My son is rough on his cleats. He’s also growing like a weed as are most kids his age. So we never spend much beyond $15/$20 on his cleats for soccer since he out grows them so quickly. But now he’s wearing the cheap ones out before he outgrows them. His last pair he wore the material off the toes (or they just fell apart). His current pair, we recently noticed, are missing 3 cleats that were torn off during play/practice. He cuts hard so I wasn’t surprised – they were cheap cleats. He had wanted some cleats that were a little snazzier than the plain black cleats we normally get him for $15. So I figured I’d take a look at some from Nike or Adidas, etc. I was surprised to see what some of them were made out of.
Now don’t get me wrong. I was not going to spend $50 or $75 on a pair of cleats for him. I just wanted to get him a nice cleat that instead of $15 might cost $25. Most of the youth cleats in our sporting goods stores were $20-$30. My son’s uniform is red and black, so when I saw these cleats from Nike, I figured they would be perfect (and $25 to ‘boot’ ). Snazzier than the plain black, match his uniform, and the actual cleats are much thinner than on his old cleats (which have very wide cleats – perhaps 3/4" in diameter) But when I turned them over, I was shocked to find that the cleats were plastic. Yes I know all cleats are some type of rubberized plastic, but these were the hard shiny surface plastic you find a lot of cheap toys made out of. It was strange. One walk on a hard surface (like a trip to the bathroom over the rough cement) and he’d wear half the cleat off. Plus the bottom was the same material – very inflexible which for a cleat is good but for the sole of the shoe didn’t seem like it would bend very easily.
I’m not a cleat expert by any means, but pretty much all the Nike cleats had this very hard plastic cleat material that just seemed like it would wear down quickly vs the more rubberized material on other brands of cleats. The cleats are very thin which means they’d grab into a dry hard pitch better than most others. So I’m guessing they need the harder material to keep the cleats from snapping off. But it just seemed like they would wear down too quick (because kids aren’t going to always change into their sneakers if they have to walk over a hard surface) I’d be curious to hear from any other parents out there who have these as to how well the cleats wear.
In the end I went with a cleat from Adidas which had narrow elongated cleats that looked like they would grab on a cut very well. The cleats were more of a rubbery plastic material I’m used to that hopefully will handle the wear better. Plus they look pretty cool and when I talked with my son to ask him what color cleat he wanted to go with his red uniform, I was told BLUE in no uncertain terms!
Yes, I know when the kids are young, worrying too much about cleats is overkill. But honestly, for $10 more than we usually pay, its worth it for him to have cleats that stand out a bit and should help him grab the turf better. He’s earned them. But why he insisted on blue vs red with a red uniform – well, I’ll never know!