Five years from now, women’s specific soccer cleats could be a thing of the past. Let’s face it: Cleats have come a long way since the days of the original Puma Kings, the Nike Mercurials and the Adidas Copa Mundials and Predators, all of which are still available today in a much more modernized versions.
All the major soccer brands in the United States started to produce what they call a “women’s specific” cleat. These cleats are designed to better fit the foot of a female athlete. They are generally narrower, especially in the ankle, and offer colors schemes that differ from their men’s selection.
Unless you know which boot works best on your feet, picking a new cleat is usually a game of trial and error. Here are a few pointers for when you go shopping for those new cleats:
- Yes, color is fun, but the most important part about trying on soccer cleats is asking yourself: “Will I be comfortable running around for 90 minutes in these shoes?” If the answer is no, keep looking.
- Once you find something that works well for you, don’t change it, unless you have time to adjust to a new shoe. Breaking in a cleat could take up to a month. If you are in the middle of a season and your cleats are starting to wear, purchase a new pair and alternate between the old and the new at practices. Be careful of blisters, and make sure blisters are properly taken care of if they occur.
- The latest cleat fashion is…VERY bright neon colors, lightweight, and what the pro’s are wearing.
- Nike cleats: While most of the US Women’s National team sport the Nike logo on their boots, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for you. Nike offers three top tier cleats on their women’s line. Their first option is the Tiempo Legend IV. This is a basic, Kangaroo leather cleat, with a nice and light heel cup. While having adequate support, the Legend IV is also lighter than the previous models, with a nice touch on the ball. Nike’s second option is the Mercurial Vapor, which is very light, synthetic material cleat. The one major drawback on this cleat is how narrow they fit. If you have wide feet, don’t even try to jam your foot into one. The newest addition to Nike’s women’s specific line is the CTR360 Maestri. In the men’s model, this cleat is one of the most popular among the professionals, while it is still a brand new cleat to the women’s line. I was impressed with how similar the models are. This cleat can fit regular to wide feet, provides a lot of support in the ankle, and has a great touch on the ball. Nike uses a synthetic material called “Kanga-Lite”, which acts like Kangaroo leather, but is water resistant. My favorite on the Nike line is the Legend IV. It provides a nice touch on the ball with high quality leather. The Maestri’s are a close second.
- Adidas cleats: Every single cleat Adidas has put on their women’s specific line is almost identical to their very popular cleats on their men’s line. The adiPower Predator is one of the most popular cleats on the market. The Predator is made of Taurus calf leather, and is one of the lightest leather cleats on the market. It provides plenty of support and comfort for your feet. The Predator also has the signature Adidas Powerspine, which creates more power while shooting. My favorite Adidas cleat is the adiPure. This is a solid Kangaroo leather cleat that provides the most comfort possible. The leather on the adiPure is one of, if not the, softest on the market. The fit is meant to be tight, almost like a glove, but offers support in the heel. The nice thing about kangaroo leather is that it will stretch to fit your foot. The adiPure unfortunately runs fairly narrow on the women’s line so many women switch over to the wider men’s model. The final Adidas cleat, the F50, is extremely popular on the men’s line. This trendy boot is one of the lightest on the market, comes in obnoxiously bright colors, and is worn by many professional men’s players overseas. The F50 is a full synthetic cleat made up of Adidas SPRINTSKIN, which is very light and extremely durable. If you have not worn synthetic cleats be aware that they may cause blisters and they get extremely hot on turf surfaces.
- Puma Cleats: Puma has come out with their lightweight cleat the v.1.11, which is similar to the Nike Vapor and the Adidas F50. Parts of this cleat are made up of a lightweight microfiber, and provide a lot of support for such a light cleat. I like the snug fit of the v.1.11, and the narrow toe-box. One could have trouble with this cleat if they have wider feet.
- Diadora Maracana: The Diadora Maracana is one of my favorite cleats on the market. A Kangaroo leather cleat that is under $100.00 is a steal, in my opinion. The leather is soft and water resistant, and the boot itself offers a lot of support. A main reason why people love the brand Diadora is because their cleats fit wide feet. The width and leather quality on this cleat make it different from any other cleat out there. As of Fall 2011, this cleat has been released in a neon yellow, which keeps it pretty current.
Under Armour has released a men’s line of cleats, which also fit wide, and they are worn by a few US Women’s National team players. The cleats that are the most popular and stores have trouble keeping on the shelf are the Adidas adiPower Predator, the Nike Legend IV, and the Diadora Maracana.
Special thanks to Adi Martoatmodjo, Phil Galipo, and PJ Sports in Bethesda, Maryland.
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