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Soccer Turf Shoes vs Cleats: Which Is Better?

Soccer Turf Shoes vs Cleats: Which Is Better?

Soccer isn’t a sport you just play with any type of shoe, it is a game that needs specific shoes.

Luckily, players have a variety of options when it comes to choosing the right soccer shoes. But first, it’s essential to know the difference between the various types of soccer shoes.

If you’re considering getting soccer shoes to take your game to a higher level, this article is worth a read. We compare soccer turf shoes and cleats to help you pick the right pair for your next soccer game.

What’s the difference between turf shoes and cleats?

When it comes to soccer, players have the option to choose between turf shoes and cleats. Both shoes can be used to play soccer, but there is a thin line between the two.

To better understand the two types of soccer shoes, let’s examine the features of each.

Soccer turf shoes vs cleats

Although soccer turf shoes and cleats have some similar features, they also have differences, from the outsoles and studs to the laces.

Want to know more about soccer turf shoes and cleats? Keep scrolling.

1. The outsole

Turf shoes are made with maximum flexibility in mind but provide little stiffness on the outsole. The shoes are mostly low top.

Turf shoes have dozens of small studs on the underside to provide traction while playing soccer. The studs are rubber-made and have little spacing between them.

The studs on the entire soccer shoes

Soccer cleats have slightly longer studs on the underside compared to turf shoes, ranging from six to 15. The studs on cleats can be made of metal or rubber and can not go beyond half-inch according to soccer regulations.

The studs vary in shape, size, and design based on the manufacturer, the surface, and the player’s position on the field. Keep this in mind next time you purchase soccer cleats.

  • Firm ground cleats have 10-15 round or bladed studs and are designed for a typical grass pitch and hard surfaces.

Firm Ground Soccer Cleats –

  • Soft ground cleats feature long metal or plastic studs to grip on soft surfaces. Often, soft ground studs are removable and can be customized as per individual needs. These are suitable for experienced players.

Soft Ground Soccer Cleats –

  • Hard ground cleats have many short studs distributed evenly across the outsole. This type of shoe is usually used on hard ground, dry grass, synthetic grass or very little grass.

Unlike turf, there’s more spacing between the studs on the soccer cleats, to prevent them from carrying mud or grass while playing soccer.

The studs also allow for high mobility and traction. For instance, a player can easily run at top speeds, stop and turn when wearing soccer cleats.

2. Midsole

Both soccer turf shoes and cleats have midsoles that act as shock absorbers. The midsole is the material between the soleplate and the insole and it’s mostly made of foam fabrics.

Also, the midsole provides excellent cushioning and helps soccer shoes keep their shape. Midsoles make soccer shoes comfortable and fit!

The sole of indoor soccer shoes

When choosing soccer turf shoes or cleats, make sure you get one that has a good midsole for comfortability.

3. Function 

Soccer turf shoes are primarily designed to be used on turf and artificial surfaces. Turf shoes do not work so well on muddy fields or natural grass. They are suitable for either indoor soccer or outdoor soccer.

Young soccer player wear turf soccer shoes on the turf field

Cleats are specifically designed for use on natural grass and mud-laden fields.

The shoes come in high-top and low-top heights to provide adequate ankle support and minimize injuries while playing soccer.

The studs on soccer cleat shoes dig deep on soft surfaces to provide stability and prevent slippage while playing soccer.

Man wear soccer cleats on the field and are stepping on the soccer ball

4. Durability

Soccer cleats tend to be more durable compared to soccer turf shoes. However, this depends on various factors, like the fabrics, usage, quality, and many more.

Typically, soccer cleats need to be durable due to the stronger impact on the ground while playing soccer. Also, the extreme weather conditions and the intensity of soccer require durable cleats.

To compare the longevity of soccer turf shoes and cleats, let’s analyze the different materials used to make the shoes.

5. Material

In terms of material, both soccer turf shoes and cleats have the same options. They can both be made from leather, synthetic fabrics or artificial leather. It all depends on individual preferences.

Here is a breakdown of cleat and turf shoe fabrics.

  • Leather

Man wear leather cleats and are stepping on the soccer ball

Time and again, Kangaroo leather and cowhide have been used to make durable soccer cleats that feel comfortable on the feet.

It’s mostly used on top-tier soccer cleats and is extremely soft. But it’s not the only leaher for making turf shoes and soccer cleats.

Calfskin leather is another material suitable for soccer cleats and turf shoes. This material is durable, breathable and protective when playing soccer. Although it takes time to break in, once it does, it offers a soft touch and comfort.

  • Synthetic

Man wear synthetic soccer cleats and are juggling the ball

If you notice, today, most soccer turf shoes and cleats are made of synthetic fabrics. Synthetic materials look like natural leather but they are not.

Since they do not absorb water like leather, shoes made of synthetic are lightweight and suitable for all-weather use. Some have been modified to offer additional grip for playing soccer.

However, soccer turf shoes and cleats made of synthetic fabrics have some downsides. They are not as durable as leather cleats and turf shoes, and need more time to break in. Also, they offer less protection compared to leather.

Below is a simplified table to help you understand the differences between soccer turf shoes and cleats.

Soccer turf shoesCleats
Balance and stability⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Choosing between soccer turf shoes and cleats

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. Both soccer turf shoes and cleats are suitable, depending on the fit for the foot and the surfaces being played, among other things.

We can answer the question by looking at the pros and cons of each.

Pros of soccer turf shoes

Soccer turf shoes are versatile

Players can wear turf shoes while playing soccer both indoors and outdoors. It all depends on the type of surface available.

Today, teams are investing in artificial fields both for indoor and outdoor soccer.

And since turf shoes are suitable for artificial surfaces, many players will opt for turf shoes over cleats.

You don’t need two pairs of soccer shoes for indoor and outdoor play. Turf soccer shoes are enough.

soccer turf shoes used for both indoor and outdoor soccer

Turf soccer shoes provide high stability

Soccer is a game that requires high stability while on the pitch. The stability comes from the shoes a player is wearing.

Soccer turf shoes have small rubber studs on the underside to provide enough stability and traction.

The small extensions on the underside of the sole grip on the ground thus prevent the player from slipping and falling.

They also enable a player to quickly stop and turn without spraining their ankles.

Furthermore, the small tiny studs on the underside of soccer turf shoes help you achieve maximum speeds.

Nike Jr Mercurial Superfly Academy 7 TF Youth Turf Soccer Shoes (Numeric_6)
  • A comfortable lining and Dynamic Fit collar work together to wrap your foot and provide a...
  • Soft synthetic material is textured from heel to toe to give you the touch you need for creativity...
  • Based on Sports Research Lab analysis of player movements, the rubber outsole is designed to provide...

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Turf shoes provide comfort

The thin surfaces on turf soccer shoes support direct touch that erects a good feeling when you touch the ball.

Also, soccer turf shoes are lightweight and thus provide high-speed movement and flexibility when playing soccer. The comfort you get from turf shoes will help you take your game to a higher level.

Furthermore, the stability and traction provided by soccer turf shoes make them comfortable for players, especially on turf or artificial fields.

soccer players wearing soccer turf shoes in a match

Soccer turf shoes are durable

Soccer turf shoes will serve you for a long period, especially when you use them on the right surface. If you’ve been replacing your soccer shoes, perhaps every week or month, then it’s time to get a pair of soccer turf shoes.

The upper part of the shoe is made of either leather or synthetic fabrics which guarantees the shoe’s longevity.

Cons of soccer turf shoes

Soccer turf shoes only work on artificial surfaces.

If you’re planning to use your soccer turf shoes on natural grass, then you should rethink. Turf shoes are meant for artificial grounds and turf.

In most cases, artificial grounds are most commonly used for indoor soccer. This means turf soccer shoes are best for playing indoor soccer on turf surfaces.

On a mud-laden surface, turf shoes will be rendered useless as they won’t provide enough grip and traction needed for stability.

Pros of cleats

Soccer cleats are excellent for outdoor soccer due to the many pros they offer.

Here are some of the benefits of wearing cleats when playing soccer.

Excellent traction and grip

Good soccer shoes should provide traction when running on the field, and this is what soccer cleats do.

The underside of the soccer cleats consists of studs, either metal or plastic, with varying heights and shapes to provide enough traction while playing soccer.

There is enough space between studs on soccer cleats to prevent mud and grass from holding on to the shoes and making them heavier.

soccer players wearing soccer cleats with high traction and grip in a match

Cleats are more durable

Take your ordinary shoes, go play soccer for a day and see how they’ll look. Soccer is a game with intense activities which require special boots.

Soccer cleats are highly durable compared to other types of shoes. The longevity varies depending on the material used to make the shoe.

Starting from the underside, the studs are made of either metal or hard plastic to withstand the weight of your body. Even on hard natural surfaces, it’s almost impossible for the cleats to break.

Furthermore, soccer cleats can be made of either leather or synthetic fabrics, all of which are durable and perfect for a soccer shoe.

More options

When shopping for soccer cleats, players have limitless options, starting from the brands. You can choose between Nike, Adidas, Puma, and many other reputable brands.

Also, you can choose a soccer cleat based on the type, shape, and design of the studs, and the position you play on the field.

More so, you can order a customized soccer cleat based on your preferences, but of course, they should align with soccer regulations in your region.

different types of soccer cleats on green artificial grass

Suitable for all-weather play

Whether it’s raining, or the surface is muddy and slippery, you can still enjoy soccer with your cleats on.

Soccer cleats are designed to function even in harsh conditions. The shoes are mostly for outdoor soccer played on natural grass.

The studs provide enough traction and stability, enabling you to enjoy the game. You can easily run at high speeds, stop abruptly and change directions while wearing soccer cleats.

Cons of soccer cleats

Quite expensive

Although the cost of getting soccer cleats vary depending on factors like the material, brand, and quality, they are generally costly compared to turf shoes.

So if you’re planning to buy a soccer cleat, make sure you have saved enough cash. Though you can get low-tier cleats at low prices, they won’t be durable.

Are turf shoes better than cleats?

As a player, you might find it difficult to choose between turf shoes and cleats. The truth is, both shoes are excellent. It all depends on the football grounds you’re using.

For instance, turf shoes are better for artificial surfaces/turf. Cleats are excellent on natural grass and mud-laden surfaces.

The bottom line is that you should choose soccer shoes based on your purpose.

a soccer match with soccer cleats

Wrapping Up

When it comes to choosing the best soccer shoes, a player has two major options: turf shoes and cleats. Both shoes have unique differences and are meant for specific grounds.

The major difference between turf shoes and cleats is the studs.

Turf shoes have small rubber-made studs on the underside while cleats have medium-sized metal/plastic made studs with some spacing in between them.

And that’s all you need to know about soccer turf shoes and cleats.