When you make your brand name the same as the Greek goddess of victory then it is clear that your intention is to produce winning products. That is certainly the case with Nike whose sales in the sportswear market runs to the tune of over $30 billion dollars per year.
Searching for the best Nike soccer cleats isn’t easy for the simple reason that Nike produces several top quality soccer footwear products. To help make the task easier for you, we are going to explain what to look for when choosing a pair of soccer cleats and then review five of the best Nike soccer cleats so you can make your choice.
How to Choose a Pair of Soccer Cleats
Choosing the best Nike soccer cleats for yourself requires consideration of a number of factors. There are practical ones like your budget and simple ones like the colors you prefer. It’s important to note that neither of these will make any difference to how you play soccer…unless your head goes down when you’ve maxed out your credit card!
The truth is, too many players choose soccer cleats using factors that have no bearing on how they play soccer whatsoever. The end result; they return them because they are not suitable, or worse they persevere but don’t enjoy playing soccer as much as they should.
The real factors that should influence your decision when buying a pair of Nike soccer cleats are those where your footwear DOES make a difference to playing soccer. When we say ‘difference’ we mean a positive difference, not a negative one.
Even after these have been determined there are other very important specifics applicable to YOUR game that have to be factored in such as your position and the surface you play on. Let’s take a look at all of these in some detail.
Did you know that the position you play should influence the type of soccer cleats you wear? If you think about it this makes sense, as different positions depend on different skills and physical requirements.
For those that play forward and seek to score goals the ability to turn quickly is a big part of their game so ideally their footwear should be lightweight and allow maximum freedom of movement. Wingers will also benefit from lightweight soccer cleats so that their running speed is not compromised.
In the midfield is where we see most of the running taking place and to do so for a full match it is important that comfortable footwear is worn. On that basis, cleats that have adequate cushioning on the insole and around the inner shoe are what’s needed.
For defenders, a secure grip is certainly high on the agenda plus good protection in light of all the tackling they do. Finally, goalkeepers will be looking for similar characteristics as defenders, especially in terms of traction underfoot, given that one slip from the keeper nearly always means the loss of a goal.
The grip you have underfoot is important for both safety and effectiveness when you are playing. As long as you know the normal surface you play on then it is easy to select the correct ones, as soccer cleats are classified by a two-letter code to highlight the surface they are suited to. Here’s the list:
- IN – Indoor: Indoor soccer courts
- AT – Turf: Normally ‘Astroturf’
- AG – Artificial Ground: ‘Astrograss’
- SG – Soft Ground: Softer grass surfaces
- FG – Firm Ground: The most common for normal, dry grass surfaces
- HG – Hard Ground: For very hard, dry grass
Types of Upper Material
It’s fair to say that the part of the soccer cleat which makes contact with the ball is the most important. This is where your control, touch and shooting power are either enhanced or compromised. Getting the soccer cleats with the material that match your needs as a player and the position you play can quite literally mean the difference between winning and losing so it’s imperative you choose wisely.
Here are the most common materials used and their characteristics
Synthetic Uppers: A very comfortable material with a high degree of durability. If you tend to play a lot in rainy conditions, then the waterproofing they provide will be a benefit to you. They do lack the natural feel and touch that leather uppers offer and due to their robustness may need some time to ‘break in’, similar to a new pair of shoes
Full-Grain Leather Uppers: Leather uppers provide durability as well as being very comfortable. The grading in leather can vary and with this so will the softness. If touch and feel are important to you then choose leather uppers which are the softest and supplest.
Kangaroo Leather Uppers: K-Leather is extremely soft and very thin therefore not as durable as other leathers or synthetic materials. However, this is more than compensated for by the unique feel they give you whenever your foot is in contact with the ball.
Synthetic Leather Uppers: These tend to be brand specific with their own characteristics and you will find when we review their soccer cleats, Nike have their bespoke version. As the name implies it is a combination of leather and synthetics which seek to combine the benefits of each material.
Recommended Nike Soccer Cleats
Our first selection is a very classy looking piece of footwear. The Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG Men’s Soccer Cleats have a profile more akin to the pair of running shoes that you might find an athlete wearing. They’re very streamlined which bodes well for running speeds and fast dribbling with the ball.
The Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG Men’s Soccer Cleats have synthetic leather uppers. Nike has branded this material Teijin and it seeks to give the best of both worlds from both leather and synthetics. The surface is dimpled just like a golf ball with the intention that when you attempt to control the soccer ball it will form to your foot. The added benefit of using synthetic leather versus real leather is the performance of these soccer cleats will not be compromised whenever playing conditions are damp or wet.
Comfort is assured with a perforated sock liner which will allow your feet to breathe and thus not overheat. The lining is also contoured to match the shape of your foot and provides cushioned support as well as comfort.
The base is constructed from two glass fiber plates which provide more flexibility and strength than a single plate would and are particularly effective whenever quick acceleration is needed.
Underfoot the configuration of the cleats and studs is unique with a combination of double blades in the heel with thin blades and a center stud on the front sole. They are designed for optimum grip on firm surfaces and to provide the best possible traction whenever you start to run.
The next selection for review is the Nike Men’s Mercurial Victory IV FG Soccer Shoes which look stunning right out of the box. They are styled in a single color all over with a bold Nike flash prominently running from the toe down the left-hand side of the shoe. For those of you that like to add a bit of color to your soccer game, you’ll be pleased to know there as many as 18 different colors to choose from.
Forming the upper of the Nike soccer cleats is a synthetic material which has micro-texturing across the entirety of its surface. This means no matter which part of your foot is in contact with the ball you should find extra touch and control. The lack of protruding stitching on the front surface also makes for a much truer strike of the ball when kicking it with this area.
The inner cage of the Nike Men’s Mercurial Victory IV FG Soccer Shoes comprises of a contoured sock liner and textile top cloth which should provide maximum cushioning and comfort throughout any game of soccer. The other benefit of this internal construction is the stability it provides in terms of these soccer cleats adhering to the shape of your foot.
Under your feet, you have a rubber sole which offers premium flexibility so any sharp movement on the field you wish to make is unhampered. Complimenting this is the cleat configuration which comprises of thin blades in both the front and heel sections. This is the ideal set-up for playing on surfaces which are firm and dry, especially natural grass.
If you are someone who loves soccer but just can’t get used to seeing players wearing pink or luminous yellow cleats, and wouldn’t be seen dead in them yourself, then you are going to love seeing Nike Men’s Premier Soccer Cleats
These soccer cleats look like a tribute to the days of Pele when the only color you ever saw players wearing on their feet was black. But, it is not only for sentimentality that you want to look at these Nike cleats because they have a lot more to offer than just nostalgia.
Straight away there is the leather upper made from kangaroo leather. K-Leather offers unequaled softness, comfort and touch so if ball control and accuracy are important to you then that box is well and truly ticked. Adding stability and durability to these cleats is the goat leather quarter sections which make up the rest of the upper.
The inner shoe has a molded sock liner designed to match the contours of your feet, to provide optimum support and comfort. The padding this provides should keep your feet snug and secure for the entire match.
At the heart of the Nike Men’s Premier Soccer Cleat is a lightweight, but robust, TPU plate that provides the footwear its strength but also gives the player the flexibility and speed for quick turns, sprints, and dribbles.
Traction and grip are provided by the mainly rounded cleats which Nike have designed to work on a variety of surfaces. Whilst they are best suited to firm grass, they can also be effective in a softer ground with some give in the surface.
Another offering from Nike which has a large range of color options is the Nike Men’s Hypervenom Phade FG Soccer Cleats. These soccer cleats have very distinctive markings on one side that look like snakeskin to tie in with the ‘Venom’ branding and on the other side the Nike ‘Flash’ in all its glory.
Synthetic material has been used for the uppers and Nike has opted to produce a unique 3D texturing on these uppers instead of the normal micro-texturing you find on many soccer cleats. This is bound to add ball touch and control especially in the area of the foot the ball is most likely to come into contact with.
The sock liner is molded to give a very close fit and includes cushioning for added comfort and protection especially relating to stud pressure coming from underneath. If that wasn’t enough it also has perforations in order to keep your feet as cool as possible.
The construction is enhanced by a TPU plate which has sufficient flexibility to promote quick turning and fast sprints without compromising the support it provides.
Adding to the flexible aspect of these soccer cleats the sole is made from rubber which houses conical studs in the front sole area and rectangular blades in the heel. These provide excellent grip whenever the playing surface is firm or dry.
Our final review in our quest to find the best Nike soccer cleats brings us to a very modern type of soccer footwear. The Nike Men’s Magista Opus FG Soccer Shoe looks and feels unique but the question is, does it perform?
Nike has used a synthetic leather they call ‘Kanga-Lite’ for the upper which is extremely soft and gives an exceptional feel for the ball. Their aim is to recreate the awesome feel you would get from K-Leather and this comes very close to doing just that. The material is also very flexible from the start so it does not require any breaking in.
The cushioned mesh texturing on the upper is very soft and distinctive and offers enhanced ball control on the front and sides of the soccer cleats. The upper also molds to the shape of your foot to add comfort and this becomes more effective each time you wear them.
The sock liner is contoured and provides cushioning to protect your foot as well as offer the comfort you’d expect. There is also thin padding around inner rim and memory foam under the tongue to keep your foot secure and protected.
Flexible nylon forms the sole plate with excellent flexibility when turning. Underneath the conical studs are optimally configured in with four in the heel, two rows of four on either side of the front sole and additional thin blades between the studs for that little bit extra of traction when you need it most.
It’s that time when we have to choose our top pick and decide which is the best Nike soccer cleats from the ones reviewed. To be honest they all scored high marks but in the end, the winner has to be chosen and it is the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG Men’s Soccer Cleats
The unique ‘Teijin’ synthetic leather material used for these soccer cleats offers something that very few other materials can achieve. It provides the player with a perfect balance of soft feel for the ball whilst giving them a robust flexible surface also.
With the dimpled texturing adding to the player’s armory in terms of ball control, any playmaker should be able to improve their game wearing these soccer cleats.
But it is not all about softness of touch; soccer cleats need to be comfortable too, and with a sock liner which is perforated to cool the feet and contouring to the shape of the foot the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG Men’s Soccer Cleats score in this department too
To top it all these soccer cleats look terrific with a very sleek profile and great color options.