Soccer cleats are made from two primary materials—leather and synthetic. Although a more modern, technologically advanced premium synthetic material is now available, it’s still a combination of the major materials.
The premium synthetic cleats became popular as a great alternative to leather. Furthermore, in recent times, other materials like fabric/textile have been added to the heel area of cleats.
Generally, people believe synthetic cleats are good for beginners and mid-level players, while leather cleats are for professionals. However, this is not entirely true as it all narrows down to budget and personal preference.
Irrespective of the chosen cleat material, soccer cleats would need to be broken in to allow for comfort. While many agree to this, there seem to be disparities in the amount of time it’ll take to achieve this.
This article highlights the average break in time of cleats used in soccer. Since their construction materials differ, the article will examine the break in times and possible reasons for any disparity.
How long do soccer cleats take to break in?
Depending on the cleat’s material, you should begin to notice changes within an hour to two weeks. Several factors can affect the process duration. Some of these factors include:
- The construction material of the cleat
- Break in method used
- Personal preference on comfort levels
The major determining factor for the length of the break in time is the construction material of the cleat. Even with the same method applied, you will probably experience different break in times for different materials.
It should take two days to about a week (sometimes more) to fully break in leather cleats. This is because of the material’s characteristics.
Although they offer the best feel for the feet because of their softness, they are still just skin/hide. This means they are susceptible to moisture, stretching, and shrinking.
Leather cleats need to mold properly into the shape of your feet to give them that comfortable feeling.
The most common break in method for leather cleats is getting them wet to cause the leather to swell. This could be done by showering with warm water while wearing the cleats, submerging them into a bowl of warm water, or playing with them under the rain.
This first break in process usually takes between 15-30 minutes to get the entire cleat wet. The follow-up method of applying petroleum jelly or leather cream/spray can eat up another 5 minutes.
It’s best to wear the wet leather cleat for as long as possible to allow the drying cleat to mold into your feet properly. If it’s possible to wear the cleat for a few hours (3-5 hours), please do.
The outer surface may seem dry, but most of the moisture will still be trapped underneath the surface and inside the cleat. When you’re not wearing the drying cleats, stuff the insides with old newspapers or socks and then tie the laces as you would do for a soccer game.
Let this sit for as long as possible. Alternate between wearing and using the cleats and stuffing old newspapers for at least two days.
Depending on the level of comfort you seek, your break in process should be complete after 48 hours. As you continue to use the cleat, it’ll become more comfortable over time.
The break in time for synthetic material should be from about an hour to about 3-5 days. You wouldn’t need a long time to get it completely dry. However, you may need to wear them consecutively for days to get the desired comfort.
One of the major selling points for synthetic material is their lightweight feature. Compared to leather, they are lighter and not susceptible to moisture like leather.
Unlike leather, there’s not much stretching that can occur in synthetic material. This is why it’s recommended to buy the perfect size.
However, synthetic cleats also need to be broken in. The best way to get your feet adapted to a new synthetic cleat is to wear good-quality socks and put your feet into them.
You can try the water method for about 10 minutes to help loosen up the material. Then, allow it to dry on your feet or naturally away from sunlight.
You can also make use of a hot dryer. Use the dryer on the cleat for about 10-15 minutes, stuff with old newspapers, and allow to cool off. Within an hour, the break in time should be complete.
Another common method is to wear the synthetic cleats around the house for about an hour or two. Ensure you’re wearing quality soccer socks too.
Synthetic cleats are not ideal for people with large or irregular feet. Regardless of the times we highlighted, the end of the break in process is when your feet are comfortable in the cleats.
So, if you still feel a bit of discomfort, you can repeat any of the break in methods. There’s absolutely nothing wrong if your break in time exceeds the two hours, since different feet shape and sizes will adapt differently.
It is important to break in new soccer cleats to reduce the likelihood of foot injuries. Several methods are available to achieve this and it can sometimes become tiring to decide which is best.
As a result of impatience, some players refuse to wait until the end of the break in time. Depending on the construction material of your cleat, break in time spans anywhere from an hour to a couple of weeks.
While synthetic cleats may not need a longer break in time, you have to ensure you allow your leather cleats to dry and mold into the shape of your feet properly. There’s no need to rush with leather as continuous use of the cleat within the first few weeks can greatly improve comfort.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
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!