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Why Are Soccer Cleats So Uncomfortable?

Why Are Soccer Cleats So Uncomfortable?

It is usually very annoying when you finally buy those new pair of soccer cleats you might have been admiring for a while only to discover that they are not comfortable enough.

Most new soccer cleats are usually either undersized or oversized and might need some level of breaking in to fit.

There are too many sizes and shapes of feet in existence which makes it very difficult for footwear companies to manufacture specific sizes of cleats for every soccer player out there.

Making proper research and survey oftentimes doesn’t even solve this problem although it’s a good approach towards preventing such a problem from ever occurring.

Many soccer boots are intentionally designed to be broken into by their buyers. It’s a way that sportswear companies get to save time, workload, and the cost of production.

Discomfort is often expected from a new pair of soccer cleats except in a few instances where a pair of cleats are specially designed for an individual using their exact foot size and shape. Such boots are usually more expensive than regular soccer cleats.

For example, Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho used to cut holes in the heel area of his soccer cleats because he used to have blisters in that area every time he wore regular soccer cleats.

Eventually, Nike made custom Mercurial Vapor XI Fire cleats for him which featured leather at the heel area. This helped to solve the problem so that the Brazilian would no longer have to cut his cleats.

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

In this article, we will be figuring out the reasons why soccer cleats are often very uncomfortable and even harmful to the feet. You will also learn how to make uncomfortable soccer cleats comfortable.

Why are soccer cleats so uncomfortable?

Many reasons can be linked to why soccer cleats are often very uncomfortable. However, the choice of production material is one of the key reasons why soccer cleats can be uncomfortable.

Purchasing cleats that are either too big or too small is another reason that can cause soccer cleats to be uncomfortable. In other words, the reason why your soccer cleats may be uncomfortable is often the fault of the buyer rather than the cleats.

When you make a bad choice during your purchase, you will most certainly end with an uncomfortable cleat.

Unfortunately, ‘uncomfortable’ is one word that doesn’t go well with soccer players since playing the sport alone is already a painful and often exhausting experience. This is why soccer players spend a lot of money on living as comfortably as they possibly could.

Soccer is not just a game of physical strength, skills, and agility alone. Emotional strength and a player’s psychological state also have a lot of significance in the sport. When players are uncomfortable, it affects their overall performance and composure.

There are many ways of making uncomfortable soccer cleats more fitting. Some of these methods include breaking into them using natural or artificial means based on your preference.

You can also apply a few hacks and accessories to your soccer cleats to make them more comfortable. We will be sharing some of these tips with you after outlining the reasons why soccer cleats are uncomfortable.

Old cleats

Aging can adversely affect the comfortability of soccer cleats, especially when they have been abandoned for a while before use.

old white soccer cleats abandoned for a while

Sometimes, cleats stay very long in sportswear accessories stores before being sold. Cleats made of leather will usually start to shrink—and the extent of shrinkage will depend on the humidity.

When leather cleats shrink, they become tougher and less comfortable when the inner part rubs against your skin. Softening the leather using specific products can help to resolve any discomfort you may feel when wearing these cleats.

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Apple Leather Care Leather Conditioner 8oz Bottle
Apple Leather Care Leather Conditioner 8oz Bottle
Leather Honey Leather Conditioner, the Best Leather Conditioner Since 1968, 8 Oz Bottle. For Use on Leather Apparel, Furniture, Auto Interiors, Shoes, Bags and Accessories. Non-Toxic and Made in the USA!
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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Soleplates are designed with plastic which is why they degenerate when they age. The longer the cleat stays, the more susceptible it will become to causing discomfort since it gradually loses its original structural integrity.

Before buying new soccer cleats, make sure you find out when they were manufactured to mentally calculate how long they might have been on the shelves.

Also, always have it in your plans to change your soccer cleats after using them for a year or two—depending on how frequently you use them.

Soccer cleats will naturally undergo wear, especially when used on the wrong surface. Even when the wears are not already glaring, it can still be enough to affect how you feel when you wear them.

New soccer cleats

Every new soccer cleat will likely give you blisters if you use them for long hours without any form of break in. The break in process helps to mold the material of the boots around your feet so that they become less uncomfortable.

new black and pink soccer cleat putting on a ball on the field

Also, it is important to mention that the break in process for leather and synthetic soccer cleats differs slightly. Always use a method that is suitable for your cleats.

Thankfully, there are so many ways to break soccer cleats. If you are unsure of which break-in process to try, have a look at this article for inspiration.

Wrong studs and pattern

Playing soccer with the wrongly patterned cleat studs can also cause a lot of discomfort. Every surface you are playing upon has soccer cleats that are specially designed for them.

Firm natural grass fields can seamlessly support FG boots while AG boots are designed for artificial grass fields and SG boots are strategically designed for use on soft ground.

a person checking studs of soccer cleats

Using the wrong boots for the wrong surface is a way of causing discomfort to your feet. Soccer boots with longer studs are not suitable for surfaces where their studs can’t easily dig into the ground.

Using them on hard surfaces can easily hurt your feet and can even cause severe injuries. This is another proof that the discomfort of soccer cleats is usually the fault of the user.

Wearing cleats with the wrong accessories

The importance of socks might seem irrelevant to some soccer players which is why they hardly change their old socks. Some only wear socks because it is a piece of mandatory equipment according to the Laws of the Game.

Wearing an old or cheap pair of socks might be the silent reason why your soccer cleats are always uncomfortable. Buying and using a good and quality pair of soccer socks can drastically increase the comfort level of your soccer cleats.

Socks made with quality cotton materials are suitable for soccer cleats because they absorb moisture and keep the feet dry to prevent sliding off your feet in the cleat.

man wearing long red socks with black soccer cleats kicking his left leg

When there is much slippage inside your soccer boot, a good pair of cotton socks can just work the magic by improving its comfortability. Learn how to tighten soccer cleats here.

Also, it is important to test your soccer cleats with the socks you will be using on the pitch when making your purchase. If you test your cleats with thin socks, there is a huge chance that they will get tighter when you wear them with your game socks making them more uncomfortable.

Trusox and other similar socks with grips on the bottom and on the heels can fill up your cleats making them feel tighter than they were when you purchased them. The best solution, in this case, maybe to cut the socks. See the different ways to cut your socks here.

Your foot’s shape 

Designing perfectly fitting soccer boots for everybody’s foot shape is practically impossible. So, manufacturers usually make cleats based on certain global sizes.

Big soccer brands print shoe size ranges and shape on the packages of shoes. By doing this, people will be able to decipher if a brand is suitable for them or not.

Irrespective of the number of times you might have worn some brand of soccer cleats, if they are not fitting, they might never fit no matter how hard you try to break into them.

If you have a flat foot or other forms of foot deformities, it is best to look for brands that produce cleats for people with special foot needs like the case of Coutinho.

If you are finding it difficult to find comfortable soccer cleats, try finding cleats designed with elastic materials which can adjust with a little stretch to adequately suit your feet without causing any pain or discomfort.

You can also adjust shoe laces to give your feet more space inside the boot and make them more comfortable for use. Every foot shape has the right soccer cleats for it.

Bad fit

Discomfort is guaranteed as long as you are using the wrong fitting soccer boots. Fit matters a lot in soccer, starting from the size of the soccer jersey down to the cleats.

two soccer players wearing black soccer cleats, one putting his foot on soccer ball

If soccer cleats don’t fit snugly, don’t try to manage them because they might cause serious injuries to your feet. If soccer boots are not well-fitting from the first instance, it is unlikely that they will ever give you the comfort that you need—even after break in.

A soccer player’s overall performance and in-game confidence can be greatly affected by the comfortability level of something as little as their soccer boots. Blisters are synonymous with oversized soccer cleats.

How to make soccer cleats comfortable?

Your dream soccer cleats might be lightweight, expensive, and good-looking but all that is nothing if they are not comfortable. The comfortability of soccer cleats determines their usefulness.

Some soccer cleats take a while to become comfortable while some only need extra cushioning and others don’t even fit at all, no matter how much effort and time you put into making them comfortable.

We have put together a detailed guide on how to make soccer cleats comfortable aside from wearing them casually.

Play on the right surface

It is very common to find soccer players using the right soccer cleats on the wrong surfaces. For instance, some association football players sometimes use artificial grass (AG) cleats on natural grass fields without even knowing the adverse effects of such actions.

Different soccer cleats have different stud patterns smartly designed to suit the kind of pitch or field on which a match will be played on. Not every soccer cleat has studs on their outsoles, some are plain because the surface they would be used on doesn’t require stud.

Using the right soccer cleat on the right surface is a very good way of maintaining its comfortability level and also extending the cleat’s life span.

two kids playing soccer on natural grass

Use a blister tape

You might not be lucky enough to order a custom-made soccer boot or else you are very rich like professional soccer players. Finding a soccer boot that will fit you perfectly without any hotspots is often a fairytale.

Even though hotspots might not be noticed during the initial test, they are bound to surface after a short period of intensive use. Blister tapes can be very effective against blisters caused by new soccer cleats because they serve as an extra protective layer against friction occurring between the boot and the foot.

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

This can make soccer cleats more comfortable to wear especially when they are used for longer periods.

Break-in new cleats

Before playing with new soccer cleats, always try to break them in so that they will be comfortable enough when used for playing soccer.

Breaking in processes doesn’t require much effort and time, you can find some ways of breaking into new soccer cleats here.

When using newly broken-in cleats for the first time, it is advisable to take an extra pair of boots with you to the pitch in case you start feeling some kind of pain after an intensive period of use.

Use the right socks

Socks are made with different materials depending on how and where they are to be used. The most suitable socks for soccer boots are socks made from cotton or wool because they are gentle on the skin and absorb more moisture.

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

The overall comfort of a soccer boot can be adversely affected by a worn-out sock. Also, worn-out socks can result in blisters.

Wearing decent-quality soccer socks will do you a lot of good and make your soccer cleats much more comfortable.

girl wearing black soccer socks with her soccer cleats on grass

Adjust the lacing

Changing your lacing technique can affect the comfort of your boots. There are times when the right fitting cleats can feel uncomfortable, especially feeling a pinch up there.

Most times, simply changing your lacing technique can help to resolve this issue. Adjusting your lacing technique is also a good technique that can help to resolve issues like heel lift and sliding of the foot in the cleats.

man lacing his black soccer cleats

Simply loop your boot’s lace in such a way that it locks the upper and heels in place. However, this will only work if you are wearing the right fitting pair of boots.

Get extra pairs of new insoles

Sometimes, soccer cleats are designed with very flat insoles that rarely offer comfort or cushioning to the foot. You can purchase an extra pair of new insoles and add them to your cleats for better cushioning.

When insoles provide adequate cushioning, arch support, and comfort to the foot, injuries like blisters and plantar fasciitis rarely occur.

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

Select the right size and fit

When ordering new soccer boots, some of the most difficult choices to make are selecting the right width, fit, and size. Bad-fitting boots can cause a lot of injuries and even fractures.

When they are too tight or too loose after purchase, the best option is to return them for a change instead of trying to stretch or resize them.

For maximum comfort, test your soccer cleats before purchase. During the test, make sure there is no pain in any part of the foot.

a person wearing white soccer cleats on grass, put a foot on soccer ball


Making soccer cleats comfortable might take longer than expected in some instances which is why the guidance of professionals is needed when trying to stretch new soccer cleats. When soccer cleats become comfortable, their chances of giving you heat rashes or blisters are drastically reduced.

Also, tying your laces differently, optimizing the use of an insole, and using blister tapes can make soccer cleats more comfortable for you on the pitch. The importance of good socks can’t be overlooked when discussing soccer shoe comfortability.

You can also soften your leather soccer cleats to become comfortable by following some of the processes revealed in this article. Soccer cleats are precision-fit footwears which means that they must snug perfectly on the feet before they can function effectively.

Comfort is a relative word because we all have different levels of pain tolerance. Nevertheless, if your soccer cleats affect your performance in any way, it is time to visit the soccer shop.