SOCCER Cleat Materials

Over the years, soccer shoe materials have changed a lot, and the technology continues to evolve. But, the goal remains the same: to create shoes that are hyper-lightweight, but also durable, thin, and excellent at forming to the ball during contact. To top it off, they have to be comfortable and easy to move in, too.

LEATHER

  • Offer the best feel and fit of any soccer shoe, but are also generally more expensive
  • Full-grain leather shoes are strong and durable, while variations such as Kangaroo leather are more flexible and offer an even beter feel
  • The softer the leather, the better the feel for the ball, but also the less durable the shoe
  • Absorb more water than synthetic shoes and are not recommended for constant use on wet fields; however, water treatment options are available

Three Major Types of Leather Uppers are:

1. Kangaroo Leather (K-Leather)

  • The most common leather used for soccer cleat
  • Made from a soft leather that stretches and molds to the foot
  • The most comfortable leather to keep your feet feeling good
  • Lightweight with high quality
  • The most expensive leather
  • Kangaroo leather cleats don’t need to break in

 

2. Calfskin/ Full-Grain Leather

  • Less pliable but more durable
  • Usually fall into the mid-price range
  • Cleats require time to break-in
  • Non-waterproof, playing consistently on a wet field can have an adverse impact

 

3. Pittards Leather

  • Used in Puma shoes only, such as classic edition-Puma King
  • Calfskin leather that has gone through a patented treatment process
  • Help to retain softness and make it more water resistant and dry faster
  • Price usually in between Kangaroo and Calfskin

 

SYNTHETIC

  • Ideal for most entry and mid-level players
  • Less expensive than leather shoes
  • Do not offer as good a feel and do not last as long as a well-cared for leather boot
  • Contain some sort of water treatment and therefore last better under poor playing conditions
  • Easier to clean and dry out than leather shoes

 

PREMIUM SYNTHETIC

  • With the advances of modern technology premium synthetics have been developed and have been used on many higher-level soccer cleats
  • Made up of water-repellent micro fibers and are generally very light weight
  • Combined with leather for a cleat with optimal fit, comfort on firm and/or natural surfaces

 


WEIGHT

It seems the trend nowadays in soccer culture is lighter weight and thinner materials. This could be due to new materials and technologies used by shoe companies. Although this can compromise on durability, lighter cleats offer exceptional performance. Whereas the average weight of cleats about 5 years ago stood around 9.4 oz, it’s closer to 8 oz these days. In general, more weight means more durability but less performance, and vice versa for lighter cleats. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that 8 oz is a balanced weight, offering both good durability and performance. As we’ve explained, lighter cleats are ideal for players who favor explosive movements and lightning quick agility. Specifically, forwards and wingers benefit the most from lightweight shoes.

 


BREATHABILITY

Remember, a game of soccer takes approximately 90 minutes where you’ll be actively moving the entire time, so breathable shoes are a must if playing in dry weather/conditions. Lightweight materials such as mesh are thin and highly breathable, but don’t keep moisture out very well. Thinner leathers also help the feet stay cooler in hotter climates. 


 

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