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Best Cleats by Position: Center Backs

Defenders Soccer Cleats

Finding the right pair of soccer cleats is paramount to ensuring you are performing at the highest level come kick-off. Each position is going to have specific boots that are more suited than others. So, in our Best Cleats by Position series, we take a look at what boots suit the needs of each playing position on the soccer pitch.

Center Backs
Having a solid defense is the key to every successful soccer team. Keeping a clean sheet automatically ensures you get a draw – you only need your strikers to score one goal to win the game. With that being said, center backs have one of the most important visible roles on the field. John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Carlos Puyol are examples of players who lead their teams from the back line. So, what does a center back need from a soccer cleat?

  • Comfort – Center backs are required to be on their toes at all times, especially since they have the responsibility of quickly closing down attacking players.
  • Protection – Tackling is a big part of any defenders job, a boot that keeps your feet protected is essential.
  • Power – If in doubt lump it out! When it comes to clearing the ball or playing long balls over the top, having the advantage of power is very welcome!

Blackout Adidas Predator X

Adidas Predator X or adiPower (review)
The Predator X has all the attributes needed to suit the typical center back. They are designed for striking solid balls, and the Predator Zone doubles to add some extra protection. If you like to get stuck into strong tackles, the Predator X is a good boot to be wearing. The Predator range has a strong tradition with suiting the needs of players who’s key role is spray balls around the field (David Beckham optimizes this type of player.) During testing, I gave them full marks for comfort, so you will feel confident in them during a game. Since writing this post, the adiPower Predator has been released and offers an equally competitive option!

Search for pairs of adiPower Predator.

Puma PWR-C1 Orange

Puma PowerCat (review)
A boot designed with power in mind, the Puma PWR-C 1 includes the added benefit of a padded strike zone, or SpringTech foam. The layered ridges add a unique look to the boot that adds spring when you connect with the ball. Although they are not quiet the most comfortable cleat in the world, they do offer high quality and a smooth break-in period. If you want to play like Nemanja Vidic then the PowerCat is the boot for you!

Search for pairs of Puma PowerCat.

Elite Nike Tiempo IVNike Tiempo Legend
If you are looking for a lighter option, the Tiempo Legend might just be the answer. They seem to be one of the preferred choices for some of the worlds best center backs right now (including Carles Puyol). The highlight of the boot is the supersoft Kangaroo leather – ideal for players who need good touch and feel while on the ball. I found that the Tiempo series fits small, so while reviewing comfort was not one of the high points, but from player feedback once you find the right size they are a great option.

Search for pairs of Tiempo Legend.

Other options worth checking out:
Nike T90 Laser III
Diadora Kobra K
Adidas adiPure IV
Under Armour Dominate

What center backs are currently wearing: (as of Feb 2011)
John Terry (Chelsea) – Umbro Speciali
Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd) – Puma PowerCat
Carles Puyol (Barcelona) –  Nike Tiempo Legend
Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich) – Adidas Predator X
Walter Samuel (Inter Milan) – Nike Tiempo Legend
Johan Djourou (Arsenal) – Puma PowerCat
Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen) – Adidas Predator X
Carlos Bocanegra (St Etienne) – Nike T90 Laser III
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) – Adidas adiPure IV

About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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19 comments

  1. Really good choices. I found this article to be very interesting.

    A bit of a request; can you do one for center forwards/strikers/attacking players in general? Because my F30i's are getting worn out, and I need to get some new boots. I'm more of a player who focuses on power and accuracy than speed, but I can't choose between the likes of the Predator, T90, PowerCat, etc…thanks!

  2. Great Article Bryan, I currently play CB & Defensive MF. I need a good balance between lightness & protection so I use the Nike Vapor VI, I’ve had issues going into tackles with them but besides that they are some of the best cleats I’ve ever worn.

  3. Continued: —–^ I really thinked this post was awesome, do you think you can do one for strikers? Many thanks.

  4. No Laser and Ignitus?? LOL

    I have to agree w/ the Powercat. To me it's one of the most comfortable boots. I wore The Ignitus once and the bio panels ruin the touch. visa versa w/ the Laser3. So I stick w/ the powercat, nice overall boots, the touch is also nice. Not as good as the Adipure or Adicore or Legend but still nice 🙂

  5. Hi Stormy:

    Got a question for you, how is the F30, I am intreseting of getting one of the F50 series, seems there are some issues about the durable of F50, and the outsole of F30 looks stronger than F50. Any comments?

  6. Hi Bryan:

    I am a CB and thanks for the artical.
    I have got Predator and Tiempo legend WC elite, but I am still considering buying one more pair for the comming season.
    King XL Diego/Adipure IV/ Laser 3/maybe Ignitus. Just can’t make up my mind.
    I have got a wide fit and function is more important than looks for me.
    Could you give me some idea?
    Thanx!

  7. Would you recommend the Nike ctr360 Maestri for defense?

    • yeah i play center back/sweeper, keeper, mid, and sometimes wing, i just picked em up andi can still hit my clearances pretty darn well, and also make those quick settling balls, passes really well. dont worry about the power shield bs, it doesnt do much. my ctrs are great, and i think you should try em out.

  8. I currently have a pair of the last generation of predator and love them except for one thing, they destriy my big toe nails. And while it might sound like they are too small, I am already up one size from my previous pair to try and correct this. Any ideas? I would love to go with the Predator X but if there is a boot with a larger toe area I would love to hear about it.

  9. @Andy

    Doesn't sound like fun! Have you ever tried taping up your toes before the game? The best advice I can offer is try get to a shoe store to try on different pairs to see how they suit your foot best.

    • If you try on shoes at a soccer store, have the decency to buy from that store. Stores do not stay in business by letting you try on shoes & then you buying off the internet from online retailers that do not do the work to earn your business.

      • young us keeper

        then stores need to have the decency to charge a competitive price, considering you aren't even paying for shipping. i've many times found some store prices to be ridiculous. they offer a service. if they can get you actually *in* the door and trying on the product and they still can't close the deal; they need to up their game.

  10. Hey Bryan when are you going to write an article for wing backs? Because im in the market but can't seem to exactly find something that best suits me, so some words of advice from a cleat expert would be cool

  11. hi brian!… would the pantofola d'Oro lazzarini cleats be good for a center back? thanks!

  12. I play centre back every week in the superfly 2 they are fine

    • yeah i dont really get this whole "does my boot fit my positoin thing" basically all you need is protection for defense… and some speedy aspects for forwards. the rest is fit and feel. I do really enjoy watching companys try to use this as a marketing ploy and offer comfortable places for people to fit into, but I think its all very unnecessary. so im with you, even though i dont like superflys 😉

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