The best Nike football cleats
It’s almost football season, and that means it’s time to gear up. From the shoulder pads to the cleats, you need the best if you’re going to be the best. Nike offers all kinds of cleats so you can get a pair with the right fit, ankle protection and — if you’re into that sort of thing — the most panache.
The best Nike football cleat is the Nike Men’s Vapor Edge Pro 360 Football Cleats. A special lacing system means there’s no need to worry they’ll come undone.
What to know before you buy Nike football cleats
Parts of a cleat
A Nike football cleat is made of several parts.
- Upper: The upper is the top portion of the shoe. It contains the lacing system, the ankle type and the tongue. Make sure the upper is durable, or the lacing can come undone or the entire upper can detach.
- Midsole: The midsole connects the upper and the outsole. Most of the cushioning that protects your feet from the hard studs is found here. It should be flexible enough for you to move naturally but stiff enough to provide support.
- Outsole: The outsole holds the studs and provides stability. It should be hard and stiff, but not so much as to prevent your foot from bending naturally.
Ankle length types
There are three types of ankle length types (also known as "ankles") on cleats, each with its own pros and cons.
- Low ankles provide no ankle support but offer the widest range of motion in return. These are best for those who need to move as fast as possible while being able to shift direction on a dime.
- Mid ankles provide some ankle support while limiting your range of motion as little as possible. It’s a good all-around ankle for any type of player or position, and especially good for those who need to move fast but have weak ankles to protect.
- High ankles provide maximum ankle support but can severely limit your range of motion. These are perfect for defensive players that just need to go fast and straight to tackle the opponent.
There are two aspects of the studs to consider when shopping for a Nike football cleat.
- Type: Nike football cleats typically have hard plastic or removable studs. Hard plastic studs are good for most occasions from artificial turf to muddy ground. Removable studs let you swap the studs out as needed, so you can make sure your cleats are specialized for your next game.
- Shape: Nike football studs are typically triangular or round. Triangular studs are usually best for natural ground as the sharp angles can better dig down. Round studs are usually best for artificial ground as they have more surface area to grip.
Nike football cleats features
Flyknit is Nike’s term for a stretchy material placed near the ankle of the cleat. It helps make it easier to put on and take off the cleat, plus adds some extra ankle flexibility for more dexterous plays.
Nike football cleats come in just about any color you can want, though the most common colors are all black and all white. This means you’re free to match or clash with your uniform as desired, but make sure to double-check that your league doesn’t have uniform restrictions before you go too crazy.
Nike football cleats cost
They can cost as little as $30 or as much as $250. Kids' shoes and basic adult shoes rarely exceed $100. Better pairs stretch up to $150, after which point the best cleats are found.
Nike football cleats FAQ
Can women wear men’s Nike football cleats?
A. Yes, and it’s a common practice as there are far fewer women’s football cleat options compared to men’s. All you need to do is a size conversion and make sure the width of the cleat is comfortable.
Can I wear football cleats to play other sports and vice versa?
A. You can, but it’s not recommended. Each sport uses different technologies and designs to help boost your performance as it relates to that sport. For example, soccer cleats use low ankles and different stud placements compared to football cleats. If you’re playing a friendly pickup game with friends it shouldn’t matter too much, but many leagues have restrictions that say you’re not allowed to use non-football cleats at all.
Which Nike football cleats should I get?
Best of the best Nike football cleats
Nike Men’s Vapor Edge Pro 360 Football Cleats: available at Dick's Sporting Goods
Our take: If you want to run as fast as possible then grab a pair of these.
What we like: It’s as light as possible to reduce the drag on your feet, plus a ghost lacing system removes the fears of laces unraveling. Widely placed studs help you make fast, unpredictable changes in direction. They come in seven colors, including all white.
What we dislike: They run small intentionally, so several consumers recommended ordering a size up. Those with wider feet may not feel comfortable in these, no matter the size.
Best bang for your buck Nike football cleats
Nike Men’s Alpha Menace 3 Shark Mid Football Cleats: available at Dick's Sporting Goods
Our take: These are protective of the ankle and sturdy, marking them among the best budget cleats.
What we like: The ankle is high to protect it from rolling and harsh contact. Synthetic leather and molding on the front make for high durability. A soft foam midsole maintains your comfort, even after hours on the field. They come in four colors, including all black and all white.
What we dislike: Several customers found these too tight for comfort and suggested ordering a half- or full-size up. The soft foam midsole is too soft for some.
Honorable mention Nike football cleats
Nike Kids’ Vapor Edge Shark Football Cleats: available at Dick's Sporting Goods
Our take: This is the perfect cleat for your child’s first season.
What we like: The upper is made of synthetics to keep durability high and cleaning easy, plus there’s a soft foam underfoot to prevent your child’s feet from hurting due to the studs. It comes in 12K and 13K sizes plus sizes 1-6 in half size increments. The colors are all black or all white.
What we dislike: Some purchasers noted that the shoe strings are short, making tying difficult. Children are likely to grow out of them before the start of the next season.
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Jordan C. Woika is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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