The 5 Best Offensive & Defensive Lineman Cleats for 2018: High, Mid, & Low Options

Linemen in their stances

Why are linemen so special that they get to have their own type of football cleat? To clarify, every position on the football field could benefit using their position’s own specific cleat, because it’s tailored to the dynamics of the position. Lineman cleats are bulkier than running back cleats because speed isn’t as significant to playing the line and protection is. Engaging with the other team almost every play, the lineman is positioned the closest to their opponent, which means the odds of their lower body (specifically the feet and ankles) are more likely. Therefore, a cleat that is composed of a thick, good quality material, mixed with ankle support is absolutely necessary.

It’s not that lineman are so celebrated that they need their own cleat, (essentially every position has their own type of cleat) they just need something that keeps up with the demands of their position and shows durability in poor weather.

Top Lineman Cleat Comparison Chart

What to Look for in Lineman Cleats?

Linemen in the game of football are historically large (meaning 250 pounds or more) and are demanded to be in a low position to attack their opponent efficiently. After all, anyone who has played football at any level should know that the lower man always wins. With that being said, the yeti-like lineman needs to bend their knees and ankles; applying a lot of pressure to those areas. To feel more secure, a lineman needs to look for a heavy cleat that covers their ankles and looks and feels tough. Many linemen also have wider-than-average feet so that also has to be taken into consideration.

Similar to lineman gloves, you need something made with thick material. The leather needs to come off as a shell to your foot. Think about it, you’re going to be playing head to head with someone for four quarters, and the odds are you are going to do whatever you can to make that big block or tackle, and help your team win right? Do you think there would be a moment where you were blocking a defensive linemen and the guy next to him steps on your foot? Maybe you go to recover a fumble and as you’re in the dog pile, other players are trying to get in there and your feet are accidentally (or maybe purposefully, who knows) getting kicked and stepped on by people wearing cleats themselves. The problem here isn’t as much people stepping on your feet as much as it is you being prepared for it. This game gets very physical and demands a lot of energy from your body and mind. There will certainly come a time where you will get stepped on, or maybe even twist your ankle in a poor playing field. The last thing any lineman wants is their 250 plus pound body weight to come crashing on their ankle because it will definitely sideline even the toughest of players.

Detachable or Molded Cleats?

Keep in mind there are two different types of any cleat: detachable and molded. They are exactly what they sound like. Detachable cleats are hard spikes, generally consisting of metal and/or plastic, that you screw into the bottom of your cleats. These are used for better traction despite any field conditions, but they will brutally hurt someone if you step on them. Molded cleats, on the other hand, are permanently attached to the cleat, and typically made of rubber. These are usually best for youth level although there are sizes into the adult realm. Just like a lot of sports equipment, it’s all about your personal preference.

 

Best Lineman Cleat Reviews

 

Nike Air Zoom Boss Shark Football Cleats

 The Nike Air Zoom football cleats are the prototypical lineman shoe. Starting with the high ankle design, this cleat will cover your ankles with its synthetic leather material; assuring that your ankles don’t get scraped or bruised. The mid-foot strap is also beneficial because it adds support and security to the player. One characteristic that could be considered a downfall would have to be that these are molded. While that isn’t a deal breaker from any aspect, considering the other great traits of this cleat, those who are faithful to detachable cleats (yes I really know people like that) may be turned off by that trait. There is also a wide version of these cleats and they’re also detachable.  I would recommend this version to guys looking for the best cleats for wide feet.

Pros

  • Lightweight, synthetic leather for fast movement and durability
  • Mid-foot strap and high ankle support adding stability to the player
  • Interior cushioning make these cleats some of the most comfortable on the market

Cons

  • Molded bottom might decrease value due to customer demand
  • Not a lot of variety in the size and color categories on Amazon
  • Price could be lower considering the lack of sizes and color

 

Nike Zoom Merciless Pro Shark Lineman Cleat

The Nike Zoom Merciless Pro Shark lineman cleat is a newer Nike lineman cleat with less protection compared to the Nike Air Zoom Boss. While this cleat also offers ankle support, it is not as high compared to the former cleat, and also doesn’t have a mid-foot strap for extra stability. This molded cleat consists shiny and suede material, which might not hold up well in rain or snow.

This cleat isn’t necessarily terrible overall; I just think there are better-suited options for the lineman position.

Pros

Cons

  • Molded Cleats may repel potential customers
  • While the material seems high quality, durability is in question
  • Lack of mid-foot strap reduces stability

 

Under Armour UA Highlight MC Football Cleats

This cleat initially inspired by Carolina Panthers’ Star Quarterback Cam Newton, is “the jack of all trades” when it comes to a lineman. While it isn’t specifically designed for the lineman position, it is the only non-lineman specific cleat I would consider. This is because of all its physical attributes:

First, this cleat provides the most ankle support out of any cleat on the market, resembling more of a World War II combat boot rather than a football cleat. Despite your feelings on how the obnoxiously high ankle looks like on this cleat, it shows promise that your ankle won’t get hurt while wearing this product. Under Armour claims that the UA ClutchFitTM is a “second skin” which molds to while ankle while you move, giving you powerful support. This “second skin” can also protect your toes and feet from injury; a wise investment for the hogs in the “trenches.” The 4D foam molds your foot for a comfortable fit that feels customized.

The Cam Newton inspired Under Armour Football cleats are the most versatile cleats on the market. Any player on the field can wear this cleat. It will literally serve you well at any position. While it is not specifically a lineman cleat, the UA Highlight football cleats can definitely be of some use when on the line.

Pros

  • Above average “second skin” ankle support guarantees stability and protection
  • Foot-forming 4D footbed molds foot for ultimate comfort
  • Can be used at any position on the football field

Cons

  • This product is one of the more expensive cleats on the market
  • Not every player/lineman feels comfortable with the extended amount of ankle support
  • Amazon reviews claim that this shoe is very narrow, and lineman tend to have wider feet due to their large size (doesn’t apply to everyone)

 

Adidas Freak MD Football Cleats

These cleats from Adidas have the most resemblance to a traditional lineman cleat. The Freak cleats are tough, sturdy, and high, made with synthetic leather that provides superior protection and comfort. The thickly padded tongue and collar give a cushion for the front of your foot just in case you get stepped on or fall. These cleats are similar in structure to the Nike Zoom cleats, as they are high ankle cleats with no additional straps or layering.

Pros

  • Amazon prices are affordable for adults
  • High ankle support keeps lineman stable and protected
  • Extra padding on the Adidas Freak keeps the lineman comfortable when in the game.

Cons

  • Reviews suggest that material isn’t very durable, which isn’t ideal for a lineman
  • Product could use additional foot and ankle support
  • There seems to be more lightweight Lineman footwear on the market.

 

Adidas Performance Filthy-quick 2.0 Football Cleat

Sporting the open elastic ankle band and white, grey, and black camo design on the bottom, these Adidas cleats are quite fashionable. The high top design with the elastic ankle band helps with flexibility and movement. This pair of lineman cleats reminds me of the Nike Air Zooms except that these cleats have an opening in the back. The cleat is lightweight, which is good for a lineman, but the opening in the back of the ankle isn’t the best for an aggressive lineman. With all these sports-related injuries such as torn Achilles tendon, ankle support is crucial, especially for a lineman. The synthetic leather and sole reassures the player that their cleats will last long.

Pros

  • Made out of strong material
  • Reasonably affordable.
  • Flexibility helps with movement

Cons

  • Open Ankle increases chances of injury
  • Reviews claim the material is cheaper than it looks
  • Cleat runs slightly small compared to other cleats

The Verdict

A lineman is the first one in line. To be good at their responsibilities on the field, they need accessories that protect them in battle. After looking at this list of football cleats, the best ones to go with would be the Nike Air Zoom cleats or the Under Armour UA Highlight cleats. The Air Zooms are a high-quality shoe made by the most popular brand for footwear. The Under Armour Highlight cleats contain all the essentials needed for a superior lineman cleat. If you find cleats with a thick layer, ankle support, and exceptional interior comfort, you will be well off on the field.

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