Best soccer cleats for defenders: The latest ranges designed for defensive-minded players from Nike, Adidas, Puma, Umbro and New Balance

Best soccer cleats for defenders
(Image credit: Future)

If you're a budding wing-back or a seasoned sweeper, you'll want to find the best soccer cleats for defenders before the new season kicks off. 

Having the right cleats can make a huge difference to a player's game, with certain ranges specifically designed to assist defenders, midfielders and attackers. FFT has been dedicating itself to categorising 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 on the market right now for defenders...

Best soccer cleats for defenders: Nike Tiempo Legend 9

Best soccer cleats for defenders

(Image credit: Future)

As explained in FFT's Nike Tiempo Legend 9 soccer cleats review, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker and Thibault Courtois are just three superstars that have worn these recently, despite the cleats initially being advertised as built for attacking players. 

That's because, while light and offering great traction, they're more durable than many of their peers. Made of tough, yet soft, K-leather and ideal for players with wider feet, the Tiempo Legend 9 is a strong choice for defenders with a bit of pace and class in possession. 

Buy the Nike Tiempo Legend 9 from Pro Direct (opens in new tab)

Puma King Platinum 21 Vegan

Puma King Vegan

(Image credit: Future)

As we said in our Puma King Platinum 21 Vegan soccer cleats review, Puma Kings have always been considered no-nonsense soccer cleats. Defenders all over the world, from Sunday League-level to the World Cup, have donned this iconic range before going into battle. So FFT was intrigued to hear, in 2022, that Puma were releasing a vegan pair, made entirely free of animal products. 

The Vegan Kings are just as durable and robust, yet light on the feet, as the classic range. The animal-free "leather" upper is supple, comfortable and slightly spongey, while maintaining its tough streak. We also think they look the business, with the vintage black and white colour way reversed in sumptuous style. They're also a lot cheaper than other newly-released ranges. 

Defenders can't go wrong with these, and they'll be doing something great for the environment when they buy a pair. 

Buy the Puma King Platinum 21 Vegan from Pro Direct (opens in new tab)

New Balance V2 442

In our New Balance 442 v2 football boots review, we explained how this is a no-nonsense cleat at a low price. Comfort and durability are valued above all by this range, which offers a premium K-leather upper and studs which are best-suited for softer ground. 

Internal cushioned pillows deliver incredible comfort and solid support. There's little in the way of gadgetry (no "touch pods" to assist with ball control, for example), but there's a lot to be admired about a cleat which feels good, protects you and will last for a good few seasons. 

Buy the New Balance V2 442 from Pro Direct (opens in new tab)

Diadora Brasil Whiteout

Diadora cleats

(Image credit: Pro:Direct)

We remember the days when a simple, plain white soccer cleat like this would have had your dad shaking his head and ranting away about "back in his day".

How times change. The circle of life has rendered these K-Leather Diadora cleats retro, when once they were new and bold. If you're anything like us, you still get a thrill from wearing something completely all-white and as impractical as this down to the muddiest five-a-side pitch in town. 

Buy Diadora Brasil Whiteout from Pro Direct (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1