Shoes with cleats are used in many sports to provide added traction in wet, grassy, or muddy surfaces. Football cleats are an important part of any football player’s equipment stash. If you play often, it’s worth investing in your own pair. (Be sure to check out our list of the best football helmets to complete your gear.)
We reviewed dozens of football cleats to identify the best of the best. We looked at high tops, low tops, and everything in between. We even evaluated football cleats with mesh tongues for ultimate breathability and support cages for extra protection.
The Under Armour Men’s UA Highlight MC Football Cleats stood out as your best bet for football cleats. It is a stylish high cut style with ample support with Molded 4D Foam that improves comfort. It’s available in 10 different styles.
In This Article
- The 5 Top-Rated Football Cleats for 2018
- Our Top Pick: Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Football Cleats
- Our Runner Up: Boy's Nike Alpha Shark 2 3/4 Wide Football Cleat
- Best Budget Pick: NIKE Men's Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat
- Best Detachable Football Cleats: Men's Nike Code Pro 3/4 Detachable WIDE Football Cleat Black/Silver
- Best Youth Football Cleats: Zephz WideTraxx Football Cleat Youth
- Who Should Buy Football Cleats
- Important Features to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Football Cleats We Reviewed
The 5 Top-Rated Football Cleats for 2018
|Best Overall Pick||Under Armour Men's UA Highlight MC Football Cleats||4.5|
|Runner Up||Boy's Nike Alpha Shark 2 3/4 Wide Football Cleat||4.4|
|Best Budget Pick||NIKE Men's Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat||4.4|
|Best Detachable Football Cleats||Men's Nike Code Pro 3/4 Detachable WIDE Football Cleat Black/Silver||4.8|
|Best Youth Football Cleats||Zephz WideTraxx Football Cleat Youth||4.8|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Under Armour Men’s UA Highlight MC Football Cleats
When it comes to support and style, it’s easy to see why the Under Armour Men’s UA Highlight MC Football Cleats are an excellent choice. It is available in a wide range of sizes, from size 8 to size 16. It also has 10 different color and style combinations, including royal blue, red, black, and white.
There are many key technologies Under Armor used in these football cleats that make these cleats a good choice. The US ClutchFit upper gives you additional support and protection. Its 3D Molded MPZ tongue forms around your foot and protects it. The Molded 4D Foam in the footbed better fits around your foot to prevent slipping and improve comfort.
Under Armour Men’s UA Highlight MC Football Cleats Key Features:
- High cut style
- Molded 4D Foam eliminates slippage and increases comfort
- Extended eye-row cutouts that make it easy to put shoes on
- 10 style and color options
Our Runner Up: Boy’s Nike Alpha Shark 2 3/4 Wide Football Cleat
For a nice looking boy’s football cleat, consider the Nike Mens Alpha Shark Football Cleats
If you need a football cleat available in youth sizes, the Boy’s Nike Alpha Shark 2 3/4 Wide Football Cleat is your best bet. Its available in children’s sizes 1 to 6, as well as 11 to 13. It comes in seven different color combinations, including dark grey or royal blue. It has a Dynamic Fit enables a better, snugger fit.
This style has a TPU outsole that’s extremely lightweight, with 12 cleats that can help provide excellent traction during games or proactive. This includes forefoot cleats that improve traction during toe off. It has a 3/4 height collar for added ankle support.
Boy’s Nike Alpha Shark 2 3/4 Wide Football Cleat Key Features:
- Lightweight TPU outsole
- 12 cleats with forefoot cleats
- Snug Dynamic Fit
- Made from synthetic materials
Best Budget Pick: NIKE Men’s Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat
See the NIKE Men’s Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat, an inexpensive football cleat anyone can afford
At less than $17, it’s nearly impossible to find another football cleat in the price range of the NIKE Men’s Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat. While the price will depend on the color and size option you choose, it’s an inexpensive shoe in bold bright colors like royal blue and red that you’d expect from NIKE. Made from synthetic materials, these football cleats are very lightweight.
The Men’s Vapor Shark 2 has Nike Fast Flex technology that makes it easier to move around in. There is Phylon in the midsole that gives it more cushioning. While they don’t have the longest cleats, this makes for a good everyday pair to get started with.
NIKE Men’s Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleat Key Features:
- Incorporates Nike Fast Flex technology
- 8 color options
- Full length Phylon midsole for better cushioning
Best Detachable Football Cleats: Men’s Nike Code Pro 3/4 Detachable WIDE Football Cleat Black/Silver
For a pair of detachable cleats for wide feet, the NIKE Men’s Nike Code Pro 3/4 Detachable WIDE Football Cleat is a solid choice
While the NIKE Men’s Nike Code Pro 3/4 Detachable WIDE Football Cleat Black/Silver may not work for everyone, these football cleats are an ideal choice for advanced high school and collegiate football players who need a wide width. It’s a wide width shoe with a limited size availability. Its only color combination is black and silver.
Despite the limited size and color options, this is an ideal choice if you happen to need a size 14 wide. It’s durable, nice looking, and high quality. It comes with the tool to tighten and replace the studs.
NIKE Men’s Nike Code Pro 3/4 Detachable WIDE Football Cleat Black/Silver Key Features:
- Wide width shoes
- Detachable cleats
- Savvy black and silver color
- Available in size 14
Best Youth Football Cleats: Zephz WideTraxx Football Cleat Youth
Meet the Zephz WideTraxx Football Cleat Youth, a popular youth football cleat
The Zephz WideTraxx Football Cleat Youth is a popular choice for youth football cleats. It is available in six youth sizes, from size 1 to 6, in an EE width. Its mid-cut length makes it an appropriate choice for most playing positions. Its rubber cleats can be accommodating for other sports if needed.
Its made from durable rubber, TPU, and synthetic materials. This style is only available in black. Many parents have found that this style works well for kids with wide feet.
Zephz WideTraxx Football Cleat Youth Key Features:
- Available in youth sizes 1 to 6
- Black color
- Lightweight TPU material
- Durable rubber cleats
Who Should Buy Football Cleats
If you play football, or plan to, you’ll need to buy a pair of football cleats. Some schools may provide high school players with a pair of football cleats or require that they bring their own. If this is the case, you’ll need to confirm that you don’t need to buy a certain brand or color to conform to the team’s standards.
Parents and coaches also buy football cleats for those who play football. In this case, you’ll want to find a style with many available sizes that perform well. This way, everyone who needs a pair can get their size.
Important Features to Consider
Football cleats should have several important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a pair of football cleats:
- Cut. High cut, mid cut, or low cut refers to the height of the shoe. Most football cleats are available in mid to low varieties. However, there are high cut versions available for offensive and defensive line players.
- Molded spikes. Molded spikes are permanently attached to the football cleats and cannot be removed to walk on regular, paved paths. However, since they are permanently attached, they won’t fall off.
- Detachable spikes. Detachable spikes can be removed from the football cleat to be customized or to be replaced.
- Size. Football cleats are shoes, so you’ll need to order your shoe size to get the best fit.
- Width. Most football cleats come in a medium width, so if your shoe size is larger than this you’ll need to look for styles that offer wide widths.
- Construction. In general, football cleats have thicker soles and heavier construction than other cleats.
- Color. Some styles come only in basic white and black, while others have bold colors and patterns.
- Rubber spikes vs. TPU spikes. Rubber spikes are wider and provide better shock absorption during play, while TPU spikes weigh less.
- Toe stud. One of the primary differences between cleats used for other sports and football cleats is the inclusion of a toe stud.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are football cleats and how do they work?
Football cleats are protrusions that are permanently or temporarily mounted on the bottom of a shoe to provide traction on slippery, wet, or soft surfaces such as a football field. The studs or cleats dig into the ground and make it easier to maneuver on the field.
Are football and soccer cleats the same?
Although both football and soccer cleats have spikes on the bottom of the shoe, cleats are designed specifically based on the sport. You should purchase cleats for the sport you plan to play. Football cleats have longer protrusions than soccer cleats, with a thicker construction that protects feet when they get stepped on. They’re also available in three heights. Soccer cleats are low cut, with a lighter construction than football cleats. They also have shorter studs.
What are detachable football cleats?
Detachable football cleats can be changed out depending on the surface you’re playing on. Detachable spikes are longer and more durable than other styles. You can change out or remove each spike to customize your cleats based on the position you’re playing and the field surface. Detachable football cleats are generally more expensive than other styles.
How are football cleats supposed to fit?
Football cleats should fit snugly around the forefoot and heel with approximately a finger width or less of give, without causing any pain from standing or walking on the studs. The football cleats shouldn’t restrict your movement, but provide additional support.
Other Football Cleats We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other football cleats. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best football cleats list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your dog. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Detachable Football Cleats
If you need a shoe that you can wear to the game without having cleats on all the time, you can try the Adidas Men’s Corner Blitz Detachable Cleat Football Shoe. The cleat outsole is detachable so that you can remove the cleats when you don’t need them. That way, you can protect them from hard surfaces, and you won’t need a second pair of shoes or the game.
- Synthetic leather
- Rubber sole
- AdiPRENE insert included
Nike Super Speed D 3/4 Men’s Detachable Football Cleats give you a better option if you are looking for speed and fit over bulk and stability. These shoes are designed to be lightweight and support your foot in a way that gives you better control. With seven well-placed detachable cleats, these shoes improve traction while staying lightweight and flexible. The insert is also anatomically designed so that it aligns with your foot for the most comfort and performance.
- Detachable cleat system
- High-gloss white finish
- Seven cleats
- Anatomical liner
Nike Vapor Pro Low D Men’s Detachable Football Cleats are another good option for lightweight and agile cleats. With seven cleats balanced from side to side, these shoes give you 360-degrees of traction even in very loose footings. Replaceable cleats make it easy for you to change them out when they are worn, extending the life of your shoes. You can also keep your cleats in good working condition by replacing them when they begin to wear.
- Detachable cleats
- Seven cleats
- Black and white finish
- High-gloss, water-resistant finish
The NIKE Vapor Speed Low Detachable Football Cleats provide a low-top option for traction control. The lower profile leaves your ankles exposed for greater flexibility. You can get these shoes in sizes up to 14 (US) and they have the common black and white design. The addition of grey highlights gives them a deeper and unique look. The NIKE Vapor Speed Low Detachable Football Cleats are made out of synthetic materials designed to be lightweight, but durable. For added control, they have an additional eighth mini spike on the heel.
- Narrow design
- Seven cleat system
- Heel spike included
Low Football Cleats
Adidas Men’s Scorch X SuperFly Low Football Cleats amplify the amount of traction and control that you have with a different cleat setup. It has full-sized cleats on the heel and inner edge of the sole with a set of mini-cleats on the outer edge. That way, you have a total of 18 cleats strategically placed to give you the most control over your feet. They are made out of synthetic leather and have a rubber sole.
- Full-sized and mini cleat clusters
- 18 cleats
- Black and white with grey highlights
- Available in sizes up to 13 (US)
adidas Performance Men’s Filthyspeed Low D Football Cleats look radically different from most other shoe designs. They use the common black and white colors but have an angular camouflage design that makes them look unique. They have seven cleats attached to a thermoplastic plate. These cleats penetrate soft surfaces easily to increase traction. The low-top design also makes them better for fast, agile running with many turns.
- Unique black and white camouflage finish
- Synthetic upper
- Thermoplastic cleat plate
- Ethylene acetate insole
The Nike Alpha Pro Low TD is one of the more customizable options available, as it has nine different highly-visible color options available. These shoes have 12-cleats of varying sizes to better match your stride. The front cleats are tapered in length and thickness to match the curve of your foot. That way, the cleats maintain maximum traction throughout each step. A Dynamic Flywire system is built into the upper to adjust the fit of the shoes as you run. It tightens when you need it to and loosens to fight foot fatigue.
- Nine color options available
- Multiple cleat sizes
- 12 cleats
- Adaptive traction system
Men’s Football Cleats
A good pair of cleats can make a big difference in your performance. The Adidas Men’s Scorch X Mid D Football Cleat offers extra stability and protection. Its cleat plate has a more rigid design so that the cleats get a firmer grasp as you step. A thickly padded synthetic leather upper adds extra support and protection for your feet. The toes have extra padding as well to ensure that your feet are safe and supported at all times.
- Synthetic leather upper
- Rubber sole
- Seven cleat system
- Two black and white color options available
These Adidas Performance Men’s Filthyquick D Football Cleats are designed for added protection and durability. The cleats are attached to a rubber plate, which allows for flexibility while providing a sturdy base. The upper is made out of synthetic materials and has a tight fit with extra padding. That way, it offers more support and protection across your arch and toes. It also has a heel strap designed to provide additional support to protect your Achilles Tendon.
- Rubber cleat plate
- Thick upper padding
- Tight fitting
For a better fit and more stability, try the Mens Nike Alpha Pro 3/4 TD Football Cleat. The upper includes Nike’s Dynamic Flywire system, which adjusts the overall size of the upper as you move. It gets a bit tighter when you need it to for the best traction and control, and loosens so that your foot can relax. They also have 12 3/4-sized cleats that provide strong traction across your entire stride.
- 12 cleats
- 3/4-sized cleats
- Molded cleats
- Dynamic Flywire system
The Nike Men’s Alpha Pro 2 Football Cleat has a wide range of sizes and colors to choose from. The upper is designed using NIKESKIN, which gives it a breathable but padded and durable feel. They run a bit tighter than other options to give you a snug and secure fit. The cleats are attached using a molded rubber pad for flexibility. However, these shoes use screw-in cleats so that you can easily remove and clean them when you need to. The upper also has an asymmetrical collar for better ankle support.
- Large color assortment
- Large size range
- Seven cleats
- Screw-in cleats
The NIKE Vapor Carbon Elite TD Men’s Football Cleats are designed to be extremely lightweight with the stability and control of bulkier shoes. They use lightweight synthetics in the upper and sole to reduce the overall weight. With a nine-cleat system, they offer good traction control when turning and sprinting. The low profile design also helps your ankles stay flexible at high speeds.
- 38 color and style options available
- Nine-cleat system
- Synthetic sole
- Lightweight synthetics
NIKE’s Vapor Untouchable Pro Men’s Mesh Plastic Lightweight Football Cleats Shoes are designed to help you accelerate faster. They are made out of lightweight materials and use lightweight components to reduce foot fatigue and provide support. The use of mesh components also makes them more breathable than other options as well. The cleats are firmly attached using a carbon fiber plate. Carbon fiber is extremely durable while being very light.
- Synthetic lightweight materials
- Carbon fiber cleat plate
- One-piece inner sleeve
- Designed for acceleration
The Under Armour Men’s Crusher Molded Football Cleats provide extra support using a Powerstrap near the ankle. This helps keep them firmly in place while providing bending support for your ankle. The result is added stability and limited foot fatigue. The upper is made breathable and lighter using perforated synthetic materials. The outsole is made of molded rubber for the best traction on different surfaces.
- Powerstrap support
- Die-cut footbed
- Rubber molded outsole
- Perforated upper
If you want something with a radically different look and feel, try the Under Armour Men’s Crusher Molded Football Cleats. It comes in a variety of color options including popular superhero options like Spiderman and Batman. These shoes have an elongated high-top design that provides support for your ankle and lower calf. They are made more comfortable through the use of 3D and 4D molding methods for the footbed and the tongue.
- Superhero themes
- High-top design
- 3D and 4D molded components
- UA PlasmaX cleat plate
Youth Football Cleats
The NIKE Boy’s Alpha Menace Shark BG Football Cleat Wide makes a good option for younger plays. These shoes come in a wide fit version to add comfort and side to side stability. The unique shark teeth design with a metallic finish also makes these shoes a stylish option.
- Wide foot
- Synthetic materials
- Wide range of size options
- Squared cleats
NIKE Boy’s Alpha Menace Shark BG Football Cleat Wide shoes offer a more supportive design. They are high-tops, which provide more ankle support. However, these shoes also have a support strap around the ankle for added ankle support. The midsole is made out of Phylon, which is supportive but keeps its low weight. To keep your mobility high, the NIKE Boy’s Alpha Menace Shark BG Football Cleat Wide also use the NIKE’s Fast Flex technology. It allows the sole to bend and reshape quickly without losing its support or elasticity.
- Support strap
- Phylon midsole
- Fast Flex technology
The NIKE Boy’s Strike Shark (GS) Football Cleat provides a combination of support and traction control that help you accelerate quickly. The cleats use squared and angled tips for better penetration and traction on a variety of surfaces. They also have a wider toe cleat that gives you added grip when trying to accelerate. For additional support, the ankle collar has an adjustable support strap as well as extra padding. They also have a Phylon midsole for flexible support.
- Toe cleat included
- Squared cleats
- Strap and adjustable collar
- Phylon midsole
These Nike Boys Alpha Shark Football Cleats use wide, squared cleats that offer more traction control in different directions. They have 12-cleats that are spread in a way that gives them balanced control. There is also a toe cleat that They also include the Dynamic Fit system that lets the fit adjust as you move.
- Wide cleats
- Extra wide toe cleat
- Dynamic Fit system
- 3/4 height collar
The Under Armour Youth Hammer Mid Molded Football Cleats provide robust support with a unique look to them. They use a die-cut EVA footbed, which fits your feet better and is more durable. The use of molded rubber feet gives you added traction on all surface times. The cleats thick and use a flat edge to create a solid contact seal with the ground. That way, you get enhanced traction from any angle or direction for better performance.
- Die-cut footbed
- Molded rubber cleats
- Traction on all surfaces
- Bright finish