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Can I Play Soccer With Sneakers?

Can I Play Soccer With Sneakers?

It is difficult to compile a list of interesting sports to either play or watch without including soccer in it. Soccer brings joy to those who accept it—even Americans who aren’t accustomed to playing or watching soccer can attest to this fact.

Key Takeaways

  • IFAB Laws of the Game don’t strictly specify the type of footwear soccer players should wear.
  • Sneakers can be worn for indoor soccer games like futsal but they are not suitable for outdoor soccer games.
  • The lack of studs on sneakers will increase a player’s chance of fall injuries on grass fields.

The most amazing thing about soccer is that it can be enjoyed without necessarily having and using the right equipment or accessories. For example, in some poor neighborhoods, people often play soccer using improvised equipment.

Doing this doesn’t steal the fun from the game. However, it limits the feeling that often comes with playing soccer using the right equipment.

In America where sneakers have become a movement, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see American kids and young adults playing soccer while wearing sneakers.

Sneakers also called fanciful names like kicks, trainers, and flats were originally designed for physical exercises before they became fashion accessories. They are good for road running and jogging because of how they are constructed.

Indoor sports like basketball and handball played on hard surfaces like concrete and polished wooden floors allow players to wear sneakers.

Is it possible to play soccer successfully using sneakers? What do the Laws of the Game say about the use of sneakers? Keep reading to find out.

Man wear sneaker and are standing on the soccer ball

Can I play soccer with sneakers?

IFAB Laws of the Game, Law 4, which focuses on the equipment of soccer players, lists the compulsory equipment soccer players must wear as a shirt with sleeves, shorts, socks, shin guards, and footwear. What was not specified is the type of footwear the soccer player must wear.

So, YES, you can play soccer with sneakers—but that may vary from one type of soccer to another. Authorities responsible for the welfare of soccer players are usually strict about what players wear to training and matches.

Soccer players participating in outdoor soccer may never be allowed to step onto the pitch with sneakers. This is not because the Laws of the Game forbid it but for their safety.

However, indoor soccer players like futsal can wear sneakers for playing on polished wooden or marble floors. Sneakers may still not be a good idea for playing soccer on indoor fields with AstroTurf floors.

Let’s start by giving you a brief description of what sneakers are, this will help you get a clearer mental picture of this topic.

Sneakers or trainers are athletic shoes with rubber soles and exquisite designs that make them fashionable. These shoes were invented for both exercise and leisure.

You will often find them on basketball players. For example, Air Jordans are a Nike sneaker series named after one of the most famous basketball legends—Michael Jordan. These sneakers continued to be best sellers long after Jordan left the NBA.

Air Jordans sneakers

Huge shifts have been made over the years in how sneakers are worn and a lot of improvements have also been achieved in their feel and structure. Modern sneakers are more comfortable than their predecessors which were initially designed for sporting activities.

Due to its versatility, Americans often make huge sacrifices just to get their hands on new pairs of sneaker models. This was witnessed when the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” sneakers were first released—people endured queuing in line for many hours just to purchase them.

Although sneakers might have traction and the ability to absorb shock on impact, the absence of studs makes them unsuitable for use on grass and AstroTurf.

Sneakers cannot be used for beach soccer simply because that type of soccer is played on bare feet. For informal street soccer, the type that kids in poor neighborhoods usually play on the streets, any form of footwear is allowed.

Below is a detailed comparison of sneakers and soccer shoes to give you a better picture of why they are not suitable for outdoor soccer.

Nike sneaker

Why should sneakers not be used for playing outdoor soccer?

Shoes are a vital part of soccer and the way they are designed matters a lot. This is the reason why special shoes are made for soccer players to protect them from sustaining injuries.

While sneakers share a few similarities with soccer cleats, their differences are glaring like night and day. Some of these differences are the reason why sneakers should not be used on grass or Astro Turf.

Soccer ball and sneakers

1. Toughness

Soccer cleats are often designed with kangaroo leather or other tougher materials. This allows the soccer cleats to take the beating of the harsh external environment and the grazing of the grasses.

Sneakers, on the other hand, are usually made with fabric that may not be able to withstand the harsh outdoor environment like leather or synthetics.

2. Ball control

Manufacturers of soccer cleats are usually more specific with what they want the soccer cleats to do, unlike in sneakers where the main focus is to make it attractive.

Most brands include embossing on the toe area of the soccer cleat to enhance ball control. This feature is not available in sneakers which will ultimately put a soccer player that shows up on the pitch with sneakers at a disadvantage.

Apart from the embossing, the upper of soccer cleats have a unique padding that gives soccer players a better feel on the ball. Studies have shown that soccer players shoot harder and more accurately when they have a better feel of the ball. This feeling is absent in sneakers.

When it comes to the level of traction that exists between soccer shoes and sneakers, their difference is evident. This is the main reason why a sneaker should not be used on an outdoor field.

Soccer shoes offer more traction on turf or grass fields because they have studs on their outsoles which dig into the ground and increase the stability of the soccer player on soft ground.

Man wear synthetic soccer cleats and are juggling the ball

Sneakers also offer an adequate level of traction but not enough for playing outdoor soccer due to the absence of spikes on sneakers. Nevertheless, they are still suitable for playing indoor soccer like futsal.

By wearing soccer cleats on the pitch, players can easily sprint, maneuver opponents, and perform quick brakes without tumbling over.

Sneakers have flat, light rubber soles with shallow grooves which makes them more suitable for use on flat, hard surfaces.

3. Protection

Outdoor soccer cleats are designed to protect the feet of the player from the impact of the environment. They usually have thicker insoles so that the player doesn’t feel all the pressure points from the studs.

Sneakers have thinner insoles which may not effectively cushion the impact of every step when you play in rocky surroundings. You are safer using them on a smooth solid court.


Before attempting to use your sneakers to play any form of soccer, it would be a great idea to verify with your coach and match officials if it is allowed.

Soccer shoes were specifically designed for playing the sport. They are a product of extensive research, thought, and effort. Therefore, you should expect to gain more from wearing them than just slamming any footwear on your foot.

Sneakers weren’t designed for playing soccer which is why they might cause you injuries when you try to use them for the game. However, sneakers may be effective for playing futsal or similar indoor soccer.

Wearing outdoor soccer shoes is mandatory when playing at a highly competitive level because it doesn’t only protect your feet but also increases the speed and swiftness of your movement on the pitch.

If you want to have a long career as a soccer player, the choice of footwear is one area you should never make compromises. One bad injury can force you into early retirement.