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Soccer Cleats: Does It Work For Football & Basketball?

Footwear versatility can help a lot of athletes save money. At first glance, shoes for different sports can seem like they are very similar, but there are some differences that create a market in the first place.

Soccer cleats are one of those options that seem versatile enough. Athletes playing on grass or artificial turf in other sports might attempt to save a little money, but only if they work properly.

Do soccer cleats work for football and basketball? Soccer cleats can work to some degree in football, but they are not suitable for basketball. Soccer cleats should only be used on the specific surfaces designated by the brand. In most cases, that means using them on grass or artificial turf.

Soccer Cleats For Basketball

Wearing traditional soccer cleats for basketball is never recommended. Simply put, the surfaces are much too different, and there is no way for the cleats to dig into a hard surface. To make matters worse, the cleats for soccer could do damage to the hardwood floor of basketball. This could create a costly problem for anyone who tries it.

The only soccer shoes that might be somewhat safe to use are those created for indoor or street play. Even then, the shoes are not designed for the movements in basketball. Players are not getting the right ankle support or overall build to play totally different sports. Under no circumstances should a player ever use cleats on a hard surface.

The street soccer options, or any indoor options for that matter, are perfect for casually playing basketball, but they still will not provide the same type of ankle protection usually required for basketball players.

They also come in a low-top style, which basketball players do not always prefer. Although that style has come back over the last few years, a good amount of people will only play basketball in high tops.

Soccer Cleats For Football

Soccer cleats can translate to football reasonably well. There are some noticeable differences, and it is not going to give people the best protection out there, but it is better than going with no cleats at all.

At first, the most noticeable difference will be simply putting soccer cleats on, and then trying football cleats on. Soccer cleats are built much more for speed, even if they are designed for wide receivers and running backs. Not only are soccer players lighter, but they are running around all the time instead of doing short sprints.

How are they able to cut weight with soccer cleats? There is not as much protection of the foot with soccer cleats in general. When wearing them for football, a person’s foot is much more vulnerable to getting injured simply by someone stepping on them. It is the last thing any football player wants to have to deal with, as it seems like a pretty avoidable injury.

Ankle support is also a pretty big change with football cleats compared to soccer cleats. Almost all soccer cleats are low-cut, as players like to have that freedom to move around and be as flexible as possible in that area. Players might have tape around their ankles, but they do not like to have high-cut cleats for the most part.

Football players are the opposite, especially if they are playing on the line. Almost all players will have as much ankle support as possible, since there is so much impact on every single play. All it takes is one tweak to miss some time, and that hurts, particularly when a player who is over 300 pounds lands on someone.

Wearing soccer cleats means that a player will not have that toe stud available with football cleats. Some players rely on that configuration with the cleats, and doing something else can take away that bit of edge. Since that is banned in soccer, there will not be any options as far as that is concerned.

Soccer Cleats For Other Sports

Beyond the popular sports of football and basketball are others that require some cleats worn. Some might think that soccer cleats can be used for other sports as well, but there are some variations to keep in mind.


Baseball/softball cleats have a toe cleat in the front that will dig into the dirt. This is meant to act as a way to pick up speed as quickly as possible. Soccer does not have that, as it is illegal, and therefore puts a baseball player at a slight disadvantage.

A traditional baseball cleat also is not meant to take place in a contact sport. That means they might be a little lighter for players to move around in during those hot summer nights. The final significant difference is that many older baseball players will use metal spikes instead of rubber cleats.

These would not be suitable for soccer at all. Many believe the metal cleats give baseball players a distinct advantage in moving around on the combination of dirt and grass.


Yes, soccer cleats can be used in a pinch for lacrosse, but players will feel like they are at a slight disadvantage. Lacrosse cleats are a hybrid option of football and baseball cleats. In reality, all three are better to interchange, rather than going with soccer cleats (as long as the baseball cleats are rubber). 

The location of lacrosse cleats are on the outside of the outsole, which helps with stability and side to side movement. There is also a toe cleat with lacrosse cleats, ruling them out for soccer. Although it is not mandatory, lacrosse players usually have a mid-level cut to their cleats to have ankle support.

Why The Right Footwear Matters

It is certainly tempting to use the same shoes for multiple sports, but there are various options for a reason. If a person is gravitating towards a particular sport, it is time for them to invest in cleats that will work for that sport.

Even if it just provides a slight edge, it could be the difference between somebody having success, and coming up short. There are so many different companies out there willing to put in the effort and develop new technology that works for different athletes.

There is no reason not to take advantage of these opportunities one way or another. Most cleats fall in the same price range, so opting for soccer cleats over football will not save money.

Even within the sport of soccer, it’s important to find the right shoes. Don’t bring those indoor soccer shoes to the outdoor turf.

Soccer cleats belong on the pitch, and players who regularly take part in the sport probably do not want to mess up their cleats with other activities. Instead, look for a cheaper option for sports that are not considered anything more than a casual option.