What makes a good midfielder?
From Beckham to Lampard, Kaka to Cruyff, the best midfielders are known for their superior ball control and ability to string together lethal attacks causing havoc in opposition backlines.
But with so many good footballers out there, you must load yourself up with the right equipment to help you perform the best on the pitch.
This starts with your soccer cleats.
Perhaps the most important tool in a footballer’s arsenal is their soccer cleats. Pick the right ones for you, and you’ll become a champion. Pick the wrong ones, and well, you’ll most likely get pushed off the ball…
To help you pick the right boots for you, we’ve put together a definitive guide on the top ten best soccer cleats for midfielders. We’ve also outlined a few top tips for you to remember when purchasing your next pair of cleats.
Without further ado, let’s kick it off with a classic…
Adidas Predator 20.3 - The Best Boot For Your Classic Number 10
There’s a reason why legends like David Beckham, Kaka, and Zidane wore the Adidas Predator. It is the ultimate boot for any ball-playing midfielder and has always provided control and support for players driving up the pitch on goal.
The latest edition of the Predator is no different. The lightweight yet rigid football boot lets you explode off the line while also giving you the control and support to whip balls into the box for your attackers.
With raised elements on the upper forefoot, you’ll have increased control that will enable you to bend it like Beckham and add that extra swazz on the ball as you shoot for goal. Plus, the raised ankle support around the boot makes the shoe feel like it’s an extension of your leg.
- Raised ankle provides added support.
- Lightweight yet supportive.
- Rubber sole provides traction to break away from the line.
- Raised upper rubber provides more control.
- Stud layout provides traction without clogging up dirt.
- Great wide fit.
- The boot doesn’t provide you with the best heel support, despite its raised ankle supports.
- Insole material is fairly thin and doesn’t provide the best protection, despite being coated in rubber grooves.
Nike Phantom VSN 2 - The Best For Comfort
- Synthetic leather is textured for precise touch on...
- Ghost Lace system provides a secure fit with a...
- Dynamic Fit collar wraps the ankle in soft,...
- Designed for traction on both Firm-Ground (FG)...
The space-age of football is here, and it comes in the form of the Nike Phantom, one of the most modern and technically advanced boots on the market.
First impressions might lead you to believe these boots are pretty heavy or chunky, but they are far from it, with their upper-layer being just as light as the Predators. Plus, if you’re looking for a comfortable ride, look no further as your foot will snugly slot into the inner sock and will be well supported by the boots padded cushioning around your insole, heel, and toes.
What’s great about this shoe is its got no laces, meaning it’s pretty easy to slip on and off, but it also allows you to scoop under the ball when you’re playing in looping passes from the midfield. Plus, the boot also has rubber embossing on your instep, helping you bring greater control to your game when you pass and trap the ball in the center of the park.
- The dynamic collar locks your foot into the shoe.
- Very stylish.
- Most comfortable shoe on this list.
- Supportive padding protects your foot.
- Embossed instep provides greater control of the football.
- Studs can get clogged with dirt pretty easily, although the boots hyper precision soleplate is built for harder surfaces giving you great traction going forward.
- Not a great option if you like having laces and adjusting the fit of the shoe to your foot, but it is super efficient when you want to kick your boots off after the match.
Nike Mercurial Vapor - Best For Speed
Last year, Cristiano Ronaldo ran 92 meters in just 10 seconds. What boots was he wearing? Nike’s Mercurial Vapor. So if you want to get up to top speed like Ronaldo, you should certainly check out the Mercurial Vapour.
The boots themselves are extremely lightweight, like you’re wearing socks on your feet. Unlike socks, though, they also provide special internal anti-slip traction, securing your foot inside the shoe, giving you the ability to explode from the back and out-gun defenders as you transition upfield. Plus, while we’re on the subject of traction, the boots 3D speed plate fits naturally to your foot, with studs that are spaced out well to help you push off from the line and come to a stop when you need to.
One other cool feature about the Mercurial Vapors is the speed ribs that cover the shoe’s entirety. The speed ribs provide enhanced ball manipulation and control, giving you a softer touch of the football as you receive and play balls through from the center of the park. We’d recommend the Vapors more to those playing on the wings.
- Lightweight yet super comfortable.
- Great for speed.
- Provides good traction on the floor.
- Sole doesn’t clog with mud.
- The textured upper layer provides you with great control of the football.
- Doesn’t provide the greatest protection if you get caught on the foot by another player, although that is one sacrifice the designers have made for lightning speed.
- Synthetic material can rub on the back of your heel, but wear thick socks and get the right size shoe to prevent this.
Adidas Performance Ace Primemesh - Best for Protection
- PRIMEMESH upper provides a comfortable, sock-like...
- Ultra-thin film on upper helps keep water and...
- Move with high-speed control and stability on firm...
Like the Predator, this boot is a great option for any defensive midfielder looking to sit and tackle their way through the game.
Providing more support than the predator, the comfortable sock lining fit will surround your foot and encase it in a firm and stable synthetic layer, which is thick enough to give your foot the best protection but light enough to ensure it feels like you’re not wearing bricks on your feet.
This is perhaps the most durable and protective shoe on this list, with it keeping out water and debris you’ll encounter throughout the game. Plus, the shoe also gives you great control over the football with its embossed rubber instep and textured toe give you a better grip over the football.
Perhaps our favorite feature on this shoe is the tag on the back of the shoe, helping you quickly and efficiently slip on and off after the game.
- Comfortable boots.
- Great for protection.
- Durable and keeps out most water and debris.
- Sock lining makes you feel like your foot is locked into the boot.
- Embossed contact zones on your instep and toe provide great control and grip on the football.
- Slightly heavier than other boots on this list, but this shoe is all about comfort and protection rather than speed.
- Studs are quite shallow, meaning that you can slip and lose grip on softer surfaces, but these boots are built for hard ground surfaces.
PUMA Evopower - Best For Cushioning
Designed for the pacey midfielder, the PUMA Evopower boots weigh less than half a kilogram and are perfect for any midfielder or winger looking to improve on their pace.
Striking the balance between accuracy and speed, the shoe is made from a stretchy spandex sock that will expand and contract to the shape or size of your foot. The material is so light yet cushioned, with its Griptex layer lining the shoe’s outer layer, giving you the ability to manipulate the football in whatever way you want.
Worn by greats like Sergio Aguero, the shoe is great for explosive pace, giving you a natural running feel as the spandex sock expands and contracts to the shape of your foot. Like the Adidas Ace, it also has a little tag on its heel to help you slide the shoe on and off easily.
- Spandex sock provides the ultimate comfort and ride.
- Griptex upper layer provides great control of the football.
- Spandex provides perfect cushioning to help you control the ball better.
- Rigid sole helps to provide great traction as you break away from the line.
- Stud layout does not provide the greatest grip compared to other shoes, but its anatomical layout does provide great stability as you bound upfield.
- Spandex sock can absorb water and become heavy when playing in the rain; best to wear these when playing on dry artificial surfaces.
Nike Tiempo Genio - Best For Ball Control
Reminiscent of Ronaldinho, if you want to emulate the silky touch of the Brazilian trequartista, then look no further.
The Nike Tiempo has been around for decades and is well known for the enhanced touch, control, and stability it provides you over the football. Put it this way if you’re looking for comfort, accuracy, and skill in a boot, then this is the shoe for you. One of the only leather boots left on the market, the Tiempo’s upper layer is vacuum-pressed into an embossed quilted shape that enhances your touch on the football, gives increased grip, and improves your accuracy.
With perhaps the best sole and stud placement for stability on both hard and softer ground pitches, the sole of the shoe gives an easy ride for the box-to-box midfielder but also ensures your ankles and Achilles are well supported. Speaking of which, the padded insole and sock liner also gives players great responsiveness while both providing comfort and protection to your foot.
- Leather upper provides excellent Ronaldinho-esq control.
- Embossed upper also gives great grip on the football.
- Stud placement and well-designed sole provide you with great stability on hard and soft ground pitches.
- The lining of the boot is well padded for protection and comfort.
- Not great for speed and quick acceleration, but it does provide one of the most comfortable rides on the market.
- Leather can get saturated if the boots become overly wet.
Adidas Nemeziz - The Most Lightweight Shoe
If you ever wanted to know what playing football in your socks felt like, well, look no further. Made famous by the legend Lionel Messi, the Adidas Nemeziz is probably the lightest boot on the market.
Built for pacey wingers looking to run at defenders and show off their skills, you’ll tear through the field in these boots, with the soft synthetic mid-cut upper layer providing you with the control and pace you need to dribble past opposition players. The boots’ ankle support locks your foot into the shoe, giving you greater traction off the line, while its rigid soleplate and ergonomic stud layout help you grip the turf as you scoot around opposition players.
We loved this shoe for its responsive touch. We thought at first when trying on the shoe that we’d not have as much responsivity due to the thin synthetic upper material not providing a great deal of support. Yet, you’ll find that the ball is easy to control and grips to your foot as you skill your way through defensive lines.
- The most lightweight shoe on the market.
- Locked in feel on your foot provided by the shoe’s ankle supports.
- Great grip to the turf from excellent stud layout.
- The rigid sole provides good traction from the ground.
- The shoe isn’t great for comfort, although it is sculpted to the shape of your foot, there is little padding or protection on the shoe, although the shoe is designed for speed, not comfort.
- The Nemeziz isn’t the most durable boot either, with the synthetic material being quite flimsy and prone to tearing under increased use.
PUMA Future - Best For Power
Looking to improve your shot power? The PUMA Future’s Strike: 3D Havoc Frame coats the shoe’s upper lining, giving you greater shot power and control as you look to pelt the ball past the goalkeeper.
For an attacking midfielder with a canon of a shot, this boot can seriously take your game to the next level, with the rubber embossing on the toe and instep of the boot giving greater power, accuracy, and control as you kick the ball. Behind the rubber embossing is a knitted sock that surrounds and molds itself to the shape of your foot, locking you in for the game ahead.
The material means the shoe is ultralightweight, and accompany that with the cleats Rapidagility outsole; you’ll be able to tear away from defenders and attack at a lightning-quick pace. We also really like how the shoe’s laces stretch wide over the breadth of your foot, helping you to further lock yourself into the shoe, and feel secure in the cleat.
- The embossed Strike: 3D rubber layer provides great power over your shots.
- Soft knit upper is lightweight and provides you with great speed.
- Ankle support and wide laces lock your foot into the shoe.
- Rapidagility outsole provides enhanced traction off the deck.
- The knitted upper can get saturated in the rain yet will dry out pretty quickly if you keep moving.
- The shoe provides little support and minimal comfort, although the shoe is designed for speed and shot power, not comfort.
Adidas X - Best For Skill
Speed and comfort in the same shoe, what’s not to love about the Adidas X! Perhaps the best shoe for out-skilling your opponents, the Adidas X is just speed and style in a soccer cleat.
The Boots lightweight mesh upper is slightly more padded than that of its Nemeziz cousin’s, giving you a slightly more padded and responsive touch than a lot of the alternatives on this list. Plus, the shoe’s Clawcollar shape locks your foot into its natural shape, giving you the greatest range of movement to control, flick, and pass the ball around your opposition.
The upper layer of the shoe is also broader than most other shoes on this list and gives you a larger surface area on the side of your foot, giving you greater control of the football to take a touch and move the ball around oncoming defenders.
- Lightweight outsole and arrowhead studs provide great traction as you accelerate off the ground.
- The padded upper layer provides you with enhanced control.
- Clawcollar shape provides greater and more natural mobility.
- The broad surface area gives you greater control over the football.
- Padded sock lining also provides greater comfort.
- Little ankle support is provided in these cleats, but the lack of ankle support does also mean you get greater mobility and flexibility with these cleats.
- The sock lining is made from a synthetic material that can be somewhat slippy on football socks.
Nike SuperFly Academy - Best For Beginners
Starting your soccer journey? Trying out a few new positions? Not sure what boot is best for you? Well, this the best all-around cleat that can help get you going on your soccer journey.
The SuperFly takes inspiration from its Mercurial cousin and beefs things up a little with its textured synthetic material, which holds extra padding at its heel and toe, giving you great protection and the touch you need to control the ball and accurately pass the ball to your team. Great for playing on natural and artificial surfaces, the cleats Aerotrak sole helps you quickly accelerate upfield rapidly.
With its dynamic fit collar and comfortable textured internal lining, this cleat is also great for comfort and protection too. As a great option for those who are new to the game, we recommend trying this boot if you’re looking for something that can provide you with speed, comfort, and control, for a great price.
- Great for beginners.
- Lightweight textured material provides control.
- Padding on the heel and toe provides great protection and support.
- Aerotrak sole is great for providing you with traction on artificial and natural surfaces.
- Textured lining provides comfort and protection.
- Ankle collar doesn’t provide the greatest mobility but does provide great support to your ankle.
- Not the best cleat for those with wide feet.
The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need
As a midfielder, you’re the heart of the team, the playmaker, or the quarterback if you like. You need to be on your game, and to do that, you’ll need to make sure you have the best equipment.
Here are our top tips to keep an eye out for when purchasing your next pair of soccer cleats.
Midfielders need to be quick. Not just to evade oncoming defenders, mind, but to quickly take a touch, see the next pass and move the ball on as fast as you can. That’s why you need a lightweight pair of boots, and the Adidas Nemziz are perhaps the lightest boots currently on the market.
Every good midfielder has a soft touch. They can control a ball coming into them at lightning pace, turn, and play another rocket of a pass to their forward who’s through on goal. To give yourself the best chance of controlling the ball at high speed, purchase a pair of cleats with a supportive upper layer like the Nike Tiempo Genio.
Support and protection
Playing in midfield isn’t always majestic Cruyff turns and stepovers. You’re going to get kicked a lot. Tacking and winning the ball back is a big part of any central midfielder’s job; that’s why you need to protect your feet and ankles from opposition defenders. Have a look at the Adidas Performance Ace boot for one of the most supportive cleats in the game.
Comfort is king. Playing in a pair of boots that are too tight or don’t suit your natural running gate can seriously throw you off your game. Check out the Nike Phantoms for a pair of boots you’ll feel immediately locked into every time you put them on.
Power and Accuracy
Whether it’s from a freekick or open play, midfielders typically love to have a crack at goal from far out. To properly unleash your potential, pick up a pair of boots like the Adidas Predators that will let you add power and shape to your shots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do soccer cleats make you faster?
Typically a soccer cleat will improve your acceleration due to the traction of the studs in the ground and the rigidity of the sole on your foot. The enhanced grip the cleats give you will inevitably improve your overall speed compared to if you were just wearing sneakers.
Are high-top football cleats better?
This solely comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a more locked-in feel, high-top cleats might be the better option for you. But if you’re looking for greater mobility and flexibility, then perhaps a low-cut cleat is better for you.
How long should soccer cleats last?
On average, a pair of cleats will last you between 6 to 12 months. That’s around 2 seasons of football. But that time can be lengthened and shortened by how often you play, the intensity of the games you’re playing in, and how well you look after your cleats.
There are so many types of midfielders in world football. From ball-playing midfielders to the box-to-box running midfielders, there are so many different styles of players, each one having a different skill set they need to cater to.
Depending on what catchment you find yourself in, i.e., whether you’re looking to maximize your speed or your power, you’ll find a pair of boots here that can cater to whatever skill you want to enhance.
But remember our top tip, make sure you’re always well protected as a midfielder and chose the best gear to protect your feet and ankles from opposition defenders.
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