All cleats are not the same! That is one of the very first things that must be said in any article about cleats . You can’t take any old pair of cleats and throw them on and expect them to work for any and all purposes. It’s just simply impractical to think that way. It’s a common sight to see at sports fields all over the country. People want to take the cheap way out, and it’s understandable sometimes, but it is oftentimes dangerous to do this. In lacrosse, a certain type of cleat is necessary to protect the player and to allow him or her to have the absolute best chance of being successful on the field. There are many differentiating factors that make lacrosse cleats stand out. In this guide, we will look into those factors as well as looking at what types of materials they are made from, the qualities of differing cleat styles, and then we will review the best cleats that are currently on the market.
Top Lacrosse Cleats Comparison Chart
Lacrosse Cleat Buying Guide
One of the first things that make lacrosse cleats different from any other type of cleat is the number of studs that they have. They have about four studs, typically, in the heel area of the cleat while there are between six and eight located throughout the toe and ball of the foot. In addition to this, because of lacrosse being a game with lots of side-to-side movements, the cleats themselves (or the studs, or nubs) are located toward the outside of the sole in order to maximize as much stability as possible. Another thing that makes them interesting is that they are very similar in weight, and even in most cases, appearance to soccer cleats. However, they cannot be worn in soccer because they have what is commonly referred to as a “spike” in the very front under the toes. A spike is just a stud located in the toe, and it is very dangerous for soccer purposes. This is why it is so important to buy cleats for their specific purpose. The only real universal cleat you could get away with would probably be a soccer cleat. However, there would be drawbacks for that as well. Unlike a sport like American Football, all of the cleats are generally mid-level shoes, so they aren’t low cut or high tops. Low cut shoes are great for speed but offer little protection for the ankles while high tops offer much more protection for the ankles. Those are just the major characteristics that make lacrosse cleats stand out from other types.
Finding the Right Fit
It’s really amazing to see people shoehorning themselves, or especially, their children into shoes that are either too large or too small for them. This is downright uncomfortable, and it is unnatural to do so. Lacrosse cleats, like any and all shoes, are meant to protect your feet and thus your body. They are essentially our shock absorbers, so we need to take care of them as best as we can. When we decide to wear something too big or too small, we risk changing how our body acts. We will develop injuries or niggling sensations that will add up over time.
The first step is to make sure that the cleats fit comfortably. This is not ballet where you should try and hurt yourself. This is something where you need to have some level of comfort. Make sure that they are not too tight or too loose. Too tight means that you will get blisters from wearing them because they will either displace your sock and rub, or they will bind your feet and make it very painful. Too loose means that they will risk flying off, or you will have to change your running style. Not only will that slow you down, but it will also do damage to your legs and back. Remember, you don’t want anything too tight because you are going to want something that will breathe a little on warmer days. To add to this, your midsole should be tight to your foot, however, because it will help better protect your foot from all sorts of injuries ranging from those caused by blows or by fatigue.
Secondly, make sure that you know what kind of cleat you need. While it is more common to find mid-level cut cleats in this sport, there are options for those that need added ankle support. High tops are out there on the market, so don’t be afraid to ask and search for those. If you prefer a low top for additional flexibility on the field, those are also out there.
High Top Cleats
High top cleats are the safest of the safe in the world of lacrosse. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t get injured in them, but it does mean that you will be more assured that nothing too bad happens to you. The number one goal of the high top cleat is to protect the ankle. In lacrosse this goal is twofold. They not only do they want to make sure that you don’t overturn your ankle while running, but they want to make sure that you are protected- as well as possible- from the ball hitting your ankle as well. This can be especially painful, so it is something that has to be weighed and considered for everyone making a purchase decision. These are probably best for bigger and stronger players that know that they are going to be more involved with the contact that speedier players would have to deal with.
Mid Level Cleats
These are the most popular kind because most people don’t have chronic issues with their ankles but still want a little bit of protection. These protect your ankle by going just above, but you do not feel that sensation of being handcuffed like you would if you were wearing high tops. So, you do get ankle support, but just not as much as you would from the choice above. This type would best serve a player that skirts between being a speed demon and an outright bruiser type. These are best for players that just want a compromise while still keeping them protected.
Low Top Cleats
This type of cleat is best for those that are not very injury prone. These types of players should be able to withstand some blows to their ankles, and they should also be quick players. This is one of the pluses to low tops because these are typically much lighter than the other two types of cleats. As players are seeking any and all advantages that they can find, these have become a more popular option to go with. They are also quite flexible, so you may not want to wear them if you are not!
In summary, just make sure you go and try on a few pair to see how you feel. Even if you ultimately want to purchase online because of better deals, there really is no substitute for trying them on yourself and seeing what will and won’t work for you. Some people simply cannot wear low tops, for example, so you’d much rather learn that at the store than after you’ve opened your package.
In the old days, if people were lucky enough to get an opportunity to have cleats, they were oftentimes made out of natural materials that were readily available. Nowadays, technology has gotten better and better, and that has allowed the game to completely change to where man-made products, known as “synthetics” are becoming the norm. There are even blends out there now that bring the best of both worlds together to give the athlete the very best products possible. The older materials are known as “leathers,” because they were most commonly derived from cows or some other animal. Each has their own advantages, and we’ll go over them here.
As time has gone on, leathers have become less and less popular in just about all sports. As with other sports, this has been the case in lacrosse, where it is only ever really seen when it is paired-as a hybrid- with synthetic material. Leather is used on more premium-based cleats like you see in soccer. These are higher-end materials that usually feel really awesome because they are soft. They also look great because they are top of the line. However, because they are naturally made, they do suffer when it comes to moisture. This isn’t all bad, though, because they still do a pretty good job at withstanding moisture, especially compared to another choice that we will get to later.
Man-made material has become much more prevalent in today’s market because of its ability to be easily molded to individual needs. Because of this, there are so many more options to choose from out on the market. The first thing that synthetic cleats allow is for a lower price point. Secondly, they are great at keeping moisture out because they have a tendency to last much longer than leather. Of course, it still depends on the quality of the cleats you purchase. A cheaper pair of synthetic cleats isn’t going to hold up as well for you as a more expensive pair, in general. Synthetics provide great traction while also providing protection to you despite being much lighter than the other options.
One of the less popular options in this arena is the foam option. Foam can be used on the upper, which is the part of the cleat that you see when it is being worn, but it has not been very popular because of its lack of durability. Foam is much worse than leather is at holding up against water. Not only will this cause it to eventually tear, but they will also feel terrible while you are wearing them.
Types of Studs
The type of stud that is used is also important when playing lacrosse. Without the right stud, your pair of cleats can become practically useless. They can quickly become a virtual tennis shoe, which is terrible for traction in certain venues. Let’s take a look at each type of stud and what they are best used for.
Molded cleats are the ones that are most well-known. These are the types that you see just about every kid using in just about every sport. This type has built-in spikes that are made from rubber. Typically, as stated before there are around ten of these studs on each cleat to help give the proper traction. These studs are long and help you dig into the ground as you turn, ensuring that you don’t fall over or twist your ankle. This is one of the reasons why in lacrosse, and the other sports, those molded cleats are so popular. No one wants their young child that is learning the game to have issues with rolling their ankle. Molded cleats are best used on grass, but they can be used on other surfaces, but make sure to ask if you are going to a new field because each field and league has its own set of rules.
Turf cleats are pretty self-explanatory in nature as they are meant for use on turf exclusively. Instead of having studs, turf cleats have little built-in spikes that are raised ever so slightly. They don’t come out near as high as molded studs do, but they are there. They are usually numerous, and they are placed their to help with traction. That’s why they are so numerous. The idea is to have many since they are not going to be cutting into the ground like molded studs would. Depending on the manufacturer, they can have all kinds of different shapes and designs to them. This type is not to be used on grass in any circumstance as they just cannot dig into the ground. The lack of traction, thus will send you toward sure injury if you attempt to do so, so please steer clear of potential injury.
Like the name suggests, this kind of stud allows you to tailor your experience to your specific needs. These types of cleats used to be very popular in soccer, but they are mostly geared toward players that are very serious lacrosse players. They are typically more expensive, but this is because they allow you to switch from one to another when needed. These are great options because sometimes an even longer cleat is necessary for the best traction on a very muddy grass field. On the other hand, it may be necessary to switch over to turf, so you would want that added stability. If you are going to be competing on both turf and grass, this may be the best option for you as you look to protect yourself.
Best Lacrosse Cleats Reviews
This is a pair of great looking traditional cleats for any lacrosse player. These are high top cleats, so they will protect the ankles from a number of issues. This is a huge plus for anyone with those types of problems. These would also be great for players that are a little rougher or take more hits than average as they offer the most protection possible. They also have a memory-type foam on the inside that forms to your foot to give you even more support and comfort. They are also synthetic, so they will hold up well and mold well to the feet as a result.
• Great for anyone that has experienced ankle or shin pain
• Very good for “middies”
• Very comfortable
• They are a little on the pricey side
• 8.5 oz
For optimal traction, the Huarache 6 is likely the type of cleat you’ll want if you want style, versatility, and performance. These are quite a bit pricier than most on our list, but they are top of the line material and engineering. Nike uses a Synthetic leather upper with synthetics to capably mold the shoe to your foot while its Phylon technology in the midsole gives great comfort and support. These are considered to be mid-level ankle protection cleats, so these would be good for middies or anyone that wants to have some ankle protection. They also have what they call Sonic triangle studs for optimal 360-degree traction.
• Style and traction is where this cleat excels
• Great comfort
• Durable due to mesh/synthetic blend
• Quite pricey
This pair of cleats features the traditional black and white paint scheme with a little bit of vibrant yellow color thrown in. They are mid-level, so they are walking down the middle of the road with regards to ankle protection. These cleats are leather, so they are going to be a little more stylish and they are going to feel great in comparison to most synthetic cleats. However, they aren’t going to hold up as well as synthetics, so these are more for the recreational type of player that doesn’t expect them to last too long.
They also have a mesh tongue which helps give your feet some air on those hot days, which makes it easier for you to breathe and they feature an EVA midsole that’s quite cushy and forgiving. This cleat is offered at a very reasonable price for any kind of cleats in the market.
• Premium-quality leather gives great comfort
• Great price
• Mesh brings breathability
• Leather doesn’t last as long as synthetics
• Mid-level doesn’t protect from ankle problems, if you have any.
The SpeedLax cleats are built for speed without breaking your budget. These cleats are right in the middle of the price range, so they should hold up fairly well and do so without costing you your entire savings. These cleats are fully synthetic and they have been molded to give the user more comfort and durability. Its dual pull system locks your foot in place and protects it while they also give you a three-quarters upper, which is really halfway between a high top and a mid-level when it comes to ankle protection.
• Great price for the quality
• Nice style and color
• Unique ¾ upper system
• Runs a little small compared to others
• Not great in the rain as they are not waterproof
This option comes a little out of left field but is highly rated. ASICS makes some great running shoes, and they have now crossed over to a turf shoe that can help lacrosse players out. This is an all-purpose shoe, but it can be used to great effect when playing lacrosse. It comes at a reasonable price and features a combination of leather and synthetics to mold the shoe together. It has a classic look with black and white as well as high ankle support for anyone that is looking for that. Overall, this is a great option to help give you traction if you are playing on turf.
• Great price for a turf shoe
• Very comfortable because of the brand
• High level of ankle protection
• Not specifically meant for lacrosse use
• Not good on grass at all
These cleats have taken on quite a following as they have been endorsed by lacrosse legend Paul Rabil who is known for his style and attitude as he is for his play on the field. These ooze with style as they a very colorful red, yellow, and green. They achieve this by combining fabric and synthetic to give it this look. They are at a very reasonable price and are also great with comfort as they are molded because of the synthetics. They provide a mid-level to a high level of support for the ankle.
• Very good price
• Very flashy and stylish
• Great for those with “wide” feet
• Doubts about the use of fabric
• Could be less durable because of it
Another great-looking shoe from Asics hits our list! The Gel-Prevost Mid is made of synthetic leather (with some mesh) but it’s somehow both supple and supportive (leave it to Asics to figure that one out!). Though it’s a low-rise shoe, the collar is a bit higher for added support. Asics has taken advantage of a proven biomechanically efficient angle for heel rise which is 10mm. That allows for maximum efficiency with each deployment of your muscles to propel you in whatever direction, or to stop efficiently!
The toe is reinforced against abrasion and impact and it features a multi-functional cleat plate that’s so light, it’s hardly believable! Don’t believe me? See, it works!
Gel cushioning on your heel provides shock absorption and the insole is removable so sweat can evaporate easier and extend the useful life of the shoe! All around, a great buy I say!
- Synthetic but soft
- 10mm heel gradient for maximum efficiency
- Removable insoles
- Excellent brand name
- Remarkably good Amazon reviews
- Asics’ sizing seems a bit off (several user complaints about wrong size)
Under Armour’s answer to Warrior’s Burn Low tops is the Nitro Icon. The Nitro Icon is at half the price, however, so there will be a decision to be made between the two. As with the last Warriors, these are low tops and allow you to move about much more quickly, and freely, than many other cleats on the market will allow because of their lightweight nature. They have the studs themselves strategically placed on the edges of the foot to help you turn as quick as you possibly can, which is also a huge help when you are in the heat of the game. They are also very comfortable, and they help prevent blisters with their ClutchFit technology which allows you to move while still giving you a certain level of support.
• Great price
• Speedy shoes
• Great comfort and balance
• Run a little large.
• Spikes are a little shorter compared to others
Don’t let the name fool you about these cleats from lacrosse titan Warrior. Technically they’re called MID, but I think it’s a cross between low and mid, but leaning toward low. These are built for pure speed, as they are going to be much lighter than the other types. With this, however, you are sacrificing ankle protection. You can be hit with the ball, or you could roll your ankles more easily with these, but many buying them simply will not mind that. One of the cool difference makers in these is the WarTech feature which wicks away moisture from the inside. This cleat brings a level of comfort and speed to your game that is hard to match elsewhere and is well worth the look.
Check THIS LINK for the Junior version of the Burn 9.0s.
• Great speed
• Very comfortable
• Light weight
• Pretty pricey
• A definite risk of ankle injury if you’re prone to weak ankles
Conclusion and Recommendation
With so many brands, designs, styles, and cuts, buying lacrosse cleats can be very difficult. Especially to anyone that is just getting into the game for the first time. In the end, it ultimately comes down to how you think and feel and what you want in a shoe. This game is one that is dangerous and quick. It’s not track and field, where you are merely running in straight lines. It’s for this reason that ankle protection has grown to be such a popular issue. Soccer has taken a page from this as they are now bringing shoes to market that have very high tops, but it’s still important to note that there is a huge difference between soccer and lacrosse cleats.
At any rate, make sure that you go try something on! Due to lenient return policies of many online retailers today, it’s very easy to try a few pairs and get an idea of which type you need. If you know you need low or high after your trip, then it has been a success. You have cut out a variable that is difficult to figure if you are shopping online. If you are new, it is recommended that you take a look at mid-level protection at the very least. It is so important that you don’t get injured playing. That is why it is important to know what you need and to not buy the first thing that pops out and looks cool.
For anyone that is used to playing the game, you generally know what to do. If you are a very speedy player that doesn’t get hit very often, look into the low cuts. You may risk getting an ankle injury, but the theory is that you will be able to run past any and all danger. If you are someone that is a little clumsier or bigger, then you may want to purchase high tops anyway since your speed advantage will already be gone anyway. If you know that you’re going to be playing on turf fields, make sure to make an educated buying decision. Don’t assume that you can go from one to another. Sometimes, you can’t, but oftentimes you cannot.
Cleats are a very important part of playing an outdoor sport, so make sure they fit well, feel good, and meet your purposes!