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Soccer Cleats: A Few Basic Facts


A crucial piece of equipment that can make the difference on a playing field is a pair of soccer cleats. Since soccer is played on artificial turf or grassy surfaces and incorporates sharp changes of direction, running at full speeds, and constant movement players need to be able to have superior traction in order for them to be effective. This is the role played by soccer cleats, also known as football boots.

Design

Soccer cleats are unlike track spikes or golfing shoes in that they are not sharp. They actually consist of large studs on the sole of the shoe, allowing the player to grip the playing surface, preventing slides and helping in rapid direction changes. The actual cleat style and material can differ depending on the nature of the playing surface. Hard fields require cleats with plastic studs and fields made of grass or sod can have screwed in studs made of metal, plastic or rubber.

Metal vs. Plastic

Contrary to popular thought metal cleats are allowed in most upper leagues, as they are inspected for sharp edges that might potentially cause injury in a game. They are also usually removable as they do wear with use and will need to be replaced. Making sure that cleats are regularly replaced will ensure maximum traction of the shoes. Needing to replace only the cleat portion of the shoe can be more cost effective and comfortable for the player; he or she will not have to keep breaking in new shoes. Metal cleats usually last longer than plastic cleats and also may improve traction because they are a harder material.

Plastic screw-in cleats are available in a wide variety and are allowed in all leagues. There are two types of plastic cleats, those that are removable from the sole and those that are the molded sole of the shoe. Removable plastic cleats are the same as their metal counterparts; they can be replaced without having to invest in a whole new shoe. An advantage of plastic cleats are that while they can still cause injury their softer surface is safer than being hit with metal cleats. The molded cleat is usually used in youth leagues as a safety precaution. Since youths weigh less than adults, the plastic cleats are effective for the youth.

There are many different types and styles of soccer cleats; the key is to find a pair that is comfortable. It will fit more narrowly then a normal shoe to maximize ball control for the player. A new pair of cleats will fit tightly and you may want to consider wearing two layers of socks to avoid blisters. Like any shoe that you will move around in, they might take a little time to break in.


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