How to choose soccer shoes for kids

Soccer, or football as it’s known globally, is a sport that ignites passion and fosters growth from a young age. For kids starting out or advancing in their soccer journey, selecting the right pair of soccer shoes (also known as cleats or boots) is crucial. The right footwear not only improves performance but also ensures safety and comfort. This guide aims to assist parents and guardians in navigating the process of choosing soccer shoes for kids, covering everything from understanding soccer shoe types to fitting tips and key features to consider.

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1. Understanding Soccer Shoe Types

Soccer shoes are designed with specific playing surfaces in mind. Understanding these surfaces is the first step towards picking the right pair.

Firm Ground (FG): Designed for natural grass fields that are neither too hard nor too soggy. FG cleats have molded or removable studs that provide traction without digging too deep into the ground.

Soft Ground (SG): For wetter, softer grass fields, SG cleats have longer metal or plastic studs that can be screwed in for better grip. These are less common for kids due to the specific conditions they cater to.

Artificial Grass (AG): Tailored for artificial turf, AG cleats have shorter, denser, and often rounded studs that evenly distribute pressure and prevent turf burns.

Turf (TF) / Multi-Ground (MG): Suitable for hard, artificial surfaces like AstroTurf or hard-packed earth. These have small rubber nubs or short, clustered studs for traction without damaging the surface.

2. Key Factors to Consider

Age and Experience Level: Younger children or beginners might benefit from versatile MG or TF shoes that can handle various surfaces, while more experienced players might need specialized cleats for their primary playing field.

Fit and Comfort: Proper fit is paramount. Shoes should be snug but not tight, allowing for a bit of toe room for growth but not enough to cause slipping. Ensure there’s no pinching or rubbing points, and check for a comfortable insole and midsole cushioning.

Material and Durability: Synthetic materials are typically more affordable and easier to clean, while leather provides a more comfortable, flexible fit but can be pricier and require more maintenance. Look for durable construction that can withstand the rigors of play.

Weight: Lightweight shoes improve speed and agility, especially for younger players. Avoid heavy boots that can hinder movement and tire out little legs quickly.

Ankle Support: High-top shoes provide extra ankle support, which can be beneficial for some players, especially those with ankle instability. However, most kids’ cleats are low-cut for better mobility.

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3. Sizing and Fitting Tips

Measure Regularly: Kids’ feet grow rapidly, so measure their feet before buying new shoes, and re-measure every few months.

Try-On with Socks: Have your child try on shoes with the socks they’ll wear during games and practices to get an accurate fit.

Walk and Kick Test: Encourage your child to walk, jog, and kick a ball in the shoes to ensure comfort and appropriate fit during movement.

Consider Growth Room: Allow a thumb’s width of space at the front of the shoe to accommodate growth but avoid excessive room that might lead to tripping or blisters.

4. Budget and Brand Considerations

Set a Budget: Soccer shoes can range widely in price. Determine your budget upfront and focus on finding the best value within that range.

Brand Reputation: Popular brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Under Armour are known for their quality and variety. However, don’t overlook lesser-known brands that may offer equally good products at lower prices.

Look for Sales and Discounts: Take advantage of seasonal sales, clearance events, or second-hand markets to find quality cleats at reduced prices.


Choosing the right soccer shoes for kids is an investment in their enjoyment and development in the sport. By understanding the different types of soccer shoes, considering key factors like fit, material, and playing surface, and following practical fitting tips, you can equip your young athlete with the perfect pair for their journey. Remember, comfort, safety, and a proper fit should always take precedence over aesthetics or brand names. With the right cleats, your child can take to the field with confidence and enthusiasm, ready to enjoy every moment of the beautiful game.