Kids soccer cleats are the make it or break it equipment for a child. It is not because they are necessary but it’s how well they are secured and feel to a child. Remember, a child will only complain if they are in pain or high level of uncomfortableness. Otherwise, it's our job to make sure they are on right and secure for feel and comfort. As a coach for over twenty years I can tell you that I could spend the first 10-12 minutes of a class or training just tying and re-tying kids soccer cleats. At one point I asked a group of kids to just come with the laces untied so I can tie them appropriately and have their parents see what appropriate means. So I am sure your wondering..what is appropriate?
Well, first the cleats need to be soccer cleats. Yes, there is a big difference between soccer, football, and baseball cleats. Let's take a look at the difference with some images below. Kids soccer cleats are totally different than baseball and football cleats. Whats the big deal? football and baseball cleats are not meant to touch the ball. Soccer cleats need touch on the ball and so are made to have comfort touch with the ball. This has drastic consequences in learning the sport. Touch is super important in soccer and thus why the leather or material cannot be bulky or prevent the player from feeling the touch on the ball. I have had players come in converse with rubber toed shoes and those are the worst. The child feels like he or she has more power but that isn't what they need. At the youth or initiation phase they need to build on their touch. Touch gives them the cognitive feedback measurement on the kick. If this is blocked or diminished, the player will always look for power as a measurement of success and this is not good. Power, is only good when it is controlled. No control means a frustrated player and coach.
The cleats here (left) are baseball and American football cleats. They are completely different than soccer cleats in many ways. The most important being functionality. These cleats aren't made to make contact with ball only to keep traction on the field. These cleats will prevent proper formation of touch, and ultimately soccer formation.
So where can you get them?
We suggest you go somewhere you can try the cleats on but for a good idea on prices go to Amazon.
A soccer specialty store may be nearby. Google search soccer stores near me.
The pair of cleats to the left are true soccer cleats. simple with molded cleats made from leather or synthetic leather. The other two are football and baseball cleats. I have seen many kids come out to to the field with baseball or football cleats and I cringe because every time they kick it's with their toe. The reason they use their toe is because both football and baseball cleats are bulky and have studs at the toe with extra leather covering. This facilitates toe kicking and does not allow the child to fully point the toe down. The soccer cleat is narrow almost pointy at the toe. With football and baseball cleats there is a bigger kick with the toe and facilitates a very bad habit! So please make sure to get some simple soccer cleats. Shoes or sneakers with rubber toes will prevent your child from getting touch on the ball and will facilitate toe kicking. If you don't have proper equipment make sure the shoes are not heavy at the toe.
Gear is not cheap and cheap gear is not always the best fitting. What I mean is make sure the cleats or footwear is comfortable. That is what we as coaches look for to have a great session. I remember a time when a player arrived in heavy football cleats. These were tanks and I knew...this kids is going to hurt someone. Sure enough he feels that his weapon was a big kick and begins chopping at anything he could. It wasn't a horrible plan since when he did get the ball the ball would fly. Of course, he had no control and either his foot or the ball got people hurt. I actually made him play barefoot and he whole approach was different. Yes, he now was at risk of getting stepped on or hurting his toe but barefooted soccer is actually a great way to teach good technique. so, for the sake of the coach and proper soccer technique pay attention to the footwear and how they feel on the child. Comfort and simplicity is king.
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