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Football Cleats Guide: Choose the Right Cleat for You

What’s the difference between soccer cleats and football cleats? And how do you choose the best cleats for you? The adidas football cleat guide is here for you.

Cleats For Football: How Do You Choose?

Depending on your position and how you play the game, there’s an ideal football cleat for you. From split-second decisions and unbelievable catches to long runs and big tackles, football players need to be ready for anything when they’re out on the field—and so do their cleats. Football cleats have special features that set them apart from cleats for other sports. With a wide range of styles and features, how do you know which ones to choose? We asked adidas football cleat designers Thomas Hartings and Charlie Kirihara to give you the details.

What's The Difference Between Soccer and Football Cleats? What about Baseball Cleats?

“Soccer and football cleats are similar in many ways but do have their own distinct characteristics,” said Hartings. “Football cleats are built to accommodate a wider range of player sizes and position-specific movements. Soccer cleats put more emphasis on the touch their uppers will have on the ball, which is why you’ll see kickers on the football field wearing a soccer cleat on their kicking leg.”
Cleats for baseball are designed to maximize traction on the diamond, not for contact sports. Football cleats, on the other hand, are built to withstand every play and tackle the game throws at you, with protective uppers to shield your feet on the gridiron.

What To Look For When Buying Football Cleats

“The most important features to look for when buying cleats are weight, comfort, traction, and fit,” said Hartings. adidas football cleats aim to tackle all these features, but different models will work better for different positions. “For faster players looking to improve their speed and quickness, weight and traction may be more important. For players in the trenches, comfort may be slightly more important than saving a few ounces. No matter what your position, you’ll want to find something that fits well and makes you feel confident when you’re out on the field,” said Hartings.  

The Best Football Cleats For Speed

No matter what position they play, there’s one thing on every football player’s mind: speed. Whether you’re rushing for the end zone or blocking your opponent’s plays, sometimes running your fastest can make the difference between a win and a loss. “adidas football cleats are all about speed. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce weight while also focusing on durability, sustainability and comfort,” said Kirihara. Below you’ll find adidas cleats that all prioritize speed, but with different features that cater to your unique position and playing style.

Adizero 12.0: Lightweight Speed

 Designed to minimize weight, adizero is built for fast plays. “adizero cleats are made for the fastest players on the field. The adizero 12.0 features a mesh upper for a lightweight and breathable fit as well as TPU overlays for strength and durability. Behind the mesh sits a layer of reinforcement designed to provide strength only where you need it most,” said Kirihara.
“The design and materials work together to provide elite traction and support while maintaining a minimalistic lightweight construction. The adizero is geared towards wide receivers and defensive backs, but can also work well for elusive running backs, QB’s, and anyone looking to play faster than their opponent,” said Hartings.

Freak 23: Lightweight With Versatility

Freak 23 is truly an adizero cleat built to accommodate players who need a little more support and comfort. The four-way stretch mid-cut collar provides an extra layer of protection without restricting your range of motion. The upper is geared toward players who are looking for extra comfort and balance when making explosive cuts. Freak is built for QB’s, running backs, linebackers, tight ends, and safeties trying to get an edge on the competition,” said Hartings. 

Nasty Cleats: Lightweight With Maximum Support

The Nasty cleat was built for the players in the trenches. Nasty focuses on durability, traction and stability while also providing a lightweight cleat. Nasty features a zipped shroud over the tongue and laces of the cleat, because nobody wants to be tying their shoe in the middle of a drill. Nasty has an external midsole for added comfort under the foot and features a synthetic upper for durability and protection. Nasty was made to get muddy!” said Kirihara.

Mahomes 1 Impact FLX: Turf Trainer

“The Mahomes Impact Flx Football Boost Shoe was designed specifically for Patrick’s training needs and driven by his philosophy of training for speed. His direct involvement helped define three key performance elements for his shoe; propulsion, energy return, and grip,” said Nick Staub, the designer for the Mahomes trainer. The shoe incorporates Repetitor foam technology and a Boost midsole, allowing for higher levels of energy return while providing superior support, and a Z torsion bar for more explosive cuts. The rubber outsole delivers maximized traction across a variety of surfaces, creating a turf trainer that’s made for undeniable speed and precision.

Do adidas Football Cleats Run True To Size?

Most adidas football cleats will run true to size, but there can be variation in width depending on the silhouette. A well-fitting football cleat should have enough room to wiggle your toes, while the uppers should fit snugly around your foot without slipping. Check out our size guide to learn how to measure your shoe size.