With the growth of soccer coming on to us more and more in recent years, it can be very tough to pick you way through soccer cleats. Everyone has a pair seemingly, and they all claim to be the best amongst the others. With this, it can become very difficult to decipher what you want and need, and it can lead to frustration and even to giving up the search. Today, however, we’ll be taking a look at the ins and outs of soccer cleats for youth players. We’ll break down what you need and what you don’t need, answer any questions you might have, and then will take a look at the most popular pairs on 2019’s market by reviewing them. So let’s hit the pitch then!
Top Youth Soccer Cleats Comparison Chart
|1. Adidas Kids’ Nemesiz 18.3 FG||Adidas||$$$$|
|2. Adidas Kids’ Copa 17.4 FxG||Adidas||$$$|
|3. Nike Vapor 12 Academy Kids’ MG||Nike||$$$$|
|4. Adidas Performance Kid’s Goletto VI J FG||Adidas||$$$|
|5. Adidas Kids’ ACE 18.3 FG||Adidas||$$$|
|6. Diadora Kids’ Cattura MD Jr||Diadora||$$|
|7. Vizari Stealth FG||Vizari||$$$|
|8. Puma Kids’ Evopower Vigor 4 Graph FG||Puma||$$$|
|9. Under Armour Kids UA CF Force 3.0 FG||Under Armour||$$$$|
Youth Soccer Cleat Buying Guide
Youth Cleats vs The Rest
Why are youth soccer cleats so special that they need to be talked about separately, you might ask? For the purposes of this guide, let’s cut off ‘youth’ play at the age of 14. Once you are 14, you are a more serious player. You could be before then, no doubt, but if you are still playing on an organized team after that, you’re probably taking it fairly seriously. Beforehand, though, the game isn’t as serious and you don’t need to spend a ton of money on it. This is the first thing to notice with soccer cleats. There are so, so many youth that play that are just out there to have fun. There is nothing wrong with this, obviously, and it just means that you don’t need to spend your money on the fanciest product that just hit the market. While the middle or high school player might want something with a little more grip to it, the youth player simply doesn’t need that. The cleats on this list will be good enough for what they need until they reach a level of competency in years to come.
Another big difference to note is the fact that you need something durable. Of course, a serious player is going to want to make sure his or her cleats aren’t coming apart, but they aren’t as worried about it as a young player. A youth player’s cleat has to be more durable due to the conditions in which he or she plays. The fields are sometimes very hard, sometimes very soft for rain, and the other kids just don’t have much experience, either. This means you need something that can withstand being kicked and just in general being misused. So many youth players don’t even know how to properly kick the ball yet, and this causes additional strain to the cleats. All of this adds us to underline the point that durability and a low cost are paramount when it comes to youth soccer cleats. This is not the case as you get older, but for now it is! So please don’t worry about getting the $150 cleats. They won’t help you that much in this instance.
Buy for Current Fit, Comfort, & Performance
If your child is growing, and chances are that they still are, you will be tempted to buy a pair of shoes that he or she can ‘grow into.’ I beg of you, please don’t do this. Youth soccer shoes today are composed mostly of synthetic materials. These materials are so much better than they were a couple of decades ago, but they are still not the greatest in terms of flexibility. They are not perfect, and as such, you really need to give them the closest size that you can. The fact that they are made from synthetics drives the cost down, and it means you don’t have to pay that much money.
Even if you have to buy a pair for the next season, it will be well worth it because your young little star will be comfortable and allowed to play at their best possible level. The only reason that you should ever size up in a soccer cleat is if you know for certain that it runs small. Reviews and research can point you in that direction, as well as going to the store itself and trying them on. If, for example, Adidas’ products are coming up small compared to the size your child usually wears, chances are most of them will do the same as you shop online. You can double check that by looking at reviews, obviously, but it’s always good to have more information rather than not enough.
More on Cleat Fit
Many of the items on our list are going to be relatively easy to find at sporting goods stores around you. While the prices may well be higher than what you’d pay online, we highly recommend that you go and take a look at them in person. Trying them on will give you a much bigger grasp on what size you need. Try on pairs from at least three different brands, and even try on multiple ones in each brand to get the best sort of idea about them.
When it comes to the fit itself, look toward the toe areas first. There should be some room, preferably a half a thumbs’ width between the toes and the end of the shoes. This will give the youth star room to swell a little bit and means they won’t have to worry about blisters. A fit that is too tight could see them develop those, and they will not want to play much longer if that happens. Be careful, though, to not give them too much space, either. This can cause them to slide back and forth inside the shoe, which can cause slipping on the field and all sorts of other problems as well.
Also, don’t forget about width! Even at the youth level, your child could start to show a lack of width or an abundance of it. Some people are going to naturally have wide feet, and that means you have to rule them out of certain brands. Some people assume that you can size up to mitigate against this, but that is simply not the case in a lot of pairs. You just have to see for yourself. If a company just runs narrow on your foot, I’d suggest finding a different brand. No one wants to be locked in and feel like their feet are being choked!
One last thing. Socks aren’t our topic today, but they are a big factor in the game of soccer. The right pair of socks is essential to wear, even if it’s just for practice. With the wrong pair, you can see your child develop blisters. Because soccer socks are fairly thick, though they are much less so they they used to be, you should never forget to take them along with you to try on shoes. Also, make sure to never have your child wear two pairs. This will completely mess up how the shoes feel, and it can make for some very uncomfortable moments for them (and for you as you watch) as well.
Cleat Upper Materials
The upper part of the cleat, known simply as the ‘upper’ can have a multitude of different materials that comprise it. The types of materials contribute to the durability, feel, and overall success of the cleats. For today, we will keep it pretty short because it is simple when it comes to youth cleats. With cleats for older ‘kids’ and adults, it’s more complicated and more choices are to be made, but for kids it’s really not that hard.
First of all, the original cleats were made out of leather. Leather is really awesome for giving you the best feel out there. It’s known as a premium material in the game because of this. The issue, though, with leather has been the lack of durability, especially when you talk about them in the lower levels of the game. That has created a move toward synthetics.
Synthetics are human made materials that are engineered to last. Synthetics mimic ‘real’ leather as closely as they can by giving you as much feel as possible while still giving you the durability that many leather products lack. As time has gone on, as we have discussed earlier, these materials have gotten better and better. As a result, they are much cheaper in most cases. Furthermore, we are seeing almost all cleats in the market move to this form of material. Even professional players are going to these as a result of the combination of how well they have been able to manufacturer them and also because of marketing reasons, too.
One thing you should watch out for, though, is for a ‘shiny’ cleat. There isn’t a much better way to put it, but if you see a pair of cleats that look ultra shiny, they might not have the best ‘touch’ on the ball. They can be slick, and when it’s the least bit wet out, they get even slicker. Some pairs are better than others in this regard. It might not matter to your child, but if they are a better player than most, they will want something that lets them keep the ball as close as possible.
Mesh Soccer Cleats
Another possible material that is used with soccer cleats is mesh. Mesh is awesome at giving the foot the breathability it needs by placing tiny vents in the shoes that allow moisture to escape. Without this on warm days, the already thick socks can make you feel trapped as all that dampness builds up. Mesh is used to combat this, and it can be placed in various places. Mesh is great for this, but it can be a bad thing if it is wet outside. If that is the case, the moisture seeps in, just as it would escape. For this reason, many of the cheaper cleats don’t have much mesh. The only other issue that is prevalent is the fact that mesh can also tear much easier than synthetics or leathers. This is because it is very thin. Some mesh is used in conjunction with other materials, but don’t worry about a shoe having too much mesh and being easier to tear, though! This just won’t happen.
Spike or Stud Types
The studs themselves, also known as ‘cleats’ are located on the bottom of the shoes and are essential at making sure you are able to perform adequately. Without the proper ones, you can end up injured due to a lack of grip while running, and you can play poorly because you can’t control the ball. In youth soccer, it’s not all that difficult to pinpoint what you need, but there are some different options to make if you want to go with them.
Soft Ground Cleats
Soft ground (or SG) cleats are the type that you would want to use on fields that are wet. Using longer studs, they grip into the ground much better than ordinary cleats and allow the player to turn better both with and without the ball. This type is also good for higher level players because the fields are more pristine and typically are watered before games in many cases. This type isn’t suggested for youth unless you just live in an area where it happens to rain a lot and it meets the organization rules and regulations.
Hard Ground Cleats
Hard ground (or HG) cleats are the opposite of soft ground ones. Hard ground cleats are much shorter than other cleats found out there, looking like baseball cleats, and they are ideal at gripping into hard, rough fields. This type of field, whether we like it or not, is the most common in youth soccer, so it is not the worst choice to have for youngsters to have. This wouldn’t be my top pick, but it is very acceptable and will work better in neutral conditions than the soft ground ones.
Firm Ground Cleats
Firm ground (or FG) are a type that can do a bit of it all. Firm ground is the in between ground that is ideal to play soccer on. It’s neither mushy not super hard to play on. It’s unfortunate that more fields aren’t that way, but we just can’t have it all. Because of being in the middle of the other two types, they do an adequate job in both rainy and in super dry conditions. This is the type I’d most recommend to anyone, though, there are valid reasons that you might want the other types.
Indoor & Turf Soccer Cleats
There are other types, too, such as indoor and turf shoes. However, unless you are playing on turf or inside, you will want to stay away from them. If you see lots of rubber notches on a pair of shoes, those are not cleats, they are turf shoes. They do a great job for that purpose, but they will be awful on the soccer field outside. Indoor shoes have no ‘cleats’ at all, and would offer even less traction than turf shoes. Avoid these at all costs, unless you just so happen to be playing indoors or just want to buy them pairs like that. They will not hold up very well for them at all, and you will feel like you have wasted your money.
The weight of the cleats is going to play a role, but just keep in mind that most of the more durable cleats are going to be heavier than cleats that don’t last as long. Today’s market emphasizes lightweight cleats, and those are usually coming in at a higher price. However, with that said, even though the ones we are going to see are likely to be heavier, they will still be lighter than many of the cleats that used to be found out there. Weight shouldn’t be a major concern for you, as it does mean that you get some extra protection and support than you would otherwise get without that weight.
Best Youth Soccer Cleat Reviews
Adidas Kids’ Nemesiz 18.3 FG
If you’re young star looks up to Messi, then these are the cleats for them. In addition to looking great, in a lot of different colors to pick from, and being like Messi with them on, these cleats offer a lot of punch as well. Made from synthetic material and using it for the sole as well, they are going to be very durable. But they also have included mesh as well to help on those warmer days. Coming with a collar, a new feature of soccer cleats in recent years, it helps pad the foot and cushion it in. This will help comfort and will also make them more supportive than other cleats.
It is able to do this without increasing the weight all that much, too, meaning they are perfect for a quicker player that needs to make dribbles in a decisive manner. Many have said that they don’t make you feel as if you are wearing any cleats at all, such is the comfort level of them. One thing that you might not like is that the price of these is higher than most of the others will be on our list, so that might be something that deters you from this high quality item. Overall, well worth the added cost, though!
- Be like Messi!
- Awesome colors to choose from
- Collar gives added comfort and support
- Costs more than some would want to pay
Adidas Kids’ Copa 17.4 FxG
Adidas continue at #2 with their Copa offering, a choice that comes in a more traditional look and feel. The Copa uses white and black, the staple colors of Adidas, to make a classic statement of style. Unlike the Nemesiz, this pair of cleats is more affordable and will suit just about anyone’s needs in those regards. Like the Nemesiz, these shoes are quite comfortable and will make the player happy with its use of soft materials inside and out. However, they are still sturdy enough to take the hits and the pressure of playing.
These are different as well as they are leather, which would help explain why they are a little bulkier than the Nemesiz. The issue with these hinges upon the sizing. A lot of people have had problems with them running too big, making it hard to deal with. The other problem is that they don’t have a long enough cleat in the front of the foot for some, leading to some slipping on the field. This might be something to watch out for if you have a slightly clumsy player that you are buying for! They are also a little bit narrow as well, so that is another thing to note.
- Classic Adidas look
- Soft yet also sturdy
- Very comfy
- Runs narrow and a little large
- Front cleats not as long as the back ones, can cause falls
Nike Vapor 12 Academy Kids’ MG
Nike breaks up the early Adidas monopoly with their Vapor line. These cleats have a few different colors to pick from, with some of them really catching the eye and standing out with flashy designs. Composed of synthetic materials, they will hold up very well, give support, and also bring comfortability to the player that is wearing them. By using a sockliner inside that is lightweight and cushy, the shoes take the pressure off of you.
So many cleats don’t do a good job of that, and the top of the foot feels constricted, but these do an excellent job at dispersing that feeling for the child and allowing them to play without thinking about that issue. One of the awesome things about these is that they have a multi-ground plate to them, which means you can play on both natural and artificial grass with them! One thing to keep an eye on is that these cleats do cost a little bit more than some others that will feature on the list. Also, be careful and make sure to check about the narrowness of the shoes. Nikes tend to run narrow, so it is crucial that you do that.
- Nice styles to pick from
- Takes pressure off the top of the foot
- Holds up well and supportive
- More expensive than most
- Can run narrow on some
Adidas Performance Kid’s Goletto VI J FG
Adidas makes its way back onto the list again with the Goletto VI J, a shoe that is good for those that don’t want a lot of frills to it. Coming in just a couple of colors, it is about as plain as Adidas gets, but there are still good reasons to buy these. One of them is the fact that they are quite inexpensive compared to almost all Adidas shoes. Using synthetics and a tiny bit of mesh that is hard to see given the black color of the boots, they are still comfort and are going to be durable as well.
They do have some shine to them on the upper part, so they could be the least bit slippery, which is something to keep in mind. One thing you absolutely will have to do is to size up, as they run a little bit small. They are also narrow for some people, which is not always the case with Adidas, and thus that should be noted in your brain for sure. One thing I really like about them is that despite being narrow, they take up less room, and thus on the youth soccer field, it means less tripping and staying on the ground as a result.
- Inexpensive option
- Comfy and durable
- Some breathability built in
- Runs small and narrow
- Not much color to go around
Adidas Kids’ ACE 18.3 FG
Adidas completes its rout of the competition with their fourth offering in the top five with the ACE. The ACE is a great looking option that is classic yet sophisticated and has the collar look to bring both support and comfort to the player’s ankles. There are only a couple of colors to pick from and that’s a bit of a bummer and the price is pretty high for a youth soccer cleat, but they are a quality pair for certain.
Coming with a synthetic upper and sole, these are going to be very durable and are going to also be comfortable as well. The upper even has indentations made on it to further increase the ability of the player to control the ball, making them ideal for a player that has an above average skill level to their game. Another thing that you might not like about them is that they can be tough to put on because of the collar. Depending on the age and their ability to put shoes on and off, this could present a problem that is just not worth your trouble! Just something else to consider.
- Very classy looks
- Extra protection for ankles
- Good for touches on the ball
- Hard to get on and off the foot
- Just a couple of colors
- Higher price than most
Diadora Kids’ Cattura MD Jr
Diadora is known for various products in the soccer sector, so it’s no surprise to see them make this list with the Cattura cleats. These cleats are no frills, bare bones pair, but that doesn’t make them bad at all. You get a big bank for your buck with them as they are rather cheap to buy. Coming in a wide range of colors, these cleats are going to be good for those that are just starting out playing in the game and want to stand out.
The upper is made out of synthetics and the sole is as well. The cleats are not long at all, and I would call them a hard ground cleat, meaning they’ll be best for rocky sorts of fields and very dry ones. The studs are placed wider than on most cleats as well, lending to further help the youth player with balance, which is honestly 90% of the battle at those ages. Comfy and durable at a low price, you can get away with these with lesser skilled players for sure. The other big bonus is that they are quite wide, making them excellent for those with wide feet. The laces have a tendency to break, so keep that in mind with them.
- Very low price
- Huge array of colors
- Wide studs increase stability on the field and with the ball
- Very basic pair of cleats
- Laces can be destroyed fairly easily
Vizari Stealth FG
Coming in much of the same vein of the Cattura is the Stealth from Vizari. With quite a low price and also a few colors to pick from, this specific shoe and the brand in general have been gaining steam in the recreational community of the game. One of the biggest advantages of the Stealth is its extremely strong material used. They are also extremely easy to clean as well, making life much easier for parents.
They’re also comfortable and easy to get on and off, so that will not be an issue for you to encounter. The upper itself, made from synthetics, looks very grippy and like you could make the ball stay put fairly easily with them on due to the patterns that they use. The studs are rounded and rather short, so play might be easier on firmer and harder grounds than on soft fields. The heel and the collar area are padded well to increase the comfort of the young player, making them a good choice for someone that is just starting out in the game.
These have also shown to be good for those with wide feet as well, making them a good option for those frustrated with the bigger manufacturers. They do have sizing issues, so be aware of that before you buy them.
- Good, low price
- Good grip on the uppers
- Padding is abundant and good for wide feet
- Not much to them
- Sizing issues are pretty rampant
Puma Kids’ Evopower Vigor 4 Graph FG
Puma is a major player in the game of soccer, and while they might be behind Adidas and Nike, they aren’t all that far off. With the Evopower Vigor 4, your child can play like some of their heroes on TV. The design looks great, and you see the small dimples in the synthetics that help with keeping the ball close and under control. The studs are positioned smartly, with some facing one way and others facing another to give you grip as you cut and turn on a dime in various directions.
The combination of a synthetic sole with the upper used to mean they would be rigid and hard to flex the foot, but this is not the case with this pair as they are easy to break in. They also are good for those with a wider foot as well, which is something you do not always find with the big boys mentioned above. The price for these shoes is very dependent upon size, but they can run in the higher range a little bit.
- Very responsive touch on the ball
- Flashy designs
- Good for wide feet
- Cost can be a little high
Under Armour Kids UA CF Force 3.0 FG
One of the main reasons UA have made the list on the bottom is due to the price, which is quite high for this area of the market. That’s the biggest reason an otherwise good pair of cleats is down here. The shoes look great and stand out, just as so many of them from this brand. With a synthetic upper and TPU sole, they are good both with the ball and in the open field as well. The collar is cushioned to give the player more comfort, and the sockliner also does a good job to increase that for the young star. The biggest problems present with these shoes have to do with size. They are narrow on many and also run incredibly small. That has to be something to look into when ordering. They’ve also taken users time to break in, so you will have to be patient.
- Very flashy looks
- Good on the ball
- Very comfortable pair
- Fit is tough to get right
- Takes time to break in
- Very expensive
Conclusion & Final Recommendations About Youth Soccer Cleats
With so many options available on the market at present, it can get confusing and downright impossible to select what is best for you. It’s both a good and a bad thing, a blessing and a curse, to have so many choices to make. But it can overwhelm even the best of us, making decisions much tougher. After today’s guide, however, you should have a much better understanding of what you need. A good pair of cleats for youth soccer won’t cost you an arm and leg, and they will be durable. All while helping your son and/or daughter look awesome and feel good on the field!
FAQ’s About Youth Soccer Cleats
Can You Wear Baseball or Football Cleats to Play Soccer?
The short answer to this is a ‘no.’ You cannot wear football or baseball cleats for soccer. The reason why is that those cleats have an extra stud, or ‘cleat,’ on the bottom of the toe area. This is dangerous because many kids do not know how to properly tackle (make a challenge for the soccer ball) yet. Because of that, they tend to sometimes lead with the cleats up. That extra cleat can do a lot of damage, especially due to today’s lack of strength in the cleats. As a result, you cannot wear them. Referees check before most youth games and will not allow you to play with them.
With that said, if you can grind the front cleat off, then you would have a perfectly acceptable cleat for use. It might not be the best for soccer, but it would be legal. If you want to use them for the other sports, then it’d technically be legal, but I would firmly discourage it. Soccer cleats are much lighter than football ones, and it could lead to a lot of injuries playing that. For baseball, they’d do a better job, but I’m sure they’d be happier with a pair that is designed with that purpose solely in mind.
What Are the Best Brands for Soccer Cleats?
This is very subjective, and to each their own really. In soccer, there are just so many choices to pick from. Everyone knows about Nike and Adidas, and Under Armour are doing their best to become a player in the field, but there are numerous others that are around for mainly soccer only. The best piece of advice that I can give to you is to pick a brand and to stick with it once you like them. Even over years and decades, they tend to stick with the same general fit and feel, and this means you won’t have to be guessing at size. Until then, though, you might want to experiment a little with the brands to find something you like the best.
When Should I Replace My Son or Daughter’s Cleats (How Long Should They Last)?
The answer to this question could have many answers. If your child no longer fits in his or her cleats, they need to be changed out. Another reason to change them is if they are suddenly causing blistering or have suffered a tear. If you have seen blisters form, it’s likely due to them no longer being the proper size. Another big reason that you need to buy a new pair is if the studs are no longer intact. If they aren’t as they were originally made, it will make walking and running tough to do as they will be off balance. They also won’t have nearly as much traction, either. If your child complains about them hurting their feet, despite them having worn them for a long time already, that might also be an indicator.