Which youth football cleats are best?

Preparing your child for the rigors of gridiron football is tough, but the right equipment goes a long way in helping them consistently improve their skills. Cleats are paramount to a child’s success on the field, so you want them to wear the best ones possible.

There are plenty of youth football cleats to choose from, but the best offer balanced stability and comfort. For example, the Under Armour Kids’ Spotlight Franchise RM Football Cleats are a popular pick, thanks to their durable build, locked-down fit and stylish design.

What to know before you buy youth football cleats

Size and fit

Football cleats often have a slim build, so it’s better to purchase a size up for children with wide feet in most cases. Wearing the proper size is crucial for playing at a high level, and it helps prevent injury. Also, some cleats may feel stiff out of the box, but breaking them in is often necessary until they’re flexible enough to deliver elite performance on the field.

Position and ankle cut

Most kids don’t play tackle football, as it’s usually introduced at the high school level. Flag or touch football is most played at the youth level, so positions like offensive lineman, defensive lineman and linebackers are nonexistent. Players at the high school level and beyond who play these positions often prefer bulkier shoes that offer plenty of stability, but players are more mobile in flag football.

A mid- or high-cut shoe is ideal for heavier players looking for more stability and ankle support, but players like agile receivers and speedy defensive backs might find them too bulky. Regardless, ankle cut is a matter of preference, especially at the youth level.

Materials

The best football cleats are made with high-quality leather or synthetic materials. It makes them durable enough to withstand the rigors of the game and provides plenty of protection from other players who can potentially step on another player’s foot.

What to look for in quality youth football cleats

Traction

Football cleats should give players lots of grip on the field for stability, executing agile movements and letting players dig into the ground when in a static position for quick takeoffs. Spike placement matters, but football cleats that provide good traction generally give players a balanced combination of stopping precision and explosiveness.

Spikes

Unlike adult football cleats that sometimes have metal studs, youth cleats are all made with molded rubber or hard-plastic spikes. They are safer than metal studs, are more durable and don’t wear out as fast if worn on harder surfaces.

The length of the spikes should coincide with your child’s playing style. Fast and agile players benefit more from cleats with shorter spikes to move with more flexibility, while stockier players prefer longer studs, as they give them more stability and traction.

Colors

The most common football cleat colors are black and grey, but they can look a bit drab. Many cleats are offered in more vibrant colors, such as green, red and blue, but it’s a matter of preference to decide which color your child wants to wear. Also, consider their school or team’s uniform colors.

How much you can expect to spend on youth football cleats

Youth football cleats are inexpensive, and it doesn’t cost more than $45 for a reliable pair. However, some shoes made with more durable materials or premium designs can cost up to $60.

Youth football cleats FAQ

Are there youth cleats with removable studs?

A. Youth cleats with removable studs are rare. They are most commonly used at the collegiate and professional levels to enhance grip on various surfaces and adjust to weather conditions.

How do you clean youth football cleats?

A. It’s best to use a damp cloth to clean them, but some are machine-washable. However, do not place them in a dryer because it can distort their shape and quality.

What are the best youth football cleats to buy?

Top youth football cleats

Under Armour Kids’ Spotlight Franchise RM Football Cleats

Under Armour Kids’ Spotlight Franchise RM Football Cleats

What you need to know: These cleats provide excellent stability and are ideal for strong and heavy players.

What you’ll love: They have a durable synthetic upper with a stylish screen-print graphic and a soft 5/8 collar for a locked-down fit and additional ankle support. The full-length, ethylene-vinyl acetate midsole provides plenty of cushioning and comfort, and the rubber molded cleats give players excellent traction.

What you should consider: There’s no low-cut option available, and every color includes some white, making dirt and grass stains more noticeable.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top youth football cleats for the money

Nike Kids’ Alpha Menace 3 Shark Mid Football Cleats

Nike Kids’ Alpha Menace 3 Shark Mid Football Cleats

What you need to know: These durable shoes are excellent for beginners and intermediate players and versatile enough for any position.

What you’ll love: They’re made with high-quality synthetic leather for a long-lasting build, and the molded front adds extra durability and support. Nike Fastflex technology in the molded rubber studs creates optimal traction. The soft foam midsole increases responsiveness and bounce during strides.

What you should consider: They’re wider than most football cleats, so those with narrower feet may find them awkward.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

Nike Kids’ Force Savage Shark 2 Mid Football Cleats

Nike Kids’ Force Savage Shark 2 Mid Football Cleats

What you need to know: These shoes have a bulky, durable build that makes them perfect for defensive players.

What you’ll love: They have three straps instead of laces for a more secure fit and a high-quality synthetic upper for breathability and support. The midsole contains phylon foam for additional comfort and responsiveness, and the outsole provides plenty of grip and flexibility.

What you should consider: Some users found them too narrow. Others complained about the Velcro being weak and the straps coming undone too easily.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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