Best Football Cleats for Running Backs

Bo Jackson. Barry Sanders. Emmitt Smith. Ladanian Tomlinson. Adrian Peterson. These names have taken the National Football League by storm throughout the past three decades. What do these men have in common?

They are all high profile professional Running backs who’ve utilized their speed to get into the end zone and guided their teams to plenty of victories.  While shoes alone won’t get you to their level, the best running back cleats will help you reach your full potential!

While many companies offer a wide array of good Running Back Cleats, we believe we’ve found the best cleats for your money.  In a nutshell, the best Running Back cleats we’ve found are:

  • Nike Vapor Carbon Elite TD Cleats
  • Under Armour Spotlight Cleats
  • adidas Adi-Zero 8-star Cleats
  • Nike Men’s LunarBeast Pro TD Cleats

Footwear has a lot to do with the success of these legends. The running back is very significant in the game of football. This position is historically known for being one of the fastest players on the field; expected to run through defenses en route to the end zone.

They need to read the holes that the linemen create for them and use acceleration to get that initial push down the field. Finding the best lightweight football cleats for running backs is a crucial step towards being able to utilize their natural abilities of speed and agility.

The NFL today has been referred to by many as a “passing league.” In other words, they throw the ball more than they run it.

While the shotgun formation has become the most used formation in the NFL due to the high amount of passing plays, the running back is equally as important now as they were twenty years ago.

Whether it’s running the ball, blocking, or catching, the running back needs the perfect cleat, which would feel as though they aren’t wearing any footwear.

The last thing any ball carrier wants to do is get blasted by a violent and angry linebacker, so the best thing to do is grab yourself a pair of running back cleats so that you can dodge these animals and score for your team.

What do I look for in Running back cleats?

If you want to be an above-average running back, you need to be fast on your feet; elusive like a cheetah in the wild. How to you get to that level? Extremely light footwear.  

Opposite to the lineman standard, you want less bulk and more lightweight material as a running back. While an emphasis on ankle support would be helpful for a fast player making cuts in the field, it takes up too much unnecessary space.

The heavier the material is, the more it’s going to hold you back when you’re out there on the field. More often than not, you will see skill players in football wear a cleat similar to that of a soccer cleat.

That is because the demands of a running back and the demands of a soccer player are very similar. Both athletes need to run, fast, up and down a field. So don’t be surprised if you find some of the best running back cleats look a lot like a soccer cleat.

While there isn’t an official “running back” cleat from each major sports brand, there are standards to look for:

Low Top Cleats

Unless it’s the UA Highlight cleats, your best bet is to purchase footwear that keeps your ankles exposed. It may sound crazy initially because skill players get tackled often in football, but you need to don footwear that is light, comfortable, and explosive.  

The best running back cleats will offer the lightest weight possible while maintaining rigidity in the main body of the shoe.

Lightweight Material

Skill positions in football are about speed. No one really cares how strong you are as much as they care about how fast you are while carrying a football.

No running back would ever want to be held down by a pair of heavy cleats because the slower they are on the field, the more likely they are going to be replaced by a faster athlete.

Ankle Stability

As a skilled player, specifically a running back, you are required to make awkward movements and change direction at a fast pace (also known as making a “cut.”)

In order to perform this fast-paced movement without twisting an ankle or your knee (which ironically happens to running backs quite often), you need to wear something that provides your feet with stability.  The best running back cleats provide stability while minimizing weight.

With regards to size, I would recommend getting a size bigger than you usually wear, since most of these lightweight material-based cleats tend to run small.

Running Back Cleats – The Comfort Factor

Being a ball carrier in the game of football is a substantial responsibility. In order to perform well, it only makes sense to be comfortable while on the field. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’re wearing, you won’t be able to produce on the field, so do yourself a favor and find comfortable cleats.

5 Best Running Back Cleats Reviews


1.   Nike Vapor Carbon Elite TD Football Cleats Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite TD

These football cleats from Nike are the standard for skill players, specifically the running back position. The lightweight synthetic “zero-space fit” on the top of the cleat and the carbon fiber plate on the bottom gives this cleat the dynamics needed for elite speed.

These cleats are very popular, as you typically see them on the feet of some the top NCAA and NFL talent.


  • Lightweight design and material provides the potential for fast foot movement
  • Variety of color schemes to choose from
  • Considered “the fastest cleat in football”


  • Adult sizes highly priced
  • Bottoms aren’t detachable so if they wear down they will need to be replaced
  • Some consumers complain about difficulty putting the shoe on




2.   Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 Football Cleats Nike Men's Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 Football Cleat Black/Anthracite Size 10 M US

These cleats are the new revolution to lightweight cleats.

The upper part of the cleat consists of mesh and synthetic skins; the midfoot has flywire cables inside the shoe for a consistent, sock-like fit, and the innovative cleat geometry optimizes traction for quicker cuts and acceleration.  

This shoe ranks as one of the better running back cleats for lightweight.  It’s over $100 so I hope it is!

The Untouchables excel in all the responsibilities of the running back. The traction assists with cuts, so whenever you need to make a cut in order to avoid tacklers or enter the hole, this cleat can give you that necessary boost with comfort and grip.

It is evident when looking at this glove that the material is very thin but reinforced with quality. Wearing these will undoubtedly give you the confidence to make a defender miss and run down the sideline in fashion!

I would also recommend these cleats for receivers and defensive backs, especially since both these positions demand the player to be quick on their feet.

While I try to be fair and come up with an equal amount of cons as I do pros, I like this cleat so much that I fought myself to come up with one…


  • Fresh, clean design
  • bootie design that offers support but flexibility at the same time
  • Sturdy Carbon Fiber material helps stabilize the foot for a comfortable fit
  • 31 color combo options!!!


  • The attached tongue may make it difficult for some people to put them on




3.   Under Armour Spotlight Football Cleats


Under Armour Men's UA Spotlight Metallic Silver/Black 16 D US


Under Armour’s most popular cleat today has to be the UA Highlight cleat (otherwise known as the “Cam Newton” cleat.)

There is no question, the Highlight cleat can be extremely beneficial to a running back, and while it might contain the best quality Under Armour has to offer, they have another collection that has the look of the prototypical “running back cleat.”

The Under Armour Spotlight football cleats look like the prototypical cleat for that position strictly because of its appearance. This low cut cleat offers plenty of room and a SpeedForm molding that fits perfectly to your foot.

The material Under Armour used to make the Spotlight cleats will definitely provide the consumer with breakaway speed and precise comfort.

On the other end, the Spotlight cleats seem to look a bit heavier compared to the Nike brand skill position cleats. Heavy material leads to a heavy foot, and that can’t help your running back reach their full potential on the field.

Also, the inside material looks as though it could make the back of your ankle blister easily.


  • Low cut look to making it easy to change directions
  • Gives customers an alternative to the “Highlight” cleat
  • Synthetic upper provides zero distraction in the ankle area


  • Suede-like material on the outside tends to damage easy
  • Overall material used to produce this footwear looks heavier than other cleats in the market
  • Interior looks cheap




4.   adidas Adi-Zero 8 Star Football Cleat

adidas Men's Adizero 8.0 Football Shoe, Black/Night Metallic/Grey, 6.5 M US


This cleat was one of the cleats I brought up earlier that look similar to soccer cleats. The Adidas Adi-zero is lightweight, low, and narrow. These aerodynamics set you up for pure quickness and agility; something your opponent will not be very happy about.

In addition, these subtle cleats are “chic style” for those interested in “on the field” fashion. The lightweight single-layer “Sprint Skin” guarantees quick cuts and acceleration. With these benefits, you can be confident that you will get to the end zone whenever you find yourself in an open space.

This shoe is designed for easy on and off by featuring a sock-like textile upper and they have the lockdown you need as a running back.  The outsole is cleated of course and that provides the traction you need to do your job properly.  

The fit is as per regular so in theory you won’t need to go up or down a size to ensure a proper fit.  And if that all wasn’t enough, there are at least 30 color combinations to choose from, though they may not all be available in every size.


  • Aerodynamics of the cleat scream “fast”
  • “Sprint Skin” offers thin material for better movement
  • Stud Configuration supports cuts and provides advanced acceleration
  • At least 30 colorways!


  • The Adi-Zero 5 Star cleats might not be easy on the eyes for everyone
  • Players with naturally wide feet wouldn’t be comfortable in the Adi-Zero’s




5.  Nike Mens Lunarbeast Pro TD Football Cleats


Nike Lunarbeast Pro TD CF Football Cleats


I’m breaking my own advice in recommending this cleat when I said to stick to low-cut.  This shoe I think is an exception.  It’s just so good and light, we like the fact that it can offer ankle protection while not hindering running ability.

As far as support, coverage, and comfort are concerned, this product from Nike does not seem to disappoint.

It is because it works in hugging your ankle securely through its mid-height collar, giving you the support and coverage you need without sacrificing your comfort.

There’s also a flexible cushion in the sole that further enhances comfort, so this cleat is not lacking in that area for sure. 

The hook and loop strap gives it yet another level of support and lockdown, and the 7 stud detachable TPU spike plate makes sure you get unbeatable traction and performance.

Another thing that impresses me is that it boasts of a good grip once worn on the football field. It also tends to hold up well in various conditions and environments.

Another reason why we appreciate this cleat is that users reported not having any issues or problems breaking it in.

It is a well-designed shoe that is designed to make your experience in the football field as memorable and as enjoyable as possible.


  • Supported by current NFL players
  • Excellent Support with minimal weight or constriction of ankle movement
  • Interior structure has foot stability
  • Seven-stud detachable TPU spike plate delivers superior traction


  • One of the more expensive cleats on the market
  • Might be narrow for some players




Running Back Cleats – The Takeaway!

Overall, as a running back your biggest concerns should be: the weight of the shoe, aerodynamics, and foot stability. The Nike untouchable and Vapor cleats are essentially the best out there right now.

They are made with strong, yet thin material so you don’t have anything weighing you down but you have protection for your feet. The running back is the Ferrari of football, therefore you need footwear to heighten your speed and get you in the end zone.  

We believe we’ve been able to offer you some of the best information on the best running back cleats available anywhere today!  We hope you do as well!



My name's Pete Stec and I'm one of the owners here at and Sport Consumer Family (YouTube). My family and I invite you to travel our journey of wellness for your kids and family through nutrition and exercise while we continue to provide the very best reviews on the sports gear you need for serious competition or for your leisure activity!

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