Can Soccer Cleats Be Used for Football?

American football and soccer are two vastly different sports, yet they share a surprising number of similarities.

Despite the obvious differences in rules, equipment, and gameplay, both sports require a high level of physical fitness, tactical thinking, and strategic planning.

From the use of formations to the importance of teamwork, football and soccer share many underlying principles that make them engaging and exciting to watch.

Both sports are played with a ball that is handled by players with the only difference being the shape of the ball.

The number of players on the field is also the same for both sports with 11 outfield players occupying the respective fields.

Now although these sports share a number of similarities, the question of whether certain equipment can be worn and used for both sports does come up from time to time.

More specifically, can soccer cleats be used for football games?

Let’s cut right to the chase with a simple answer.

Soccer cleats can be used for playing football, but they aren’t recommended as they feature a different stud layout and overall design that doesn’t specifically cater to the athletic needs of the American sport.

Soccer cleats don’t have the front spike that is commonly found on football cleats, with the spike routinely aiding traction when players accelerate or jump, which is particularly important when you are pushing forward or blocking/tackling.

Read on to learn more about this topic.


Are soccer cleats suitable for playing football?

Soccer cleats are specifically designed footwear worn by soccer players to provide traction and grip on the playing surface.

They help players maintain their balance and control while running, pivoting and stopping on the field.

The cleats on the bottom of the shoes are made of a hard material, such as plastic or metal, and are strategically placed to provide stability and prevent players from slipping on the grass or turf.

Additionally, soccer cleats offer protection to the feet and ankles of players. They are typically made with durable materials such as leather or synthetic fabrics and are designed to withstand the physical demands of the sport.

Now, soccer cleats and football cleats are designed for two different sports, each with their own unique requirements.

While both types of cleats are designed to provide traction and grip on the playing surface, they are not interchangeable.

Firstly, football cleats are designed with a different stud configuration than soccer cleats.

Take a look at the image comparison below:

Football cleats typically have larger and more studs, which are designed to provide better traction and support on the turf.

On the other hand, soccer cleats have smaller studs that are designed to provide grip on grass surfaces.

The difference in stud configuration makes soccer cleats unsuitable for playing on the turf, as they do not provide the necessary traction and support needed for the sport.

Another factor to consider is the level of protection that football cleats offer.

Football is a contact sport that involves frequent collisions between players and as such, football cleats are designed with more padding and support to protect the feet and ankles.

Soccer cleats, on the other hand, are not designed to offer the same level of protection and may leave players vulnerable to injuries on the football field.

Furthermore, football cleats often feature a toe cleat which is absent in soccer cleats.

The toe cleat provides additional traction and grip when pushing off the ground which is a crucial movement in football.

Without a toe cleat, players may struggle to maintain their balance and control during gameplay.

Lastly, there are specific rules regarding the type of cleats that are allowed in each sport.

The National Football League (NFL) has strict regulations on the types of cleats that can be worn, and soccer cleats do not meet these requirements.

Here’s a quote from the league’s rulebook which specifies what sort of cleats are prohibited in the game:

“Shoe cleats made of metal or other material that may chip, fracture, or develop a cutting edge. Conical cleats with concave sides or points which measure less than ⅜-inch in diameter at the tips, or cleats with oblong ends which measure less than ¼ by ¾-inch at the end tips are also prohibited.”

Source – NFL Rulebook for 2022

As conical cleats and cleats with metal blades at the bottom make up part of the equipment you’re permitted to use as a soccer player, you can see why they’re not suitable and in fact prohibited by the American football league itself.


What kind of cleats do you need for football?

The type of cleats used for football tends to vary depending on the present playing conditions.

The first factor to consider is the type of playing surface.

Football is typically played on either natural grass or artificial turf.

Grass cleats have longer studs that provide better grip on soft surfaces and are suitable for playing on natural grass fields.

On the other hand, turf cleats have shorter studs and a more compact design that provides better traction on synthetic turf.

As a result, it is important to choose the appropriate cleats for the playing surface to ensure safety and performance.

Another factor to consider is the position that the player plays.

Different positions on the football field tend to require different types of cleats.

For example, linemen require cleats with a wider base and longer studs to provide stability and prevent slipping during blocking and pushing.

Running backs and wide receivers need cleats with a lighter design and shorter studs to enable quick movements and changes in direction.

Quarterbacks require cleats with a low profile and good traction for pivoting and throwing.

Another important factor to consider is the fit and comfort of the cleats.

Football cleats should fit snugly and provide ample support to the feet and ankles.

The materials used in the cleats should be durable and able to withstand the physical demands of the sport.

The weight of the cleats is also important as heavier cleats can slow down the player’s movements and lead to fatigue.


Are football and soccer cleats the same?

As soccer and football both have different requirements and expectations for players, it naturally makes sense for the equipment that athletes competing in these sports use to differ in certain ways.

Here are a few ways in which the cleats in these sports contrast.


1. Padding and support

One of the main differences between the two cleats is the level of padding and support.

Football is a contact sport that involves frequent collisions between players, and as such, football cleats are designed with more padding and support to protect the feet and ankles.

Soccer cleats, on the other hand, are designed to be lightweight and offer minimal protection.


2. Overall design

Additionally, another difference between soccer cleats and football cleats is the overall design of the cleats.

Low-cut ankles are a feature of a soccer cleat design which promotes greater flexibility and freedom of motion when running and performing quick movements.

Typically, the upper portion of the cleat is constructed from a lightweight, breathable material, like mesh or synthetic leather, which improves ventilation and lessens sweating.

On the other hand, football cleats have a higher cut and cover most of the ankle for added support and protection.

The top part of the cleat is made of thicker materials such as leather or synthetic leather to withstand the rough contact play of the sport.

We’ll leave you with an informative video which does a great job of highlighting the differences between both these types of sports footwear:


Closing thoughts

Now you know whether soccer cleats can be used for American football.

Just to recap…

American football can definitely be played in soccer cleats, although the practice of doing so is not really recommended due to the difference in stud layout which exists between soccer and football cleat footwear.

For further reading on soccer cleats, you can read our post exploring why footwear of this type is so costly to purchase.

Samuel Waihenya
Share on: