difference between soccer and football cleats

What Is the Difference Between Soccer and Football Cleats?

When playing any outdoor sports on a grass-covered field, cleats are essential. The cleats are beneficial, preventing slippage on the field. But did you know not all cleats are allowed in sports? Different sports use different cleats.

Take for example the biggest sports, soccer, and football. People always run into problems choosing the right cleats to wear. 

What’s the difference between soccer and football cleats? There are two major differences between soccer and football cleats. The first is the stud layout. Football cleats have spikes/studs at the toe while soccer cleats don’t. The second is the overall design where soccer cleats are flexible, lightweight, and durable. Football cleats on the other hand feature more padding and protection.

There is constant impact with the ground when playing soccer hence the necessity of more durability, flexibility, and lightweight. You can wear soccer cleats to football, baseball, and lacrosse but you’ll get poor traction.

In professional leagues, you’re not allowed to wear football cleats in soccer. While kids can get away with it in local leagues, the same cannot happen in big leagues.

Keep reading as I analyze the distinction between soccer cleats and football cleats.

What Are Soccer Cleats?

Before we get started, let’s first understand what soccer cleats are.

Soccer cleats are the footwear worn by soccer players when participating in a game. They are small protrusions on the bottom of the shoe. Sometimes, they are referred to as studs.

Soccer shoes are similar in design to regular shoes apart from the addition of cleats. The cleats help provide traction as players move on the field. The soccer cleat’s bottom features a low-cut design that helps with agility. They are small than football cleats

Soccer cleats have been in soccer for over 100 years. The cleats’ outsoles usually feature latex while the top section features a leather construction. These unique designs help make them lightweight and ensure durability.

Different Styles of Soccer Cleats

While soccer cleats are lightweight, flexible, and durable, they are still available in different types. Below are the different style of soccer cleats.

Long-studded boots: Long-studded boots as the name suggests feature long studs constructed of plastic and meatal. They are screw-in studs that you can change with rubber or plastic studs. Screw-on studs feature a maximum of 21 millimeters. They are best for long and wet grassy pitches.

Soccer Cleats with metal tips

Bladed boots: Bladed cleats are designed for artificial firm grounds. They usually feature studs with metal tips ideal for damper surfaces.

Molded stud boots: Molded tips feature rounded cleats ideal for a firm and artificial ground. There are usually many.

Astroturf boots: These are shorter stud boots for playing on astroturf grounds.

Futsal and indoor cleats: Futsal and indoor cleats are flat and rubberized for grip. The soles are flat and lack studs.

What Are Football Cleats?

Now that you know soccer cleats and the different types, let’s see what are football cleats?

Football cleats are the footwear that players wear when playing football. The cleats or studs in football shoes are longer and feature two or more spikes at the toe.

Lighter materials are used on the base of the football cleats sole to allow easy movement between the ankle and the foot. Cleats come up to the ankles to avoid contact with other players.

Unlike soccer cleats, football cleats come in three different classes. This is because different players play different roles in football. The first category is one with a solid ankle.

There are also low-cut and lightweight cleats ideal for defensive backs. Lastly, we have the middle-cut cleats ideal for cornerbacks and quarterbacks.

A Comparison Table Between Soccer and Football Cleats

So, can you use soccer cleats for football? To answer that question, let’s compare soccer cleats and football cleats under different parameters.

Comparison ParametersSoccer CleatsFootball Cleats
ConstructionThe upper section features a leather or synthetic material construction. Outsoles are constructed of rubber.Constructed of leather, or synthetic fabric materials. The soles are vibrant and thick making the cleats heavy.
StylingCleats feature a low-cut design. They are also available in one style as all players need to be quick.Cleats are available in different styles. There are three major styles to match different player positions. Overall, the cleats are long and feature two or more spikes at the toe.
BulkinessThe cleats are light due to the low-cut design and lightweight materials. They offer agility which is needed in soccer.Cleats are heavier due to the longer cleats and extra padding. Football players require more protection and traction, hence the extra weight.
Toe StudThere is a toe stud
Good ForAre good for maximum agility and grip on the ground. Soccer players need a good hold to the ground which the cleats offer.Good for quarterbacks and defensive linemen. The longer cleats provide more mobility, traction, and assistance.

Soccer Cleats vs. Football Cleats – 6 Differences

Most people ask, are soccer and football cleats the same? No, they are not the same.

To have a better understanding of the differences between soccer cleats and football cleats, let’s discuss the differences.


Soccer cleats are lightweight, flexible, and durable. Football cleats on the other hand are bulky and padded for added protection. Soccer cleats feature low-cut styles while football cleats are longer.

Football cleats come over the ankles to avoid contact with opponent players. Some even feature curved tops to help position the foot, something you don’t see on soccer cleats.

soccer or football cleats


Soccer cleats are lightweight which is a great feature for speed and touch. Football cleats on the other hand are bulky and heavier. The extra weight in football cleats is for protection.

The low weight of soccer cleats can be attributed to low-cut styles, mid or high depending on the desired angle protection. Materials are also lightweight. The lightweight nature of soccer cleats is because of the constant running in soccer.


Soccer cleats feature a thinner and flexible material. Football shoes feature thicker and more protective material. The upper section of soccer shoes features a leather or a synthetic material while the outsoles are rubber.

Football cleats feature rubber or synthetic upper material. They also feature thick and vibrant rubber soles.


Another key difference is in the studs. Soccer cleats are short and feature a low-cut design. Studs lack the extra toe-spike which is present in football cleats.

Football cleats feature an extra toe spike or even more on the toe.


Football shoes offer a higher rise to help protect the ankle. Soccer cleats feature a low rise. Football cleats rise to the ankles to avoid contact with other players.

red soccer cleats


Lastly, soccer cleats are narrow and provide a much tighter fit. However, you can still find soccer cleats for wide feet. On the other hand, football cleats are wider, longer, and curved at the top.

Can My Kid Wear Soccer Cleats for Football?

The answer is kids can probably wear soccer cleats for football, but it’s never ideal. For professional athletes, sticking to your type of cleat for a specific sport is recommended and must be adhered to.

However, for kids, parents are torn between buying two pairs of footwear for football and soccer. What’s more, the kid’s feet are still growing and you’ll need another pair very soon.

There are a few things to consider. You need to compare the soccer field vs football field. Are they playing both games on the same field?

Rules allow soccer cleats in football. However, football cleats are never allowed in soccer.

This simply means your kids can use their soccer cleats in football, but cannot use their football cleats in soccer. If you want a single pair, you’re better off buying a soccer cleat.

IFAB rules don’t necessarily ban football cleats in soccer. However, they are viewed as dangerous and most referees will not allow them. This is because of the extra toe stud. It’s considered dangerous and can harm soccer players.

How Do You Know if Cleats Are for Football?

You can know if cleats are for football by looking at the stud design/layout. I’ve already covered the differences in the stud design between football cleats and soccer cleats.

Football cleats feature a stud on the front and at the very top section of the toe. What’s more, the stud is longer than what you find in soccer cleats. It is designed to offer traction when accelerating.

Do Football Athletes Use Soccer Cleats?

Yes, football players can wear and use soccer cleats but it is very rare.

football player with soccer cleats

However, not all soccer cleats are permitted as American football cleats. Only standard soccer cleats for firm ground are allowed as American football cleats.

Let’s pick an article from the NFL official operations about football cleats.

Article 3: Item 5 from the rules refers to improper cleats as aluminum-made cleats and other materials that can fracture, chip, or create a cutting edge. Other items prohibited are concave and conical cleats with the diameter of ⅜-inch and oblong-ended cleats measuring less than or below ¼ by ¾ inches. However, cleats made of nylon with flat steel tips are allowed.

Do You Need Cleats To Play Soccer?

Yes, you need cleats to play soccer as they can enhance performance and ensure you perform to the highest standards. Ideally, you can play soccer without soccer cleats. But the results will not be pleasing.

In soccer, acceleration is vital and you need the grips to keep your feet on the ground. Otherwise, you’ll be slipping and losing possession often.

Cleats in soccer are needed for performance. In professional soccer, cleats are a multi-billion dollar industry. There are several brands producing cleats for the different sports out there.

With different sports having different playing natures, it makes sense to have different cleats designed to meet the sports’ needs. Studs for every cleat are created to offer maximum grip.

You need a proper touch of the ball hence the need for a custom soccer cleat. Small and low-cut design cleats are required in soccer if you’re going to strike the ball perfectly.

Do You Need Cleats for Flag Football?

Yes, you need cleats for flag football. Even in flag football, you can slip and slide around easily. You need cleats to ensure a firm grip on the ground and prevent sliding and slipping.

There are no limits on wearing only football cleats for flag football. You can also wear soccer cleats. In fact, it’s pretty common for players to wear soccer cleats for flag football. This is because soccer cleats are lightweight and flexible. 

Flag football is a sport of agility, speed, and focus. You need flexible and lightweight cleats, a requirement met by soccer cleats.

Can You Wear Soccer Cleats to Flag Football?

Absolutely, soccer cleats work perfectly for flag football. In fact, soccer cleats provide players an edge over traditional football boots when playing flag football.

Traditional or regular football cleats are a bit flexible and feature some extra padding. Soccer cleats on the other hand are durable, lightweight, and flexible.

punting football player

So, why are soccer cleats good for flag football? Because flag football has very minimal contact as opposed to traditional football. This takes away the need for a front toe stud/spike.

The front toe stud/spike provides football players with more traction when pushing forward or blocking. This is totally different from flag football where agility and speed are needed. These are features that require the soccer cleats features.

Is It Ok To Wear Soccer Cleats for Football?

It’s okay to wear soccer cleats for football but not recommended. Soccer cleats for football do not work well. Soccer cleats are designed for soccer while football cleats are designed for football. 

For most footballers, soccer cleats don’t work so well when playing football. Footballers require more support and grip when pushing into others. They also require a superior grip. You might not get this good grip and superior traction when wearing soccer cleats.

However, in a few instances, soccer cleats can be OK in football. This is the case, especially for wide receivers, kickers, and punters. These are players that run more and kick the ball more.

The choice comes down to the player’s position in football and personal preference. For example, former soccer players might find soccer cleats work well if they are kickers.

Why Are Football Cleats Not Allowed in Soccer?

Football cleats are not allowed in soccer for safety reasons. Soccer rules do not allow studs/ spikes for safety reasons. The football governing body FIFA has various rules that guide the use of the equipment and wear in football.

The laws and rules are designed to protect players and avoid serious injuries. One such regulation is toe cleats. There are also regulations on the size of shin guards that players can wear.


Well, that’s it from me! Now you know football cleats are different from soccer cleats. Football cleats are longer and feature two or more spikes at the toe front.

The bars lock your foot in place when running forward. The sole and bar of football cleats are lightweight allowing the ankle and foot to move around easily.

Soccer cleats on the other hand feature a low-cut design. They are lightweight, flexible, and durable. Both cleats are uniquely designed to meet their specific sporting needs.

However, in some positions, soccer cleats can work for football and not the other way round.

Football cleats in soccer are considered a danger that can cause harm because of the long spikes. Always buy a cleat designed for the specific sport to ensure maximum performance in the field.

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