When you move beyond amateur soccer play and into more serious territory, you’ll start to look at cleats for the next piece of equipment to get a boost out of your game. Depending on the kind of player you are, you’ll find benefits in all sorts of cleats, for many different reasons. You’ll also find that two companies dominate the market, along with other fan favorites like Diadora: Nike and adidas soccer shoes. Both are battling for soccer supremacy, both offer superior products. So which is right for you?
Strikers demand a shoe that fits the foot comfortably, while providing adequate ball control. Typically, striker cleats tend to feel light on the feet and conform well to the player’s foot. That’s to provide an improvement in touch and power. Some strikers like a more aerodynamic and lighter cleat, such as the adidas f50, because they believe it improves their footwork. Others swear by support and comfort, because it helps them with endurance. Those tradeoffs are worth debating as you look at different cleats.
Defenders want a boot that will match their role in game. For example, wings might opt for the adidas Copa Mundial, which is sleak and light like a striker’s boot. They are going to be doing a lot of running, and may need to play a critical role in setting up a play. Defenders who need to leap, such as a dominant center, will want a balanced cleat that can offer great impact absorption. Nike’s Hypervenom Phantom II works well for this position.
Goalkeepers prefer comfort and shock absorption mostly, but they tend to like a boost in power as well. Keepers may need short but sudden bursts of speed, and usually stay in for the duration of the game so they require endurance. Keepers also tend to hit long balls and require some measure of control in doing so in order to turn the tide in your favor. For many keepers, the adidas Predator is an excellent boot.
Synthetic, leather, indoor, outdoor… These are all variables you need to consider. These recommendations are based purely on feel for grass pitch playing. Arena soccer may have some different requirements. The most important idea to keep in mind is to try your boots on and don’t just order the cheapest cleats you can find. You’ll find adidas is one of the best brands in soccer, but Nike, Diadora and others offer affordable alternatives. A good pair of boots, like the Copa Mundial, can last years with care. If you plan to grow your game over time, invest in a good pair of cleats.
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