Turf Shoes vs Soccer Cleats? Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing Right.

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Strutting into the sports store, you’re faced with a dilemma – Turf shoes or Cleats? What’s the difference? Which one do I need?

It’s like being in a sneaker-themed episode of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ except there’s no lifeline. We get it!

Choosing the right soccer shoes for your game can greatly affect your performance and safety on the field. 

That’s why we’re here with everything you need to know about Turf shoes and cleats, so you can decide which pair will be right for you.

Let’s kick off!

Cleats vs Turf shoes: What’s the difference?

turf shoes vs cleats infographic table: Feature|Turf Shoes|Cleats

Design |Short rubber studs or nubs, flat surface and no metal spikes |Studs of varying length and size depending on field conditions.

Weight |Lightweight & Comfortable |Heavier than turf shoes

Suitable surfaces |Artificial surfaces, turf fields, artificial grass or hard indoor surfaces. |Dry firm fields or wet muddy fields.

Material |Lightweight synthetic materials, such as neoprene, mesh and TPU |Leather or synthetic upper with rubber outsoles for traction

Breathability |Mesh material along the upper to enhance breathability and ventilation |Padded collars and reinforced toe box for added protection

Design |Flat sole with multiple round studs to provide traction on multiple playing surfaces. |Variety of cleat configurations to accommodate different field types and weather conditions.

What are Turf Shoes (TF)?

what does TF mean in football soccer boots

BEST FOR: Artificial turf, dry firm fields or wet muddy fields.

Let’s start with Turf shoes. Turf shoes – aka astro turf shoes – are designed with short rubber studs or nubs that provide excellent traction on artificial surfaces.

They are perfect for playing on turf fields, artificial grass, or hard indoor surfaces. Turf shoes are a lot more like running shoes with a flat surface and no metal spikes.

Turf shoes are lightweight and are typically less expensive than soccer cleats. They are also versatile and can be used for other sports like lacrosse or field hockey.

Pros

  • Excellent traction on artificial turf
  • More comfortable and cushioned than soccer cleats
  • Great option for players with foot or ankle problems

Cons

  • Not recommended for use on natural grass surfaces
  • Do not provide enough traction or support
  • Shorter lifespan than soccer cleats due to the rubber studs wearing down faster

What are Cleats?

FG Firm Ground Football Boots

BEST FOR: Natural grass surfaces or dry, firm fields.

Cleats on the other hand, are shoes with studs or spikes on the soles. These studs provide traction and grip on the soccer field, making them the perfect choice for outdoor games.

Soccer cleats come in various shapes and sizes depending on the playing surface, weather conditions, and player preferences.

For instance, firm ground cleats (FG) have shorter studs and are suitable for dry, firm fields. Soft ground cleats (SG), on the other hand, have longer studs and work best in wet and muddy fields.

Soccer cleats offer excellent traction and support on natural grass surfaces.

They also have a longer lifespan than turf shoes and can be used on different terrain types.

However, soccer cleats are less comfortable and cushioned than turf shoes, which can be a disadvantage for players with foot or ankle problems.

They are also not suitable for use on artificial turf as the studs can get caught in the turf fibers and cause injury!

Pros

  • Excellent traction and support on natural grass surfaces
  • Longer lifespan than turf shoes
  • Can be used on different terrain types

Cons

  • Less comfortable and cushioned than turf shoes
  • Not suitable for use on artificial turf as the studs can get caught in the turf fibers and cause injury
Turf shoes vs cleats what's the difference infographic: Soccer cleats offer excellent traction and support on natural grass surfaces, while turf shoes are better suited to artificial turf or wet muddy fields.

Turf Shoes vs Cleats: Which one is right for you?

When it comes to choosing which one to use, it depends on the surface you’ll be playing on.

If you’re playing on artificial turf, turf shoes are the best choice.

They provide good traction, are lightweight, and are more affordable.

If you’ll be playing on natural grass, soccer cleats are the way to go, offering better traction and stability.

But look, there are lots of things that go into choosing the right soccer footwear for you – your budget, playing surface, and even the type of player you are all matters.

Watch and learn: What’s the Difference Between Soccer Cleats and Turf Shoes?

Here’s a great video that helps you to easily understand the differences between soccer cleats and turf shoes and when it’s best to use one or the other!

How to choose the right soccer footwear for you.

#1. Which Surface Will You Be Playing On?

Before deciding on either cleats or turf shoes, the first question you need to ask yourself is which surface you’ll be playing on.

If the surface is natural grass or dirt, cleats are the perfect choice. However, if you’ll be playing on artificial turf, then turf shoes are your go-to.

#2. Are You Playing a High-Speed Game?

If you’re playing a game that requires high-speed running or abrupt change of direction, then cleats would be the ideal footwear.

The spikes in cleats provide better traction and prevent slipping on natural surfaces, allowing you to move around quickly and efficiently.

Turf shoes, on the other hand, are designed for sports that require a lot of lateral movements, such as soccer or field hockey.

#3. What’s Your Position?

Your position in the game can also determine the kind of footwear you should wear.

If you’re a defender, you’d require footwear that provides stability and allows you to make quick, short bursts of movement – so here cleats would be the ideal choice.

But, if you’re a midfielder or forward, you’d need to make a lot of quick, side-to-side movements. Turf shoes would be the perfect fit for you.

#4. What’s Your Personal Preference?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference!

Some people prefer the comfort and support of cleats, while others swear by turf shoes.

Some people even buy both and switch between the two depending on the game they’re playing. That’s certainly a smart thing to do.

#5. Maintenance and Durability

Finally, you need to consider maintenance and durability – how long will these boots last.

Turf shoes are generally more durable than cleats, as they don’t have spikes that wear out as quickly.

Plus, they’re easier to maintain, as they don’t require cleaning as often as cleats. They tend to get full of those little black rubber bits that go everywhere!

However, cleats provide better traction on natural surfaces, which can make a big difference in high-speed games.

Which football (soccer) boots should I buy?

The final score.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing between turf shoes and cleats; you need to take all of these factors into consideration before settling on a pair.

Your decision should ultimately boil down to your playing surface, position in the game, personal preference, and maintenance and durability.

Good luck!

This article was written by

  • Anna Adams, Creative Director & Content Lead

    Hi there! I'm Anna Adams, your go-to source for all things women's soccer. I've been crazy about soccer for over 20 years, ever since I was kicking a ball around with my brothers as a kid. I've turned my passion into a career where I get to share all the cool stuff about soccer with you. As a content lead, I've had the awesome opportunity to work with various sports brands and publications. Whether it's the latest gear, pro tips, or just some cool soccer trivia, I'm all about making soccer ac...