One of the most common questions I get centers around positions and what boots suit a specific players needs most adequately. For that reason, I created a special series called “Cleats By Position.”
Of course, over time the posts become a little outdated as new boots hit the market and others are release. Here, I am putting together an updated summary post to highlight positions and the current boots on the market that suit their needs best. Bear in mind that this is a guide, with each suggestion taking into consideration the characteristics of the boot. I am not saying other boots don’t suit as effectively, but that these are some ideal options.
Nike T90 Laser IV or Puma PWR-CT 1.10
In order to perform to the highest level, the right pair of gloves matched with the right footwear is absolutely crucial for a goalkeeper. Whether it is coming off your line quickly, or playing a long ball down field, having a responsive, comfortable soccer cleat can make a huge difference. Top of the list right now is the Nike T90 Laser IV. They offer a great strike zone, while providing keepers with a high level of comfort and traction in the box when they need it most. This one might change in the next few weeks (pending the new release), but as it stands the PWR-CT 1.10 is another one of the top choices for keepers around the world.
Full-Back (right or left)
Puma King Finale or Nike Tiempo IV
Being a full back, you have the responsibility to defend, while getting up the line and providing service into the box when needed. You rarely hear about the heroic performance of a right or left defender, yet there job could be one of the most difficult. Think about it for a second, not only are you responsible for getting up and down the line, helping support any attacks and usually whipping balls into the box, but you also have the responsibility of keeping the dangerous wide, attacking players at bay. Both the Puma King Finale and Nike Tiempo IV are built around class, with both providing a heritage look and ideal performance for defenders.
Nike T90 Laser IV or Adidas adiPower Predator
Defense wins championships, right? I think that is why some of the best teams in the world are notorious for their hard-hitting, no-nonsense center backs. Defenders need power for playing long passes and making clearances, while protection is also a necessity as they get stuck in on tackles. I find it slightly surprising to say that the T90 Laser IV and adiPower Predator are currently top choices for center backs, considering Nike and Adidas advertise them as “attacking” boots. But when you break both down, they offer a pretty ideal make-up for the position.
Asics Lethal Tigreor or Nike Tiempo IV
The Asics brand has not been on the market long, but their Lethal Tigreor jumps right into the action, suiting the mold of defensive midfielders. They offer great protection while offering players the opportunity to be on their toes at all times. Defensive mids need to be alert and ready to cover ground quickly. Having the job to break up quick attacks makes for an important role. The Nike Tiempo range is an all-time classic silo, and it adds a high level of heritage to a mainstay position on the field. Defensive mids need something that is reliable – and both these boots fit the old!
Adidas adiPure IV or Umbro Geometra Pro
The most multi-talanted player on the field has to be the center mid. They have to do a little bit of everything, and for that reason they need an all around performance boot. Playing center midfield means one thing – you need to have a solid engine room and a fully functional 360 degree radar! You also need a soccer cleat you can rely on for comfort and all around performance, so that you can tackle, pass, shoot and get up and down the field. They need a balance of all attributes, and both the adiPure and Geometra have that to offer. I particularly like the control region that sits on the instep of the Geometra as it offers great cushion as you take the ball out of the air.
Nike CTR360 Maestri or Mizuno Wave Ignite
Every successful team has a creator, or playmaker, who gets on the ball and creates chances – this role usually falls to the attacking mid. Not only do they create chances, but they have the responsibility of getting themselves on the score-sheet, with double digits a pretty standard season target. The number one boot for this position is without a doubt the Nike CTR360 Maestri II, Nike’s goal with this release was to create a boot that masters control while allowing players to receive and distribute passes with ease. But there are also other boots that fit the mold, most notably the Mizuno Wave Ignite, although these are not readily available on the US market.
Adidas adiPower Predator SL or Puma V1.11 SL
As a winger myself, I have a very good idea of what is needed to be able to make the most of playing out wide. In fact, wingers play one of the most under appreciated roles on the field. Having a boot that makes the grade when called upon is a necessity – especially when you have been standing out wide for 20 minutes without getting a touch of the ball! Comfort is a must, but so is the ability to accelerate quickly and get the ball in the box. The adiPower SL and V1.11 SL are lightweight and give wingers the ability to be confident in what they are wearing!
Nike Vapor VII or Puma V1.11
This type of player needs more than just a power boot. You have to be confident in what you are wearing to be able to cut, turn and accelerate away from defenders – with the later being most important. When you mix speed with the necessity to score goals, there are actually plenty of options to pick from. The Mercurial Vapor series has always been a top choice for creative forwards and definitely make the grade when it comes to accelerating away. Another boot that will easily move onto this list when they are released is the Pele Sports Trinity.
Nike T90 Laser IV or Nike Superfly II
Without a doubt, one of the most psychologically challenging positions to play is that of the center forward. Your role is to score goals, and going a few games without scoring can be one of the most challenging experiences a striker will face. Self doubt can creep in very easily and when you are not scoring, you could easily find yourself sitting on the bench. This makes having the right footwear crucial – you need to know that your boots will offer you the top level of performance on a consistent basis. Nike win the battle in this category, with the T90 Laser IV and Superfly offering excellent options. I have to admit that it was difficult to leave the adiPower Predator off the top picks!
Puma King Finale or Adidas Copa Mundial
As a coach, you just need something that is simple, affordable and offers a high level of comfort. In other words, you need a boot that offers class and falls into the heritage category. There really is nothing more reliable than the Puma King Finale and the Adidas Copa Mundial. Both have a lot of tradition and have mastered the market for the past 30+ years, managing to overcome every battle with new boots hitting the market. And in terms of value, you are not going to see better options!