Choosing soccer cleats for a youth or youths is a process very similar to the one you would follow if choosing for an adult, given that the consensus is a youth is anyone aged between 15 and 25. The one caveat is that for younger youths, consideration needs to be made regarding their growth and whether or not their shoe size is going to change.
What to Consider When Buying Soccer Cleats For Youths
Choosing soccer cleats for youths requires considerations of several factors, some crucial, some not so important. Given that youths will tend to place more emphasis on styling and color, it may seem to them that these are the primary factors. Much as that may be true for their clothes and fashion accessories, when it comes to soccer cleats, there are other more important elements they need to think about.
The first thought for younger youths is getting the correct size and factoring in whether or not their feet are likely to continue to grow. This is tricky as often two youths of exactly the same age may have differing growth patterns. One might have stopped growing by age 15, the other might continue to grow. The point here is carefully choosing the correct size is vitally important for comfort and for the avoidance of foot problems due to poorly fitting soccer cleats.
Here are other important matters to consider when choosing soccer cleats for youths:
Getting The Best Possible Grip
Depending on what part of the country you live in, the playing surfaces you play soccer on are likely to display characteristics specific to that area. Some will have a high degree of moisture so the surfaces will be soft. Others may be generally dry, so the surfaces will be firm. You may also live in an area which sees very little rain, and lots of sunshine, so you are likely to find the soccer fields very hard.
It is important to consider this as each of these surfaces will require the studs and cleats on the sole of your footwear to be configured correctly to give the best possible grip. Soccer cleats producers have helpfully created a system, whereby they identify soccer cleats based on the sort of surface they are best suited to. They do this using two-letter identifiers as follows:
HG – Hard Ground: Very hard and dry surfaces
FG – Firm Ground: Normal, dry surfaces
SG – Soft Ground: For moist or soft ground
AG – Artificial Ground: For artificial surfaces such as Astrograss
AT – Turf: For artificial surfaces such as Astroturf
IN – Indoor: For indoor soccer
Your Position On The Team Matters
Playing for a youth team on a regular basis will normally mean playing in a specific position or area of the field. This has a bearing on choosing soccer cleats as the various positions all require soccer cleats which have differing features.
Forwards and strikers will want their soccer cleats to be lightweight and allow for maximum flexibility. This allows them to sprint quickly towards goal, and turn away from defenders with ease.
Midfielders will also benefit from lightweight footwear, but they will also want their soccer cleats to be comfortable in terms of the insole and cushioning, due to the amount of running they do.
Defenders depend a lot on the traction they have underfoot so they’ll want to have excellent grip, as well as high degree of protection for when they tackle their opponents.
Finally, we have the goalkeeper where good grip is essential, as well as a good kicking surface on the upper for clearing back passes.
Materials make A Huge Difference
Soccer cleats are manufactured from a large range of both synthetic and natural materials, but those used for the upper are the most important. The reason is that the upper is the part of the footwear which comes mostly into contact with the soccer ball. It is therefore where the ball is controlled, passed, or shot at goal, so the better contact you can get the more accurate you will be.
Here are some of the most popular materials used for the upper and their characteristics:
Synthetic uppers are comfortable, durable and waterproof if you are playing in wet conditions. They provide a good level of control and shooting power.
Full-grain leather uppers are strong, durable and very comfortable. They will come in various thickness and grades and this will influence how good a touch and feel for the ball you get.
Kangaroo leather uppers are made from a premium leather which is very soft. This gives an excellent touch on the ball which assists control and passing.
Goat leather uppers are an alternative to kangaroo leather and are popular due to their softness and comfort.
Synthetic leather uppers have become increasingly popular as it combines the best qualities of leather and synthetic materials. Each manufacturer has their own branded version.
Recommended Soccer Cleats for Youth
Every age group, in every era, has had a mercurial player who they want to emulate. With the Adidas Performance Messi 15.3 Soccer Cleats youths have the chance to wear footwear which carries the name of one of the greatest players ever to grace a football field, Lionel Messi.
Looking for the best soccer cleats for youths will undoubtedly be a balance between performance and style. With these soccer cleats, the ‘Solar Flare’ color will certainly get you noticed on the football field, and with an impressive set of features, they could help your soccer skills get noticed too.
The upper has been created from synthetic leather which is lightweight and has the ability to improve your feel and touch on the ball. There is a very subtle micro-texture across the entire surface of the upper to promote better control and give you a truer strike of the ball.
Underfoot there is a unique configuration which has multiple shapes and sizes of cleats and studs to provide the best traction possible on dry and firm natural surfaces.
Another enhancement is a large, cushioned tongue which gives players added protection for the front of their foot for tackling and when being tackled themselves.
If you are looking for youth soccer cleats that appeal to the eye then the stunning Nike Mercurial Victory IV FG Soccer Shoes might be the ones to go for. They come with a very prominent Nike flash running across the toe section and down one side of the shoe. With the rest of the soccer cleat being a single color, these definitely have a distinct look and when you consider there are 18 different colors to choose from, then all tastes should be catered for
Nike has used a synthetic material to create the uppers and apart from the seam at the rear of the shoe, there is no other stitching to be seen. The entire surface of the upper has texturing embossed on it to give youth players a better chance of controlling the ball, with all parts of their foot. The absence of seams and stitching also creates a very clean surface area with which to strike the ball.
A rubber sole is used to give players as much flexibility as possible when they are running or jumping but at the same time providing the required stability all soccer players need on the field of play. Nike has used very thin bladed cleats to provide the grip which is best suited on firm grass pitches.
The interior of these soccer cleats comprises of a contoured sock liner which not makes these extremely comfortable but adds a level of protection when impact occurs during a tackle. The contouring also helps to make the fitting of these soccer shoes as closely molded to the shape of your feet as possible.
It is probably safe to assume that many youth players prefer modern, brightly colored or patterned soccer cleats as opposed to traditional, black and white ones. In that case, the Adidas Performance X 15.4 Soccer Shoes certainly tick that box. They come in color combinations of fluorescent orange, pink, green and yellow to name but a few, and patterns which definitely come under the category of ‘modern art’.
The upper, as with many modern soccer cleats, is made from a synthetic material known as ‘Bravo’. The surface has hardly any visible stitching, so the enhanced ball control is achieved with the help of the micro-texture that covers the entire surface of the upper.
Within the inner shoe, there is padding around the rim, but there is none on the tongue so this seems very thin in terms of protection. The one advantage of no padding on the tongue is it gives players closer contact with the ball when striking it.
Adidas have adopted rubber soles for these soccer cleats to provide extra flexibility for players who want as much freedom of movement as possible. To compliment this flexibility with the best traction possible there are triangular shaped studs in both the forefoot and heel areas. This grip alignment is best suited for firm grass and some artificial surfaces.
You may have heard about the reputation Asics has for being one of the finest manufacturers of athletics gear, including running shoes. With this reputation in mind, we thought we would see if they could offer anything worth considering in our quest to find the best soccer cleats for youths. With the Asics DS Light X-Fly Le Soccer Shoe we have found a rather traditional looking pair of soccer cleats but ones that will still appeal to youths, due to their performance on the soccer field.
The upper is made from soft and very supple kangaroo leather which should give any youth player a level of comfort and touch that even the best synthetic soccer shoes can’t match. The distinctive stitching patterns across the shoe create several areas of cushioning for improved ball control.
The underfoot construction is stable and strong to give a level of stability as good as any other footwear. There is reinforced protection around the heel cup which is a great feature in terms of protecting this part of the foot. Other protection is achieved with the padding on the inner shoe albeit there is very little on the tongue which is disappointing.
Asics have used all rounded studs for the underfoot grip but they differ from many other similar studs, because they have tiny grooves in them at 120-degree angles. This gives more grip and traction than normal round studs and helps to reduce the weight of these soccer cleats even further.
Your immediate first impression of the Adidas Performance Ace 16.2 Primemesh FG/AG Soccer Shoes should be that these soccer cleats look different to any other we have looked at in our search for the best soccer cleats for youths.
The reason is the ‘Techfit’ collar that Adidas have used on this footwear which at first looks like someone has left their sock in the shoe. It is there to provide an extremely snug fitting soccer shoe, which has minimal movement when you are running or turning.
Adidas have constructed the uppers on these soccer cleats from their own branded synthetic material called ‘Primemesh’. They have designed it with a surface texture that varies in depth from the front of the shoe to the back. Obviously, it is more prominent at the front and side where most contact with the ball occurs. This texture seeks to make control of the ball easier, for both receiving and passing.
A further aid to clean striking of the ball is the lace covering which Adidas have employed. This means that the strike area when kicking the ball is not only bigger but has less variation to avoid miskicks and wayward shots at goal.
Another branded element from Adidas is their ‘TotalControl’ underfoot grip. This uses all rounded studs in a configuration which has seven studs in the forefoot and four in the heel. The best surfaces to play on with these soccer cleats is either firm grass or artificial grass.
Picking the best soccer cleats for youths is no easy task given that many in the 15 – 25 age bracket will be looking at style rather than how well the footwear performs. We believe the winner we’ve picked bridges the gap between performance and style, not to mention they are named after arguably the best player in the world. If you haven’t guessed yet, our winners are the Adidas Performance Messi 15.3 Soccer Cleats.
These are soccer cleats which first and foremost seek to aid soccer players in the basic skills of the game. They are textured for better ball control, not just at the front but at the rear too. The large cushioned tongue improves the strike area when passing and shooting. The grip underfoot allows for speedy runs and quick turns.
These are the basics of playing soccer and which even the greatest players in the world, such as Messi, rely on. So, it is appropriate that the winning soccer cleats in the youth category are a pair of soccer cleats that help with these basic skills, but at the same time have style and color which look world class.