Soccer cleats are made of natural leather, synthetic leather, rubber, and other processed synthetic materials.
Many of the modern cleats may use a combination of these materials from the soleplate to the insole, heel counter, upper, toe-box, vamp, and studs, etc.
Natural Leather – High Quality and Long Durability
Genuine leather is soft and stretchable according to your feet and heel movements. It provides better protection to your feet from heat, humidity, and other variable climatic conditions.
Moreover, it is resistant to physical impact from the soccer ball, accidental fall, and collisions with other players.
The construction of leather soleplate, upper, and the toe-box provides sufficient tensile strength for resisting accidental twist to the feel while playing.
Molding of leather can be done with external tough surface and internal soft layer. Your feet and heels stay comfortable and flexible.
Protection from sweat and moisture is the other important aspect of leather cleats. However, they could be prone to water absorption when the field is wet.
Synthetic Leather – Leather Quality with Water Resistance
Synthetic leather has all the properties of natural leather with the added feature of water resistance. It is also easy to clean and maintain the cleats.
Most of the synthetic leather is made from the combination of PVC, polyester, polyurethane, and wax as main compositional elements.
The material is flexible and firm in construction.
Aesthetic features of the material are also higher since it can retain the brightness, color, and design features for years without fading and damages.
Rubber Coatings – Flexibility and Protection
Rubber absorbs shocks and vibrations of external physical impacts.
It can also provide extra flexibility to the toes, ankle, and the SUBTALAR joint at the rear side of the feet and leg connecting point.
Other Synthetic Materials – Support and Stability
The other synthetic materials like spandex, Kevlar, and latex, can provide support at the critical foot and heal joints to enhance cleats stability.
What are the Elements of a Youth Soccer Cleat?
The most important elements of soccer cleats are the soleplate, Insole, midsole, studs, lining, vamp, toe-box, upper, heel counter, tongue, and lacing.
Soleplate Design – Fitment and Flexibility
Fitment of the soleplate with the bottom and attachment to the Upper decides the comfort, strength, and flexibility of the feet.
Generally made of rubber and synthetic combination, the plate has studs attached to it.
Shock absorption and resistance to dynamic impact are the two essential features of the section.
It should also support your body weight (static while standing and dynamic while moving at a fast pace), the impact from the ball, collision with players, and the soccer field.
Soleplate also provides good traction and resistance to slip on the field through studs.
They should support your feet all sorts of surfaces from grass, to clay, sand, and various others.
Insole Construction – Grip and Protection
The insole gives a firm grip to your feet and heel over the soccer field. You can apply pressure on the SUBTALAR joint that runs along with the ankle and leg muscles and bones.
It is possible to jump, run, turn and twist your entire body while tackling the ball and the opponent players.
Insole protects the core of your feet and heels from friction impact. It is an equal and opposite force from the field onto your feet that could cause muscle and tissue damages.
Midsole Material – Balance and Strength
Your body’s center of gravity line could vary while running and turning at awkward angles, resulting in accidental falls.
Midsole balances your body weight around the center of gravity, regardless of your body posture.
You can kick the ball, pass it, and tackle it around the opponent players without colliding into them or falling over.
Heel Counter – Kinetic Forward Force
The rear side of the heel and foot can give the forward thrust to move forward with the maximum kinetic force.
They need support and comfort that the heel counter can provide. Applying pressure on the heel counter can result in added strength and stability also.
Other Parts of Cleats – Comfort and Elegance
Other parts of cleats like the upper, exterior surface, lacing and others provide comfort and add the elements of aesthetics to the cleats.
Which Type of Soccer Cleat is Right for Your Kid?
Kid Foot Characteristics – Evolving in Strength
You have to consider the bones, joints, and muscles in the kids’ foot while choosing the soccer cleats. The sole is relatively flat compared to the adult.
Since the foot is growing, the shape of the forefoot, mid-foot, and hind-foot are also evolving.
The tendons and ligaments could be softer than the adults, hence they need support, protection, and cushioning while running and handling the soccer ball.
Stress and impact resistance of the foot and heel may not be as high as the adult foot.
Kid Soccer Cleats – Recommended Design and Construction
Studs provide stability and balance to the body and foot while running and handling the soccer ball.
Wider and thicker molded rubber studs can balance the body weight and align the center of gravity to prevent slipping and falling.
High-top cleats can cover the ankles and provide protection from accidental twisting while turning and tacking the ball.
It is a useful feature when your kid is playing indoors or on artificial grass. If your kid feels limited movement, you can recommend mid-top cleats.
Kid Cleat Material – Genuine Vs Synthetic Leather
Genuine leather material can provide the required strength, support, flexibility, and soft-comfort to your kids’ foot. It can also free air circulation within the foot and heel. Sweat absorption can keep the kids’ foot protected from common allergens and bacteria.
Synthetic leather can expand with the growing foot comfortably. It can be light in weight, at the same time it can also be firm and strong. Resistance to impact is also relatively high, especially from the soccer ball and the field.
Kid Cleat Size – Comfortable for Growing Foot
The front-size of the cleats should be relatively bigger than the mid and hind-size to allow the growing foot to stay comfortable.
The heel counter should be soft in the interiors and strong in the exteriors to provide strength and comfort.
Laced cleats are stated to be better as the kids can adjust the tightness according to the growing foot. If you opt for straps, the adhesive strength should be high enough to prevent accidental loose fittings while playing.
Does the Player Position Matter When Choosing a Soccer Cleat?
Forward and Striker– Cleats that Give Speed and Agility
Cleats with stronger and sharper toe-cap and wider heel-panels can increase the speed and agility of forward players.
It is the position from where you penetrate through the opponent defenses and score goals.
Choose a lightweight pair of cleats made of synthetic leather (preferably) that has smaller and sharper studs made of molded rubber.
They should be spread evenly across the entire length and width of the base.
Soccer Goalies – Cleats with High Traction
Cleats with larger studs can provide high traction and resistance to slip and fall. They can also allow your foot to move in random directions in real-time by eliminating ground friction.
The weight should be in the mid-range as you need to protect your foot from the impact of soccer ball flying and moving at high speeds.
Soccer Backs– Cleats with Stability and Flexibility
The Insole and heel counter of the backer player should have maximum comfort and stability.
The interior material can be genuine leather while the exterior can be a combination of rubber and synthetic leather.
They give maximum flexibility and stability to your movements around the goal positions.
Midfield Players – Cleats with Balance and Force
As a midfield player, you could be playing a defensive or offensive role. Cleats with wider insole can provide better balance to your foot, ankle, and the entire body.
The studs have to be medium in size and height.
Cushioning of the midsole and front interiors should be high enough to support your body weight while running and making awkward foot and body movements.
Your soccer coach can give you more detailed information about the exact type and size of cleats you need to choose based on your position.
Finding The Right Cleat Size For Your Kid?
Comfort, grip, and strength are the primary criteria for choosing the right cleat size. The fitment should be tight enough to give the right feel of the soccer ball.
You can handle and tackle the ball in the right direction at the optimum speed and accuracy.
The insole and heel-counter should give you comfort and balance your foot and body, regardless of your posture.
Protection for your ankles, heel, and the toes is very important. Hence, you can choose a size that covers the outline and inline of your foot completely.
The length of cleats should cover the longest toe and allow a few millimeters of free space for free movement. The width should fit the toes-width, instep, and foot-arch.
The heel-counter should fit comfortably with the hind-side of your heel and hold it tight.
Make sure the circulation veins and muscles are comfortable while you are stationary and moving at high speeds.
Fitment should be firm, but not too tight to prevent circulation and cause numbness.