12 Different Types of Soccer Shoes for Men and Women

Soccer is an intense game played world-wide. Soccer shoes require grip, foot support, and to an extent water resisitance. Manufacturers use technology to produce attractive shoes that play and wear well. Men's and women's soccer shoes are only different in size, but their colors and attractiveness are universal

A close look at the feet of a soccer player.

We can’t kid ourselves anymore: shoes are a thing. Ladies, men have just as good collections of shoes as we do. Heck, the moving van used to carry at the very least four boxes of my shoes. That’s before we packed the kids’ light-up sneakers, baseball shoes, hiking shoes for Cub Scouts, and the hubby’s shoes for the Navy, shoes for the office, and sneakers. So, today we’re going to peek into those moving boxes to talk about soccer shoes for men and women.

There Are Special Shoes For Soccer?

Yes. They’re called soccer cleats, football boots, soccer shoes, cleats, turf shoes, and futsal shoes. There are men’s and women’s shoes. There are distinctions between men’s and women’s soccer cleats. Let’s look deeper into soccer shoes for men and women.

Why Are Soccer Shoes Specifically Used In The Game? Why Not Ordinary Sneakers?

When you’re walking or jogging, your feet and joints have no undue pressure put on them. They aren’t subjected to lightning-quick stops, pivots, tears in the opposite direction, and kicks. For that, you need soccer shoes that support the bones in the feet as well as the joints. That includes your knees.

Types Of Soccer Shoes For Men

Soccer is played both indoors and outdoors, so you’ll need cleats for each type of terrain.

Firm Ground Or Molded Cleats

adidas Men's X 17.2 Firm Ground Cleats Soccer Shoe, Solar Yellow/Legend Ink/Legend Ink, (10 M US)
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These cleats look like your basic soccer shoe. Hard plastic or rubber on the sole or the bottom of the shoe is designed to provide traction. Studs or cleats line the outside of the sole as well as including some in the middle for better control. Beginners use them for safety reasons. They’re suitable for both indoor and outdoor play. Soccer.com, sporting goods stores, and a few department stores carry soccer cleats. The shoes have plenty of advantages, but the only real con to soccer shoes is the time it takes in which to break them.

Soft Ground Or Dispensable Cleats

A close look at the foot of a soccer player with the shoes and the ball.

Soft ground refers to soft grass fields or wet, muddy fields. These shoes offer six screw-in metal cleats of varying lengths with four on the front of the shoe and two on the heel. The speed and force of the player dig the studs into the ground. These are not recommended for hard ground playing as the studs will shoot all that force into the legs and knees.

Players can use them once they’ve judged the conditions of the field they’re using. These cleats are for the experienced player whose knowledge allows him or her to adjust his or her shoes to the circumstances. Soft ground cleats can be purchased online or from sporting goods stores. The disadvantages of wearing soft ground soccer cleats are:

  • They’re not for hard ground use
  • They cushion the foot much less
  • Therefore, there’s less support
  • They’re heavy
  • Replacing a lost stud isn’t easy

Hard Ground Or Varied Ground

adidas Men's X 18.3 Firm Ground Soccer Shoe, Football Blue/Solar Yellow/Black, 10.5 M US
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When the ground is hard-baked or sports artificial turf, then you’ll need special cleats. Firm and soft ground shoes require cleats of the length necessary to grip but not to cause damage to the joints. Hard ground studs have no need for that length. If they did, the damage to the players’ legs and knees would be just awful.

Therefore, special shoes have been designed to conquer hard ground or artificial turf. The cleats aren’t as long, and players have better control and less damage to their bodies. These shoes aren’t, repeat, aren’t interchangeable. Buy a pair of cleats for each type of ground upon which you might be called to play.

Hard ground or artificial turf soccer shoes are available at sporting goods stores and online. The only real con to them is that they can’t be used on other types of playing field due to their short cleats and the possibility of damages to the feet, legs, and knees.

Turf Shoes

3N2 Men's Viper Turf Trainer, black, 12 (6539)
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There might be some confusion regarding shoes made for artificial turf and just plain turf. The difference is that artificial turf is thicker and lusher than just turf. Turf is usually found in indoor locales like gymnasiums. It’s more like a carpet with no thickness to it. The studs on the shoe are shorter than those used on artificial turf which eases the pressure on feet and knees.

Indoor Shoes

A close look at a man tying his shoes.

Also called futsal, indoor soccer is played on gymnasium floors as well as in sporting arenas. The shoes have no cleats at all and are composed of hard rubber on the soles for a great grip. They resemble every day sneakers.

Players frequently wear them on the streets after a game. The only real con to indoor soccer shoes is that they wear out faster since they’re constantly on the surface. They are available at sporting goods stores and online.


adidas Men's Alphabounce Slide Sport Sandal, Black/Black/Black, 10 M US
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A great innovation for players with sore feet who want to save their soccer shoes. Sandals are slipped on and off before and after a game. This spares the soccer cleats wear and tear. You can wear them with socks and shin guards, too. Some even have a massage feature for players with sore feet.

Sandals are made of either synthetic material or leather. The disadvantages of these are that the synthetic is less comfortable, plus they take time to break in. Soccer sandals can be purchased at sporting goods stores or online.

Why Soccer Shoes Are Made Of Different Materials

To so many people, shoes get them from Point A to Point B, and who cares what the shoes look like? We all know those for whom shoes are a fashion statement. You and I might even possess racks and racks of shoes of every color, style, and material in our closets. Some only buy the very best leather money can buy for their hand-tooled shoes. What’s the big deal about the material going into soccer shoes?


Pounding the ground and kicking the ball means occasional broken foot bones, sprained ankles, jacked-up knees, and possibly a painful lower back. Wouldn’t you want some protection?

Water Resistance

Playing on outdoor fields means the occasional puddle. Wet feet are no fun. They contribute to colds and toenail fungus. Soccer shoe manufacturers understand this, so they formulated water-resistant shoes. These are the types of materials used in soccer cleats.


Synthetic fibers are lighter than leather and are woven tighter to prevent much if any, water absorption. The design aspect of these shoes is phenomenal. Synthetic fibers are added to other materials like leather to produce any number of combinations and colors.

For instance, the ankle around the Balance Tekela V1 soccer cleat is composed of fabric to ensure the player’s comfort. The rest is synthetic. As another example, Adidas makes a gold snakeskin shoe called Adizero 5-Star 6.0 soccer shoe. The possibilities are endless.


The soles of most shoes nowadays are rubber due to their superior shock absorption. Indoor soccer shoes use rubber soles. The studs are shallower and provide great traction on indoor surfaces. Nike, for instance, makes the Superfly X Academy Men’s Indoor Soccer shoe.


Textiles are fabrics like cotton, polyester, silk, and the list goes on. They’re added to a cleat to provide comfort for the wearer. Check this out. If you wanted to skip the socks, some manufacturers make a soccer shoe complete with socks. Others only have a sock-top on their shoes. Either way, it’s stylish and comfy for players. It also provides protection for ankles with a tendency to rolling over.


Nothing says quality and elegance quite like baby-smooth-skin leather. Lots of shoes are made of leather because they don’t weigh a ton nor slow you down. On a soccer field, though, leather absorbs more water than most shoes. This makes the shoes heavy. Manufacturers, therefore, add another type of material to the shoe to help with water absorption.

Leather is thicker than synthetic or other textiles. This is why most shoes use leather: it fits the foot better and can be worn for a long time. Sporting shoes can only be worn a couple of hours before the feet begin to hurt. Check out the Adidas Performance Mundial Team Turf Soccer cleat for an attractive leather experience.


While women and children do play soccer, it’s the men who play it the most. Their shoes tend to dominate the shoe department, although you can always find women’s soccer cleats nearby. Some women gravitate toward the men’s soccer shoes because they’re always there and in vast quantities.


The really pertinent point here is how the studs are configured. Men tend to stop on a dime on the balls of their feet and the midfoot or where the arch is located. This is called biomechanics when it places more pressure on those bones. The cleats on women’s soccer shoes for the most part remain the same although they have begun to be made with round plastic studs suitable for firm ground.


Manufacturers order tons of materials with which to make their product. Men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes are then produced at the same time using the same machines from this stock. The only differences are the size and quality of the shoes. Cheaper shoes offer less quality, so go for the best quality cleat you can afford.


Sporting teams are recognized by their colors. Fans wear the color on their clothing as well as body painting the color. Lots of teams wear black or white shoes, but soccer is different. Soccer shoes offer men and women a huge variety of colors. Even the men’s soccer cleats rock the bright colors usually attributed to females such as pink, purple, and bright blue. Vive le couleur!


Women playing soccer stop on a dime, turn, runoff in another direction, and kick the ball the same way men do. Their foot bones, ankles, and knees need the same support men to get. Thus women’s soccer boots fit snugly for agility and stability. Fewer injuries result. In fact, men with smaller, narrower feet sometimes wear women’s soccer shoes, so they are interchangeable to a degree.

Types Of Women’s Soccer Cleats

Science tells us that, as a general rule, men are bigger than women. This means their feet are longer, wider, and with a shallower arch. Women’s feet have a deeper arch. Thus women’s soccer cleats tend to be a size and half smaller than men’s soccer shoes.

Firm Ground

adidas mens Copa Mundial Soccer Shoe, Black/White/Black, 10 Women 9 Men US
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Women’s soccer cleats are made the same way men’s are. They’re just sized differently. Women may choose between leather, synthetic, and textile shoes as well as cleats that are bladed or round. They may be purchased where men’s soccer shoes are sold or online.

Soft Ground

adidas Predator 18.1 Soft Ground Soccer Casual Cleats (Women's), Pink, 10
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Metal studs or blades of different lengths adorn shoes meant for soft ground soccer playing. Players may remove studs or blades depending on the condition of the playing field. Women might buy their shoes at sporting goods stores or online.

Hard Ground

adidas Women's Goletto VI FG W Soccer Shoe, White/Energy Blue/Easy Coral, 8 M US
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Playing on hard ground or artificial grass doesn’t require long studs or blades. Women playing on this type of ground will usually wear cleats with shorter studs. Brands have generally stopped making “hard ground” shoes in favor of artificial turf shoes due to the similarity to firm ground fields. Thus ladies only have to have one type of shoe. They can be bought wherever sporting goods are sold or online.


PUMA unisex adult King Pro Tt Soccer Shoe, Puma White-puma White-puma White, 11.5 Women 10 Men US
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Women’s turf shoes are made to fit snugly to the foot using a mix of leather and synthetic material. The outsole is not cleated like firm or soft ground soccer shoes but treaded much like a running shoe. Turf shoes can be ordered online as well as being available at sporting goods stores.


Diadora Women's Capitano ID Indoor Soccer Shoes (8.5 Wide, Columbia Blue/Black)
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Women’s indoor soccer shoes are made much like sneakers in that the rubber outsole is ridged for a better grip. The rubber doesn’t mark an indoor floor such as a gymnasium floor. The fit is snug, the insole padded for comfort and protection. The shoe is made of leather and comes in lots of colors. They can be purchased anywhere sporting goods are sold or online.


A pair of black and white rubber sandals.

Whether you’re going to the pool or playing soccer, you’ll need a comfortable non-skid shoe to wear. If you’re playing soccer, sandals can be worn with socks or by themselves until you get to the field and don your uniform. Made with non-skid rubber outsoles, sandals can be worn after the game on the way home. They can be purchased online or at sporting goods stores.

A Short History Of Soccer Shoes

It’s not easy to see soccer being played 500 years ago, but would you believe King Henry VIII played? He did, and he wore clunky leather boots to play the game. The King paid four shillings to Cornelius Johnson in 1525 for the pride of his collection – leather soccer boots.

What we call today steel-toed work boots were used to play soccer in years gone by. Modern designers plan shoes more suited to strategy than to comfort or even protection although these things nonetheless are built into the shoes.

English football players (soccer is only called soccer in America) in the 1800s tacked nails into the soles of their boots for traction and control. The turn of the 20th century saw lighter shoes with greater traction and control built-in. Soccer became a worldwide phenomenon with European manufacturers jumping on the soccer shoe bandwagon. Players began to travel and take notice of the different types of playing fields. Manufacturers saw this and adjusted their products accordingly.

Incorporating technology into the shoes began in the 1950s with Adolf Dassler, the founder of Adidas, and his brother Rudolf, the founder of Puma. Plastic and screw-on studs as well as synthetic materials gave their soccer shoes versatility and control. Today, both American and European soccer shoemakers use all the materials and technology available to them to ensure players have better toe to ball and foot to ground capability and control.


Do Soccer Players Wear New Shoes Every Game?

No, but they do wear new shoes every two months or so. Soccer can wear out a shoe, so most players have a backup. Additionally, they get shoes from manufacturers like Nike and Adidas; what better way to advertise than to have a team shod in your logo?

Is It Okay To Wear Indoor Soccer Shoes Casually?

Not the best idea. Indoor soccer shoes or futsal shoes are made to wear one or two hours of a game. The soles are thin and made to grip a gymnasium floor. The thick soles of a running shoe are better for a person’s ankles, knees, and lower back. If you were to wear indoor soccer shoes outdoors, say to the store, you’d end up with a painful back. Do it long enough, and you’ll end up with flat arches.

What’s Important When Buying Soccer Cleats For Ankle Support?

The most important thing is to buy a shoe with an incorporated ankle piece. This can comprise a flexible cable or an ergonomically designed ankle sock. Either way, your busy ankles will have maximum support.

Ever Wondered If The Men’s And Women’s Football Boots The Big Brands Such As Adidas And Nike Release Are Identical?

I’d have to turn in my womanhood card if I said publicly that sporting shoes look alike to me (I’m the hiker and walker in the family.) However, even I can see the differences between major brands’ shoes. Nike and Adidas consistently release new collections of men’s and women’s soccer boots.

In one case, it wasn’t that the two brands were identical, it was that Nike’s particular style was identical in both men’s and women’s soccer cleats. The Nike Blur style soccer shoe was only identified as far as color and style went; men had to seek out their size shoe.

Alternatively, Adidas appears to have awakened to the fact that women’s soccer cleats were smaller than men’s. Two years ago, Adidas brought out a shoe “engineered specially for the female foot.” Short, small studs are featured on the outsole of the shoe. From this, I think the idea of identical styles is not the thing.

What Does 18.3 Mean In Football Boots?

The Predator line is Adidas’ elite soccer shoe. It combines the newest in technology and comfort. The Predator comes in three quality levels: 18.1, 18.2, and 18.3. Eighteen point three is the lowest on the scale of Predator quality.

While the stud placement remains the same, the outsole is somewhat stiffer than the other two. The upper feels like the thick socks you wear in which to ski. The sock grips the foot. Unfortunately, the joining of the sock and soleplate is somewhat stiff and unwieldy, leaving the player with a less pleasant experience when running and playing.


Sports Unlimited: Soccer Cleats Buying Guide

SportsRec: The Difference Between Soccer & Rugby Cleats

SportsRec: Why Do You Have to Wear Soccer Shoes?

Soccer Shoe Guide: Soccer Cleats 101: How to Choose the Best Soccer Cleats for You

Shoes For Soccer: What are Soccer Shoes Made of?

Footy: Mens Vs. Womens Football Boots – Are They Unisex?

Epic Sports: Soccer Shoe History

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