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Football Shoes

From Alana Cioffi, Technical Field Representative and Training Coordinator at New Balance

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Whatever your child's position on the football field, there's a football cleat for him. Football cleats are made both for the child's position and the type of playing surface.

Keep these two important factors in mind when you purchase your football footwear.

  • Knee, ankle, and foot injuries account for 25% of all documented football injuries, and a third of all football-injury medical costs. Many of these injuries occur in non-contact circumstances, implicating the type of shoe as a risk factor.

  • Most football players wear one of two types of shoes: "football style" shoes, which have long cleats, or "soccer-style" shoes, which have short cleats. Long-cleat football shoes are associated with a greater incidence and severity of knee and ankle injuries when compared to soccer-style shoes. This is thought to be due to the fact that football-style shoes make the foot temporarily stationary in the turf, and therefore unyielding to any internally-or-externally-applied forces.

Shoe Style

Football cleats come in three different styles:

  • High-tops, which extend up the ankle to provide extra support, especially for lateral movements. Linemen benefit from this support because of the pressure put on their ankles by the numerous lateral movements during the course of a game.

  • Mid-cut football cleats offer more support while still allowing maneuverability and are best for players at the so-called "skill" positions: defensive back, running back, wide receiver and quarterback.

  • Low-cut football cleats are preferred by some players because they are lightweight and the lower cut provides extra maneuverability to allow quick cuts on the field.

Cleat Types

There are two types of football cleats: molded and detachable.  Most are designed exclusively for either grass or turf fields,  so consider what types of fields your child most commonly plays on. If their games are played on both grass and turf, you can opt for a multipurpose cleat. Important note: Some schools, teams, leagues DO NOT allow Metal and/or detachable cleats, so ask before you buy. Molded cleats are generally less expensive than shoes with detachable cleats.

  • Molded cleats are permanently attached to the outsole on the shoe's bottom. Turf shoes usually use molded rubber cleats to provide spring and traction on the harder turf surface.

  • Detachable cleats use studs that can be removed with a wrench and replaced to fit field conditions on all types of grass surfaces (shorter studs for a hard, dry surface and longer studs for play on a wet, sloppy field.hard).  Such versatility makes detachable cleats preferable if your child primarily plays on natural grass surfaces.

Shoe Materials

The shoe's upper portion usually is made from either a leather or synthetic material.

  • Football cleats with leather uppers are more expensive, very durable, breathe well (which helps keep your child's feet more comfortable) and are generally more flexible, a big plus in both comfort and function.

  • Football cleats with synthetic uppers are usually less expensive than leather but don't have either the breath-ability or durability of leather.  Most shoes use synthetic materials somewhere, especially to provide reinforcement or support in the forefoot, mid-foot and ankle.

Determine Your Childs Cleat Size

  • Determining proper shoe size is essential to a comfortable fit for football cleats.
  • Don't assume their shoe size is the same as it is with other shoes.

Football Shoe Accessories 

There are a number of cleat accessories to consider in order to protect your investment and to ensure optimal performance:

  • Buy some extra laces to avoid the frustration of trying to tie a broken lace together in the car or during a game.

  • Consider applying protection to the cleats, especially leather. Mink oil conditions the leather so it's softer and more comfortable and it also protects from rain, snow, sun, and keeps water out.

  • Buy replacement cleats in a variety of sizes and make sure your child has a cleat wrench to remove and replace cleats, if you buy a shoe with detachable cleats.

  • Replacement cleats generally run in 1/2-, 5/8-, 3/4- and 1-inch sizes. Having all four sizes gives you more options for different field conditions.