The 8 Best Football Cleats to Buy in 2018

Score the game-winning touchdown in a perfect pair

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Cleats help backs run better and faster and let linemen be sturdier and more in control. If you’re looking for a good pair, there are a few factors you should consider. Look at the ankle height. A high cut offers more protection from sprains and twisting but may limit mobility. High ankles are popular among many players, especially linemen and those with an injury history.

Look also at the fit of the cleat, the length of the spikes, the weight of the shoe, and the lacing. Consider whether you want immovable molded cleats or replaceable detachable cleats. Football cleats come in leather or synthetic options. Additionally, think about the rules of your league when considering color and design—there are often restrictions.

Check out our top picks for football cleats today whether you’re buying for a peewee player, a high school star, or an adult flag football league.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nike Vapor Untouchable Mens Football Cleats

NIKE Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 Mens Football Cleats

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

The Nike Vapor Untouchable cleats are some of the coolest ones on the market. These stylish low-cut cleats are a great option for scrambling quarterbacks, fast-running receivers, lock-down corners, hard-hitting linebackers, and plenty of other positions.

These Nike cleats are synthetic for a long-lasting and durable construction. However, unlike many other synthetic cleats, these boots won’t hold moisture and odor because of the mixture of mesh material throughout. The cleat is made in a comfortable one-piece knit design with a flexible upper shell. These cleats even sport the increasingly popular attached ankle sock. The base is a carbon fiber plate with 14 molded spikes. They're remarkably lightweight and designed for speed and sharp cuts.

Outside of their excellent composition, Nike Vapor Untouchable football cleats will be sure to catch some eyes. These cleats feature dozens of sweet styles and color options. Pick your team color or your favorite design and enjoy the results on the gridiron.

Best Budget: Under Armor Men’s Renegade RM Football Cleats

It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars on football equipment. From getting the right compression gear and socks or a mouth guard and gloves, it can add up (not to mention pads and a helmet). However, you can save a little money on football cleats without sacrificing quality. The Renegade RM Football Cleats from Under Armor are an excellent set of affordable cleats for men, and are also available in kids sizes. 

These simple black cleats feature a popular black-and-white color scheme that will fit any football uniform. The high-cut design will help protect ankles on the field and are ideal for linemen. These cleats, available in medium or wide varieties, are made of synthetic materials with a breathable tongue. The upper section and the die-cut EVA sockliner help add comfort while the molded outsole and cleats provide traction and stability.

Ideal for turf or grass, these low-cost cleats are backed by the Under Armor name and are a set of boots that you can rely on game in and game out. 

Best for Kids: Nike Kids Vapor Shark 2 BG

Football can mean a lot of things for young children. It can be a fun way to emulate your favorite player in the backyard or a life-long learning experience on the value of teamwork and effort. Whether your child is looking to play organized tackle football or flag football, ensure he or she has a reliable set of cleats like the Nike Kids’ Vapor Shark 2 Football Cleats.

These youth Nike cleats are available in red, blue, black and other designs. Unlike some football cleats on the market, these high-quality cleats do not have a crazy price tag—perfect for a pair of shoes they’ll outgrow someday. The synthetic cleats feature a rubber sole as well as breathable fabric to avoid odor. These shoes are particularly comfortable with a cushioned tongue and collar and standard lacing for exact fit. The insole features a foam molding design and the midsole is padded for added foot cushion. The cleats themselves are molded and the entire boot is durable and tough for muddy weather and rough play. 

Best for Linemen: Nike Force Savage Varsity Cleat

Nike Men's Force Savage Varsity Football Cleats

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Long cleats are one of the most important features for linemen. They deliver the traction you need to block the defense or break through for a sack. Additionally, the twisting and quick foot planting at the line makes most linemen want added ankle support to protect themselves from injuries. The Nike Men’s Force Savage Varsity football cleats are a popular option that deliver ankle support and excellent traction.

Available in blue, green, orange, red, yellow, and black, these cleats go with any team color scheme. Looking more like a pair of basketball shoes than wide receiver cleats, the Force Savage Varsity cleats are perfect for protecting your leg and providing traction in turf and grass. The shoe includes a synthetic upper, a Lunarlon foam midsole for excellent cushioning and a TPU plate on the boot for a stable surface that does weigh much. The cleats are molded and the shoe has a helpful flywire cable system to lock these linemen cleats on tight.

Best for Backs: Adidas Men’s adiZERO 5-Star 7.0 Adimoji Football cleats

Whether you’re a half back, a receiver, or a free safety, you want cleats that help you reach top speed and let you turn on a dime. The Adidas Men’s adiZERO 5-Star 7.0 Adimoji Football cleats are a perfect option for backs on both sides of the field. These high-quality cleats feature a Sprintskin upper level and a padded bootie design to keep your foot snug and allow you to move effortlessly around the field.

The adiZERO 5-Star 7.0 Adimoji cleats have the best features for backs. You’ll get a heel cup that keeps your feet in place while you run, Speed Spat tape for added flexibility where you want it, and the Sprintframe plate for a solid foundation. The plate along with the SprintSkin upper provide ample support but add very little weight, keeping you quick and light. The shoe sports EVA lining for cushioning and Sprint Studs for optimal traction. The cleats are available in red, blue, gold, white, and all-black.

Best High Cut: Under Armor Men’s Highlight Select D Football Cleats

Under Armor Men’s Highlight Select D Football Cleats

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Protect your ankles with the Under Armor Men’s Highlight Select D Football Cleats. These Under Armor cleats feature a high-cut synthetic design that is similar to a lace-up ankle brace. It provides stability, support, and very little weight. This cleat is ideal for linemen, defensive players, and anyone with ankle injury history. Additionally, the CompFit ankle construction lets you fit snug in these cleats with no unwanted lateral movement. 

In addition to its unique high-ankle design, the Highlight Select D football cleats include the bouncy SuperFoam insole for ideal cushioning. The cleats are detachable for a long-lasting and customizable football experience. The shoes come with multiple cleat options—for backs and linemen. They’re the perfect option to help you take your game up a level.

Best Mid Cut: Adidas Men’s Freak X Carbon Mid Football Cleat

Mid-cut cleats are probably the most popular option for football players of all ages. These versatile cleats combine the maneuverability and speed of a low-cut without completely abandoning the support and stability of a higher-cut shoe. The Adidas Men’s Freak X Carbon Mid Football Cleat is a great mid-cut option that delivers everything you need on the field. 

This cleat features a heel cup that keeps your foot in one location as you run—no sliding around in your shoes. They're made of synthetic material with a mesh lining that lets the cleats breathe. This pair includes the popular Adidas SprintSkin technology, which provides more support and less weight in the upper section. A synthetic sole, molded cleats, and a 4.5-inch shaft from the arch make these great for support. You can get the Freak X Carbon football cleats in blue, green, red, black, white, and more, all with those three Adidas lines.

Best Fit: Reebok NFL Burner Speed SD3 Men's Football Cleats

A lot of cleats are designed to prevent movement inside of your shoes, but few do a better job than the Reebok NFL Burner Speed SD3 Men's Football Cleats. These cleats are made to prevent any lateral sliding for linemen or slippage when you’re trying to burn your coverage on offense. 

These synthetic Reebok cleats use U-FORM footwear lining technology to fit your feet exactly: You heat your cleats in the oven for a few minutes, then put your feet inside and lace up. Within a few minutes, the shoes will be customized to your toes and arch forever.

Not only do these shoes fit well, but they have a good balance of support and handling with a mid-cut design. The cleats are available in white, black, and orange.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular football cleats on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different cleats overall, screened options from 4 different brands and manufacturers, read over 12 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the cleats themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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