Soccer vs Football Cleats: Differences and Considerations

soccer vs football cleats

Soccer, known as football in most parts of the world outside the US, is essentially the same sport. The terminology differs, with what Americans refer to as soccer being called football internationally. But in this article, we will explore the differences between soccer vs football cleats, specifically focusing on American soccer and American football cleats.

Although both involve kicking a ball to score points, the nature of the games, the playing surfaces, and the objectives are quite different. As a result, the cleats (or boots) designed for each sport also differ significantly.

Differences Between Soccer vs Football

Physicality and Contact

  • Soccer: Soccer is a free-flowing game with continuous play. While there’s physical contact, it’s less direct compared to American football. Tackling is mainly with the feet, aiming to win the ball. And the touch, feel, and control of the ball with the feet are crucial for a soccer player.
  • American Football: It’s a contact sport involving planned plays with frequent stops and starts. Physical tackles, blocks, and collisions are integral to the game.

Field Size and Markings

  • Soccer: The field (or pitch) is rectangular, generally measuring between 100-110 meters in length and 64-75 meters in width. The primary markings include a halfway line, penalty areas, and goal areas.
  • American Football: The field is 100 yards long and 53.3 yards wide, with additional 10-yard deep end zones at both ends. It has yard-line markings every 5 yards and hash marks indicating single yards.

Players and Positions

  • Soccer: Each team has 11 players, including a goalkeeper. Players’ roles are categorized into defense, midfield, and attack, but everyone (except the goalie) can roam freely on the pitch.
  • American Football: Each team has 11 players on the field at a time, but teams have separate offensive, defensive, and special units, often totaling 53 players. Positions are more specialized, such as quarterback, linebacker, and wide receiver.

Differences Between Soccer vs Football Cleats

American Football cleats are designed to fit players of different sizes and support specific movements based on their positions. On the other hand, Soccer cleats prioritize the touch of the ball, which is why you’ll notice football kickers wearing soccer cleats for kicking.

1. Design & Purpose

Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats are designed primarily for a game that involves constant running, dribbling, passing, and shooting. They are characterized by a low-cut style, providing a close feel of the soccer ball. The upper is typically made of thin materials to ensure maximum feel, touch, and control.

Football Cleats

Football cleats, particularly in American football, have a thicker upper and are generally more padded. This design is intentional, considering the rough physical contact in football.

They are also available in mid-cut and high-top styles to provide additional ankle support, which can be essential during rapid direction changes and to prevent injuries during tackles.

For certain positions, such as wide receivers (WRs) or running backs (RBs), running is a primary objective. Therefore, a shoe that prioritizes speed can be comparable to a soccer boot.

2. Stud Configuration

soccer vs football cleats

Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats generally have a uniform pattern of studs, designed to provide even grip and traction on natural grass pitches. The studs can be conical or bladed, and some variations offer a mix of both. And soccer cleats don’t have a stud at the toe while football cleats do.

Football Cleats

The stud configuration in football cleats is more diverse, catering to different positions on the field. Linemen might prefer a cleat with a rectangular stud design for better traction and stability, while speed positions might go for a mix of bladed and conical studs to allow for quick pivots and acceleration.

3. Material & Weight

soccer vs football cleats

Soccer Cleats

The emphasis for soccer cleats is on a lightweight design to enhance speed and agility. They usually employ lightweight and thin materials, and the overall construction prioritizes flexibility, touch, and speed.

Football Cleats

As football involves more direct contact, cleats for this sport are generally more robust and slightly heavier. They’re made to withstand more intense wear and tear. And usually made of thicker material to handle the physical contact.

4. Ankle Support

Soccer Cleats

As mentioned, soccer cleats are typically low-cut, focusing more on freedom of movement rather than ankle support.

Football Cleats

Given the diverse roles in football, players can choose between low-cut, mid-cut, or high-top cleats. The high-top cleats, in particular, offer significant ankle support, suitable for players who engage in rigorous physical tackles.


While both soccer and football cleats serve the fundamental purpose of providing grip and enhancing performance on the field, the specific requirements of each sport lead to noticeable differences in design, material, and functionality. As always, players should choose their cleats based on their position, playing style, and personal preferences to ensure the best performance and protection on the field.

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