Best football cleats 2022: Our top picks

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If you've been playing Madden, then you may be inspired to pick up one of the best American footballs and hit the field yourself, but to do that, you'll need to find a pair of the best football cleats to help you maintain your grip.

Fortunately, we've put together a list of our top picks based on price, reviews, and any unique features that make these cleats stand out from the crowd.

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With top sportswear brands like Nike, adidas, and Under Armour all contributing to the American football scene, there's no shortage of great cleats to choose from to suit all kinds of different strengths and positions on the field.

For instance, the low-cut, lightweight design of the adidas Ultraboost 1.0s should mean their lighter and less restrictive to play in than high-tops, making them an ideal choice for quick and agile running backs.

By contrast, the higher collars of these Nike Alpha Menace Elite 3s, for example, are designed to deliver more ankle support, so should suit linemen looking for a sturdy base to deliver their power when defending.

Ultimately, whatever it is you're looking for, we've got you covered with our list.

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We've also answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding football cleats like why you need them and how much you should spend on a new pair to help you make a more informed decision on the right cleats for you.

Before that though, here's our list of the best football cleats available now...

Best football cleats

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Best football cleats - Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 3

Best football cleats Nike product image of a yellow and black cleat.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Material: Flywire Mesh | Closure: Lace-Up

American football is synonymous with Nike, with the brand supplying the majority of the equipment you see on TV to the NFL, including some of the best NFL jerseys around.

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They also manufacture what looks to be one of the most versatile and comfortable pairs of football cleats on the market in these Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 3s.

With strategically placed cleats, these boots are designed to help you effortlessly change direction and pace, which is helpful when you're trying to break defensive lines and reach the end zone.

Moreover, they're made to be lightweight thanks to their knitted uppers and carbon fibre plates, meaning you shouldn't feel weighed down by heavy, uncomfortable footwear.

You also get the high sock-like collar for additional support around your ankles, thus making these cleats, in our opinion, a great option to consider for all positions on the field.

Best budget football cleats - Nike Vapor Edge Speed 360

Best football cleats Nike product image of a black and white faded cleat.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Material: Fabric | Closure: Lace-Up

These Vapor Edge Speed 360s might just be some of the best football cleats under 100 available right now thanks to their impressive design built specifically with speed in mind.

This is partly due to the lightweight fabric used to construct the uppers, which is then covered NikeSkin for added durability and comfort as well as protection in contact situations.

To help with sharp turns of pace, the cleats come with separate internal plates that sit closer to your feet for more flexible support, plus wide stud placement for improved agility and grip with the field.

On the whole, we feel these cleats are definitely ones to take into consideration.

Best football cleats for wide feet - Under Armour Highlight MC

Best football cleats Under Armour product image of a dark blue high-top cleat.
Credit: Under Armour
Brand: Under Armour | Material: Textile upper with 3D printed cage | Closure: Lace-Up

Football cleats can fit snugly at times, but these Under Armour Highlight MCs could be the cleats for you if you find most boots are a little too tight.

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Like some of the best baseball cleats, these boots use molded 4D foam footbeds that conform to your feet, helping to eliminate slippage and reduce built-up pressure when on your feet.

Additionally, synthetic material is strategically placed in the uppers to provide breathability and stability, which are both crucial given the high collar.

Ultimately, if you're looking for a high-quality football cleat to deliver a comfortable fit, then these boots are well worth considering in our opinion.

Best mid-cut football cleats - adidas Freak X Carbon Mid

Best football cleats adidas product image of a black and blue cleat with white adidas stripes.
Credit: adidas
Brand: adidas | Material: Mesh and Synthetic | Closure: Lace-Up

These football cleats from adidas stand out to us as some of the most supportive cleats on the market, particularly around your ankles.

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They're made out of mesh across the uppers which should make them both breathable and flexible to minimise any movement restrictions during play.

You also get adidas' IronSkin plus RazorFrame technology to stiffen the Freak X Carbons around your feet for protection and to relieve pressure.

With the mid-top collar as well, these cleats appear as though they lead the way when it comes to supporting your feet.

It's also worth pointing out you get internal cushion pods in the tongues to help ensure a secure lockdown, which is another reason why we think these cleats are well worth considering.

Best football cleats for wide receivers - Under Armour Blur Smoke MC

Best football cleats Under Armour product image of a crimson red and grey cleat.
Credit: Under Armour
Brand: Under Armour | Material: Textile | Closure: Lace-Up

Under Armour is one of the top manufacturers of American football equipment on the market as evidenced by these Blur Smoke MCs.

They boast lightweight textile uppers and ultra-thin TPU skin for superior stability, breathability, and comfort.

Also, these cleats should be less restrictive during quick turns of pace thanks to their lower-cut collars minimising movement around your ankles.

It's also worth mentioning the SuperFoam insoles are designed to provide exceptional shock absorption, thus making these cleats a great option to consider for game days if you're a wide receiver.

Best football cleats for running backs -adidas Ultraboost 1.0

Best football cleats - adidas Ultraboost 1.0 product image of a white cleat with red and black accents.
Credit: adidas
Brand: adidas | Material: PRIMEKNIT | Closure: Lace-Up

If you're looking for a lightweight pair of boots that still offer a ton of support as a running back, then adidas might have you covered.

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Made from PRIMEKNIT fabric, the cleats are built to be incredibly lightweight to stop you from feeling weight down. Plus, their low-cut collars are designed to give you a more complete range of motion around your ankles, so you can twist, cut, and dodge your way to the touchline without restrictions.

They also come with adidas' Boost foam in the midsoles to give you more support during each stride. You should also notice an improved energy return with each step, thus helping you get up to pace quicker when attacking opposition lines.

Ultimately, we feel the adidas Ultraboost 1.0s are an excellent choice if you're after a lightweight cleat for on-the-field performance.

Best football cleats for linemen - Nike Alpha Menace Elite 3

Best football cleats Nike product image of a black pair of cleats with icy blue accents.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Material: Flyknit | Closure: Ghost Lacing

Linemen are known for their bursts of speed and quick, twisting moves, therefore, they require cleats that offer fantastic traction with extra ankle stability.

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These Alpha Menace Elite 3s appear to tick these boxes as they're made predominately from Nike's lightweight and flexible Flyknit material, which is typically found on some of the best running shoes around.

The outsoles then feature updated plates that are said to be stiffer in the heel and midfoot than the 2s for improved stability.

Moreover, their unique Ghost Lacing system is designed to work in tandem with the plates to secure your feet in place, which is then backed by padding that should ease any pressure to keep you comfortable on the field.

All in all, these cleats are engineered with linemen in mind, although can also be worn by other players on the field evidenced by Saquon Barkley wearing the cleats for the 2022 NFL season. So, regardless of your position, we'd suggest checking out these standout Nike cleats.

Best youth football cleats - Under Armour Spotlight Franchise RM 2.0 Jr.

Best football cleats Under Armour product image of an all-white cleat.
Credit: Under Armour
Brand: Under Armour | Material: Synthetic | Closure: Lace-Up

As a young player, you may not exactly what your best position is just yet. That's why a versatile pair of cleats like these Spotlight Franchise 2.0s could be your answer.

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They feature a 5/8 height which, Under Armour boasts, provides the perfect blend of speed and support.

The cleats also come with rubber moulds for aggressive traction but also safety during a youth game.

Overall, these Spotlight Franchise 2.0s look to be a great pick for any young newcomer to the sport.

Frequently asked questions about football cleats

With so many football cleats available, you may have a few questions about what makes each of them stand out. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most common queries right here.

Why do you need football cleats?

The main purpose of football cleats is to help you maintain your grip on the field. Anyone who's played in trainers will tell you that without cleats or moulds, you're likely to slip on the surface more than you don't.

Therefore, football cleats are designed to help you stay upright and balanced when running, sprinting, and changing directions at speed.

This is supported by research by Prabhakar who found cleats have a positive relationship between their design and a player's performance, particularly with mobility in the field.

For traction, they come with spikes known as 'cleats' attached to the underfoot plates that dig into the ground as you plant your feet, thus giving you more grip with the field.

That said, modern-day football cleats come with so much more additional technology to help improve your game.

For example, most cleats come with a mixture of conical and chevron moulds across the plates, all of which are placed strategically for optimal braking, rotation, and toe-off movements.

Ultimately, football cleats are designed to give you the best performance and grip possible on the field, so it's definitely worth picking up a pair if you're looking to get into the game.

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How much should you spend on football cleats?

Since the price of football cleats varies so greatly, it can be difficult to know how much you should spend to get a good pair.

At the top end of the scale, you tend to find cleats made from the lightest and best materials. They may also include some of the latest technology and innovations, like 4D foam footbeds, to help you take your game to the next level.

There are still great budget cleats to be found though, such as the Nike Vapor Edge Speed 360s, which feature NikeSkin overlays for added durability and comfort.

Ultimately, how much you speed will come down to your personal preference and your available budget.

That said, if you're a keen American football player, you might be more inclined to look at some of the more premium picks since you'll know what you're looking for to suit your position compared to if you're just getting into the game.

Are there different football cleats for different positions?

In order to find a good set of football cleats, you need to know what you're looking for first. This extends to knowing what type of cleat will best suit your position on the field.

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For example, if you're a wide receiver or running back, your game will likely be focused on speed. Therefore, a pair of mid to low-cut cleats may be best for you since they're often lighter and less restrictive, which is ideal for quick turns of pace and direction.

However, high-cut cleats have their place too, particularly for linemen who may need additional ankle support at the gridiron. More support should reduce the risk of injury as well.

In fact, a field study comparing low, mid, and high football cleats found high-top cleats limited ankle motions associated with injury without deleteriously influencing performance.

Some players take this a step further by 'spatting' their cleats, which is described by Dicks Sporting Goods as taping your cleats to lessen the risk of rolling or twisting your ankles during gameplay.

How expensive are football cleats?

Football cleats can range in price, and you may also find different variations of the same model costing different amounts.

For instance, Nike will sometimes release a "Pro" variation which is made from the highest quality materials they offer and includes all the latest technology.

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However, Nike may then offer a cheaper variation made from synthetic materials, for example, to give an inexpensive alternative to suit a wide range of budgets.

On how much to spend, we wouldn't recommend breaking the bank on the most unique cleats or the latest trend, but picking up a well-reviewed pair

Can you wear soccer boots for football?

While soccer boots and American football cleats may appear similar, there are a few minor differences between them that make them the optimal footwear for their particular sport.

For example, soccer boots tend to be low cut and don't include a midsole to help maximise ball control and speed by reducing weight.

By contrast, American football cleats are typically low, medium, or high cut and feature thicker outsoles and studs near the big toe for added traction according to adidas.

That said, you can wear soccer boots for American football as the differences between them are relatively minor. In fact, you'll often find kickers wearing soccer boots due to the shape being designed primarily for their role.

However, it's worth noting that most referees do not allow football cleats to be worn during a soccer game, mainly due to the additional stud near the toe, so the same cannot be applied in reverse.

Do you need to break in football cleats?

Cleats are an essential piece of equipment for a football game, but making sure they're comfortable to wear can be tricky.

As a result, breaking in a new pair of cleats is advised before game day arrives to prevent discomfort from affecting your performance.

One of the easiest methods to do this is to simply put them on and start walking around in them on soft ground to loosen up the materials to make them more comfortable.

You should wear the socks you're planning to play in whilst doing this in order to stretch the material to fit appropriately during a game.

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Should you buy football cleats a size bigger?

In order to reduce slipping, football cleats need to fit snugly around your feet, but shouldn't be so tight that they restrict movement, especially around your toes.

Generally speaking, Clarks recommends leaving about one finger's width of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.

We believe this can be applied to football cleats as well because you'll want to ensure your toes have enough room to move freely to avoid lateral compression.

That said, football cleats should fit true to size, but it may be worth measuring your foot's dimensions and comparing the manufacturer's size guide to help ensure you're selecting the right size for you. To find out how, check out our guide to measuring shoe size right here.

If you have wider feet, you may find going up half a size beneficial to ensure a comfortable and secure fit during a game. That said, there are some cleats, like the Under Armour Highlight MCs, which should

For more information on some of the biggest sportswear manufacturers in the world, check out our guides comparing Nike, adidas, and New Balance sizing.

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Should you clean football cleats?

We'd recommend regularly cleaning your cleats, particularly the sole plates, to remove any built-up mud and dirt which may impact your levels of grip and your ability to perform on the field.

The simplest way to clean them is to use warm water, a dedicated shoe cleaner or neutral detergent, and a soft-bristled brush to remove the dirt across the uppers. You can use an old toothbrush to clean some of the harder-to-reach areas.

To remove the dirt underneath, bang your soles together, then, use a brush to wipe away any leftover dirt. If you can, remove the studs from your cleats for the best results.

For more extensive information, check out our step-by-step guide on how to clean football cleats or football boots right here.

They include some of our top tips to get your cleats looking like new again, plus our recommendations for things to avoid doing to make sure you keep your cleats stay in the best condition possible.

How do you lace football cleats?

One of the most common techniques used to lace football cleats is to cross them over the tongues of your boots.

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Begin by creating a straight bar between the first row of eyelets, then thread the two ends of your shoelace through the next eyelets up on the opposite sides until you reach the top.

You can then either tuck the two ends of your shoelace into your cleats or tie them in a knot over the front depending on your preference.

How long do football cleats last?

There's not a definitive answer to this question as it will depend on how often you wear your cleats along with their overall build quality.

Most of the top cleats featured in our list though should last around a year if you play in them regularly, perhaps even longer if you're a little more infrequent with your game time.

This isn't a set rule though, especially with the amount of contact in the sport which may cause your cleats to 'break' sooner than expected.

If you encounter any serious damage, or you start to notice your cleats dropping off in terms of their performance and comfort, then we'd recommend starting your search for a fresh pair.

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Read More: Best Football Boots Under 100 Available Now