How much do shoes/boots matter?

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by NewDadaCoach, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    My kid needs new shoes; his cleats are worn down. Last weekend I visited 3 stores and the pickings were slim; supply chain issues. So then I got online and ended up spending way too much time trying to find the right size at the right price.
    It got me wondering about shoes sizes. Many of you have kids in their teens and so you've gone through many shoes. Did you go up a half-step each time you bought new shoes? eg, going from size 4 to 4.5 to 5 to 5.5 and so on.... or did you just go up a full step, 4 to 5 to 6 to 7, etc?
    Did your kid ever complain that their shoe was too lose or too tight and do think it affected their play?

    And then, in terms of quality and price... there's a wide variance - did you find it worth the cost to get the more expensive shoes? What price range did you find optimal?
     
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  2. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Years ago, my son's first coach told his mother & I that cleats are the one thing you should be willing to pay more for. Now at your son's young age, that may not be AS crucial as for later years, but our son was only a year or two older than yours at the time, FWIW.

    He said that everything else really didn't matter much--shin guards, practice shorts & shirt, even the ball could just be whatever, more or less. Pay what you want/get what your kid wants (whichever works for you) and no more. But the shoes--he said that was the one thing soccer players should pay more for.

    YMMV.
     
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  3. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    (Sorry I don't have more specific advice--this was like 15 years ago, and our son took over the job of shopping for & buying his own cleats just a few years later in Middle School).
     
  4. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I love this one!
    My parents bought me figure skates for hockey, work boots for motocross, and rubber cleats for freshmen football.
    As a result, I have never skimped on footwear for any sport my kids were interested in.
    Period.
     
  5. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Oh man, I'm sorry you went through that.
    I remember just never having well fitting cleats when I played soccer. I had wide feet so I always had to buy a size up to get adequate width, but then there was too much toe space.
    Similar to you I'm kind of fanatical about getting the perfect fit for my kid, but probably I'm over thinking it as well.
     
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  6. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Agree with this 100 percent. I don't think you have to spend $300+ a pair or anything, especially while kids are still growing and you have to buy one or more new pairs a year. But I wouldn't skimp -- based on my own experience and my son's, cheap cleats hurt, some tend to leave blisters, ...

    I have a pair of Umbros I wore outdoors until I stopped playing a couple of years ago that cost around $40. I figured as an old man playing old-man soccer I couldn't justify much more, but they are crazy bad (sorry, Umbro).

    Spend $100-$120 if you can and it's worth it. Generally my son has always run through a pair ever year or so, based mostly on growth until he was about 14-15 and now based on wear (and smell). We've bought online a couple of times but I greatly prefer being able to try them on before buying -- every brand's a little different for fit, width, ..., and every model within a brand seems to vary enough to matter.

    Check the gear tent at tournaments and you might be surprised. I've found deals there when I expected to be paying too much.

    Off topic but since Bigredfutbol brought the ball up, while almost anything will do, get ready to get them used to a heavy, hard ball as they start to get older. The balls my son's club and HS teams use for practice and games are like boulders. They won't take off on you or float like a light ball, which is great, but they take some getting used to.
     
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  7. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'd add that the best Christmas present my parents ever gave me as a kid was a pair of nice Patricks (still around as a brand?) when I was about 14 or 15. They were light years ahead of the random cleats I'd always worn before that. We didn't live in a major city and this was pre-Internet, so I still have no idea how they found them. I remained a terrible player, but I could not blame the shoes. ;)
     
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  8. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    In my case I probably would have shelled out whatever money was needed when we were shopping, but they didn't have his size.
    So then that made me wonder if I should get the nice shoes that they had that were a size too big... or... just look online for his current size, which he'll grow out of real soon, so then it's like, get the cheap ones if he's only gonna be in them another 3 months? (Granted, by cheap I don't mean bad, the quality and fit still has to be there)
     
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  9. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    That's a whole other topic I'm curious about. It seems that some clubs/coaches will over inflate the balls (which make them feel harder). I wonder if there's a way to know the actual air pressure per the manufacturer's specs
     
  10. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'd try to get that fit as close to right as you can. If they're much too big, he's likely to wind up with blisters.
     
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  11. soccerdad72

    soccerdad72 Member

    Chelsea
    United States
    Apr 5, 2021
    We spent a lot of money on Soccer.com over the years. They have a great return policy, so often we would buy a couple pairs and return the ones that didn't fit well. Once each of my boys figured out the brand (one preferred Nike, the other one Adidas), we tended to stick with that brand.

    Of course, having two kids playing helped, since my younger son usually had a spare pair or two in the next size up sitting in the garage that he could wear temporarily, at least in his younger ages. By the time both boys got to around 12 or so, they tended to wear the cleats out before they grew out of them.

    Price-wise, I'd say we stuck to cleats in the $50-$60 price range until they got to around 10 or 11, then moved to mid-level ($150-$180) cleats until near high school. Once each kid got to around 14 or 15, they started buying the $260-$300 models, usually chipping in for some of the cost by then.

    My older son took full advantage of Nike's very liberal customer service policy. When his first pair of $260 cleats started cracking in the soles, he e-mailed them and they sent him a shipping label for the old cleats, then mailed him a certificate for the total cost of the cleats. He ended up doing that two or three times, so the one pair of $260 cleats became three or four pairs over a couple years. Granted, it would be better if the first pair just actually lasted three years, but that's a different topic. :p
     
  12. DadYoureSuchADork

    DadYoureSuchADork New Member

    Manchester City
    United States
    May 1, 2020
    Check out SoccerReviewsForYou.com

    He's got reviews for every soccer cleat that comes out. He's recently done a couple videos about the 'best' takedown models to look for if you want to save a few bucks and still get a quality product.

    I like this guy because he doesn't sell the shoes. So, he has no reason to hype a cleat if he doesn't like it.

    If you're still in kids sizes, you're probably better off buying the top of the line cleats since they use different materials on the kids versions. At least with Adidas, I found the top line Kids version to be equal to the first takedown model of the adult version.
     
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  13. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Thanks I've seen that channel before. But my kid is only 7 so prob nothing for that age. My kid is wearing size 13 (children's)... should I get him 13.5 next or 1 (basically kids sizes go from 13 little kids to 1 big kids)?
     
  14. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    At your son's age, I would not order online. As mentioned, each manufacturer's size will be slightly different. I would definitely plan on trying them on before purchasing. Don't worry about "going up .5 or 1". Get what fits. We just did the thing where you check to see if there's a thumbwidth of space between the big toe and front of the cleat, and do they slip while moving.

    Pricewise at that age, we were probably around $100. My kids didn't start wearing out cleats until they could keep the same one for a year.
     
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  15. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    $100??!!!! I thought $60 was high for a 7 yr old :eek:
    Note he also has turf/indoor (small studs) for indoor and flats for futsal.
     
  16. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    The flats can be used for indoor where regular cleats aren't allowed. We'd usually get ours from Dicks Sporting Goods at that age (and still do some even now). $70-$100 is what I remember seeing.

    If he plays a lot on grass fields, a pair of soft grounds is a better investment (IMO) than dedicated turf cleats.
     
  17. Fuegofan

    Fuegofan Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Chicago
    I'll agree that having the right fitting shoe is really important. But I won't agree that you have to spend $100 at age 7. My son has wide feet, so we've gone with Diadoras, Lottos, and New Balance over the years. Diadoras are hard to find in wide. Lottos he destroyed two pairs in a year, but the price was about $30 each pair and he really liked them. The New Balances are at $55. The turf ones got a hole quickly, but the cleats have held up well. The best advice that I got from a coach was to make sure they aren't too big. They should be snug. So I generally have only gone up a half size each time for him.
     
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  18. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    I could be wrong on the price. It's been 10 years. :p I remember not wanting to spend a lot until it really appeared they wanted to keep playing, but by 7, we were past that.
     
  19. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    To me, I'll pay the price if needed but it hasn't been necessary. First I look at the fit and the stud pattern. I don't like narrow stud patterns as they are less stable with lateral movements (at least from my own experience that's how it felt). So if that is there and my kid thinks it's comfortable then I'll buy it.
    Also don't like shoes that are hard to get on. I know it's popular to have the shoes with the ankle sleeves, but man those are hard to get on. No thank you. I don't understand those, seems kinda gimmicky.
     
  20. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Hard to get on = hard to slip off. :)
     
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  21. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Not sure if this is true at age 7, but don't overlook the ankle sleeves (or whatever they're called). My son swears by them. Laceless shoes are great, too -- smoother surface on the top of the shoe for striking the ball.

    Looking through Dick's, my $100-$120 estimate above for a good shoe was high for a kid as young as your son. I'd guess you could find plenty of nice options for $50-$70 at that age.
     
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  22. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I try to find dated models that are on sale. And there was once where a store nearby was going out of biz and had a bunch on sale so I snagged a few pair for him (and for me).
    Honestly, my fav pair of cleats was on sale for $25 (Nike Magesta Obra). Not sure the original price. Idk I just try stuff on and whatever works works.

    I can see the sleeves being useful to prevent slipping I guess, but the only one's I've tried are so hard to get on that half the time I give up and go with another pair.
     
  23. Fuegofan

    Fuegofan Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Chicago
    My son currently wears a size 1. Since he also has a wide foot I've been buying New Balances because it is the only company that I can find that regularly produces wide shoes. He just blew out his right shoe, but the 1.5 I bought is still too big. But no one seems to have size 1 in stock right now. So in poking around I did discover that I can now pay anywhere from $35 to $120 for the same shoe for him. The Copa Sense .4 is $35, the .3 is $60, and the .1 is $120. The biggest difference I see is that the .1 is made out of actual leather, which, if I could afford it, I would buy in a heartbeat because I know that leather molds somewhat to a foot. As it is, I ordered a pair of the .3 and a pair of the .4 to see if he can actually tell any difference of note. He wore a Copa indoor shoe a year or so ago that fit (Nikes, Predators, Nemeziz, all too narrow) so I'm hoping that one of these will fill in until his foot is big enough to go back to the NB at 1.5.
     
  24. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Based on that size he must be around 7 yrs old? Mine wears a 13.5 little kids. The Nemeziz have worked well for indoor for us. For grass the cheap adidas golettos have worked well; my kid never slips in them and he finds them comfortable.
     
  25. wanderingpress

    Apr 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Club:
    Coritiba FBC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have 11- and 14-year-old boys and was told several years ago by a respectable coach (and dad) that we should replace their boots about every 50- to 70 uses/sessions, because when the shoe breaks down all that stress is then borne by the foot and causes all sorts of problems. My boys usually let me know when they start feeling little pains, and that's when we know it's time for new boots. This was great advice.

    I find that we can get good, quality boots around the $80 range, and I TRY to nudge it up about a half-size to they have a little room to grow without swimming in the boot and simply causing more problems. I think anything over that price point is just a fancy, hot new design that will end up at my chosen price point next year anyway (considering inflation).

    ALSO, my older boy used to have serious problems with Sever's disease (Achilles/heel inflammation). Another parent showed us where the Nike heel design tends to put pressure on the Achilles, so we switched to Adidas and immediately the problem subsided. He has continued to wear Adidas exclusively for a few years now, and we really haven't had a problem since the switch (although I can't prove that the heel design actually is a factor).
     
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