Are Big Feet Good for Soccer? (+ Size Of Pro Players)

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Soccer players have a wide range of body types, including some very different foot sizes. In the sport, your feet don’t only matter for running but also for handling and striking the ball. 

People with very flat or very arched feet are likely to struggle to comfortably wear cleats without some arch support, but what about those with big feet? Simply put, are big feet an advantage or a disadvantage during soccer?

We’ll tell you everything you need to know on the subject, including:

  • Pros and cons of big feet
  • Shoe sizes of professional soccer players
  • How soccer impacts your feet

Now’s the time to find out all about foot size and soccer. Read on!

Stepping on soccer ball with cleats

Is There Any Advantage to Having Big Feet in Soccer?

When it comes to big feet and soccer, are there any advantages? 

Those with larger feet are in luck! There tend to be some common benefits of big feet in soccer:

  • More surface area to block the opponent’s access to the ball. 
  • Greater foot surface for dribbling or kicking. 
  • Increased traction and turning ability on the field due to larger area in contact with the ground. 

Do Big Feet Make You Run Faster?

Femal soccer players running during training practice

According to a New York Times blog article, more weight around the feet will slow down your running efficiency more than extra weight near your midsection. 

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Based on this information, big feet may sound worse for running. Well, not exactly.

The real-world decline in efficiency among runners with oversize feet is small.

Rodger Kram, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder who studies the biomechanics of running

At the same time, research from the Faculty of Sport and Health Science at Ritsumeikan University in Jaan found that longer forefoot bones were correlated with faster running speed for runners. 

In both studies, they also found that longer forefoot bones correlated with faster running speeds among the trained runners, although here the studies’ findings diverged: endurance runners who reported faster 5K times had longer big toe forefoot bones, whereas sprinters who reported faster 100 meter times had longer second toe forefoot bones.


So, longer toe bones are associated with better running efficiency. However, that does not necessarily mean that the overall size of the foot matters.

Ultimately, there are several mechanical differences that can impact running efficiency and speed. 

Players of Brazil during Brazil National soccer team traning before the finale stage of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar at Juventus Training Center 16 November 2022 Turin Italy. ○ Soccer Blade
Prayers of Brazil during Brazil National football team training, before the final stage of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, at Juventus Training Center, 16 November 2022, Turin, Italy.

Is It Better to Have Big Feet in Soccer?

Given the potential benefits of big feet, it may sound like they are better. So, is it better to have big feet in soccer?

Not necessarily. Having large feet is not “better” for you in soccer, but it may not be worse either. 

Pros and Cons of Wide Feet 

Regardless of overall size differences, some players may also have wide feet. It’s possible to have “large”, but narrow feet or to have short but wide feet. In some cases, players may have both long and wide feet. 

Here are the top pros and cons of wide feet


  • Larger footprint, better for traction. 
  • More surface area for handling or striking the ball. 
  • Larger area to transfer power to the ball. 


  • Difficulty finding cleats that fit comfortably. 
  • Pain with soccer cleats. 
  • More likely to also have flat feet (and associated arch problems)

Big Feet Soccer Players

Neymar 2018

There are soccer players with feet of all sizes. Of course, some of them have big feet. 

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Let’s take a look at some big feet soccer players and the shoe sizes of professional soccer players. 

But first, it’s important to note that the average shoe size for men in the United States is 10.5 medium width. 


Neymar, the Brazilian soccer player, wears a size 9 shoe. The 5’9” attacking player currently plays for PSG in France. Take a look at his quick feet in action in this fun highlight video from Legends of the Game!

Neymar Junior 2021- PSG Maestro | Skills & Goals | HD

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, a 6’1” Portuguese player, wears only a size 9 shoe. He currently plays for Manchester United in the Premier League.

Paul Pogba

Paul Poga is a sizeable player for Manchester United. He’s 6’ 3” tall and wears a 10.5 shoe. Based on his height, this shoe size is not extremely large. 

Romelu Lukaku

One of the professional players with the largest feet is Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United striker. He wears a whopping size 14!

Romelu Lukaku of FC Internazionale left and Cristian Zapata of Genoa CFC Italian soccer Serie A match FC Internazionale vs Genoa CFC. Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan Italy February 28 2021 ○ Soccer Blade
Romelu Lukaku of FC Internazionale fights for the ball against Cristian Zapata of Genoa CFC during Italian football Serie A match FC Internazionale vs Genoa CFC at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, February 28, 2021 – Credit: LiveMedia/Fabrizio Carabelli

Here’s a helpful chart to review even more players and their shoe sizes:

Player ClubPositionShoe Size
NeymarPSGForward 9
Cristiano RonaldoManchester UnitedForward 10
Paul PogbaManchester UnitedMidfield10.5
Romelu LukakoManchester UnitedStriker14
Christian PulisicChelsea Midfield8.5
Fraser ForsterSouthamptonGK12.5
Dele AlliTottenham HotspurMidfield10.5
Christian EriksenBrentfordMidfield9
Zlatan IbrahimovicAC Milan Forward12
Jack ButlandCrystal PalaceGK12
Lionel MessiPSGForward10
Kylian MbappePSGForward11
Soccer players and their shoe size

Do Soccer Players Have Bad Feet?

Heel pain foot graphic displaying the muscles of the foot being held in a hand

Big feet are one thing, but soccer players are known for having bad feet. Is this claim true?

Not every player is the same, but a fair share of soccer players tend to have less-than-ideal feet. The game exposes them to tight-fitting shoes that are not ideal for the human foot, contact with the ball and other players, and more. 

Essentially, the conditions of soccer make it pretty hard to have great feet. Here are some common foot problems soccer players have:

  • Bruises
  • Loose, bruised, or missing toe nails 
  • Callouses 
  • Sprained or broken toes 
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Athlete’s foot/foot fungus 
See also  How to Join a Soccer Team (Near You)

Who Has the Strongest Foot in Soccer?

One feat in soccer that remains impressive is striking the ball. Some players combine technical mastery with their unique mechanics to offer a fast-paced kick. 

So, who has the strongest foot in soccer?

Ronny Heberson from Sporting Lisbon hit a real rocket in 2006. His shot traveled 210/8 Km/h, which is around 131 mph! Herberson was a Brazilian professional player. Take a look at his rocket shot below!

Ronny's Thunder Shot

Final Verdict: Are Big Feet Good for Sports?

Overall, big feet may offer slight advantages or disadvantages for different sports, but they won’t make or break your talent! 

Soccer players, and athletes in many sports, have feet of all sizes. You may hear common beliefs that big feet are either good or bad for soccer, but the truth is that a lot more matters than shoe size. 

There are many players with smaller or average size feet, but there are also many with large feet. Ultimately, total body proportions, body mechanics, playing technique, and experience are more important for soccer players than just the size of their feet. 

Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade | + posts

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Playing Soccer FAQ

Is soccer a contact sport?

While tackling with excessive force, charging, and striking opponents are illegal in soccer, players often overstep the boundaries. Although this generally results in appropriate sanctions being awarded, it doesn’t prevent significant contact from occurring.

What do soccer teams do at halftime?

At halftime, soccer teams exit the field. They return to their bench area. For youth teams, they may not have a locker room. However, many college and professional teams do head back to the locker room. 
The break is an opportunity for teams to collect themselves. They may talk about what is going well in the game, and what they need to resolve.

How do I join a soccer team?

Attend trials for schools, teams in your local area. If no trials are due, then contact the coach to see if you can join a practice. Search for local soccer teams and try a few to see if it suits your ability and it also needs to be a place that you would enjoy. Scholarships are also available depending on your age, ability, and location. 

Why does a soccer ball curve?

The angle and speed with which the soccer player’s boot strikes the ball determine how far the ball travels. The ball won’t curve or spin if the player hits it right in the middle with their foot following through in a completely straight line.

What are some injuries players get when playing soccer? 

The most common knee and ankle injuries are mild to severe sprains, strains, and tears. Other less common knee and ankle injuries include dislocations and fractures.

What are some ways to pass a soccer ball?

+ Inside foot: Using the area above and inside of the big toe.
+ Outside foot: This creates a spin on the ball to swerve the ball around players
+ The Laces: A powerful volley can be performed with a straight leg swing.
+ Spin: If the toes get underneath the ball with some force you create a backspin.
+ Back heel: Connect the heel with the ball to reverse play.
+ Header: Often used for clearing and shooting, but can be a creative passing move.
+ Body: Use any part of the body to deflect the ball into the path you desire.

Thanks for reading our articles - we hope you've enjoyed them - have fun playing, coaching, and or watching soccer.

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