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Cleats that players use for the sports of soccer and American football can be somewhat similar, with their plastic spikes underneath; but they’re also quite different in a number of details. Sometimes fans may wonder, Can soccer players use American football cleats on the pitch?
Players cannot wear American football cleats in soccer games. The main reason is safety, as football cleats are built for strength including longer studs from the bottom, more weight, and a more stiff or sturdy exterior.
Soccer cleats, on the other hand, are built for speed. They are lighter, and feature a much-softer exterior compared with the football counterparts ~ because soccer players depend much upon the feel of the ball on their feet.
American football cleats are built in such a way that, if used among a lot of softer and lighter soccer cleats, they could cause injuries.
The main reason anyone would even consider wearing football cleats on the soccer pitch is cost. That is, the cost of playing more than a single sport, and hoping some of the equipment transfers. That means using only a single pair of cleats instead of having to buy a pair.
There is no advantage that we can see for players to wear football cleats instead of soccer cleats on the pitch. As explained, soccer cleats are specially designed for the rigors of that game: light on the feet, flexible up top to allow a feel or the ball, low-cut to not interfere with ankle angles and speed.
Besides some exceptions, like for wide receivers and secondary defensive players (cornerbacks, safeties), American football cleats are rather cumbersome. They are designed to withstand a tremendous amount of stress which comes from men constantly pushing against each other in opposite directions.
Perhaps soccer goalies might appreciate the longer cleats at the bottom of football shoes. Or, maybe a soccer player who wants to rough up the opposition, like a tenacious fullback, wears football cleats for intimidation.
Still, the main reason players of either of these sports would consider using cleats from another sport is the high cost of sports cleats overall. Young parents of multi-sport stars get this. The more seasons Junior can squeeze out of every pair of cleats, the better.
You’ll find a lot of reasons why it’s not wise (or legal) to use rugged football cleats in the finesse game of soccer. Mostly it comes down to what may seem common sense: it could hurt both the player wearing the football cleats, and the other players he’s playing against.
How can wearing the wrong cleats in a soccer game hurt that player? Using American football cleats in soccer games will hinder performance of the player wearing the football kicks. It would hurt the ability to compete.
Soccer cleats look the way they do for a reason. They are low-cut, meaning little of the shoe reaches up the ankle, to keep the shoes light and also to allow the ankle maximum flexibility.
That flexibility is needed in a game where sudden starts and stops, and twists and turns while handling the ball.
Soccer cleats are always made of very light (and soft) material. Even when the exteriors are leather, only a thin layer of hide is used. The tops of soccer cleats are always soft and free of impediments, to ensure true kicks from players.
Football cleats come in a variety of ankle cuts, from low (for wide receivers or defensive backs), to medium (quite common), to high tops (which some linemen prefer).
These cleats are heavier than what soccer players would be used to, but perhaps most importantly, the studs sticking down from football cleats are longer than those for soccer players.
Long studs slow runners down, which will not be tolerated in soccer. American football players will sacrifice a little foot speed for better traction with the turf needed for blocking.
That’s a huge difference between the sports: body contact. In soccer the players might bump into each other fighting for a ball, but they cannot purposely block an opponent from any particular spot on the field.
Football, of course, is all about blocking, and setting up “plays” for the offense to move the ball forward.
It’s the long studs underneath, plus more weight and stiffness, that make American football cleats dangerous for other players in soccer.
Flipping the scenario, soccer cleats are allowed for use in American football games ~ and in fact are used in games.
Namely, by the kickers and punters. Why not? Since soccer cleats are designer on top to be thin and light and allow for a better “feel” for the ball, players in American football who kick the ball for a living often turn to them instead of models designed specifically for football.
Aside from the kickers, players in some other football positions might consider soccer cleats. They would be the “speed positions” of wide receiver or cornerback. These players sprint constantly in their never-ending battle for balls thrown by the quarterback.
However, a vast majority of football players, receivers and cornerbacks included, favor using football cleats. They are just designed more just for the game. They feature a thicker exterior to project from having a foot stepped on. Plus, there are those longer studs to avoid slippage and falling.
It’s important to note how much feet get stepped on, whether accidental or on purpose, in these sports. In soccer it’s usually by accident, when players get close to one another fighting for a ball.
It doesn’t happen often enough, or with enough force, for soccer players to worry about it. They’ll sacrifice a little pain for keeping the cleats light and airy.
American football is a totally different matter. Not only do players step on each other’s feet more often, there are those longer studs to deal with.
Football players are face-to-face up close with their opponents all game long. Accidental foot-stepping is part of the game. So is purposeful foot stomping.
Fans watching on television or in stadiums may not be aware, but at the bottom of those piles of bodies during a football game, a lot of shenanigans occur. Opponents who dislike each other might poke or prod each other hoping a referee does not see it.
Purposeful foot stomping happens. It’s illegal, of course, but game officials do not always catch it. For this reason, a great majority of American football players will pass on using soccer cleats during game play.
There’s just not enough protection, compared with regular football cleats.
Question: Couldn’t soccer players get away with wearing football cleats if they only went with low-cut versions like those used by wide receivers?
Answer: Perhaps. It’s up to the thoroughness of any officiating crew doing any given game to catch culprits. It would be more likely if a football player tried getting away with wearing soccer-focused cleats.
Q.: Is it explicitly written in soccer rules that players cannot use American football cleats?
A.: The International Football Association Board, the governing body for soccer, has it outlined in its Laws of the Game, in Law 4 about safety: “A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.”