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!
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.
Top 5 Football Cleats for Running Backs Chart
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.
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.
As a skill 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 that stability while minimizing weight.
In 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
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 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
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.
This cleat is essentially a modern version of the Nike Vapor Carbon cleats. 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 two…
- Fresh, clean design
- Low cut cleat that keeps your ankles open for flexibility
- Sturdy Carbon Fiber material helps stabilize the foot for a comfortable fit
- Attached tongue may make it difficult for some people to put them on
- You may not be able to find colors to match your uniform because of lack of selection
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
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 open space.
- Aerodynamics of the cleat scream “fast”
- “Sprint Skin” offers thin material for better movement
- Stud Configuration supports cuts and provides advanced acceleration
- 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
- Not much selection on Amazon.com
These running back cleats say it all in the name. Speed Form. They are specifically built for a player looking to be fast on the gridiron. The Speed Form contains all the essentials for running backs. They are endorsed by some of the fastest skill players in the National Football League, one of which, Justin Forsett, is a running back. If an NFL player is wearing it, you know you are buying something with quality.
The V56 technology built into the shoe is designed to help limit toe hyperextension. The Speed Form cleats most definitely offer the most protection to your feet with this type of material. It also offers External heel counter for increased structure and support. With these benefits, I’m not surprised that NFL players are backing this cleat.
- Supported by current NFL players
- V56 technology reduces toe hyperextension
- Interior structure has foot stability
- One of the more expensive cleats on the market
Running Back Cleats – The Takeaway!
Overall, as a running back your biggest concerns should be: weight of the shoe, aerodynamics, and foot stability. The Nike untouchable cleats and the Under Armour Speed Form 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!