Best Soccer Cleats for Midfielders and Halfbacks [2024 Review]

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On the soccer field, midfielders are one of the most versatile and wide-ranging players. You’ll find them constantly attending to more than one or two often-expected roles. These are usually handling the ball and the opponents throughout the 90-minute game.

Each position isn’t the same, even if two of them are both midfielders. That’s why it’s hard to define midfielders in a general sense. It’s even harder to find shoes that fit their exact roles. Well, what is a guide if not to untangle the mystery. Right?

I make it a little bit easier with my top picks for the best soccer cleats for midfielders. I also include some facts to help you out in narrowing your choice down to one.

Best Soccer Cleats for Midfielders

The qualities and skills that midfielders should possess seem like a never-ending list. The simultaneously wide variety of features of best soccer cleats for midfielders doesn’t necessarily help with the overwhelming options. Read my reviews for the best soccer cleats for different kind of midfielders.

Adidas Men’s Nemeziz Messi 17.3 FG Soccer Shoe

The Adidas Nemeziz 17.3 is widely praised for its impeccable fit. There are different reasons than most other fitting soccer cleats are praised for. One of the misconceptions about this cleat is that it’s a collared cleat, which is only half true.

Instead of having a collar that goes around the ankle, the Nemeziz cleats in general have V-shaped edges on the sides of the opening. The junction where the V meets is right underneath the ankle, allowing for a wider range of movement.

On the front of the foot is the 360 Agility Bandage, which ensures a locked-in fit, even when the laces are not yet tied up. It might just be a little tight to wear the first time around, but the feel is easy to adjust securely in just seconds. The rest of the upper feels like a bandage wrapped around your foot. That makes this model one of the most accommodating cleats in the market right now.

The synthetic Agility Mesh upper is a textured rubber-like material that has a responsive touch. This allows for good ball touch right from the first wear. Underneath, the messiGambetrax outsole is shaped after Messi’s footprint. As a model that the infamous forward player actually wears, this cleat is good for central or attacking midfielders who might do the same techniques as him.

The lightweightedness of the cleats are something that most midfielders would benefit from, whether for:

  • jumping
  • landing
  • passing
  • chasing after strikers

For the simplicity of the design, and the features, this cleat is surprisingly overpowering in terms of delivering performance. As a bonus, it has a unique style that grows on you. With the incredible overall functionality, this cleat fits any kind of midfielder at their best.

NIKE Men’s Hypervenom Phelon III FG Soccer Cleat

I haven’t seen a more considerate cleat for the midfielder’s role than the Nike Hypervenom Phelon III FG. Unlike other models like the Nike Mercurial, I think this model is going to be the most compatible for central midfielders who simultaneously perform the roles of forwards and defenders in the same match over and over.

The features seem to accommodate for movements and functions like:

  • striking
  • passing
  • attacking
  • stabilizing

For the first two, you’ll see the effort exerted in the design of the upper, with aggressive texture over the entire upper construction and asymmetrical laces.

The embossed upper enhances the touch of the ball to the shoe. Apart from the texture, the synthetic material itself is already made with intentional grip. This sticks to the ball in a grounded way and it’s supposed to bounce back in a precise direction. Consequently, the lacing system tapers down to the side as it comes to the front, expanding the striking area.

As I said before, for defensive playing, the Hypervenom Phelon III is better equipped than other Nike models like the Nike Mercurial. These are better for making cuts through the lateral dynamic cords installed on the side. It provides a locked down, stabilized, and grounded standing for quick movements.

The chevron and hexagon-shaped studs are also designed and arranged accordingly to improve traction for attacking movements, whether for tackling or dueling one on one.

The fit of these cleats is a bit small, which accommodates players with shorter and thinner feet. The laces are only a supporting feature to make sure it will fit those with non-average sizes. Inside though, there’s a fabric sole that provides much comfort and ample cushioning to protect and convenience any midfielder throughout the game.

ANLUKE Men’s Athletic Hightop Cleats Soccer Shoes Football Team Turf

Anluke’s Athletic Hightop Soccer Cleats is my pick for one of the best cleats. However, even if you consider other best soccer cleats for midfielders that are not on this list, this would still prove worthy of that label. For roughly the same amount you’ll pay for a single article of clothing, you can already have the varied features of this functional soccer cleat with its unique design.

One major thing that differentiates it from the rest is the hightop collar. It looks like you’re wearing an ankle sock, but really it’s just the built-in ankle support. Made of fabric, it works so that it could protect your heels and ankles from twisting and accidentally moving in weird angles leading to injuries. Despite that, the soft knit fabric material still enables you to perform a wide range of movements. Bonus: it also prevents debris and particles to enter the cleat, which is handy in artificial turf and damp surfaces.

The fairly tight fit around the ankle already secures the feet in a locked down position, but the PU leather upper still molds to your feet for maximum comfort and fit. The texture of the best cleats may not be as prominent as that of the Hypervenom Phelon III. If you look closely, there’s actually some texture around the geometric shapes that is all over the soccer cleat (not to be mistaken with the neon print.)

Despite the subtlety of the texture, the material itself provides consistent performance and ball touch in the two kinds of field surfaces mentioned. You might not notice it at first, but there’s a generous amount of studs at the bottom. They’re transparent, which is why it might be harder to notice. The chevron shape works well for speeding up, attacking, and generally giving traction.

I know Anluke is not like the other brands I have on this list, but it’s no reason to disregard this promising cleat. You’re going to miss out on its unique features that could make for a good secondary midfielder’s cleat for trainings and casual play.

Nike Men’s Tiempo Rio III FG Soccer Cleat

For synthetic leather, the Nike’s Tiempo Rio III FG soccer cleats are more impressive in its delivery of an authentic leather feel. Unlike other models like the Nike Mercurial, they require almost no break-in period. If it does for any one player, it’s only the most minimal amount of time compared to other best soccer cleats for midfielders.

The quality of the upper material is almost like the authentic version, and it could mistaken for one if not for the word synthetic in its description. The finish cuts close to an original leather cleat.

We’d say if the material was smooth all over, it would’ve been enough already for good ball touch. However, for this model, Nike intentionally put multiple added vertical seams across the forefoot for better grip. This makes it even easier to direct the ball where you need it to go.

That’s only on the forefoot. The signature check logo of Nike is seamed to the sides, adding texture there as well for when you make kicks from the side of the cleat. Beneath the check and going towards the heel counter, the leather material is designed with a different kind of texture than the rest of the upper. There’s a prominent micro net-like pattern that could be supplementary texture at the back if the need arises.

As for the fit, no synthetic material can probably rival authentic leather. This one might not be able to mold to your feet as accurately as the original does, but it offers more protection through cushioning. The EVA sockliner in the interior is a responsive cushion that can protect and prep you for defensive movements.

The same goes for the conical studs that are distributed equally on the heel and forefoot. The positioning is ideal for giving traction to defensive midfielders who constantly perform quick cuts, especially on hard ground.

The Tiempo Rio III seems to come close to the likes of Copa Mundial in terms of sleekness in appearance. I put such a high standard on leather soccer cleats, and reasonably so. However, this model can give you almost the same kind of enhancing treatment for less than what authentic leather soccer cleats are worth.

Adidas Performance Men’s X 16.3 Fg Soccer Shoe

If I’m on the topic of appearances and aesthetics, there’s little doubt the Adidas Performance X 16.3 will surpass the rest on this roundup. The cleats are clean and sleek, regardless of the colorways you choose. There is the all-black version or the contrasting blue and pink one. Let’s see if the very pleasing outer appearance remotely reflects functional features everywhere else.

Midfielders, who we’d say are the players who move around the most and run the farthest distances on the field, would appreciate a great fit more than other positions. “Forget everything except a snug fit” would probably their mantra when picking out best soccer cleats for you. The Performance X 16.3 wouldn’t disappoint in that aspect because of its Techfit compression upper.

The feature enables almost no breaking in time. The interior and upper are designed so that when your feet slide in, the material compresses to the shape of them, resulting in a cleat that is almost perfectly molded to your feet. It checks out more boxes than just the fit too. Instantly, durability, flexibility, and comfortability are out of the question.

Designed for agile players who are always on the go on the field, the tongueless lacing system only works in the player’s favor. It adds texture for a good ball touch and control, and secures the fit even more. Around the ankles, there’s a fairly thick neoprene padding for extra protection. There’s also an anti-slip heel lining that prevents the back from sliding up and down with every step.

The lightweight Flyknit material delivers maximum performance, especially for racing towards making a goal or outsmarting your competition.

The molded soleplate is decked with a stud arrangement that specifically enhances traction on firm ground and artificial turf. This snugness of the fit is met with the responsiveness of the outer features, especially on the outsole. If this cleat was made for anything, it’s for a generally agile performance. It looks good too!

Skills That a Good Midfielder Possesses

PassingGreat to develop an attack or create a chance
Ball controlGreat to keep possession of the ball and attack or defend
Ball retentionGreat to keep possession of the ball and defend

As one of the grittiest players, you’ll often find midfielders dribbling, passing, shooting, tackling, dueling, and basically doing almost all other skills the rest of the team’s players are doing. It comes in their role description. However, if it’s going to be narrowed down, good passing and ball control skills are two of the most important qualities that make a great midfielder.


The various positions and roles of midfielders have changed throughout the years. There are midfielders that are more spread out to the sides and play across the field instead of the length of it. However, as a general understanding, most midfielders stand in between the team’s forwards and defenders.

In that position, the ball is most likely going to pass through them constantly. They are the bridge that connects the two. Their passes consist of short-range and long-range distances. Regardless of how far they aim the ball to land, it should always be accurately towards another player from their team.

This is one of the major aspects midfielders should look out for in soccer cleats. Passing equally requires a good grip both on the sole and the upper for stability and accuracy.

Ball Control

Ball control goes hand in hand with passing. It’s what ensures a precise kick and assurance the ball will land where it is intended by the midfielder. Automatically, the responsibility for ball control in soccer cleats falls on the upper.

As much as how and from what point of the foot the player kicks the ball with affects its direction, the texture of the upper also ensures the intention is fulfilled. Simultaneously, the thinness of the upper material will determine the barefoot feel of the cleats. This ultimately contributes to how well you can feel and control the ball.

Features to Consider in Soccer Cleats for Midfielders

Midfielders are one of the soccer players who will most likely rely greatly on their cleats. With the number of roles they’re tasked with, their cleats are most likely what will keep them going for the whole duration of the game.

There are different types of midfielders. Depending on what angle you look at it, finding cleats for this position can either be overwhelming with choices or very limited. They can benefit from almost every feature. I have enumerated the most important ones for the different kinds of midfielder out there.

Good Traction

Speed is the one thing that almost all midfielders can agree is essential. Central midfielders use it because they’re basically defenders and attackers in their own right, keeping pace with the opposition’s strikers and outrunning their defenders.

Soccer cleats and a blue and white ball on a field

Wide midfielders, though closer to the touchlines, usually cover the width of their area, whether they’re closer to the defenders or the strikers. All the while, defensive midfielders are not limited as the defenders themselves. If need be, they’re required to move full back or center back to protect the team’s goal at all costs.

As a result, traction is the one feature that I can confidently say all midfielders would benefit off of. It will help them gain more control of their gait, especially when they’re moving at their highest speeds.


Supplementary to traction, lightweight cleats are a major factor that contribute to higher speed. Imagine trying to run the full width of the field carrying two heavy loads on your feet. That’s usually the length of every midfielder’s covered area and they go back and forth throughout the whole game.

Lightweight cleats are especially helpful for wingers or wide midfielders who reach to the edges of the field. The decreased weight also helps with their stability in attacks and tackles defensive midfielders might join and agility for attacking midfielders.

Ball Touch

Excellent ball touch is directly related to how accurately midfielders can control the ball.This is one of the two most important aspects in playing midfielder. Ball touch is also affected by the upper material and texture, as it is what meets the ball.

The material affects ball touch in that the distinctions of some materials used for the upper sometimes have more grip. It relies on the latter most of the time as the texture is what provides the grip on the ball. For the few milliseconds that the ball touches the soccer cleats, the player’s strategic use of the texture will help him direct the ball more precisely towards his target.

This feature is particularly an advantage for central midfielders who receive the ball from defenders and pass it on to forwards. Sometimes, they even try their hand, or shall I say feet, at shooting the ball themselves when they’re available and unblocked. Since they are located a bit farther from the opposition’s goal than the strikers, ball touch will help midfielders attempt a long shot from their vantage point.

Not only that, ball touch is required for dribbling, which midfielders generally do more than other positions. When the ball is with you for longer, you’ll need to be more careful with it. Besides, dribbling is one of the, if not the, most basic soccer skills that all the other skills are based off of. Ball touch can probably set you up for greater success when your cleats have it as its prime function.

Cushioned Upper

Cushioning is mostly for protection and comfort. They’re beneficial for defensive players who tackle and do most of the laborious contact movements. That said, this will benefit midfielders who play the defense of the team other than the defenders.

Specifically called the holding midfielders, they are the first layer of players the opposite team comes face to face with when they’re advancing. They protect the back defenders and prevent the ball from entering further past their area in the field.

The best soccer cleats for midfielders with a cushioned upper, most especially, will equip them with better protection for surviving aerial tackles and one-on-one contacts. It’s usually followed by a lot of dribbling and making a variety of passes. Overuse of the forefoot can slow them down not just in running but in handling the ball.

Heel Support

The same as with defenders, midfielders need heel support for the majority of their movements in every role. The ball goes through midfielders all the time, so they also make quick turns as defenders do, for which heel support is a great asset.

Man standing in orange soccer cleats and white soccer socks

Midfielders are also expected to always be open for incoming passes and be ready for instances when they have to attempt a shot. For either of the two, jumping and landing with stability are two things heel support will be able to support them with.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about soccer cleats for midfielders.

What Cleats Do Most Pro Soccer Midfielders Wear?

Professional midfielders use a wide variety of cleats. For instance, Luka Modric generally uses Nike Mercurial Vapor 14s, while Kevin De Bruyne uses Nike Phantom GT Elite DFs. Lastly, Tony Kross always uses a pair of Adidas Adipure 11pro.

Is It Better to Have Smaller or Bigger Cleats?

None. You should look for cleats that fit your feet perfectly. If you choose a pair that is too small, they will feel uncomfortable and cause damage. On the other hand, if you choose a pair that is too big, it will intervene with your mobility, affecting your agility.

Are High-Top Cleats Better Than Low-Top?

It depends on your needs. While high-top cleats offer more protection, stability, and ankle support, they affect mobility. On the other hand, while low-top cleats offer more mobility, speed, and agility, they lack protection and ankle support. Therefore, they are both good; you just need to choose them based on your needs.


Midfielders are kind of the special bunch. They serve multiple roles that include that of other positions. They may not be the easiest to shop soccer cleats for! For some positions, the features are universal among them. That may not be the case here as there are different types of midfielders.

Knowing your exact role and the majority of the movements you’ll perform are essential to choose the best cleats. My top picks are just a few options but feel free to apply my recommended features to find the best combinations that work to your advantage.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.