(Clears Throat) Ok Class! How are we today? Welcome to Cleatosophy level 101* covering the basic fundamentals of soccer cleats and how certain aspects of a soccer cleat can affect performance. When shopping online it’s extremely important to know exactly what size you need. Everything said here is open to discussion as class is in session and if you don’t participate your grade will suffer! So lets start off with aesthetics.
Aesthetics (adj.)- The concern with beauty or appreciation of beauty.
It all starts with looks. Now a days we put a lot of emphasis on the look of our shoe. We strive to set ourselves apart from everyone else and from the hair-cut to the cleats, we as players and people seep individuality. Depending on what type of person you are where play a role in the color and style of cleat you enjoy.
We want something that is sleek, thin and looks good on us. There’s only one problem…
Often there are many aspects of a soccer cleat that are well overlooked. Popular thought today gives the notion that slim is ‘sexy’.This is why you have soccer cleats that are so thin that you can feel the warmth of your other figure when pinching the material with your thumb and index finger.
If a certain soccer cleat is seen as too bulky or “not attractive” enough then most footy consumers will overlook that cleat unless its on clearance. Even then most people prefer to buy high-end cleats even if it’s detrimental to their playing style.
It’s important to minimize our weaknesses and maximize our strengths. Say you’re an energizer bunny on the pitch. Speed is your ally and it hasn’t deserted you yet. Buying bladed studs which are built for optimizing traction is the best way to enhance your speed and acceleration. Instead of buying a bladed stud cleat you opt to buy a conical stud cleat because it’s worn by your favorite player.
First things first guys… Almost every famous footballer you can think of has a custom designed soccer cleat that NO ONE has access to other than themselves. So if you really want a pair of Messi’s cleats then your best chance is to ask him directly(good luck with that one). Often young players are lost in the mindset that to take their game to the next level they have to wear what the best players are wearing which is hardly the case.
Before you can know what cleat is for you it’s imperative to understand the basic featured of a cleat and how it is made to enhance your play.
This is the part of the shoe that will in most cases, be the part of cleat that will make the most contact with ball. Most upper material is made of a synthetic leather. If you can’t afford a real leather cleat. Which is the material that most professionals use for their custom cleats. Then a synthetic leather is the best alternative. I always say go for a material that looks like it will influence how the ball will stop. I know, easier said than done but it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Too Shiny Not too good!
From my experience super shiny cleats make most synthetics leave much to be desired in terms of first-touch influence. I noticed this when I was playing the pair of Nike Mercurials. The material on my mercurial was just a bit to slick and was a nightmare in wet conditions. For my next pair of cleats I stayed loyal to Mercurials because I’m a work-horse on the field. I preferred the bladed studs for sprinting purposes and made the choice to upgrade to a higher grade of the Mercurial. Have not looked back since!
Studs or as the English call them, “mouldies” are the plastic spikes coming from the bottom of your cleats. There are, more or less 3 types of studs you should be aware of.
Conical studs- circular is shape with flat tips. This type of cleats aid in quick pivot turning and cutting. Also a great choice for quick explosions but not built for all out speed.
Bladed studs- blade like studs that form parallel with the cleat. This type of stud plate is suited for positions like full-back and wingers where speed and long sprints is a prerequisite. With bladed studs you can continuously dig and accelerate as a part of the engineering featured with this type of stud pattern
Triangular studs- in Most cases the triangular studs are the best of both worlds in terms of bladed and conical studs. The triangular stud pattern(more hexagonal) is going to allow a player to get the dig they need if they are fast but also have the pivotal abilities that come with conical studs. Triangular stud patterns are a first-choice for well-rounded players. Attacking midfielders and strikers alike should consider this stud pattern.
Feel of a cleat
Rule of thumb is that you should always have at least a fingertips space between the tip of your fit and the tip of the shoe. If you’re feet are touching the tip then you are possibly exposing yourself to a future toe injury. A Good feeling cleat should be easily forgotten. Meaning that when you put it on you should be able to forget you’re wearing a cleat and solely focus on what’s going on in front of you.
Some people prefer a thin cleat as they feel they have more influences on the touch of the ball while other feel this way with a more padded cleat. Either way it all comes down to preference and knowing what makes you feel comfortable. Don’t buy a pair of cleats because you think it will make you more “pro-like”. Buy a pair of cleats that will assist your strengths. That little difference can be the very thing that makes you a hero.
*Stay Tune for Cleatosophy level 202 we will dive into some theory of how certain parts of a cleat can be maneuvered to suit different types of players.