10 Best Soccer Cleats in 2024 for Firm & Soft Ground

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In this guide, we take a look at 10 of the best soccer cleats for both firm ground and soft ground, which will let you play in comfort, style, and help raise your game to the next level.

The average soccer player runs several miles in a match and has to be able to receive, control, run with, and pass the ball. Getting the best soccer shoes not only facilitates comfortable and reliable movement but it can improve your ball control, passing, and shooting.

There is no single best set of cleats, with some shoes being better on firm ground and some designed for use on soft ground. You need to find shoes that fit your foot shape and that offer comfort and performance for your playstyle and where you play.


10 Best Soccer Cleats


1. Best Firm Ground Soccer Cleats: Nike Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15 Elite FG


Nike Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15 Elite FG Firm Ground Soccer Cleats


The Nike Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15 Elite FG are some of the best cleats for soccer on firm ground. They feature Zoom Air, which is a cushioning system developed specifically for use in soccer. It protects the feet, muscles, and tendons when running, and it also increases the bounce in your step. The Vapor 15s also have a grippy texture on the top of the cleats, providing greater ball control, which Nike claims will prove especially useful in the final minutes of the game.

The shoes are expensive and because there isn’t a huge improvement from the Vapor 14s, they don’t represent enough of an upgrade to justify ditching the 14s: otherwise, they are comfortable, offer a spring in your step, and do give great ball control.



  • Zoom Air offers comfortable cushioning
  • Textured upper facilitates greater ball control
  • Ideal for firm ground



  • Expensive
  • Not much of an upgrade over previous model


2. Best Soft Ground Soccer Cleats: Adidas Performance Mens X 17.1 Soft Ground Sports Soccer Boots


adidas Performance Mens X 17.1 Soft Ground Sports Soccer Boots


Soft ground poses a number of problems for players. Firm ground boots can handle a little moisture, but their conical plastic studs will struggle with muddy conditions. Soft ground boots, like the Adidas Performance Mens X 17.1 Soft Ground Sports Soccer Boots feature metal studs, or a combination of metal and plastic studs.

The studs are also longer, so they dig further into the ground to improve traction. These soft ground cleats are designed to be snug, but that does mean they can feel tight, especially on wider feet but your foot fits comfortably inside even when the studs dig into the ground. They have Sprintframe outsoles that are designed to facilitate better acceleration, and they will keep you on your feet even in soaking conditions.

The boots are also well priced, which is beneficial because most players won’t be wearing soft ground boots except in the worst conditions. Adidas Performance X 17.1 Soft Ground Sports Soccer Boots are some of the best soft ground soccer cleats for men.



  • Decent price
  • Studs and outsole ideal for wet conditions
  • Fit snugly to prevent injuries in soft ground



  • Only suitable for soft ground
  • Can be tight on wider feet


3. Best High Top Soccer Cleats: Nike Men’s Alpha Menace Elite 2 Football Cleats



Nike Men's Alpha Menace Elite 2 Football Cleats


High-top soccer cleats have a sock collar around the top of the footwear. The sock isn’t as firm as the boot material but fits snugly around the ankle, providing a little physical protection from knocks and offering extra support to the ankles. Some players, especially those with nagging ankle injuries, swear by high tops, while most players prefer the freedom of standard cleats. If you are looking for high tops, you need boots that are comfortable and that offer support without restricting ankle and foot movement too much.

The Nike Men’s Alpha Menace Elite 2 Football Cleats are tough and durable without being too restricting. They are quite pricey and are designed for use on firm ground, so you will have to look elsewhere for soft-ground boots. The boots are lightweight, considering they are bigger than normal boots, and they offer great traction on the ground. But the sock is tight-fitting which can make it difficult to get on and the cleats do restrict movement somewhat.



  • Sock collars offer ankle support
  • Hardwearing cleats
  • Lightweight cleats



  • Can be difficult to get on
  • Restrict ankle movement


4. Adidas Unisex Adult Accuracy 3 FG Soccer Shoes


adidas Unisex-Adult Sneaker


Laceless soccer cleats are somewhat polarizing. The lack of laces means that players can strike the ball cleanly and not get any unexpected swerve or direction. They also look sleeker and are, potentially at least, easier to slip on and off. However, not everybody’s feet are the same shape, which means that some players will appreciate the laceless feel, others won’t, and there will be some players whose foot shape will mean a too-loose or too-tight fit.

Adidas Unisex Accuracy 3 FG Soccer Shoes are laceless and they look good. They also have a decent strike zone on the upper area of the foot, but they are quite narrow, to ensure they fit snugly, which means they will be a struggle for players with anything other than narrow feet. The cleats are reasonably priced, though, and come in a decent variety of colors. They also use some recycled materials in their manufacture.



  • Laceless soccer cleats look sleek
  • Decent price
  • 50% recycled materials



  • Tight fit for all but narrow feet


5. New Balance Tekela v4 Pro


New Balance Men's Tekela V4 Pro Low Laced Fg Soccer Shoe


New Balance Tekela v4 Pro are laced boots that are lightweight for faster sprinting speed and more comfortable running. As well as a standard fit, there are wide-fit shoes so the Tekela v4 Pro ar a good choice of cleats for those with wider feet. However, they seem a little shorter than most cleats, so while they fit well width-wise, you might need to buy a slightly larger size to accommodate the lack of length.

The cleats are lightweight and they have angled studs that offer a good grip on firm surfaces. The New Balance cleats are a little on the expensive side but are ideal for wider feet.



  • Wide fit is good for wide feet
  • Lightweight and comfortable for running
  • Good grip on firm ground



  • A little expensive
  • Shorter than expected


6. Nike Zoom Superfly 9 Pro FG


Nike Zoom Superfly 9 PRO FG


Nike Zoom Superfly 9 Pro FG uses lightweight materials and design to give players extra zoom, and they do so without compromising on ruggedness so they will last. The lightweight design and textured materials are designed to facilitate greater ball control, passing, and striking and while they are around average, in terms of price, their combination of durability and control makes them good value for money.

However, they are a narrow fit so they don’t fit players with wider feet and the materials take some time to wear in properly and give a comfortable wear.



  • Lightweight design makes them comfortable
  • Textured surface and light offer ball-handling capabilities
  • Durable, despite their lightweight design



  • Too narrow for wider feet
  • Take some time to wear in


7. Adidas Accuracy.3 Firm Ground Soccer Shoe


adidas Unisex Accuracy.3 Firm Ground Soccer Shoe


The Adidas Accuracy.3 Firm Ground Soccer Shoe is a mid-cut cleat with a synthetic outer and rubber studs that are designed primarily for use on firm ground. The shoes are made from 50% synthetic materials and 50% recycled materials. The cleats are very affordably priced and the mid-cut provides some support for the ankles without being too restrictive.

They are really competitively priced, and lightweight, and they do offer a reliable sweet spot when striking the ball. However, they are narrow and somewhat uncomfortable, and the material takes a long time to give, so the discomfort won’t go away quickly.



  • Affordably priced
  • Lightweight
  • Good for ball control and powerful striking


  • Narrow fit
  • Takes a long time to wear in and get comfortable


8. Nike Tiempo Legacy II Soccer Shoes For Women


Nike Women's Football Competition Boots


Unfortunately, there aren’t too many dedicated soccer cleats for women. Most are unisex but are designed for the shape of men’s feet. With the increasing popularity of the women’s game, this should change in the future. But, for now, options are limited.

Nike Tiempo Legacy II Soccer Shoes For Women have been designed to fit the shape of women’s feet. They are made from real leather, which means they are designed to last and will protect the feet. They have a specially designed insole, too, which facilitates flexibility, and the studs and rubber soles do a great job of providing grip on firm ground. However, while the leather is tough, it is less flexible than synthetic materials and the shoes can run quite small for their size.



  • Designed specifically for women’s feet
  • Leather is tough and durable
  • Good grip for firm ground pitches



  • Leather is less flexible than synthetic fibers
  • Smaller than sized


9. Puma Men’s NMJ Future  Z 1.4 Firm Ground Soccer Cleats


PUMA Mens Nmj X Future Z 1.4 Firm GroundAg Soccer Cleats Cleated, Firm Ground - Orange


Puma Men’s NMJ Future Z 1.4 Firm Ground Soccer Cleats were designed in conjunction with Brazilian player Neymar Jr. Puma claims the shoes have Fuzionfit+ technology that ensures they fit snugly around the foot without slipping.

They are also designed to facilitate quick turns and explosive pace while Advanced Elite Creator Zones are textured areas on top and on both sides of the boot that ensure your foot gets perfect traction with the ball. The boots are pricey and the compression band that helps ensure a snug fit does take some getting used to when first wearing them.



  • Fit snugly to your feet
  • Suitable for most feet sizes and shapes
  • Textured areas provide instep and outstep ball control



  • A bit pricey
  • Snug fit can take some getting used to


10. Adidas Performance Mundial Team Turf Soccer Cleat


adidas Performance Mundial Team Turf Soccer Cleat


Adidas Performance Mundial Team Turf Soccer Cleats are designed for use on thin carpet-like turf. They have more studs than standard soccer cleats, and these are shorter and grippier. These cleats aren’t suitable for wearing in most competitive matches unless they are specifically being played on turf surfaces.

The cleats are wider than most, but that does mean they aren’t suitable for narrower feet. They are pricey for this type of turf shoe, but the soft leather is comfortable and the soles are good and grippy.



  • Designed for wearing on turf
  • Good for wide feet
  • Grippy studs and soles



  • Pricey for turf cleats
  • Not ideal for narrow feet


How to Buy Soccer Cleats – A Buyer’s Guide to the Best Shoes for Soccer

The right soccer cleats will feel comfortable, enable you to make quick movements and help prevent injury. They should match the profile of the type of soccer player you are, with defenders and goalkeepers having different requirements to creative players and strikers. And, finally, you can also buy cleats to match the type and condition of the surface you’re playing on.


Synthetic or Leather Soccer Cleats – Which is Best?

Most modern soccer cleats are made of synthetic materials because they tend to be more lightweight and flexible, allowing a full range of explosive motion while still being durable. However, synthetic fibers don’t offer the same level of durability as genuine leather. But with that durability comes stiffness.

Real leather can be inflexible and it can take a long time to wear leather cleats in so that they fit the shape of the foot and move with the foot. Generally, it will come down to personal preference. Players that are looking for durable footwear and that take a lot of knocks on their feet may opt for real leather while players that need total freedom of movement and whose game hinges on being able to make quick turns and bursts of explosive speed will fare better with synthetic materials.


What’s the Difference Between Soft Ground and Firm Ground Soccer Cleats?

Running on firm ground does require studs, but those studs need to be able to move easily in and out of the ground. As such, the studs of firm ground boots tend to be quite short, made of rubber, and have an almost smooth, curved tip. Soft ground, or wet ground, requires much longer studs so they can dig into the ground and prevent the wearer from slipping. Soft ground boots tend to have metal studs that are almost clawlike in their design.

While firm boots can work on damp ground and may work on some soft ground, soft boots shouldn’t be worn on firm ground because they can cause the foot to be planted in place and may lead to injury. Most soccer games require firm ground cleats, but players would benefit from having a pair of reliable soft ground cleats in reserve.


Low Top vs. High Top Soccer Cleats

Most soccer cleats are low-top cleats. The top of the shoe falls below the ankle line. This allows for total freedom of movement for the ankle so they allow for quicker and easier turning and running.

High-top cleats, or cleats with high-top collars extend above the ankle bone. The collar can protect against kicks and knocks, and the high-cut collar also offers support for the ankles. However, it does restrict movement and can prevent explosive acceleration and running. High-tops are much rarer nowadays and most cleats are low-top.

Some boots have mid-cut collars that do cut off below the ankle, but above the line of low-cut cleats. These can be a good compromise but they don’t offer the full support and protection of high-top shoes.


How to Choose the Right Soccer Shoe Size

Unfortunately, there are very few cleats designed specifically for women, with most sold as being unisex. If you are buying unisex cleats for women, you should size down 1.5 sizes for most cleats, and down 1 size for Adidas cleats. So, if you wear a women’s size 8, buy 7 in Adidas cleats and 6.5 in other brands.

Also make sure you are looking at U.S. shoe sizes, rather than UK. EU sizes are noticeably different, but UK and US sizes are similar enough to be confusing.

Otherwise, soccer cleat sizes are the same as other shoes. You can check reviews to determine whether shoes are narrow or wide, and if you do have wide feet, there are some manufacturers and models of cleats that are designed specifically for your feet.


Laceless Soccer Cleats

Another type of soccer cleat that you will see occasionally is the laceless cleat. Laceless cleats are tight-fitting and fit snugly around the foot and they pull on and off. They need to fit snugly to prevent them from slipping off the foot and to ensure that they sit securely on the foot.

The benefit of laceless shoes is that they have a flatter surface on the top of the shoe, which means there is less chance of unexpected spin on the ball and wayward shots or passes. Some players love laceless cleats but most prefer laced shoes because it is possible to tighten and loosen the fit, as required.


Verdict – What Are the Best Soccer Shoes in 2024?

Buying the right soccer shoes means choosing a style of shoe and getting the right size. It also means finding a cleat that best fits your style of play and the features that you need from a soccer cleat. Ideally, the cleats should be durable so that they last but flexible enough that you can play without restriction.

While compiling the reviews above we found that the Nike Zoom Mercurial Vapor 15 Elite FG were not only best for firm ground but were the best soccer cleats overall.


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