Looking for the latest and greatest football cleats on the market?
In this guide, we’ve reviewed 9 of the best football cleats available in 2018. We’ve also outlined some key considerations when buying, helping you to pick the right cleats for your position on the pitch.
No time to waste? Check out our comparison table to view our top picks:
- Best football cleats for wide receivers
- Best football cleats for linemen
- Best football cleats for running backs
- Buyer’s guide
Best Football Cleats For Wide Receivers
DEFINITION: wide receivers are fast players who stick to the edge of the field. Their job is to pick up long throws during offensive plays.
1. Nike Vapor Shark 2
Nike loves to make super fast cleats that have an almost barefoot feel when they’ve been broken in. The Vapor Untouchable 2 is no exception – these cleats have excellent acceleration off the mark due to their ultra-light woven upper and rubber sole plate.
Another benefit of the woven upper is the comfort it offers. These cleats are super breathable, and the molded foam insole + “Phylon” midsole cushioning feels awesome to wear.
What’s more, the price is fairly reasonable, and the spikes provide excellent grip on both natural grass and artificial turf. Overall, we can’t fault these cleats – they’d make an excellent choice for any budding NFL receiver.
2. Adidas adiZero 5-Star 7.0
Like Nike did with their Vapor Shark 2 cleat, Adidas has prioritized comfort in producing the adiZero 5-Star 7.0. The foam insole, padded tongue/collar and soft fabric lining makes these cleats feel great to wear, even when running. You’d find it very hard to get blisters in these shoes.
Another great thing about the 7.0 is the upper material. Adidas have gone for what they call “Sprintskin”, which is a lightweight synthetic optimized for the best-possible speed. Although it may look a little stiff in the pictures, the upper is actually quite flexible, which helps you get off the line quicker and sprint more comfortably.
As you’d expect from an Adidas receiver cleat, the adiZero 5-Star 7.0 offers great grip off the mark, and the rubber spikes give you that extra little spring in your step.
The price is also pretty reasonable considering what you’re getting, and the durability is fantastic. If you’re prone to wearing cleats out in just a few months, then this is a great pick.
3. Under Armour C1N MC Football Cleat
If you’re looking for the best possible foot and ankle support when sprinting, the C1N MC is probably your best bet. Although these cleats are branded as being made for quarterbacks, their snug fit and agility makes them awesome for receivers too.
The mid-cut ankle collar and 3D-molded tongue offer excellent lock-down, leading to superb overall stability when sprinting and turning. You also get “4D foam” in the footbed which adapts to the shape of your foot, reducing annoying internal slippage. If you get the right size, these cleats feel fantastic – you can almost forget you’re wearing them.
As you’d expect from Under Armour, the C1N MC comes with full-length carbon and a material known as “Pebax” to help reduce weight. At 12.5oz, these cleats are reasonably light but still offer enough protection for you to avoid having to worry about being trodden on.
The issue with these cleats is they run a little small – we’d recommend ordering a size up. Also, they’re not the most durable option out there. Considering what they cost, it’s a little disappointing that they typically won’t last more than a full season (including training and games).
Best Football Cleats For Linemen
DEFINITION: linemen are strong but agile players responsible for running offense or defense in the line of scrimmage. They must wrestle with opposing linemen to defend or attack the quarterback.
4. Adidas Freak X Carbon MC
As a lineman, you need cleats with excellent ankle and heel support to help you push your opponent with the maximum possible force. You’ll also need shoes with great grip to avoid sliding back when wrestling. The weight of your cleats doesn’t matter as much as it does for receivers.
This is why the Freak X is an excellent option for players in the trenches. It has a heel cup designed specifically for extra support when pushing, and the extended collar gives you greater stability when making quick steps forward. These cleats also have a carbon footplate, engineered to help you make quick turns and stops.
What’s more, the Freak X is very durable – they’ll definitely last you a season or more, depending on how often you play. They also come in a bunch of awesome colorways – we especially love the blackout one! The only downside would be the price – these cleats are a bit expensive.
5. Nike Alpha Strike 2
Nike also makes a fantastic lineman’s cleat, and it’s much cheaper than Adidas’s Freak X.
Coming in a more traditional look, the Nike Alpha Strike 2 doesn’t feature an extended ankle collar like some more expensive cleats. As a result, the ankle support isn’t quite as good as what the Freak X offers. However, some players prefer the old-fashioned design, as low-cut cleats are easier to put on and take off.
The synthetic leather outer material is very durable but also very light, allowing you to change direction efficiently. In addition, the inner lining is nice and soft, so these cleats feel super comfortable no matter what you’re doing on the pitch.
6. Nike Force Lunarbeast Elite
If you like Nike’s cleats but are willing to spend a bit more, it’s definitely worth looking at getting the Lunarbeast Elite instead of the Alpha Strike 2.
These cleats are engineered specifically for linemen. The extended collar + strap combo is designed to lock down on your foot, providing an incredible amount of support when wrestling your opponent. Nike has also engineered a specialized “Flywire” outer material which improves stability when running – another feature that’s perfect for linemen.
Considering the technology on offer, the Lunarbeast Elite is actually priced fairly reasonably. It’s also quite durable, and the “Lunerlon” midsole material offers excellent cushioning and comfort in-game.
Best Football Cleats For Running Backs
DEFINITION: running backs are multidimensional players who perform a number of roles in the offensive backfield. They may block opponents, receive short passes, and take handoffs from the quarterback before throwing or running the ball down the pitch.
7. Adidas Freak MD
With regards to football cleats, running backs require gear similar to what receivers use – lightweight shoes built for speed. However, running backs are generally more versatile players, so they need a better all-round cleat that enables them to move with agility.
This is why the Adidas Freak MD is such a great option for guys playing RB. The company’s patented “Sprintskin” upper is super lightweight but still offers awesome support, helping you to make turns quickly and comfortably. Furthermore, the rubber sole is reinforced with DuPont Kevlar, which offers great grip and excellent durability. You also get an extended ankle collar which provides good stability when turning and sprinting.
Overall, these are fantastic cleats for the price.
8. Nike Alpha Pro 2
If you’re looking for a simple cleat that’s super-easy to get on, try the Nike Alpha Pro 2. It has a more traditional look (low-cut with no ankle collar), and as a result it’s a bit cheaper than most other Nike options on the market right now.
These cleats have pretty much everything you’d want as a running back:
- Molded sole with screw-in spikes – you can interchange them depending on the conditions for better grip.
- Lightweight “Nikeskin” outer material for improved speed & agility.
- Good level of interior padding for comfort.
Considering what you get, the price is very reasonable. The only downside would be the lack of ankle support (compared to other cleats) due to the low-cut design. However, the lack of an ankle collar allows for a greater range of movement on the pitch, which can be very useful for running backs.
9. Under Armour Highlight MC
Under Armour loves to make a comfy cleat and the Highlight MC is no exception. The molded “4D foam” footbed feels awesome to walk on for the life of the cleat, as it’s a surprisingly durable material.
UA has also used their “ClutchFit” technology which wraps around the top of your foot, resulting in an almost barefoot feel when running. You also get the support you need for agile turns on the field – the mid-cut design and “PlasmaX” plate provide excellent stability.
Although Under Armour loves to use weird buzzwords, these cleats do perform as well as they say they will. They’re light, comfortable, and offer great support, which is exactly what you need as a versatile running back. These cleats also come in a few pretty decent colorways – but nothing beats the white/metallic silver in our opinion. 😛
The only downside would be the cost – the UA Highlight MC is pretty expensive. However, we think they’re worth the money.
To help you pick the right football cleats, we’ve outlined some key things you should consider when buying.
1. Different Cleats For Different Positions
In the reviews above, we’ve shown how different cleats are best for players in different positions on the football field.
What this boils down to is this:
- Receivers need light cleats with good grip for maximum pace when sprinting.
- Linemen need cleats with excellent ankle and heel support for wrestling and tackling opponents.
- Running backs need a well-rounded cleat with excellent agility for skipping past opponents but also good support for shielding the quarterback.
If you don’t play in one of these positions, consider what your role is on the pitch and what would help you to perform it as well as you possibly can (would you want extra agility, speed or support?).
2. How To Find Your Football Cleat Size
Most manufacturers will include a size chart on their website which can help you to find the right size.
Simply Google the brand name + size guide and measure your heel to toe length. Then compare your measurements with the guidelines shown.
You should also consider reviews from customers as some football cleats will run large or small. Amazon for example has a function that tells you how a pair of shoes will fit.
If you’re still unsure, go to a store and have a walk around in a few different cleats. You can then go home and buy online if the price is better.
For kids, be sure to get cleats that fit snugly – not shoes that they need to grow into. This is because loose cleats can cause severe blisters if worn for a training session or game. The discomfort associated with these sores can affect a child’s ability to run properly, which can lead to more severe injuries further down the line.
3. Different Types Of Football Cleat Spikes
There’s currently two different types of football cleat spikes on the market:
- Molded spikes are molded directly into the bottom of the cleat. They’re suitable for most synthetic turf and grass surfaces and come ready to use. You can’t remove or swap out molded spikes.
- Screw-in spikes are separate to the cleat itself, so you can detach them and swap them for other spikes if you wish. Players use detachable spikes because they can be interchanged depending on the weather conditions and the playing surface.
4. Different Types Of Football Cleat Cuts
These days you can get football cleats with differing levels of ankle support.
- Mid-cut (MC) cleats like the Adidas Freak X Carbon come up to the ankle. They provide awesome support but can be difficult to get on.
- Low-cut (LC) cleats like the Nike Alpha Strike 2 do not have an ankle collar, instead they finish at the top of your foot. They’re simple, cheap and easy to get on. Some players also think that low-cut cleats offer a greater range of movement (better agility) on the field.
5. The Difference Between Soccer And Football Cleats
Football cleats have much better ankle support and greater internal cushioning than most soccer cleats. As a result, soccer cleats are normally lighter but offer less protection if your foot gets trodden on.
Also, football cleats have a central spike in the toe area, because football players are often on their toes, ready to jump for their opponent. Soccer cleats do not have this extra stud, so they offer less speed off the mark when you’re on your toes.
Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend using soccer cleats for football or football cleats for soccer, as they’re both specifically designed for very different sports.
6. Football Cleat Color
If you’re a semi-pro, high school or college player, your team might have some rules about what color cleats you can wear. They might need to match your team strip, or they might need to be a neutral color such as black and white (like in the image above).
7. The Difference Between Adidas, Nike and Under Armour Football Cleats
Adidas has been making soccer cleats for nearly 100 years now. Since entering the American football market, the German company has had incredible success in producing gridiron shoes. Their cleats are renown for their comfort, build quality and excellent ankle support.
Nike has been in the football cleat business for a lot longer than Adidas, as they’re an all-American brand. For decades Nike has been a market leader in this space, renown for their innovative, comfortable and stylish cleats. They can be a bit expensive but Nike cleats are often worth the extra cost.
Under Armour is the new kid on the block in the football cleat world. They’ve been making compression clothing for football since 1996, only recently beginning to make cleats and other footwear. Unlike the old-timers, Under Armour is willing to make quite outlandish shoes to grab sales. They’re famous for their cleats’ slick styling, awesome ankle support and great stability when running – UA cleats tend to hug the foot.
You’ve reached the end of our buyer’s guide! Hopefully you found this article helpful.
If you’re still not sure what cleats to get, leave a comment below and we’ll get right back to you. 🙂