Can Football Cleats be Used for Soccer

Cleats can be expensive. Playing multiple sports might mean having to buy different cleats for each one. If you play American football, it is natural to wonder whether you can reuse your cleats to play soccer too.

Football cleats cannot be used for soccer. Their use is forbidden in official soccer leagues. They are not allowed in competitive and recreational soccer leagues, tournaments, or most clubs and teams. Using football cleats for soccer can cause injuries and hinders players’ performance.

In this post, I’ll explain why they’re not allowed, why you shouldn’t use them for soccer even if they were, the differences between them, and more.

Can You Use Football Cleats For Soccer?

For safety reasons, football cleats cannot be used in soccer leagues, tournaments, or competitions that follow or base their rules on IFAB’s Laws of the Game.

IFAB, the International Football Association Board (“football” here relates to soccer, not American football) — the “Guardians of the Laws of the Game” –, are very clear in their Law 4 that addresses “Safety”:

A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.

This includes footwear.

Since football cleats have longer and sharper studs than those found in soccer shoes and — most importantly — because they feature a toe stud (unlike soccer shoes), their use is considered dangerous in soccer.

Someone wearing football cleats could seriously injure other players with those longer spikes and toe studs. Besides causing pain and injuries to other athletes, the wearer could get sent off from the match, suspended for a few games, or, in worse cases, even banned.

That’s why referees inspect players before the start of each match or before substitutes enter the pitch.

You have probably seen players putting one foot down and the other up when there’s a substitution. That happens so the assistant referee can see if their studs are of an allowed size, length, and material and if there are no toe studs.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Football Cleats in Soccer?

Although football cleats are comfortable to wear, if you were allowed to use them for soccer, you shouldn’t.

Here’s Why:

Football cleats were designed to be used for playing American football only. They’re built with that specific use in mind. Using them for soccer, even if allowed, would only work against you.

They may appear similar, but in reality, they weigh more and are larger and bulkier than soccer shoes which are lightweight and fit perfectly.

And since they usually feature longer studs and a toe stud, you would have a harder time controlling, passing, dribbling, and shooting the soccer ball.

It would hinder your overall performance, slow down, or even recede your skill development.

That being said, you cannot and should not wear football cleats for playing soccer.

Are Soccer and Football Cleats the Same?

Soccer and football shoes look similar; both types of cleats can be mistaken for the other.

Soccer cleats and football cleats are not the same. There are many differences between them, such as user type, cut style, construction, materials, outsoles, stud types and length, and the existence of a toe stud in football cleats that soccer cleats don’t share.

Cleats for American football were designed to be used for that sport specifically. Soccer cleats have a more flexible type of use.

Differences Between Football Cleats and Soccer Cleats

There are 5 main differences between football cleats and soccer cleats:

  1. Cut length.
  2. Midsole.
  3. Outsole.
  4. Studs & Toe Stud.
  5. Construction sturdiness.
Football Cleats Soccer Cleats
Cut Length Low, medium, and high Generally low-cut
Midsole Included Not included or include a thin one
Outsole Thick and sturdy Thin and light
Studs & Toe Stud Long and sharp spikes. Toe stud included Shorter and less sharp spikes. No toe stud.
Construction Sturdy and thick Light and snugly

Differences Between Football Cleats and Soccer Cleats Explained

Cut Length

All positions in soccer require speed of movement, sudden stops, quick cuts, agility, and ankle maneuverability. That’s why cleats for soccer are usually low-cut and lightweight.

One may say that soccer cleat designs feature a cut above the ankle, like a high-top, but that’s more like a collar made from stretchy fabric to offer softer and more secure feet to the ankle.

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Cleats for American Football vary between three cut lengths: low, mid, and high.

Each length is best suited for specific positions on the gridiron and different styles of play.


Low-cut cleats for football go below the ankle and are similar in look to standard soccer cleats. They are lightweight to maximize speed and agility.

Football players who rely on speed to play their role in the game of football have them as their favorite. That includes defensive backs like cornerbacks and safeties and offensive players like wide receivers.


Mid-cut football cleats only cover a portion of the ankle to provide ankle support while, at the same time, allowing for more ankle freedom and speed when compared to high-cuts.

This length design is preferred by defensive backs, linebackers, quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers.


High-cut or high-tops cleats for American football have a similar shape to basketball shoes. As the ankles are fully covered, they provide extra ankle support and more padding. But it also makes the cleat heavier and bulkier.

High-cut football cleats are the best option for positions that do not require a lot of mobility on the playing field. The most offensive and defensive linemen pick this style of cleats to help with their constant lateral movements during the game.


The midsole is a layer between the inner and outer soles of the shoe that provides cushioning, absorbs shock, and helps reduce foot fatigue. It’s designed to protect the ball of the foot, which is the area where the majority of impact occurs.

Soccer cleats either don’t include a midsole or feature one that’s generally thinner than an American football cleat.

This allows soccer players to keep their center of gravity as low to the ground as possible, which helps them have higher stability, ball control, and speed. Cleats for gridiron come with midsoles. Besides comfort, they offer increased stability required to withstand the rigors of contact sports like football.


The outsole is the bottommost part of the shoe, after the insole and midsole. Outsoles are generally made of rubber or synthetic materials like polyurethane.

Soccer cleats have thinner and lighter outsoles than American football boots, with thicker and sturdier outsoles for maximum protection.


Soccer shoes come with different types of studs depending on the playing surface.

Soccer shoes for Indoor Soccer (which is played on synthetic turf and is different from Futsal and so are its shoes) feature spiked or bladed cleats for increased traction, and higher speed or rounded cleats for more stability study for outdoor soccer shoes come in different makeups, lengths and shapes depending on the type of playing field.

For soft ground grass pitches, soccer shoes usually come with removable studs made of metal (aluminum) that help with traction and are more durable.

Soccer shoes have studs molded into their outsoles for harder outdoor surfaces like dried grass or artificial turf.

Compared to soccer cleats, football cleats have longer and sharper studs for increased grip and traction, enabling players to turn and cut faster and more confidently.

Studs for this type of boot can also be detachable (more expensive depending on the type of material, which varies between metal, plastic, and rubber) and molded (least expensive overall).

As a measure to reduce injuries, youth football competitions require the use of molded cleats.

Toe Stud

American football cleats feature a toe stud located close to the big toe.

This special kind of stud was designed to provide traction and grip in those situations when players move straight-ahead from a still position, block, or push against opponents.

Toe studs are not included in soccer cleats — making it one of the biggest differences between football and soccer cleats.

Having a toe stud would only make things even tougher for soccer players. Receiving, controlling, passing, kicking, and other movements would be largely affected.


Both football and soccer cleats are built with reliable materials that can withstand the toughest uses and circumstances: wet, soft, rough, or hard grass, dirt, mud, high temperatures, cold, rain and ice, and snow.

Their manufacturing naturally takes into account the distinct specificities of each sport itself.

M. Abdullah is a celebrity author with a keen interest in all things related to the rich and famous. He has built a reputation as a go-to source for the latest and trendy celebrity gossip and in-depth information and resources on the net worth of some of the world's most prominent celebrities, players, athletes, and politicians.


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