Soccer is one of the most followed and fantastic sports on earth. Regardless of race or gender, you find both young and old playing the sport wherever you go around the world. In fact, the rules of playing the game are universal, but the requirements differ depending on several factors.
Generally, for most sports, the use of cleats is rampant, and they often differ. The difference in the types of cleats used arises from factors like the nature of turf, level of professionalism, and the type of soccer being played.
However, following the Football Governing Body, FIFA, the standard player equipment includes shirts, shorts, socks, shin guards, and footwear (cleats). Nevertheless, in this article we will discover the possibilities of playing soccer without cleats.
Can You Play Soccer Without Cleats?
Safety is one of the core principles of the soccer governing body, FIFA. This is why shoes are included in its list of compulsory player equipment.
The rules state that:
“Except for the Playing Equipment used for beach soccer, in accordance with Law 4 of the Laws of the Game, the basic compulsory equipment of a player comprises the following separate items:
- A jersey or shirt with sleeves;
- Socks (stockings);
- Shin guards;
This rule clearly shows that one cannot play soccer professionally without the compulsory equipment (shirt, shoes, socks, shin guards, and footwear). However, no specific rules force a player to wear cleats.
Regardless, it is advisable to wear soccer cleats, and almost every soccer player wears them. Can you play soccer without cleats? Yes, but we would never advise you to play without them.
In schools and local leagues across the world, up to the professional level, soccer cleats are used. Also, note that there must be uniformity in the wearing or not wearing of cleats when playing with friends.
Where Can You Play Soccer Without Cleats?
Looking beyond the risk of injuries, playing soccer barefooted can be fun. Playing the ball without cleats feels different, just like when a guitarist plays with his fingers as compared to when he uses a pick.
It has been argued that playing without cleats can be extremely beneficial when used as a training mechanism. It helps to strengthen the feet of young players and to increase the rate at which they adapt to different surfaces.
Depending on the level at which the game is being played, either indoors or outdoors you can play soccer without cleats anywhere, and anytime, however, for some of the following soccer types, you can play without cleats or any footwear but not violate the rules:
- On the Street or Parks
In most parts of Africa and South America, you will find people (mostly children) on streets and corners playing soccer not as a competition or for gain but just enjoying the sport and sharing in the joy that it brings.
The informal nature of this setup allows for the use of makeshift goalposts which could be anything from stones to cans or even motor tires.
As long as it’s within the company of friends who share in the passion for the sport you can play soccer in public spaces that are large enough to stand as a makeshift football pitch. Get creative and enjoy the game.
- Beach soccer
At first glance, sandy beaches do not seem like an ideal place for the beautiful game of soccer. And due to the nature of the surface, the ball hardly rolls as directed.
But from the moment you try juggling the ball and keeping it up or even making passing movements with a friend, then you will realize the fun in beach soccer. For this variation of the game, soccer cleats are not needed and a different much softer ball is used.
Although we do recommend wearing cleats for all types of soccer (except beach and street soccer) to ensure safety and good performance, wearing soccer cleats or not is up to you.
Above all, before making a decision, let’s explore the strengths and weaknesses of soccer cleats.
Benefits of Soccer Cleats
Cleats are of great necessity to soccer players on the field, and without them, the player is already at a great disadvantage.
Soccer cleats serve a range of purposes to ensure peak on-field performance, and some of the major benefits of cleats include:
- Added traction
Cleats are designed with variations in the design and stud structure on the sole of the shoe. These studs dig into the ground to create a form of added traction.
This traction then allows for more effortless movement for the soccer player. As the player tries to move in different directions on the field, the cleats keep them upright and balanced as they do so.
- Increased flexibility
While wearing cleats, the protruding studs at the sole’s bottom dig into the grass wherever you trod on. And this gives you greater traction to make spins and dribbles with.
Given that soccer is a game with many stoppages, coupled with ranges of movements, cleats are a necessity to maintain good flexibility. The digging effect tends to unconsciously heighten the agility of each player on the pitch.
When dribbling in the game of soccer, players are expected to change directions quickly, maneuvering their way through opponents. By providing a firm grip and balance cleats help players to achieve this aim.
Generally, the cleats are created in such a way, shape, and form that it makes it easier to control the soccer ball. And every part of the cleat helps the players in achieving the perfect control.
- Increased speed and mobility
Cleats help players increase their speed, allowing faster movement when sprinting and remaining stable while pushing off the ground. However, there is no one type of cleat model that serves all soccer players the same.
Furthermore, cleats allow players to move at a more incredible speed when sprinting. They tend to cut across every blade of grass, quickly helping you regain their stability when they stop.
Due to the consistent evolution of the game, more cleats designs are being made to enhance player performance with greater emphasis on improving speed and mobility.
- Less chance of Injury
Soccer cleats help to shield the foot of players from the impact that comes with tackles. How?
For instance, cleats hold you firmly to the ground as you move your body in the specific direction you desire to go. In the absence of cleats, there is a greater chance of slips and falls leading to severe injuries. This is due to the level of contact in the game.
- Better form fitting
Soccer cleats manufacturers create designs that have a perfect fitting, forming around your foot. Due to this perfect fitting, your form and performance seem to enhance when on the pitch giving you an almost natural touch and feel.
Drawbacks of Soccer Cleats
Although we have clearly stated the many benefits cleats offer, there are some slight setbacks to this athletic boot feature:
- Limiting the ability of young players to control the ball
Many professional youth soccer training centers do not really allow young players (about 10 years old) to practice with soccer cleats.
One of the most understandable reasons is that soccer cleats will not be able to help young players feel the ball like when using bare feet, thereby reducing the ability to control the ball.
In addition, playing soccer at a young age without cleats also strengthens the feet of young players very well.
Kicking the ball with bare feet helps young players really understand what “soccer” is!
So, if your child is at a young age and can play on good soccer surfaces with soft grass, kicking the ball without soccer cleats is not a bad idea.
Soccer is fun with or without cleats. For the fun of it, by yourself or with a group of friends, or in beach soccer it is safe to play soccer without cleats. Even the best soccer players started without cleats and still do so occasionally.
However, to play professionally in all other types of soccer asides from beach soccer it is advisable to use soccer cleats. If you didn’t know, soccer is a high-intensity sport enjoyed by both young and old, and of all races and classes.
And as this article highlighted, it requires you to have a combination of endurance and agility. And as you know, soccer players are constantly turning, cutting, kicking, and accelerating on the field. For this reason, soccer cleats are essential to excelling and reducing the risk of injury.
It is worthy to note that the key to enjoying quality soccer cleats is that they must be tailored to your needs. So, this article has shown that it is best you have your cleats on while playing soccer due to its many benefits.
In all you do, stay true to the spirit of the game and have fun.
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!