All soccer cleats should give you excellent traction on the pitch, provide responsive and natural ball feel with dribbling, shooting, and passing, and fit comfortably from the opening whistle to the end of the match. All manufacturers strive to meet these goals, and the top line designs from each brand usually do. Most companies have a variety of silos to choose from, some of which are made for pure speed, others that prioritize control, touch, and lateral movement.

Of course, the individual manufacturers are always trying to set themselves apart from the pack. The experts at The Instep break down the main differences between brands:

Nike® v. adidas®

The two most popular brands, from the elementary school soccer field to the World Cup stage, Nike and adidas both make a number of great designs. Nike soccer cleats are worn by many of the world’s top players and feature patented Flyknit uppers, Nikeskin texturing for added ball touch, and All Conditions Control coating that makes it easy to handle the ball on a wet or muddy field. Similar to Nike, adidas soccer cleats feature a Primeknit textile upper that provides superb breathability and Predatorskin texturing on top models for increased swerve. Traditionally, Nikes run a little more narrow, but these days there’s just as much difference between silos as there is between brands.

PUMA®

One of the original manufacturers of modern soccer boots (along with adidas), PUMA soccer cleats are also very popular with players from all skill levels. Pro-quality, top-of-the-line PUMAs feature textured striking areas similar to Nike and adidas. One of the most unique designs on the market, the PUMA NETFIT technology on the PUMA Future silo allows for a number of different lacing configurations so that every player can find the perfect lockdown fit for their foot. These designs are popular with pros like Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez.

New Balance®

New Balance soccer cleats have re-emerged on the football boot scene with two new high-tech silos, the Visaro and the Furon. Advances like the FantomFit frame and no-sew Hidraskin upper provide a solid lockdown fit while keeping the boot lightweight and breathable.

Breaking into the professional market isn’t easy, but with the addition of Senegalese star, Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, to their roster, they definitely have a foot in the door (or on the pitch as it may be). Like all the major brands, they offer both top-line, pro-quality cleats, and boots that are more budget-friendly, intended for recreational play.

Fit Matters

Whatever brand you choose, it’s important to get the right fit. Of course, every design fits a little bit differently, so the only way to know for sure is to try them on. Order a pair and try them on in your living room. If they don’t feel great, swap them out for another style. Find the perfect fit, and lead your team to victory on the pitch.