If you're somebody who tends to play their soccer on natural grass throughout the year, then you'll want to find the best soccer cleats for turf.
Having the right cleats can make a huge difference to a player's game, with certain ranges specifically designed for playing surfaces that are firmer or softer, depending on the time of year.
FFT has been dedicating itself to categorizing designs to make cleat shopping easier for you. If you're simply looking for the best soccer cleats out right now, be sure to check out our other reviews. But here you'll find the best soccer cleats specifically for turf...
Reasons to buy
The Nike Phantom GX Elite has very recently been replaced by the Nike Phantom GX 2 and the fact that so many were sad to see it go tells you everything you need to know. These were widely seen as the standout model of its generation by Nike and was undoubtedly one of the best cleats to be released last year.
The ‘gripknit’ that covers much of the upper is perhaps the most interesting innovation we have seen on a cleat over the last couple of years and one of the reasons these stand out from the pack. The sticky material is aimed at aiding touch and close control, and is able to function just as well in wet conditions where other cleats may offer slightly less grip once it rains.
The soleplate used on the FG version of the Phantom GX is also a major reason why these are a great option if you are looking for a pair to wear on turf. It features a mix of tristar, conical and chevron studs across the sole so whether it is twisting and turning, pushing off at speed or going from side-to-side, the GX has you covered.
The ‘agility line’ that runs through the soleplate gives the stability that is essential in any good cleat. The soleplate is well-rounded and a key part the excellent wearing experience offered by this very high-performing cleat.
Reasons to buy
The Nike Mercurial is a model almost unrivalled in its enduring popularity, owing largely to it being worn by some of the most iconic names in soccer since its inception including Thierry Henry, Kylian Mbappe and both Ronaldos.
The Mercurial MO has always been about flair and raw speed and the Superfly 9 is loyal to these traditions while the addition of a soccer-specific 3/4 Zoom Air Unit in the soleplate for the very first time is one of the more unique bits of soccer cleat tech in the recent past.
As with previous iterations, the FG version of the Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Superfly 9 Elite boasts one of the most aggressive soleplates on the market and make it suitable only for turf pitches. The traction offered by the tooling in the Superfly 9 is up there with any other pair available at the moment and lends itself perfectly to Nike’s aim to creating a cleat built for speed and agility.
The new Air Zoom Unit inserted into the soleplate provides extra spring when pushing off or changing direction. The upper is made from Vaporposite+, an updated version of the Vaporposite used in the previous generation and is a soft, comfortable and lightweight material that fits snugly. It is also grippy to the touch in a way that may not make a significant difference but certainly does not hurt especially in slightly wet conditions.
The Mercurial continues to know its job and do it excellently.
Reasons to buy
The ‘speed’ category is one in which Adidas has long excelled. For instance, the F50 in its various generations is fondly remembered as one of the best cleats of its type and indeed, overall and the X Speedflow is nailed on as a future classic.
The direct descendant of these boots, the X Crazyfast is another example of Adidas getting it pretty right in this area. The stripped-back, almost minimalist approach taken by Adidas for the Crazyfast.1 is made to suit those who are light on their feet and need a boot to complement this.
The thin upper is even semi-translucent in parts but offers just about enough structure to provide a comfortable fit. The soleplate features a plastic insert that offers excellent energy return and gives it an extra bit of 'bite'. The aggression from the slightly bladed studs that form the sole of the cleat, added to the minimalism of the upper, mean that the FG version of this cleat should only really be worn on turf pitches.
On natural grass, the wonderful traction of the Crazyfast.1 is put to its best use.
Reasons to buy
The Predator name is one that needs no introduction but the cleat itself is one that has undergone quite dramatic change in recent years since its reintroduction. The latest in this most iconic line is the Predator Accuracy, and with this Adidas have created a cleat that does a lot of things right.
This is perhaps the best laceless Predator Adidas have created – the incorporation of the hybridtouch material previously seen on older models of the F50 is a wonderful touch and makes the Accuracy super comfortable out of the box.
The rubber elements are one of the most instantly recognisable features of an Adidas Predator and they are here in abundance, serving the look of a Predator as well as having a genuine effect on the soccer ball.
2024 is the 30th anniversary of the Predator and has seen Adidas release a model that is visually reminiscent of earlier models. This means that the various colourways of the Accuracy will likely tumble in price in the coming months, making them in an even more attractive option for those looking for a new pair.
Mizuno Alpha Made in Japan
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
If you are looking to try something new or a bit different for your next cleat purchase, then the Mizuno Alpha Made in Japan should be high on your list. The soccer cleat division of the Japanese brand has garnered something of a cult following in recent years due to the extremely high quality and unrivalled comfort of its cleats, and the Alpha is the newest addition to Mizuno’s selection.
The triangular studs that form the soleplate provide the necessary aggression for pushing off and turning quickly on turf, making these one of the best cleats in the ‘speed’ category. The Mizuno Alpha borrows the Enerzy foam used on the brand’s running shoes and aids energy return when taking off.
As one would expect from a cleat of this type, the upper is thin and lightweight but this does not come at the expense of any comfort or structure with the Alpha fitting and feeling as good as any other ‘speed’ cleat on the market.
If you are big on comfort but also want a slim, lightweight pair of soccer cleats then the Mizuno Alpha Made in Japan should be on your hotlist. Mizuno also offer the lower cost option of the Mizuno Alpha Elite that is not made in the brand’s Japan factory but offers much of the same quality.
Puma Future Ultimate
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
The Puma Future has quietly garnered a reputation as one of the best models on the market, and the Puma Future Ultimate is another giant step in the right direction for a brand that has made great strides in the cleat market in recent years.
The Fuzionfit 360 material that forms the upper is almost uniquely soft and flexible and means the Future Ultimate is wonderfully comfortable straight out the box. Puma advertises these as FG/AG meaning in theory that they can be worn both on turf pitches and artificial ground. However, we would say that these are better suited to grass due to the length and shape of the studs.
On these surfaces, the balance between comfort, stability and aggression offered by Puma’s Dynamic Motion System outsole can be utilised to its fullest potential by agile, creative players - the craftspeople of a soccer team.
Puma have very recently released a new generation of the Puma Future Ultimate so this iteration will undergo a significant drop in price very quickly before completely disappearing from shelves and websites. So, if you want to experience what it is a truly excellent cleat then time may very well be of the essence.
How we test soccer cleats
We put each pair through its paces for several sessions across all surfaces to determine their true level of performance across key factors including comfort, stability, fit and feel. This also allows us to balance them against the claims from brands about new features and technology.
If a brand says that a new aspect of its soleplate means you will be able to push off faster or a new synthetic upper is just as comfortable as leather – we will test to see how accurate this really is.
Each pair is tested by an expert member of the team who lives and breathes soccer cleats, and are therefore able to cut through the marketing minefield and provide simple yet detailed advice for all players regardless of level.
In depth knowledge of the market means that factors that are important to consumers like value for money will always be flagged.
How to choose the best soccer cleats
The soccer cleat market can be a bit of a minefield at the best of times, with an array of options available and brands championing the latest tech that will have you jumping higher, running faster and never miscontrolling a ball ever again.
Ultimately, your choice should come down to what best suits you and your game. Below are some factors to consider when looking for your next pair...
Leather or synthetic
When trying to work out what pair of cleats suits you best the material of the upper is a vitally important factor to consider. There was a time when virtually all cleats were made from natural leather but these materials are slowly being phased out by many brands in favour of man-made options.
However, ample leather options remain. Leather offers a traditional fit, moulding to the shape of your feet. It is also soft, pliable and durable.
Most synthetic uppers will be slightly thinner and offer less padding than their natural leather counterparts. They will, though, offer a much closer connection to the ball with the thinnest synthetics providing a close to barefoot feel.
There is also the option of leather-imitating synthetics that represent a nice in between. These are often more lightweight than natural leather but come with much of the same comfort and pliability.
This is the area where there is perhaps the greatest range with something for everyone. Most brands will offer pairs that are simpler and more traditional in look and also ones that are flashy and colourful.
Whatever your personality or preference, there are likely many pairs that complement it perfectly.
The soleplate is where the bulk of the technology of a cleat lives, so it is very important to consider this when choosing a pair.
‘Speed’ cleats, such as the Nike Mercurial range, feature responsive, aggressive outsoles with high levels of traction, but more traditional pairs, such as the Copa Mundial or the Nike Tiempo, are slightly lower tech and the soleplates concentrate more on comfort under foot than raw speed.
There is also surface to consider. If you play exclusively on artificial ground then an Artificial Ground (AG) specific soleplate is the best option, whereas if you are playing on turf every week then a Firm Ground (FG) pair is the best bet when it is relatively dry and a Soft Ground (SG) when it is wet or slippery.
Getting the right fit
We would always recommend trying a pair before buying because making sure your cleats are the perfect length and width is key.
Pairs of the same size often vary slightly in length between brands and across models, so it important to try a pair on in order to know whether it is better to go a half size up or down for a particular pair or brand.
Foot shape is highly personal so consider the shape of your feet when looking for a pair. Some cleats are very narrow so will not suit anyone with wide feet and likewise very wide fitting pairs can sometimes feel slightly awkward for those with especially narrow feet.
This is especially important if considering a pair of laceless cleats as the lack of laces means there is very little adaptability – they will either work for your feet or they won’t.
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