 6 a sneaker-like appeal. If not for the spikes underneath, we would have been proud to wear it as we strolled around town!

Speaking of spikes, the eleven-stud configuration on the outsole was just so dependable. Not once did we feel wobbly in games played on the firm ground. This alone is already enough reason to love the shoe.

The forefoot area has strategically placed stitching for better friction, which is of course needed to ensure better ball control.

Taken all together, the Adidas Goletto 6 Firm Ground is truly a dependable companion on the pitch. It’s truly a huge blessing that buying a pair or even two won’t break the bank.

See our full review and facts

3 things to consider if you want to get the best soccer cleats

Choosing the right model out of the best ten football cleats is a daunting task. You can make it easier by following 3 quick steps.

Playing Surface

All soccer players except the goalie are expected to run around the pitch. When it comes to choosing the right soccer cleats, their playing positions don’t have as much weight as the type of surface they’re playing on. 

Manufacturers are pretty straightforward as to what type of surface their products are for. The surface type is usually added as an extension to the product’s name (e.g. Adidas Predator 19.3 Firm Ground).

Surface

Sample

Description

Firm ground (FG)

firm-ground.png

FG cleats are for natural grass surfaces. They usually have molded conical or bladed studs. Multi Ground (MG) and Firm Ground/Artificial Grass (FG/AG) options may have shorter studs, but still long enough to ensure their performance on the firm ground.

FG cleats are the most common type. 

Soft ground (SG)

soft-ground.png

SG cleats are for muddy grass surfaces. They are referred to as metal soccer cleats because their removable studs are longer and usually metal-tipped. These are most likely worn at the beginning of the season, which coincides with rainy spring.  

Indoor (IN)

indoor.png

IN cleats have flat gum rubber outsoles with no real studs. They look like lightweight sneakers. These are for the glossy hard court or asphalt. Some brands call these Sala, Street, or Futsal shoes.

Turf (TF)

turf.png

TF cleats have small, compact spikes that are made of durable rubber. These soccer cleats are used on old-school carpet-type fields and artificial turf. 

Touch

Touch refers to how responsive the shoe’s striking area is. This factor is important because this determines how well the player can handle the ball. 

Two major features affect touch– upper material and closure system.  In general, the upper material must provide  a comfortable and snug fit. Looseness can affect not only touch but also the player’s gait.

Common upper materials for soccer cleats

Upper Material

Touch Rating

Pros

Cons

Kangaroo Leather

5 star.png

Very comfortable and durable (with proper care)

Expensive and not available in some areas

Calfskin Leather

4 star.png

Durable and fairly protective

May take long to break in

Knit

4 star.png

Light, comfortable, and fits like a sock

Easily gets dirty and soaked

Synthetic

3 star.png

Light and withstands all weather conditions

Less form-fitting and less durable

Soccer cleats are usually laced footwear. The laces allow the wearer to tighten the shoe’s fit, enhancing touch. However, these laces may disrupt the shoe’s striking surface. To get rid of the distraction, some brands now offer laceless slip-on cleats. 

But laceless options have issues with fit. Because there are no mechanisms for adjustments, they are either too loose or too tight. To remedy this, the top soccer brands produce ghost lacing cleats; which are still laced but with an external cover to keep the striking area clean.

Fit

It’s obvious that you should get the right size to maximize a shoe’s potential. Here are a few tips that you can follow to get the best soccer cleats that fit you perfectly.

Take into account potential stretch. Bear in mind that leather stretches and softens over time. Your kangaroo or calfskin leather cleats should be OK if they feel tight right out of the box.

Shop or at least measure your feet late in the afternoon. Physiological processes cause our feet to swell at some points. They are said to be in their most optimal size late in the afternoon. 

Consider the thickness of your socks. Anything that you put on your feet adds bulk to them. If you are fond of thick socks, then go for cleats that are slightly bigger than your actual foot size.

Learn how to gauge size online.  Brands fit differently. Whenever possible, stick to brands that fit you well when you shop online. If you must, use sizing tools provided by some online retailers to get the right size estimate.

How long should the replacement studs be?

Soft ground soccer cleats are most likely the ones that have detachable spikes. The general rule is quite simple: the softer the ground, the longer the stud. The stud lengths of a soft ground soccer cleat are generally between ½ to ⅗ inches.

Soccer cleats price classifications

Not all soccer cleats are created equal. Some are just more premium than others in terms of the materials used and technologies incorporated. 

Some brands make price classifications of their soccer cleats quite explicit. Nike and Adidas, for example, add indicators in the product names. 

Soccer cleats price classification

Price

Nike

Adidas

$$

Elite

+ (laceless) or .1 (with laces)

$

Pro

.2 

$

Academy

.3

Soccer cleats vs football cleats

In the United States, soccer and football are two very different sports, and their athletes use cleats that are very different from each other. 

Soccer cleats vs Football cleats
Football cleat.png Soccer cleat.png

Football Cleats

Soccer Cleats

heavier

lighter

come in 3 types: high, mid, and low

are usually just lows

has a toe stud

has no toe stud

less responsive striking area

highly responsive striking area

Compared to football cleats, typical soccer cleats have the following characteristics:

Feel lighter. Manufacturers keep soccer cleats light because players are expected to run most of the time during their games. 

Have no toe spikes. In football cleats, the extra stud near the big toe provides more traction for when players push against their opponents. No such contact happens in soccer, so this extra feature has no practical value.

Are usually low-tops. Because they run most of the time, their feet must be free from all sorts of obstructions. Low-top cleats give soccer players this much freedom.

Responsive striking area. The responsiveness of the striking area, or more commonly referred to as touch, is a major factor in soccer because players handle the ball mostly with their feet.