Can You Use Football Cleats for Soccer?

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Football cleats are specially designed to be used for football. Different types of cleats can be used in a variety of field sports as long as the rules or sports committee allows it. Are football cleats usable for soccer? This article will answer this sought after question. 

Can You Use Football Cleats for Soccer?

You can’t use football cleats for soccer. Football cleats are designed differently and using them for soccer would just do more harm than good. 

Football cleats are specialized for football use only. Sure, you can use them casually in other sports. In official and competitive leagues, they’re oftentimes banned. 

If you keep using football cleats, your game will suffer. You also won’t get used to wearing standard soccer cleats when you join competitive leagues. You’ll also become more prone to injuries as the design of football cleats aren’t suited for soccer. 

That’s why it’s strongly recommended not to use football cleats for soccer. 

A team of football athletes wearing black cleats

What are Football Cleats?

Football cleats or “mud cleats” as they were called earlier was created by Joseph Pipal. Football cleats are designed for American Football use. In the early years of football cleats, they used replaceable metal studs. 

Today, most players prefer wearing molded cleats as they offer better comfort. There are also a variety of cleats to use. These include molded or removable stud cleats. This depends on if you’re playing on artificial turf or a natural grass surface. 

What Does a Football Cleat Look Like?

Football cleats look heavier and bulkier than regular cleats. They’re usually made of thick leather and have thick padding. 

The cleats on the bottom of the shoe are really long. This is to help football players dig into the field for better traction allowing quick cuts and turns. 

Football cleats can be made low, mid, and high-cut. Each design has benefits of their own and different football positions prefer using a certain type of football cleats. 

Football cleats contain a toe cleat or toe stud that can be found near the big toe. The purpose of this is to provide football players additional grip and traction from different stances in football. 

The toe cleat is a big hazard in soccer. This can cause injuries not only to the wearer but other players around the field. This is the main reason why football cleats aren’t allowed in official and competitive soccer leagues. 

Are Soccer and Football Cleats the Same?

While football cleats are limited for football use, soccer cleats aren’t. They’re the most versatile cleats you can have that’s almost playable to all grass field sports like disc golf.

If you’re unsure of what sport you want to play in or unsure what the rules of the league you’re gonna join in, going with soccer cleats is the best for you. 

Two football players on the field being watched by people

Football cleats have longer cleats at the bottom of the shoe. Football cleats also prefer using leather. They’re also heavy and thick compared to soccer cleats which are made for mobility

Soccer cleats, however, are lightweight. They’re always made in low-cut to favor an increase in speed. The cleats in soccer cleats are also shorter compared to football cleats. 

Difference Between Soccer and Football Cleats

Soccer CleatsFootball Cleats
LightweightHeavy design
Low-cut designHigh, medium, and low-cut designs
Aluminum cleatsRubber, or hard plastic cleats


Outsoles for soccer cleats usually have removable aluminum cleat caps that improve traction and durability. Soccer turf cleats have molded outsoles that are designed for harder outdoor surfaces. 

Football cleats also use removable and molded cleats. They have a toe cleat that soccer cleats don’t have. Molded cleats are safety standards for youth as they tend to cause fewer injuries compared to other cleats. They’re also less expensive. 

Detachable football cleats are either made from rubber, hard plastic, or metal. 


Soccer cleats are always designed to be light in order to maximize speed. That’s why they’re made in a low-cut style, allowing the ankle muscles to move freely. 

Football cleats can be made low, mid, or high-cut depending on your position and style of play. High-cut cleats maximize ankle support. Mid-cut combines a balance between speed and ankle support while low-cut cleats maximize on increasing speed. 

Depending on your playstyle as a football player you’ll prefer to use a certain design of football cleats. Linemen usually prefer high-cut cleats as they offer ankle support which is needed in their position. These types of playstyle prefer using mid-cut:

  • Defensive backs
  • Running backs
  • Wide receivers
  • Quarterbacks

Some defensive backs use low-cut cleats for maximum speed. 


Soccer cleats are lightweight and are meant to support feet for long hours of running. They use mostly polyurethane or rubber outsoles which are light and durable. Soccer cleats are also designed for stability thus removing or having close to none of the midsole so the feet can be as low to the ground as possible. The upper part can be made from either leather or synthetic depending on preference. 

A football athlete sitting on the grass

Football cleats are the complete opposite of soccer cleats. Instead of lightweight, they favor heavy and thick padding for extra protection. They usually have thicker outsoles and heavier material build. The materials used are the same with soccer cleats as they also use either leather or synthetic but with heavier variety. 

Although they’re different, both are designed to be durable in the dirt and rough grass surface. 

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about football shoes and soccer.

What Cleats Are Not Allowed in Soccer?

Metal soccer cleats are not allowed in soccer. Although most types of cleats are allowed, these are too dangerous to be worn inside of the pitch. After all, if a player fouled another with these cleats, the injury could be severe.

Do Soccer Cleats Really Matter?

Yes, soccer cleats can enhance mobility, traction, and even sprint speed. Therefore, without them, you would be at a disadvantage compared to other players. On top of that, they help to reduce injuries.

Can You Play Soccer Without Cleats?

Yes, you can play soccer without cleats. In fact, you can play this sport barefoot, however, you can only do so in amateur matches with your friends. If you were to play a professional match, cleats are mandatory.


In general, you shouldn’t use football cleats for soccer. They will only cause you injuries and even decrease your performance level. Wear soccer cleats if you can for a safer game session and better performance. 

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.