The Best Football Cleats for 2022: Gain the Competitive Edge

Football Cleats


Football season is upon us once again. Coaches are holding conditioning sessions, players are working hard to brush up their skills,ir and fans are eagerly anticipating going to see games. As the season draws closer, it is important to gear up with the best equipment to maximize performance and stay safe from injury.

In football, few pieces of equipment are more important than your cleats. A bad pair of cleats can ruin your game or cause unnecessary injuries that will hinder your performance. Whether you’re hoping to succeed as a running back, wide receiver, or another position, we’ve got the best football cleats to give you a leg up on the competition.

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The Best Football Cleats - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall - Nike Vapor Edge Elite 360 Flyknit Football Cleats

Nike Vapor Edge Elite 360 Flyknit Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Mid-cut
  • Width: Medium
  • Features: Flyknit ankle, NikeSkin overlay

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Football cleats come in a variety of types and each type serves a specific purpose depending on your play style, position, comfort, and other factors. For the best overall, we were looking for a cleat that is versatile and can offer you the best of all categories.

The Nike Vapor Edge Elite offers you the mobility of a low-cut cleat with added support. The Flyknit ankle support rises slightly above the collar to give you that extra support and security without affecting the comfort. The cleat is comfortable and breathable but the NikeSkin overlay gives it durability that will stand up to use.

What We Like

  • Breathable and comfortable
  • Flyknit rises above the collar for additional support
  • NikeSkin overlay for durability

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited color options
  • The external heel plate could become separated

BUY: Nike Vapor Edge Elite 360 Flyknit Football Cleats

Best for Receivers - adidas Adizero Scorch Cleats

adidas adizero Scorch Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Low-cut
  • Width: Standard
  • Features: TPU outsole, textile upper and lining

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When you’re a receiver, you need to be sure your cleats will help you do two things: accelerate and change direction. To do this you need strong but flexible traction on a lightweight shoe that can also give you support to avoid injury. In fact, the adidas Adizero is known for being the lightest cleat in football.

The adidas Adizero Scorch is made with a textile synthetic overlay and textile lining to give the shoe durability and support. The mesh tongue and lace structure keep your foot secure during dynamic movements and the TPU studs are very strong for dependable traction.

What We Like

  • TPU studs for flexibility and traction
  • Lightest cleat on the market
  • Textile synthetic lining and overlay for durability
  • Snug fit to keep your foot secure

What We Don’t Like

  • No included ankle support
  • The lining is less comfortable than foam

BUY: adidas adizero Scorch Cleats

Best for Linemen - Under Armour Highlight MC Football Cleats

UnderArmour Highlight MC Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: High-cut
  • Width: Standard
  • Features: Laceless high collar, SuperFoam insole

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Because linemen spend the game in close quarters making explosive and powerful movements, a cleat with maximum support is the best option. The Under Armour Highlight MC has a laceless support system that rises above the collar and covers the ankle. Because the high collar is laceless and has straps you can tighten, you can get some of the mobility back you would otherwise sacrifice for this level of support.

What sets this cleat apart is the SuperFoam insole and the multidirectional studs. The SuperFoam insole absorbs shock and allows you to stay comfortable while you plant your feet. The multidirectional studs work along with this to help you keep traction even if you’re slightly off balance.

What We Like

  • Shock-absorbing SuperFoam insole
  • Multidirectional studs
  • Laceless collar that covers the ankle

What We Don’t Like

  • Lightweight materials won’t protect your foot if it's stepped on
  • If the straps loosen, the ankle support is compromised

BUY: Under Armour Highlight MC Football Cleats

Best for Running Backs - Under Armour Spotlight Lux MC 2.0 Football Cleats

UnderArmour Spotlight Lux MC 2.0 Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Mid-cut
  • Width: Standard
  • Features: High lace structure

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Cleats for running backs need to be a good balance of the best cleat features. You need speed and acceleration as you break into the open field, but you also need support and stability as you’re running in close quarters between the tackles.

The Under Armour Spotlight Lux strikes the balance. The lace structure is tight and rises just above the collar of the shoe to lock down your ankle, which is protected by a nylon sleeve that will support your ankle without limiting mobility. The studs are also a mix of bladed and canonical shapes to give you traction on any surface.

What We Like

  • High lace structure for ankle support
  • Bladed and canonical studs for extra traction
  • Mesh upper with support for cutting and dynamic moves

What We Don’t Like

  • The ankle sleeve is not expandable so it could be difficult to put the cleat on
  • The tongue and heel supports rise higher than the side supports

BUY: Under Armour Spotlight Lux MC 2.0 Football Cleats

Best Nike Football Cleats - Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360 Football Cleats

Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360 Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Low-cut
  • Width: Medium
  • Features: Ghost lace system, internal chassis, wide stud placement

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Nike is one of the world’s largest and most popular brands for all sports. The company is constantly innovating and maximizing the performance of sports equipment, particularly shoes. The Vapor Edge Pro is the next step in innovation for football cleats.

The Vapor Edge Pro has a ghost lace system, which does not mean it is laceless. The laces are hidden and are tightened by using a pull tab, which makes sure both sides stay even. The Vapor Edge also replaces the internal plate support system with a chassis that is much more mobile without sacrificing much stability.

What We Like

  • Internal chassis system for mobility and support 
  • Ghost lace closure
  • Wide-set studs

What We Don’t Like

  • The outer material is soft but not durable
  • Elastic liner could be uncomfortable for some users

BUY: Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360 Football Cleats

Best adidas Football Cleats - adidas Adizero Football Cleats

adidas Adizero Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Low-cut
  • Width: Standard
  • Features: TPU overlay, textile lining

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The adidas Adizero cleats are an excellent combination of the best production aspects of adidas cleats. The studs are made from TPU which is very light but very durable so you don’t have to worry about traction. The textile synthetic liner inside the shoe adds durability and helps keep your foot locked down.

The adizero also has a TPU overlay on strategic parts of the shoe which protects the mesh and other comfort materials without compromising the breathability or adding much weight. This cleat is strong, supportive, and lightweight—the lightest on the list—to compliment your game.

What We Like

  • TPU overlay
  • Known for being lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Very durable

What We Don’t Like

  • Textile synthetic is durable but some may find it uncomfortable
  • No ankle support

BUY: adidas adizero Football Cleats

Best for Wide Feet - Under Armour Spotlight Franchise 2.0 RM Football Cleats

UnderArmour Spotlight Franchise 2.0 RM Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Mid-cut
  • Width: Medium, wide
  • Features: Long studs, synthetic upper, screen-print graphics

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It can be difficult to find a good cleat when you have wide feet. You want a cleat that is still snug but not uncomfortable because if it is too wide then you lose support and could open yourself up to unnecessary injuries.

The Under Armour Spotlight Franchise 2.0 is a cleat designed to address this delicate balance. It comes in medium and wide widths so you can customize the fit to your specific needs. It also has extra long, molded studs to make sure you have maximum support and traction. The synthetic upper is reinforced to make sure these cleats last.

What We Like

  • Synthetic upper for durability
  • Extra long studs
  • Wide and medium widths available

What We Don’t Like

  • Some reviews found the synthetic collar uncomfortable
  • The full-length midsole does not absorb shock as well as foam

BUY: Under Armour Spotlight Franchise 2.0 RM Football Cleats

Best Budget Football Cleats - Nike Alpha Menace 3 Shark Mid Football Cleats

Nike Alpha Menace 3 Shark Mid Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Mid-cut
  • Width: Medium, wide
  • Features: Synthetic leather, front molding

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If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck out of a football cleat that is still budget-friendly, we recommend the Nike Alpha Menace 3. This cleat is mid-cut which means you get ankle support built into it and it has extra loops along the middle of the lacing system to lock your foot in.

Two things we love about this cleat are the synthetic leather and the front molding, both of which contribute to the cleat’s durability. The synthetic leather is less breathable than mesh or textile synthetics, but it is strong and will stand up to use. The front molding similarly protects the cleats from abrasions if you find your toes dragging along the ground.

What We Like

  • Synthetic leather
  • Extended lace loops across the middle of the foot
  • Budget-friendly

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as comfortable as other cleats
  • Heavier than other cleats

BUY: Nike Alpha Menace 3 Shark Mid Football Cleats

Best for Speed - Under Armour Blur Smoke MC LE Football Cleats

UnderArmour Blur Smoke MC LE Football Cleats

SPECS

  • Height: Low-cut
  • Width: Standard
  • Features: SuperFoam insole, TPU skin, ultra-light materials

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If you’re looking for speed, you need lightweight material and maximum mobility along with studs that will dig into the ground and give you traction for your strides. The Under Armour Blur Smoke is built for speed.

The materials of this cleat are ultra-lightweight and covered by a TPU skin for durability. The SuperFoam insole absorbs shock and gives you a springy feeling as you’re driving the studs into the ground and generating power. The studs are inspired by track spike designs to give you the best design for speed.

What We Like

  • Track spike inspiration for the studs
  • TPU skin over ultra-light materials
  • SuperFoam insole

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited support
  • You have to size up if you have wide feet

BUY: Under Armour Blur Smoke MC LE Football Cleats

What to Look for in Football Cleats


Position

In football, there are several different positions that each require unique skill sets. Each of these positions will have different specifications for cleats. For example, a lineman needs to be able to trust that their cleats are going to keep them stable while they’re blocking.

A wide receiver needs cleats that will let them accelerate and change direction without fear of injury. Running backs need a mix of both. Pay attention to what cleats are designed to do to know which is best for your position.

Soccer vs. Football Cleats

Some people try to use soccer and football cleats interchangeably, but that is highly discouraged. They may look similar, but they are designed with very different purposes in mind. Soccer cleats, for example, have limited padding so the barrier between your foot and the ball is as small as possible. If you get stepped on it is going to hurt.

On the other hand, football cleats tend to have more support for your ankle and midsole because of the physical nature of the game. Make sure you don’t get caught using the wrong equipment.

Height

When we say height, we’re talking about how high up on your ankle the collar of your cleat rises. Low-cut shoes maximize mobility at the expense of support. High-cut shoes do the opposite and keep you supported at the expense of mobility.

There is no perfect height for your cleats. It comes down to your preference and what you think you’ll need most. Some cleats are mid-cut and blend those two attributes.

Fit

Some people make the mistake of thinking their cleats are too tight when really they fit just right. You want a snug fit throughout the shoe so your foot can be supported. That doesn’t mean you want to be uncomfortable because discomfort has its own problems. Just make sure to balance safety and comfort.

FAQs About Football Cleats


How should football cleats fit?

Football cleats, like other types of cleats, are designed to give you traction and support. Your cleats should have a snug fit and make your foot feel stabilized. Any extra room or loose laces could lead to unnecessary injury.

How long do cleats last?

How long cleats last depends on many factors. Some materials are more durable than others, some cleats come with a durable overlay or rubber molding to protect them.

Other factors include whether you’re using them properly. Walking on hard surfaces, for example, can destroy the integrity of the studs. In football, your cleats are going to take some shots so keep that in mind when you’re looking to buy cleats.

How expensive are football cleats?

Football cleats have a wide price range, but you can generally expect to spend over $100 for a high quality pair of cleats. If this sounds like a lot, just keep in mind that sports equipment is an investment and you generally get what you pay for.

We don’t recommend breaking the bank on the most stylish cleats or the latest trend, but we would say making sure you find a pair of cleats that give you good support and last a long time is worth the investment.

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