Soccer is the largest youth sports organization in the United States, with 3 million members between the ages of 5 and 19.
Its popularity among kids has been rising steadily since the early 1990s when the U.S. hosted the World Cup.
As a parent, there are many reasons to be excited if your child expresses interest in soccer. Soccer is a great team sport that provides kids an opportunity to be active and learn important lessons about working together and following instruction.
In order to help your child prepare for starting soccer, you’ll want to make sure they have the right equipment. Buying the right soccer cleats for kids is especially important because good cleats will allow your child to play safely and comfortably.
Below we’ve put together the ultimate guide to what to consider when buying soccer cleats for kids so you’ll know what to look for when you start shopping.
1. What Position Will Your Child Play?
The various positions that make up a soccer team all require a very specific kind of playing style and skill set. Because players in different positions need to move in different ways, the best shoe to support them will vary.
If your child is just starting out in soccer, they may try several different positions before settling on one, but it’s good to have an overview of what shoe qualities each position needs.
These are the main offensive players on a soccer team who are often responsible for the team’s goals. The ideal cleat for them will be lightweight to give them comfort and control over the ball.
Players at the winger position bounce back and forth between midfield and offense. They’ll want a shoe that allows them to speed up and change direction quickly and easily.
Over the course of a soccer game, midfielders typically do the most running and so will need a cleat that provides them total comfort as they move up and down the field.
Defenders are often going one-on-one against players from the other team, and even at the youth stage that can get rough occasionally. The best cleats will offer protection while still allowing the player control over the ball.
Goalkeepers often move quickly back and forth in a specific space and they need to be able to stay on their feet. Shoes that have solid traction will work best for this position.
2. What Is the Field Like?
Trying to choose the best soccer cleats for kids can depend a lot on what the field conditions are for your child’s games and practices. There are a number of different designations for cleats that indicate what type of surface they are ideal for.
For example, firm ground cleats are the best choice if you know your child will be playing on natural grass. Artificial ground, on the other hand, works best for artificial grass and turf surfaces.
Weather can also be a factor in field conditions, especially for natural grass surfaces. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and believe that your child will be playing in wet conditions, look for shoes with a soft ground designation.
You may also want to consult the coach of your child’s team as he or she may have more information on typical field conditions.
3. What Are the Cleats Made Of?
The material of upper part of the cleats you buy for your kids can make a significant difference in how your child performs on the field.
As your child progresses through the sport, his or her preference may change, but it’s helpful to know what the most common materials used can feel like.
Leather cleats are usually on the heavier side, but that typically means they’re more durable as well. Leather cleats are known for the way they can mold to a player’s feet.
Synthetic leather is a newer trend amongst companies that make the best soccer cleats for kids. You won’t be able to get the same natural feel of the ball as with natural leather, but synthetic cleats have the added benefit of being waterproof.
The benefit of using mesh is that it creates a lightweight and breathable shoe, which can be great for kids who are newer to the sport and adjusting to wearing cleats.
Mesh does allow for moisture to get in the shoe, though, so it’s not a good choice for wet conditions.
4. What’s Your Budget?
Soccer cleats can get expensive, so it’s important to do some field research and come up with a realistic budget.
If your child is just starting out playing soccer you don’t want to invest too much money into a cleat. They’ll be trying out different positions, their feet will be growing and it’s likely that their shoe preferences will change.
If you have an older kid who has been playing the sport for a while, you may feel comfortable spending more money on a cleat.
Especially if your child has a set position, it’s possible they’ll be able to find a cleat design and brand that they’ll stick to for several years to come.
The material used in the cleat will also impact its price, so keep that in mind as you’re setting your budget.
And always take your child with you to try on shoes — you don’t want to spend money on something that doesn’t give them the right fit or provide the right level of comfort.
Ready to Start Shopping for Soccer Cleats for Kids?
As the popularity of soccer continues to grow, it seems clear that, especially among kids, the sport is here to stay.
It’s always exciting to see your child express interest in or excel at a new activity, and as a parent, you probably want to do whatever you can to encourage them.
Making sure they have the right equipment, including the proper cleats, will help them progress in the sport. The right footwear can also help ensure their safety and comfort on the field.
To learn more about proper soccer equipment or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.