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Best Soccer Cleats For Defenders

Best Soccer Cleats For Defenders

The game of soccer comprises many positions strategically located in different areas of the field. Each of these positions performs unique roles for the team.

Players playing defensive roles usually stay closer to their goalpost and their primary role is to stop the strikers of the opposing team from having a one-on-one encounter with their goalkeeper.

Many analysts will tell you that the role of the defender is the toughest because they are almost always under pressure. To ensure optimal performance, they require the right gears at all times.

Among other things that a defensive player is required to wear during a match, the cleats are by far the most important. Cleats are so important in soccer that a soccer player can’t be allowed to play without them because they are one of the compulsory equipment according to Law 4 of the Laws of the Game.

Since defenders usually engage in a lot of contests with opponents for the ball during matches, they are required to wear soccer boots with adequate traction, comfort, protection, and durability.

Even if a defender knows effective ways of taking the soccer ball away from an opponent, the defender may be reluctant to do so if he or she is not wearing the right soccer cleat for fear of injury.

When it comes to soccer cleats, there is no one-size-fits-all because defenders come in different sizes and shapes, each with their unique preferences. Nevertheless, there are always soccer cleats that stand out when you focus on features like ankle support, comfort, traction, and so on.

So, we took out time to figure out some of the best soccer cleats with the right set of features for soccer defenders. Keep reading to check them out.

Soceer defender and the attacker

Necessary features of good cleats for soccer defenders

Every professional soccer player understands that success in the game transcends psychology, skills, and strength alone. Wearing the right-fitting cleats also plays a huge part in your soccer career—but they are not always easy to find.

Finding the right cleats for soccer defenders goes beyond just brands to individual preferences. No defender wants their cleats to hold them back when facing speedy strikers on the pitch.

Every defender wants a comfortable, supportive, and durable soccer cleat that will bring out the best in them. Below are the features you should pay attention to when searching for the best cleats that can make you a better defender.

Production material

Soccer cleats are made using either leather or other synthetic materials. Kangaroo leather, which is usually pliable and supple, has become the most common material used in making soccer cleats.

Synthetic materials seem to have taken over the industry mostly because they are readily available and offer a wider range of designs than leather.

There is also the ethical issue with the sourcing of the leather used for making these cleats. Let’s take a closer look at the materials used in producing soccer cleats to see how they differ.

Leather and synthetic cleats

  • Leather cleats:

It seems leather cleats are preferred by defenders over other kinds of soccer cleats. Leather cleats are more comfortable for defenders with wide feet because they tend to stretch and form around the feet if properly broken in.

Leather is usually gotten from the skin of different animals including goats, cows, and kangaroos. However, leather from a kangaroo is often considered superior to leather from other sources.

In addition to that, soccer cleats made with kangaroo leather cleats tend to be highly durable. Also, the thin nature of the leather allows you to feel the ball better on your feet which enhances control.

Defenders often say they love them because they make passing balls easier while providing a fantastic first touch. The downside of leather cleats is that they require more maintenance to enjoy their full benefit.

  • Synthetic cleats:

As the name suggests, synthetic cleats are made from manmade materials. Materials that fall under this category are usually more breathable, flexible, and lighter than leather.

Modern synthetic materials are usually thinner than their predecessors which is why they provide a better feel on the ball. Also, they usually dry faster after being used on a wet field, compared to leather cleats.

The downside of their thinness is that they provide less protection for the feet. Also, they are usually less durable when compared to leather cleats.

Unlike leather cleats, synthetic cleats don’t stretch which is the reason why it is hard to achieve a comfort level comparable to leather with synthetic cleats.

The surface of the pitch

Soccer pitches are either covered with natural or artificial grass. In some developing countries, the soccer fields are firm grounds with little natural grass.

Manufacturers of soccer cleats often have a certain type of surface in mind when manufacturing soccer cleats. In other words, they optimize soccer cleats for different surfaces.

Wearing a soccer cleat made for natural grass on artificial turf will not only facilitate the deterioration of the soccer cleat but will also affect your performance.

Knowing the different types of soccer pitches will help you determine the suitable cleats to wear when defending. Below is a list of surfaces used in soccer.

Soccer field

  • Soft ground (SG):

This kind of surface is usually muddy and wet so they require soccer cleats that offer a lot of balance and traction. Cleats used on these surfaces often have replaceable or removable studs.

Metal studs usually provide more traction on soft ground fields but cleats with a combination of both metal and plastic are preferable. Some leagues and tournaments don’t allow the use of cleats with metal studs because they are dangerous.

Make sure that the use of cleats with metal studs is allowed before buying them for use on an SG pitch.

SG soccer cleats

  • Artificial grass (AG):

Artificial grass pitches are more common than other types of pitches because they are easier to manage. Even though some firm-ground cleats work perfectly on AG turfs, professional soccer defenders prefer using AG cleats on AG pitches.

AG cleats are specifically designed for AG turfs and may not work well on other types of surfaces. They have shorter bladed studs which provide a firm grip on the AG surface without digging too deep into the turf.

Man wear AG soccer cleats

  • Firm ground (FG):

A firm ground can be described as a soccer pitch with natural grass on it with no mud or water. FG cleats are designed with molded plastic studs usually appearing in a bladed or conical shape or a mixture of both for adequate traction and balance.

To properly distribute the impact of walking or running on the studs, these cleats are often designed with more cushioning on their soles. Among defenders, FG cleats are by far the most used type of soccer cleats.

FG soccer cleats

Cleat design   

For a soccer cleat to be certified good for a soccer defender, they have to enhance agility, speed, and stability as well as offer protection, comfort, ankle support, and traction while on the soccer pitch.

The upper of soccer cleats can be low-, mid-, or high-cut and usually determine the level of ankle support that the cleats would offer. In terms of protection, defenders stand to gain more by using soccer cleats with mid- or high-cut designs.

If you have a unique feet requirement, make sure you choose a pair of cleats designed for your unique feet. For example, if you have flat feet or wide feet, choose cleats designed specifically to cater to those requirements.

Position of the defender

The defensive position played by the soccer player will also slightly affect their choice of soccer cleats. Some defensive positions stay more in their half while others overlap into attacking positions.

  • Fullbacks

The fullback position encompasses the right-back and the left-back positions. One of the characteristics of players in this position is that they are both defense and attack-minded.

Unlike center-backs, they make lots of overlapping runs and cover a lot of distance. Therefore, they need soccer boots that are tough and light to protect their feet during tackles as well as allow them to reach their full speed.

Popular fast fullbacks like Marcos Rojo and Dani Alves with narrow feet use the Nike Mercurial Vapor which offers a good grip, comfortable touch, snuggle fit, and lightweight.

Full back in soccer

  • Centerbacks

Centerbacks are saddled with the responsibility of stopping attackers from having one-on-one opportunities with their goalkeepers. They rarely go for attacks except in a few cases like corner kicks.

Since they have to make hard tackles and stand their ground even while the striker is trying to dribble, center-backs need well-padded soccer cleats with good traction to function effectively.

Center backs like Thiago Silva and David Luiz all use the Nike Magista Obra which is lightweight, has a wide striking surface, and round studs for an easy switch of direction.

Center back in soccer

Best soccer cleats for defenders

A soccer defender’s confidence will determine the kind of tackles they will make on the soccer pitch. The kind of cleat a soccer player uses goes a long way in boosting his or her confidence level on the pitch.

Many factors determine why defenders choose the kind of soccer cleat they intend to play with. These factors might include style, brand, material, and color, to name a few.

An all-around top-level defender like Sergio Ramos with much prowess and skills wouldn’t be able to achieve much without his excellent choice of soccer cleats.

Without further chitchat, let’s unveil our list of the best soccer cleats for defenders.

Best overall: Men’s Copa Gloro Cleat by Adidas 

adidas Men's Copa Gloro 19.2 Firm Ground, Black/Black/Solar Yellow, 7.5 M US
  • Leather upper for durability
  • Lace closure; Knit textile collar and adjustable, fold-over tongue for a sock-like fit
  • Foam heel counter for comfort

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This soccer cleat from the sportswear accessories giant Adidas is similar to the Copa Mundial series when it comes to its construction, function, and popularity.

It is built with a kangaroo leather upper and insole which is durable leather that can withstand strong impacts. It also has other good features to protect defenders who are in constant contact.

One feature that differentiates it from other soccer cleats on the market is the fold-over tongue with a strap that hooks under the studs. This gives it a sock-like fitting and also prevents the shoelaces from coming undone while running.

It earned its spot as our best overall soccer cleat for center backs because of the nature of its inner lining, studs, and heel. These three parts of a cleat have a lot of significance in determining every defender’s way of playing on the pitch.

adidas Men's Copa Gloro 19.2 Firm Ground, Black/Black/Solar Yellow, 7.5 M US

The heels and soles of the Copa Gloro cleat are designed with 100% leather which makes them stable and firm on a defender’s feet. Also, the heel area has extra foam to make them more comfortable and prevent blistering during sharp turns or sprints.

Another feature that helps to improve comfort is the EVA insole used on this cleat for cushioning. It also has good top padding that protects the feet when a defender tackles an opponent.

The contours and curves on this cleat aren’t just for style or design, they help defenders in giving accurate passes, controlling difficult balls, and playing precise shots.

Adidas Copa Gloro runs narrow and that might be an issue with people with wide feet. We recommend you test it out in the shop (if possible) before making your purchase.


  • Made using 100% Kangaroo leather
  • Suitable for use on firm ground
  • Midsole made with EVA material for comfort
  • Adjustable fold-over tongue keeps lacing intact
  • Patterns on the upper improve first touch and ball control


  • Runs narrow
  • It may take a while to break in

Best soccer cleat for fullbacks: ACE 18.3 FG Soccer Shoe by Adidas

adidas Predator 18.3 Fg Soccer Shoe (mens) Solar Yellow/Black/Solar Red 11
  • Structured Primemesh upper provides a comfortable, sock-like fit so you can move with instinct to...
  • Control embossing on the upper gives you improved ball handling
  • Experience ultimate lockdown with an anatomically designed upper that mimics your heel shape

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fullbacks are among the most challenging defensive positions in soccer. They defend when their team is under pressure and join the attack when their team is on the offensive.

This soccer cleat might just be the best gear for any fullback—and we will tell you why. The Adidas ACE 18.3 is made with a combination of textile and synthetic materials.

The upper and soles are synthetic while the collar is made of textile which gives it a natural and comfortable feel on the feet.

The firm grip of the collar around the ankle will prevent you from spraining your ankle. This improved ankle support also gives the defenders the privilege to safely carry out sliding tackles and other defensive maneuvers.

adidas Predator 18.3 Fg Soccer Shoe (mens) Solar Yellow/Black/Solar Red 11

Another interesting feature we will like to talk about is the prime-mesh knit upper, which is so thin that it feels like you are wearing socks. The combination of this and the embossing on the upper help to improve first touch and ball control.

The heels of these cleats are shaped to match the natural shape of your heels which helps to prevent loose fit or blistering. A loose fit can seriously affect how a defender passes or tackles balls.

Finally, it has layers of TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) injected outsoles which help to stabilize movement. Stability and traction are further enhanced by the plastic triangular studs strategically distributed on the outsole.


  • The sock collar provides ankle support
  • TPU and rubber studs and soleplate
  • Provides a sock-like fit
  • Embossed upper for better ball handling
  • Layers of TPU material for comfort and stability
  • Made from both synthetic and textile materials


  • Incorrect sizing

Best soccer cleats for high speed turns: Hawkwell Men’s Firm Ground Cleats

Hawkwell Men's Outdoor Firm Ground Soccer Cleats, Black PU, 9 M US
  • Soft and supple, the sythetic upper forefoot helps cushion every touch so the ball stays close to...
  • The inner lining is covered by a cushioning foam layer to maintain maximum comfort and breathability...
  • Traditional lacing provides a personal fit, lacing and tightening each part of the cleats as needed.

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The position of the defender requires that you make high-speed turns to try and shake off your attacker. However, you can easily lose your balance if you make such a turn in a cleat without the right traction and cushioning.

The Hawkwell firm ground cleat is made with rubber sole and synthetic upper to maintain its lightness. The embossing on the top of the foot is textured to increase ball control and trap the ball better.

This cleat can also boost your shot power when shooting with the toes. The reason is that it has a hardened and reinforced toe cap.

Hawkwell Men's Outdoor Firm Ground Soccer Cleats, Black PU, 9 M US

If you notice, teams hardly substitute defenders unless they are injured. Hawkwell firm ground cleats will come in handy in this regard because of their superior cushioning and soft insoles.

Defenders can wear it for longer periods (whether for exercise or match day) without feeling the pinch. Most soccer cleats run small and narrow but not this one.

If you have wide feet, you can bank on them for comfort. However, if you have narrow feet, we would advise that you order a size down or test them out in the shop before pulling out your credit card.


  • Made with synthetic upper and rubber soles
  • Stud arrangement supports high-speed turns
  • Hardened and reinforced toe cap
  • Great for firm ground
  • Embossed upper for better ball control
  • Good for wide feet
  • Super lightweight


  • Durability is questionable
  • Not suitable for defenders with narrow feet

Best AG boots for defenders: Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Soccer Shoe

Nike Men's Football Shoe, Black, 12 Women / 10.5 Men M US
  • target gender: male
  • Insole for cushioning with low weight The higher plate overlaps in the toe area for durability. For...

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Nike men’s soccer shoes are lightweight and have features that promote comfort and speed as well as make them suitable for use on artificial grass. Their rubber soles allow them to move with your feet which comes in handy when the defender is trying to make a sliding tackle.

When making a sliding tackle, defenders need to protect their ankle from sprain and stumping from the opponent player. Thankfully, Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 comes with a sleeve collar on the leg opening which provides some form of ankle support and protection.

Nike Men's Football Shoe, Black, 12 Women / 10.5 Men M US

Unlike most soccer cleats out there, the studs of the Superfly 7 are unique too. Rather than the regular rounded studs, their studs are carefully designed into triangular shapes to maximize traction, especially on artificial ground.

The wider top with mesh engraving also makes ball control easier. All the protective and play enhancement features make the Nike Mercurial Superfly a great resource for defenders.


  • Made from durable materials
  • Has triangular and arc-shaped studs for good grip on AG fields
  • Rubber sole for adequate traction
  • Lightweight for improved speed
  • Ankle sleeves for improved protection


  • May give blisters until broken in
  • Several reported durability concerns

Best SG boots for defenders: Adidas Men’s World Cup Soccer Cleat

adidas Performance Mens World Cup Football Boots - 7 Black
  • EVA midsole distributes stud pressure more evenly across the sole
  • TPU outsole with exchangeable screw-in studs for grip on soft and very soft natural ground
  • Lace closure

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One of the features of a soft ground is that it feels as if it is sinking when you step on it. Without the right footwear, it is easy to slip on soft ground, especially for defenders that have to change their direction quickly when tracking an attacker.

Adidas World Cup soccer cleat deals with this by having round and pointed studs that will dig deep into the ground to give you a better grip on soft ground.

The upper of Adidas World Cup soccer cleat is made of kangaroo leather for better durability. One of the advantages of kangaroo leather over the other forms of leather is that they are lighter and will not significantly slow the defender down.

adidas Performance Mens World Cup Football Boots - 7

However, besides durability, the leather upper is also sturdy enough to protect the feet of the defender from stumping or kicks from other players when they make a tackle.

Defenders that are used to taping their ankles will not need a cleat with ankle support. Adidas World Cup soccer cleat comes with a low-cut collar that will not further restrict the movement of your ankle beyond the restriction of your tape.

This soccer cleat offers all these without sacrificing comfort. Adding to this comfort are the EVA insoles.

Since the studs are long and tapered, you may feel them poking under your feet if you use this cleat on firm ground. Also, the studs seem to unscrew or snap quickly. Therefore, to prolong its lifespan, make sure you use this cleat on soft ground alone.


  • Comes with round metallic studs
  • The upper is made from 100% Kangaroo leather
  • Has EVA insoles for improved comfort
  • Low-cut collar for free ankle movement
  • Soles are made from synthetic materials


  • Several complaints about durability
  • You may feel the studs under your feet


Getting suitable soccer cleats for defenders is often very difficult because most brands mainly produce and market soccer cleats for midfielders and attackers.

We won’t blame them though. In soccer, the player that scores the most goals gets the most attention—and we know defenders are not natural goal scorers.

Aside from shoes that will provide adequate protection for defending, these shoes must also be able to allow for good ball control, precise passes, and accurate shots. They must also fit snuggly.

We figured leather cleats with sock-like collar sleeves are usually better for defenders because they provide better comfort and sometimes better ball control.

Inasmuch as leather cleats are usually more expensive, we would strongly advise that you keep the price at the bottom of the list when picking a soccer cleat for defenders. Focus on the features that matter which includes ankle support, traction, and cushioning.