Skip to Content
The Pitch is Ours is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Are Indoor Soccer Shoes Different From Outdoor?

Are Indoor Soccer Shoes Different From Outdoor?

Soccer shoes, also widely known as cleats, are the footwear used by soccer players when participating in soccer activities. Players are mandated to wear cleats not just because it protects their feet from injuries but also because it helps them play more efficiently.

Cleats are the next most prized piece of equipment in soccer aside from the soccer ball. They are often more treasured when they come in the right fitting size and offer excellent feel, support, and traction on the soccer pitch.

Several modifications and progress have been made from the initial rugged cleat designs, back when soccer was still in its infancy. With constant research and development, soccer cleats have become thinner and offer better traction and ball control.

Today, multinational global industries make millions of dollars in revenue every year from the sale of soccer cleats alone.

When purchasing a new pair of cleats, remember to ask the right questions because cleats often look the same even when they are designed for different purposes. The perfect example that best highlights this is comparing soccer and football cleats.

While they look almost identical at a glance, football cleats have toe studs while soccer cleats do not. In fact, the use of cleats with toe or metal studs is banned in soccer due to safety reasons.

Soccer shoes specially designed for grass pitches are fitted with studs on their outsoles for better grip. On the other hand, cleats designed for indoor soccer activities are made without studs since they aren’t important for indoor surfaces.

While the absence of studs on indoor soccer cleats is the most glaring difference it has when compared to outdoor soccer cleats, there are other subtle differences between the two—and we will highlight all of them in this post.

Indoor soccer and outdoor soccer

Are indoor soccer shoes different from outdoor?

Without mincing words, indoor soccer shoes are significantly different from outdoor soccer shoes. Match officials will probably not allow you to use them interchangeably.

For example, using cleats with studs on indoor soccer pitches can damage the playing surface. In addition to that, it will not offer you the desired traction compared to using indoor soccer cleats.

This can lead to a sprain or other ankle injuries. The risks associated with playing soccer increase when you fail to wear the right gear.

In some cases, indoor soccer in the United States is played on padded Astro Turf. This surface offer indoor soccer players the feel of outdoor soccer.

In this case, the players can switch their regular indoor soccer shoes to turf cleats. The outsoles of turf shoes are still significantly different from outdoor soccer cleats.

Instead of hard rubber studs, the outsoles of tuf shoes have rubberized bumps scattered all over the bottom of the outsoles. These miniature bumps help the soccer players to retain traction on artificial turfs.

However, it is important to mention that with the continuous research and development in the world of soccer gears, the differences between the two are becoming slimmer if you take the soles and studs out of the picture.

To avoid the scenario where you mistakenly choose one for the other, we have highlighted all the key distinguishing features between indoor and outdoor soccer cleats. We broke down the differences into major characteristics and distinct features for easier understanding.

adidas Men's Samba Classic Soccer Shoe,Black/Running White,8 M US
JABASIC Kids Outdoor Soccer Cleats Athletic Firm Ground Football Shoes (1,Blue)
Indoor Soccer Shoes
Outdoor Soccer Cleats
adidas Men's Samba Classic Soccer Shoe,Black/Running White,8 M US
Indoor Soccer Shoes
JABASIC Kids Outdoor Soccer Cleats Athletic Firm Ground Football Shoes (1,Blue)
Outdoor Soccer Cleats

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Design 

Indoor soccer shoes usually have less attractive designs compared to outdoor soccer shoes. Indoor shoes are usually designed with fewer materials and always possess a simple and clean look.

Since indoor soccer games are usually more fast-paced, indoor shoes are designed lighter than outdoor shoes. Outdoor shoes are heavier because they often contain harder upper, studs, and ankle support.

The numerous requirements of outdoor soccer create opportunities for soccer shoe manufacturers to run wild with their creativity. This reason makes outdoor soccer shoes more attractive and adventurous.

Outdoor soccer shoes are also designed with tougher materials and coated with more vibrant colors. On close observation, you will discover that most modern outdoor soccer shoes are designed without shoelaces and have stretchable uppers.

Player are juggling the soccer ball

2. Ankle support

The ankle support of indoor soccer shoes is not as pronounced as those of outdoor soccer cleats. This is usually not a problem for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the fewer players in indoor soccer cleats means fewer contacts and collisions that may lead to ankle sprain. Secondly, indoor soccer pitches are smooth which limits the chances of a player spraining their ankle from misstep.

Also, indoor soccer players don’t run as much as outdoor soccer players which also lower the chance of ankle sprain.

For outdoor soccer cleats, the ankle support are usually more pronounced. This is understandable considering the fact that outdoor pitches often have uneven surfaces.

You will likely not find this kind of emphasis on ankle support on indoor soccer shoes. However, manufacturers like Qzzsmy and other newer brands are increasing the ankle support on indoor soccer shoes.

Indoor soccer

3. Outsoles

Soccer shoes produced for outdoor soccer usually have rubber studs evenly arranged on both sides of the outsoles for better grip on grass or soft ground fields.

These studs provide better traction because they can dig into the ground and offer the soccer player better stability.

This reduces the chances of slippage and injuries during training or games. Interestingly, scientists have discovered that there is a relationship between the plant foot and a soccer player’s kick velocity.

Indoor soccer shoes and turf shoes don’t need to dig into the ground or they will ruin the playing surface. For this reason they don’t have studs.

However, manufacturers have found a way of also improving the traction of indoor soccer cleats. Instead of studs, they have Houndstooth or honeycomb pattern outsole made of rubber.

This non-slip patterns help indoor soccer players to safely run on the smooth indoor soccer field or turf without hurting themselves or ruining the surface.

Flat outsole, turf outsole and grass outsole

4. Durability   

On outdoor soccer fields, shoes have an increased chance of getting damaged from the harsh environment and constant rubbing with the turf. This is why such shoes are built to be more rugged and durable.

Indoor soccer shoes, on the other hand, are usually designed like regular sneakers or casual running shoes.

Some of the characteristics that make indoor soccer boots less durable than their outdoor counterparts include their soft upper, lightweight, and the use of synthetic material for their manufacture.

5. Tightness

The upper of indoor soccer cleats usually have a tighter feel. This tightness allows the players to have a better feel of the ball. Soccer players often argue that this feeling helps them to kick the ball harder.

Outdoor soccer cleats are usually more flexible at the upper which gives outdoor soccer players the flexibility of moving their feet in more directions.

However, the flexibility of outdoor soccer cleats at the upper also means that the feet of soccer players can easily move in unnatural positions, hence the higher chance of ankle injuries in outdoor soccer.

Soccer players on the field

6. Weight

Outdoor soccer shoes are usually heavier than their indoor counterparts. The lighter nature of indoor soccer cleats allows the players to run faster. Numerous studies have shown that the lighter your soccer cleats, the faster you can run.

The traction and other safety features that go into the making of outdoor soccer shoes add to their weight. Some of the most prominent features of outdoor soccer cleats that add significantly to their weight are the padded upper and ankle support.


Soccer player are playing in the indoor

Indoor soccer cleats differ significantly from outdoor soccer cleats. However, amateur soccer players may not be aware of the reason why they cannot be used interchangeably. Hopefully, we have answered that question now.

Whenever you are in doubt, always look at their outsoles. Any soccer cleat with studs is designed for use in an outfield environment while soccer cleats with grip pads and Houndstooth or honeycomb pattern outsole are designed for use in an indoor environment.

The two different designs optimize traction in their respective environments. Using an indoor soccer cleat for outdoor soccer will not only facilitate the destruction of the soccer cleat but can also lead to injuries.