World Cup fever is yet to die down. As is the case after any major sporting competition, interest spikes, with searches for soccer cleats — or football boots, if you’re not American — growing steadily.
But, when it comes to buying soccer cleats, like any other sporting good, it’s worth doing some research before you commit. There’s a lot to think about: these designs are now so highly technical that the jargon can be stifling, confusing even to those who know what they want. With this said, we’ve done our best to round up the best basketball shoes of the season as well as the best running shoes before, so now we’re taking on the best soccer cleats.
So how have we chosen the best cleats? By spending a lot of time reading up on what people generally are confused about and then answering those questions. Let’s start with one of the major queries.
What is the difference between football cleats and soccer cleats?
Can you wear football cleats for soccer? No. While they might look similar, football cleats are designed for a completely different game. With cushioned midsoles and sturdier outsoles, football cleats are much heavier and feature an extra stud under the big toe to help create momentum from a standing position. On the flip side, soccer cleats are designed to be much lighter than football cleats, facilitating quick movements by sacrificing unnecessary support.
So, which are the best soccer cleats to buy in 2023?
Looking at the world of soccer boots from a performance point of view for starters, and then also taking into account the aesthetics in second place, we’ve rounded up some pairs of the best soccer cleats to buy in 2023 below.
While we’d like to exhibit an array of names to you, the truth of the matter is that few — if any — brands are doing it like Nike, adidas, New Balance, and PUMA. Hence, our roundup of the best soccer cleats is limited to these brands — not for lack of research, but purely because, at this moment in time, they’re producing enough pairs to dominate the scene.
Shop the best soccer cleats of 2023 below.
New Balance Furon v7 Pro FG
New Balance is a relatively new arrival to the world of football cleats, but the company has made great strides towards becoming one of the category's major players. With names like Raheem Sterling and collaborations with Stone Island under its belt already, it's no wonder that the brand's Furon v7 Pro boots are generating some serious hype. Side lacing and a Hypoknit upper leave as little material in between your foot and the ball as possible. Combine that with an ultralight nylon outsole and you've got one of the fastest cleats in the game.
adidas Predator Precision FG
Anyone who loved football in the '00s will know that the adidas Predator has been a permanent fixture in best football boots lists. The iconic design has seen many generations, and the latest — the adidas Predator Precision — looks back at the 2000 release with a fresh pink-tinged color palette and new tech. Premium leather uppers remain, while a new split outsole keeps things as light as possible on firm ground.
adidas Copa Pure.1
In 2023, most soccer cleats look to fluorescent color palettes to stand out. The thing is, the boots that end up standing out are the old-school, all-black pairs like the adidas Copa Pure.1. The clue's in the name, this pair is for the purists. Our favorite aspect of this pair is the quilted Fusionskin section on the forefoot. It allows a perfect strike of the ball, and its cushioning is really noticeable.
adidas Predator Edge.3
One of the key focuses of this roundup was to provide a selection of soccer cleats for all budgets. The adidas Predator Edge.3 is currently on sale, making it one of the best cheap football boots at just $72. Don't mistake the price tag for low quality, though. This pair features a grippy print in strategic control zones to help with your touch while a stretchy two-piece collar holds your foot firmly in place without suffocating it.
adidas X Speedportal.2
More sleek goodness from the Three Stripes comes in the form of the adidas X Speedportal.2. This pair is all about speed. A Primeknit collar and TPU heel lock combine with the mesh upper to keep you locked in while extra studs are added to the forefoot to facilitate instant reactions. This black pair is highlighted by flashes of Solar Red and Solar Green.
Nike Zoom Mercurial Superfly 9 Elite FG
Nike soccer cleats are — as you might expect — always within the conversation for the best boots. Much like the adidas Predator, the Nike Mercurial has been one of the biggest presences in soccer gear since it arrived in 1998. The Mercurial Superfly 9 Elite now features a Zoom Air unit as well as an improved grippy texture to the upper. The result is one of the best all-around soccer cleats on the market.
New Balance Tekela v4 Pro FG
In similar style to the earlier New Balance Furon, the Tekela v4 Pro lands in a Neon Dragonfly colorway. It immediately demarcates it on any field. The full-foot stretch-knit upper with laceless closure and a directional heel lining only adds to the visual effect of this pair while also locking you into place without restraining the foot.
PUMA Neymar Jr FUTURE 2.4 FG
Neymar Jr. doesn't do anything in half measures. Further proof of this is the PUMA Neymar Jr FUTURE 2.4. Perhaps surprisingly, though, this pair isn't all about aesthetics. Tech like FUZIONFIT+ uppers which lock you in place for explosive movements and the Speed Unit outsole which is inspired by running spikes make this pair ideal for those looking for speed and agility.
Nike Phantom GT2 Dynamic Fit Elite FG
Ever wondered how the pros can create such movement on the ball? Primarily, it's because they've spent a lifetime practicing it, but we'd be remiss not to mention the fact that many of the Elite versions of boots feature helpful tech. Take the Nike Phantom GT2 Dynamic Fit Elite, for example, which boasts a raised pattern to the upper that increases grip and control when it comes to striking the ball. Above, we've listed both the Dynamic (sock-like) fit and the regular low-top. Both rank as some of the best cleats to buy right now.
All soccer cleats are narrow but some less so. The adidas Gamemode is a great pair of cleats for wide feet. The regular fit feels super comfortable over a long period, while other pairs feel tight for those playing for more than 45 minutes. A HybridTouch upper offers lightweight cushioning, which helps with first touches. Clocking in at $85 in the sale, this is another great pair of affordable soccer cleats.
Nike Tiempo Legend 9 Pro FG
One for the real heads in the place. The Nike Tiempo has long been the go-to choice of the no-frills, get-the-job-done player. With that said, notable wearers do include the inimitable Ronaldinho. The latest Nike Tiempo is the Legend 9 Pro which features raised textures to the upper, each backed by soft foam pods to align the design more with attackers.
Nike Premier 3 FG
Nothing too flashy here. No raised grips or stretchy sock liners, just a good, old-fashioned Nike Premier. The Nike Premier 3 comes with supple kangaroo leather uppers, fold-down tongue, and classic tricolor Nike coloring that nods to this boot's long history. If you're in the market for a comfortable, does-everything pair, this is your moment.
PUMA FUTURE 3.4 FG
PUMA's Future 3.4 boasts a range of technological attractions, but the one that really caught our attention was the introduction of Advanced Creator Zones, which are strategically placed on the forefoot to aid control at high speed. Another real asset of this pair is the stud configuration which offers noticeable stability no matter which direction you push towards.
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