Footwear June 23rd, 2020

What Are The Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Soccer Shoes?

Soccer is a sport known for its versatility.

If it’s been raining all week, a little bit of mud on the field won’t halt your plans. Or, if a soccer field isn’t accessible, you can easily pick up a game on an asphalt court. Because soccer is played on a wide variety of surfaces, both soft and hard, choosing the right soccer shoe a little tricky.

Since the game requires speedy and intricate maneuvers, soccer players need to keep a firm grip at all times. The right soccer cleat equally supports performance and protects against injury on a variety of ground densities. This is why you’ll see significant differences between indoor and outdoor soccer shoes.

In this guide, we’ll cover the main differences between the two. You’ll spot different names for indoor and outdoor soccer shoes, such as turf cleats, firm and soft ground cleats, and even artificial ground shoes. We’ll cover the most important things to know about both types and how to choose the best shoe for your season.


What's the difference between indoor and outdoor soccer cleats?

It’s easy to distinguish indoor and outdoor soccer cleats with just a quick look. Indoor soccer shoes look similar to everyday street shoes or sneakers, and many people wear them as such. However, you can’t merely stroll around in outdoor soccer cleats since they feature jagged studs on their base and a skin-tight tight fit around the foot and ankle. Both types of shoes aim to protect the player and the playing field but use different technology and architecture to do so.

Indoor soccer cleats

An indoor soccer shoe typically has a flat outsole without any cleats. Outsoles are made of rubber and feature a honeycomb or houndstooth pattern for ultimate grip. This allows the shoe ultimate traction on wooden or cement courts. Indoor soccer shoes are also appropriate if you pick up a casual game of soccer on a blacktop court or street outside.

Outdoor soccer cleats

The outsoles of outdoor soccer cleats vary widely. Each style of shoe features cleats or rounded studs around the heel and sole, and the shape, length, and makeup of the studs depend on your outdoor surface. For example, soft ground cleats (SG) may have removable metal studs for gripping muddy ground. Other varieties modify their studs to complement a traditional firm ground (FG), hard ground (HG) for dried grass, or artificial grass (AG) courts.

Indoor and outdoor soccer cleats also have a different profile. Outdoor cleats often supply higher ankle support as well as structure in places throughout the foot. Since indoor soccer surfaces are typically even, there is little need for additional support.

What are the most important features of indoor and outdoor soccer shoes?

Above all else, both indoor and outdoor soccer shoes must offer appropriate support for your playing field and your body’s proper fit. If you play on a team, we recommend speaking with your coach about the playing field, rules of the league, and tips about your position.

What to look for in indoor soccer shoes

Also known as futsal shoes, indoor soccer shoes maintain closer contact with the court than their outdoor counterpart. Look for a flat, rubber sole that features a multidirectional pattern to prevent slipping and increase traction for speedy mobility around the court.

The outside of an indoor soccer shoe should be structured and supportive with a low ankle profile. The material should naturally wrap around your foot like a supportive second skin while still absorbing the impact of the hardcourt. Many indoor soccer shoes also include a reinforced toe for more even contact with the ball. Be sure that the fabric breathes, wicks sweat away from the foot, and maintains its flexibility.

What to look for in outdoor soccer shoes

Traditional cleats are a bit more complicated. Like indoor soccer shoes, you want a pair made with modern, high-quality material that breathes, melds naturally to your foot to decrease chafing, and is great for handling sweat in the middle of a game. Depending on personal preference, players often choose between traditional leather or synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are often more waterproof, but many prefer the durability and flexibility of leather.

Outdoor soccer shoes often provide a high-ankle alternative. Ankle support also comes down to your preference and style of play. Similar to something like a hiking boot, the more ankle support, the less chance of injury that ankle with a twist or sprain. However, too high a profile and you cut down on your range of motion. Different positions on the field may benefit more from a protected ankle than others.

As we mentioned earlier, the type of playing ground determines your cleat variety. Be sure to choose a shoe ideal for either soft ground, firm ground, hard ground, or turf.

Today’s top soccer shoes have found a balance between field performance and safety. Before buying the right shoe for you, speak to your coach about the league’s preferences and the best shoe cleat variety for your field. As the case with all athletic shoes, your footwear should never get in the way of your natural gameday talents.


Indoor & Outdoor Soccer Favorites


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