Across different sporting genres, it is possible to find kits used for more than one type of sport. Depending on the playing surface and standards defining a sport, athletes tend to use gear from other sports. They do this for comfort or to gain an advantage.
In the case of soccer and football, however, can you play soccer with football cleats? Are there rules prohibiting one from using football cleats in soccer? If you have ever needed answers to these questions, stick around cause the article is for you.
Let’s get started!
Can You Play Soccer With Football Cleats?
At first glance at the soccer and the football cleat, you may not notice any difference. Hence the question “can you play soccer with a football cleat” is a valid one. But, unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is, No.
For several reasons we will be examining in this article, you cannot play soccer with football cleats. However, it is acceptable to wear soccer cleats for football.
During a football game, referees allow players to wear soccer cleats, as they abide by the rules and regulations guiding football. On the other hand, a referee won’t permit players to wear football cleats for soccer.
Why You Shouldn’t Play Soccer with Football Cleats?
- They are heavier
Soccer cleats are made to be light and comfortable, even lighter than those for football. This enables soccer players to move with greater agility, better speed, and minimal fatigue. In addition, due to the high level of mobility in the game, soccer cleat lightweightness is an essential feature.
The same cannot be said for football, as heavier cleats are used by most players, except those in certain positions (like receivers and defensive backs) who need to move fast. For a soccer player running with a heavier football cleat will only do more harm than good.
- The difference in ankle-length design
Since soccer players prefer lightweight cleat designs that allow maximum agility, all soccer cleats come in low-cut designs. However, in football, there are three significant cleats designs. This includes the High Top, Mid Rise, and low cut design.
These football cleats are designed so that a higher ankle level gives more protection but also implies an increase in weight. This difference in design reduces mobility for a soccer player, hindering dribbling and maneuvering movements.
- Varying outsole designs
There are significant differences between the outsole design of soccer cleats and that of football cleats. This difference makes it unsafe to use football cleats for soccer.
Cleats used in soccer have outsole designs that feature removable aluminum cleat caps that help to improve traction and durability. This design does not interfere with balance and ball control in any way.
On the other hand, football cleats are often built with a toe spike. These spikes are situated close to the big toe, and they provide extra traction for a football player.
However, using football cleats with a toe spike will interfere with controlling the ball, passing, shooting, and even first touches for a soccer player. As a result, soccer players are better off not using toe spikes or football cleats.
- Toe feel and design
Most football players give little attention to the tip of their cleats since it doesn’t serve any primary function except a kicker or a punter. But in soccer, the cleat tip is the area used when striking the ball to pass or shoot.
So most cleat manufacturers put great detail and effort into the design of soccer cleats. This is done to give a natural toe feel and enhance accuracy.
For a soccer player, you must have a natural feel for the ball to make movements like lobbing a pass, making dribbles, or firing a shot. Hence, most soccer players prefer to go for cleats that fit perfectly and retain this feel.
A football cleat will hinder most of these movements and prevent you from playing at your best.
- Greater proneness to injuries
Playing soccer with football cleats puts players at a greater risk of getting injured. Using uncomfortable, heavier than usual cleats will strain the legs of soccer players leading to unnecessary injuries that could have been avoided.
The most common issue stemming from wrong cleats on the soccer pitch includes Hallux rigidus, black toe, bunions, metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, and metatarsal stress fractures.
Others include Haglund’s deformity and Achilles tendonitis, which can also occur if the football cleats are tight, do not fit, and are cutting into the rear of your foot.
The football cleat may also lead to the stud being directly under your first MTP joint. That will adversely affect the joint and the sesamoids, the two tiny bones directly beneath the joint protecting it.
Even though all the injuries mentioned above are less likely to occur as soccer cleats and football cleats are in some ways alike, the danger truly lies in wearing uncomfortably tight or oversized football cleats for soccer.
- General game performance
Players have the strangest bonds with their cleats, and switching to a football cleat is almost rare and unheard of. However, most players start young, and over time they transition from playing barefooted to using cleats.
In the EPL, professional soccer player Jack Grealish of Manchester City was recently seen donning an old soccer cleat to maintain a scoring streak. This sort of superstition is a common occurrence among athletes in different sporting cultures.
As a result, switching to a different cleat can sometimes affect players. So, changing to a completely different cleat from another sporting world is alien.
- Danger to opposing players
The toe spike is a great potential danger for soccer players. How? It can lead to severe injuries to the wearer and other outfield players, especially players from the opposing team.
As you know, soccer is a contact sport filled with players coming together in tackles or even goalmouth scrambles. At many points during a ninety-minute game, you will find potential instances where tackles lead to fractures and bruises.
This was why football cleats weren’t allowed in official competitions and soccer leagues across the world (like the MLS or UEFA).
However, recently there were changes to this law having several limitations on how the weight of the wearer could affect their stability while using these shoes.
Adapting to different surfaces is also a concern for soccer players. This is because most league structures worldwide employ a home-and-away game format. Meaning you will have to go on several trips to different stadia, different weather conditions, and different soccer pitches.
Most players find it difficult but can cope eventually due to the design used in the production of soccer cleats. Which is composed of light materials that allow a close to natural feel for the soccer player.
Football cleats are heavily padded, emphasizing safety and traction rather than having a feel of the ball or the grass. This makes them unsuitable for soccer.
What Does The Rule Say About Playing Soccer With Football Cleats?
The world governing body for soccer is FIFA, and there have been several evolutions of its bylaws over time.
However, article 4 of the FIFA rule book states that “Shoes with soles containing aluminum, leather, rubber, nylon or plastic cleats, studs or bars, whether molded as part of the sole or detachable, are allowed.”
This rule doesn’t prohibit a player from using a football cleat for soccer. Furthermore, the NCAA in the United States also has rules similar to that of FIFA. However, they permit football players to use soccer cleats.
But, for lower age grades like youth leagues, football cleats are outlawed for soccer. It must be noted that safety is one of the most essential elements of the FIFA rule book; hence, referees have the power to disallow a soccer cleat if they find it unsafe.
Can You Wear Football Cleats In Different Types of Soccer?
Soccer is played majorly in two locations, indoor and outdoor. Therefore, evaluating the difference like the surfaces will help us better understand and answer the above-stated question.
Speaking in broader terms, for Indoor soccer, an artificial surface is used. Here, Players utilize cleats or turf shoes that have shorter studs. This is due to the surface thickness, which is unlike the natural grass that can be dug in when running.
Football cleats are not suitable for this sort of surface. Moreover, footballing bodies like the FUTSAL have special cleats which they recommend for their players.
The outdoor game is played mainly on grass surfaces or grass-like surfaces, which may be entirely natural or composite. The texture of these surfaces determines if football cleats can be used on them.
On composite surfaces, you can play outdoor soccer with football cleats, but as we have already established, it is unsafe and not entirely beneficial. This also applies to a non-manicured field like a park, but football cleats have longer studs so they can work.
You can also try playing outdoor soccer with football cleats on a landscaped and manicured grass field. Why? This type of surface is similar to the ones used in football.
When you’re playing outdoor soccer on artificial surfaces like a turf field which is made from synthetic materials, you cannot use football cleats.
Beach soccer, unlike the regular popular type, is played on sand. This game has several rules that make it different from a regular soccer game.
One of the major differences is that it is played barefoot. Law 4 of the Beach Soccer Laws of The Game states under basic equipment that players are not allowed any footwear. By extension, players are not allowed to wear football cleats while playing beach soccer.
Street soccer is an informal style of association soccer. For one, each team is made up of 3 players and a goalkeeper.
The Street Soccer General Rules, Real Colorado in agreement with several other association rules states that players are only allowed to wear soccer or athletic shoes. It states further that players may not wear baseball or football cleats.
Soccer and football are games that require a lot of speed and strength. But unlike football, soccer players have a wide range of movements that usually depend on the nature of their cleats.
Even though there are specific positions in football where soccer cleats can be an advantage, the same cannot be said of wearing a football cleat for soccer. The officials in a soccer game may or may not allow a player to wear football cleats, depending on the referee’s discretion.
But the player also needs to consciously decide if wearing football cleats is an advantage or a disadvantage to them based on the demands of the position they play. In the end, the goal is to enjoy the beautiful game within the boundaries of the rules, whichever way you find pleasurable.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!