We are running an exciting new series entitled ‘Cleatology’, where we spend time with some of the top soccer Bloggers around the net, in order to find out their thoughts and views on anything soccer cleat. In the first edition, we caught up with Michael S. Hund, who runs The Fullback Files. Michael focuses on Major League Soccer with an emphasis on DC United, while also covering news of the US national team. A long-time player, observer, student, and fan of the beautiful game, we asked Michael to fill us in on his experiences with soccer cleats through the years.
Michael, as a kid growing up, what types of soccer cleats did you wear?
Ah, the 80’s. Adidas, Adidas, everywhere, and not just the cleats. My standard school shoes were always Adidas flats that saw double duty for indoor soccer in the winter as well. Not being a fancy-pants attacking sort (my blog is called the Fullback Files for a reason!), pretty much the only thing I looked for in a shoe in those early years was “the blacker the better.” And while that generally ended up being Adidas, I do have fond memories of a couple pairs of Diadoras as well.
Do you have any memories of specific cleats you wore?
Oh, those Diadoras! There was one pair I remember loving so much that I wore them well beyond the point where my feet had outgrown them. The blisters were unbelievable! The backs of both heels were rubbed raw. Most of my toes were a mess. The ball of my left (plant) foot was a bloody, puss-filled ruin. But they were worth it. The last time I scored more than once in a game during a competitive match was in those shoes. Of course, that might have been due more to the coach yanking me off the back line and sticking me in attacking midfield for some reason, but I’ll always attribute that final brace to those fantastic Diadoras.
What cleats on the market do you not like?
Nike. They weren’t making soccer cleats during my glory days in the 80’s, but I’ve never been a fan of Nike shoes in general. Why? Because they’re too narrow for my wide German-Irish peasant trotters! So you can imagine my complete lack of surprise when I got a pair of Nike’s to review recently and found that the problem persists. It wasn’t that they were so completely uncomfortable that my feet couldn’t take the pain (I think I established in the Diadora anecdote above that they can take a fair amount of abuse), but I was constantly worried about turning an ankle–the narrow base had me feeling like I was on ice skates sometimes!
From your experience, what is the most important feature of a good cleat?
While I’ve not yet outgrown my youthful obsession with having footwear be as black as possible, my priorities have shifted a bit as I enter my fourth decade of playing the game. Not having the youthful energy I once possessed, a light shoe has become increasingly important. But far and away, the thing that I now value most in a cleat is grip. These days, if my footing goes, I count my lucky stars if I haven’t pulled something in the bargain. The road back to fitness from a tweaked groin is much longer now than it was as a teenager.
If you enjoyed Michael’s humorous approach to all things soccer cleats then hop on over to The Fullback Files, and get the latest on the world of MLS as the playoffs quickly approach! We will continue the series with more interviews later this week. Make sure to sign up to our email updates and get all the latest stories from Soccer Cleats 101!