Soccer is a game played with your feet, and buying the right kind of cleats is essential for any player. A good pair of cleats can enhance play and reduce the risk of foot and ankle injury.
There are countless styles of soccer cleats to choose from; each is designed for different field types, weather conditions, and skill levels. Make sure you talk to a shoe expert or podiatrist before purchasing a pair of soccer cleats.
What to look for in soccer shoes
Before buying a pair of soccer cleats, contact your league to determine if there is a specific type of cleat you will be required to wear. Take this opportunity to ask about field conditions. Will you be playing on fields or artificial turf? Will fields be mostly dry during league play? Is the field soft or hard? All of these conditions should factor into your choice of footwear.
Keep in mind that when it comes to soccer cleats, expensive is not necessarily better. Pricey soccer cleats made from real leather may conform to the foot better, but if you are playing on a wet field the shoe will absorb moisture and feel extremely heavy. Rather than focusing on price and the style of the shoes, make sure the shoes are comfortable, with a reinforced toe, well-padded soles, and a wide toe box.
Here are some things to consider when selecting soccer cleats:
- Soccer shoes will fit more snug than other athletic shoes due to their narrow design.
- Soccer shoes come with different cleat patterns, make sure you select the cleats that fit your field conditions.
- Bring your shin guards when trying on cleats so you can make sure the two fit together with room to spare.
Issues created by improper fit
It may be true that soccer has one of the lowest injury rates of any sport, but regardless, athletics and injuries go hand in hand. By choosing the right soccer shoes, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of foot injury during practice and games.
In soccer, shoes that are too small are a major cause of injury and foot pain. While soccer shoes are designed to fit more closely than other athletic shoes, they should not be so tight that it is impossible to move toes around. Running in shoes that are too tight can lead to toe injuries, including fractures, ingrown toenails, and bruised toenails.
One of the most common complaints among youth soccer players is heel pain. When soccer cleats are under cushioned, heel pain is often the result. Lack of proper support in soccer cleats can also lead to plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
If you suffer from a foot injury or condition caused by improper fit of your soccer shoes, visit your podiatrist for treatment.