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How To Tape Soccer Cleats? 2 Effective Ways

How To Tape Soccer Cleats? 2 Effective Ways

Soccer players are always looking for ways to protect their feet from injuries. Since the soccer cleats don’t seem to provide enough support, soccer players often tape their ankles in search of that extra support.

Not every soccer player has the opportunity like Philippe Coutinho to wear custom-made soccer cleats. That means finding the right fitting pair of soccer cleats will always be a huge challenge.

Key Takeaways

  • Taping of soccer cleat starts with applying a base strip above the ankle and around the middle of the foot
  • Heel lock and figure 8 are two important techniques used for taping the soccer cleats
  • When properly done, taping locks the ankle and prevents sprain

The need for soccer players to find ways to secure their ankles was further necessitated by the advent of low-cut soccer cleats in the 1950s. While this category of soccer cleats was lighter, they were also less protective.

To make up for the default, soccer players had to devise means to lock their ankles. That was the birth of the taping of soccer cleats.

While the taping of soccer cleats has come to stay, new soccer players may struggle with how to properly tape their soccer cleats. Although the entire process is fairly easy, it still needs a short learning curve to perfect.

When correctly done, the tape should provide support to the soccer player’s ankle without being too tight to the point that it cuts off circulation.

If you are one of those that have struggled with how to tape soccer cleats, this guide will hold you by the hand and lead you through how it is done.

What kind of tape do you use to tape soccer cleats?

From outfield players to goalkeepers, almost all soccer players use tape in one form or the other. For example, while outfield players will normally use tape on their ankles, goalies will use tape on their fingers.

Regardless of where you want to use the tape, there are usually three available options which include Kinesiology tape, Zinc Oxide tape, and Sock tape.

different types of athletic tapes

Sock tape

This is arguably the most used type of tape among soccer players. Soccer goalies use it to tape their fingers. However, it is also useful for holding the socks so that they will stay up throughout the game.

Sock tapes are usually made from PVC and are stretchy to prevent excessive compression to the point of reducing blood flow when used. When it comes to taping soccer cleats, sock tape is a favorite for many soccer players.

They come in different colors and you can easily get the one that matches the color of your socks. This explains why they stay visible above the socks.

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Zinc Oxide tape

These tapes are more commonly used for therapeutic interventions. They come in handy when it is necessary to immobilize the movement of the ankle after a sprain or injury.

Since the FIFA rule stipulates that soccer players’ socks and jerseys should have matching colors, make sure you choose the one that matches your jersey socks color.

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Kinesiology tape

When used, kinesiology tape can stretch and move with the body. Therefore, it can support the movement. They are usually used to enhance neural feedback which makes them a great resource during muscle injury.

Kinesiology tape has superior adhesive and will usually not come off as easily as sock tape even when the player sweats during a game.

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How to tape soccer cleats?

There are different reasons why soccer players will tape their soccer cleats or spat soccer cleats as some would say. While the majority of soccer players in this practice do so to support their ankles, there are other reasons why this practice is a big deal.

For example, some tape their soccer cleats to get a snug fit out of it. This is usually the case when the soccer cleat is slightly bigger than the feet of the soccer player.

soccer cleats and athletic sport tapes

Without taping the soccer cleat, the feet will slide around in the soccer cleat which can increase the chance of getting blisters.

Also, just like tapes are often used by soccer players to keep their shin guards from sliding down, they use them to keep their cleats from pulling off their feet when they kick the ball. The major reasons why soccer players spat their cleats are;

  • Protect the ankle from sprain during play
  • Keep the laces tied so that you don’t trip on your laces
  • Prevent the cleats from flying off the feet during play
  • Helps the soccer player achieve a snug fit
  • Stops grass or debris from getting into your soccer cleats

Taping a soccer cleat is similar to taping your ankle. The only difference is that you do it with your soccer cleats on. If you know how to tape your ankle, just do the same while wearing your soccer cleat.

a man tapes his ankle for soccer

Some will start by wrapping a pre-wrap around the areas that they want to cover. The use of pre-wrap is usually necessary when you are using tape with strong adhesives.

Pre-wraps will make it easier to take off the tape at the end of the game. However, in the absence of a pre-wrap, you can still use sock tape directly on your soccer cleats.

Taping the soccer cleat always start with the taping of anchor tapes around the lower leg and around the center of the foot. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to tape your soccer cleats.

Method 1: Total wrap

The first method that we will look at is the total wrap. This method is most suitable for a soccer player that is playing with an ankle injury or at a very high risk of developing an ankle injury.

As the name suggests, it totally wraps the cleats and the foot thereby preventing any form of awkward ankle movement. However, it may also affect the player’s performance as we will highlight below.

Step 1: Pre-wrap

Use a pre-wrap to cover the areas that you would like to tape. It also covers the laces and gives you a nice area to tape on.

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Step 2: Add the base strips

The base strip holds the pre-wrap down and gives you more freedom to work.

Tape the first base strip around your lower leg so that it overlaps at the start of your pre-wrap. You can do this twice in such a way that the second overlaps with the first.

Tape the second base strip around the center of your foot. Tape a second one such that it overlaps on the first.

Step 3: Make your horseshoe

For the horseshoe, place your tape on the base strip on the outside of your feet, wrap it around your heel, and end on the base strip on the inside of the foot.

Continue with the horseshoe while moving toward your ankle. Make sure that each new tape you add overlaps with the one before it.

Continue with the horseshoe taping technique until you reach the base tape on your lower leg.

Close it up by taping around the last horseshoe movement.

Step 4: Do the stirrups

Starting from the inside of the ankle, place the tape on the base strip on your lower leg.

Loop the tape under the heel and end it on the base strip outside the ankle.

Repeat this step, two or three times, making sure that each new stirrup you add overlaps on the one before it. This helps to create base support for the ankle

Step 5: Heel lock and figure 8

The heel lock and figure 8 are usually combined in one fluid motion. As the name suggests, the goal is to lock the heel and minimize the chance of ankle sprain.

Starting from inside the foot, place your tape on your ankle. Wrap it over the instep and around the ankle on the outside of your foot.

From there, move the tape behind your heel to the inside of your foot and bring it out through the under of your foot and back to the outside. This completes your heel lock.

During figure 8, the tape will move from the middle of your foot, cross the instep, go around your leg, and cross the instep again to go under the middle of the foot again.

This process should be done in the following order when combining the two; start with a heel lock and do two figure 8s and then do another heel lock and finish off with two figure 8s.

After the last figure 8, move the tape around the center of the foot twice to close off the tape then move it to above the ankle and repeat to close off the tape around the ankle too.

How to SPAT a Football Cleat

NOTE: The major disadvantage of taping the soccer cleat is that tape covers most of the studs which can affect the traction that the soccer cleat can offer, especially on wet surfaces.

You should also not wrap too tightly at the beginning or it will affect blood circulation. Let’s wrap gently with many rounds!

Method 2: Heel lock and figure 8

The main focus of this method is on the heel lock and figure 8. The two steps are prioritized to give support to the ankles.

Also, in this method, the wrapping is cautiously done to avoid covering the studs. Therefore, unlike in total wrap, the player will still enjoy full stability from the studs.

Also, this technique makes use of fewer tapes such that the player’s feet don’t end up bulky. Have a look at the steps involved below.

Step 1: Pre-wrap

This step also starts with a pre-wrap to cover the areas that will be taped. Pre-wraps make it easier to remove the tape at the end of the game.

Step 2: Place your anchor tapes

Once you are done with the pre-wrap, place an anchor tap around the ends of the pre-wrap. That means you will have one on your feet and the other on your lower leg.

Step 3: Cover the pre-wrap with horseshoe

After placing your anchor tapes, it is time to do several horseshoes starting from the feet up to your lower leg where you have the other anchor tapes.

Starting from the medial side of the foot, place your tape on the anchor that you have made and run it around through the heel and end on the anchor on the lateral side. Continue applying the tape starting from the medial side until you meet the anchor tape on your lower leg.

Always make sure that the next tape you add overlaps the first. Close off the horseshoe by running a tape around the last horseshoe.

Once you are done with the horseshoe, tear out any pre-wrap that may cover the stud. This gives you a clean working surface for your next step.

Step 4: Figure 8 and heel lock

Figure 8 and the heel lock are usually completed in one swift movement to make the support stronger. Place the tape on the instep, move it through the center of the foot on the medial side, raise it through the lateral side, and cross it over the instep and around the top of the ankle to give the figure 8.

Continuing with your last movement, take the tape across the heel. On the outside of your foot, run the tape under the cleat, making sure to avoid covering the studs.

Cross the tape through your medial side, over the instep, and heel lock in the opposite direction to the first heel lock. Do another two sets of heel locks and one figure 8 then close off the tapes on your lower leg.

For simplicity’s sake, the steps for the figure 8 and heel lock combo are one figure 8, four heel locks, and one figure 8.

What is the alternative to taping soccer cleats?

No doubt, taping soccer cleats can be a whole lot of work. Therefore, it is not surprising that a lot of people are asking if there is an alternative to taping soccer cleats.

The answer is YES—and we bet that is a great relief. This is possible through the use of a spat soccer cleat cover.

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The advantage of the spat cleat cover is that it is easy to use. Also, it is reusable, unlike tapes that have to be thrown away after each use.

On the other hand, they are usually made of polyester and spandex and will not provide any form of ankle support. Apart from ankle support, they can serve all the other purposes that we highlighted earlier.

The spat cover looks like a regular socs with an open toe and heel area. To use the spat cleat cover, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Wear the spat cover like regular socks

Wear the spat until the toe hole is resting on your ankle. If done properly, it will look as if you are wearing a tube sleeve—except for the hole behind the back

Step 2: Wear your soccer cleat

Wear your soccer cleat and lace it up the way you would normally do

Step 3: Adjust the spat

Once your soccer cleat is in place, pull down the base of the spat as if you want to pull it off and stop when the spat is halfway through your foot or until your heel pops out from the opening on the heel.


Before taping your soccer cleat, it is always important to check with your league officials to know if the rules allow them. Even when they do, it is paramount to make sure that your tape or spat cover is the same color as your official soccer socks.

Also, when taping your soccer cleat, make sure that the tapes are not too tight to the point that it cuts off circulation. That will make it more difficult for you to play.

You may soon realize that you need a teammate or your trainer to tape your soccer cleat because your feet need to stay fairly steady throughout the process.

If the reason for taping is to prevent tipping on your laces or stop your soccer cleat from flying off your feet, using a spandex spat cleat cover may save you all the stress of taping your soccer cleats.