Can You Use Running Shoes for Soccer? (Only if …)

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Do you really need a pair of soccer shoes to be a successful soccer player? Why not just play soccer in your ordinary running shoes?

Today, we’re going to answer these questions and more. So, if you’re torn between playing soccer in your favorite pair of running shoes or opting to buy new cleats instead, read on! 

What are the main differences between running shoes and soccer Shoes?

Obviously, each type of shoe has its own category for a reason, since they’re designed for totally different purposes. Let’s take a close look at the 6 main aspects in which running shoes and soccer shoes significantly differ.

Running shoes man walking showing the sole

So Can I Use Running Shoes for Soccer? 

You can play soccer in running shoes, but you won’t have the best performance unless you wear cleats or soccer boots.

And this is for multiple reasons: soccer shoes fit better than running shoes; they come with spikes and blades to enhance traction; they’re a bit narrower than running shoes to provide agility, and they’re specially designed to increase your kicking precision. 


One thing that distinguishes between running and soccer shoes is how they fit around the feet. Of course, running shoes are fairly tight, but compared to cleats or soccer shoes, they aren’t quite as tight.

Running on grass and kicking a hardball around are good reasons to wear shoes that fit well and snugly around your feet, especially during rough games.


The second difference between running and soccer shoes is that one has significantly more traction than the other. Soccer involves running about on grass that is grown on soil and is fairly slippery.

And you might already know, the goal of the game is to be swift and get the ball into the net, so the player must be able to run and stop quickly, as well as maneuver from side to side in order to get past the opposing players or intercept their paths. 

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For these reasons, soccer shoes are designed with blades, spikes, or studs on the bottom. These spikes can dig into the grass and dirt on the field to seriously enhance traction.

Running shoes, on the other hand, are exclusively designed for running, and most of the time they are on a generally smooth, flat, and firm surface. So you don’t need much traction while running (as long as you aren’t jogging on ice or snow). 

And that’s not to mention, jogging on a concrete sidewalk or track with a lot of spikes at the bottom of your shoes would be quite painful or even lead to slipping and falling.  Running shoes normally feature a light rubber sole to help you achieve adequate traction on the hard ground.


The cushioning, particularly in the heel of the shoe, is one of the major differences between soccer shoes (or cleats) and running shoes. Running exposes the heel of the foot to constant impacts and shocks.

Every time you take a step while running, the impact is concentrated in your heels, resulting in discomfort, tension, and damage, especially over time. Running shoes include additional cushioning in the heel to compensate for the impact and help you bear to withstand it, which is more vital for those who run on hard surfaces.

Because soccer shoes aren’t designed specifically for running, they don’t have nearly as much cushioning in the heel.

Additionally, soccer players run on grass or AstroTurf, which both have less of an impact on your feet than jogging on a hard surface such as a cement sidewalk.


The general design and function distinguish between a running shoe and a soccer shoe. Running shoes are made to be worn when running, thus they are a little broader to give a stable running platform.

Soccer shoes, on the other hand, are made for playing a sport with a ball, so they are a little narrower to promote agility and the ability to turn swiftly.

Soccer shoes allow a player to kick the ball with high accuracy, unlike running shoes, which can send the ball flying in any direction due to their design.

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Arch Support

When it comes to arch support, running shoes win. One of the most critical features of any pair of shoes, especially those designed for running, is arch support. Every foot is different, with arches that are somewhat different in shape.

So all of the arches in all feet need to be supported, regardless of their shape, and this is especially true when running for long periods of time.

Too much running can cause arch discomfort or back pain and can even permanently modify the structure of your feet. As a result, when running shoes are worn for lengthy periods of time, they should always have sufficient arch support to keep your feet in appropriate shape and posture and prevent any pain.

Of course, arch support is still crucial in soccer, but not as much as it is in running. This is because a soccer game lasts just under two hours, and running on grass or any other soft surface is less damaging to the arches than jogging on a hard surface such as cement.


Breathability is definitely another aspect in which soccer shoes and running shoes differ from one another. While breathability is significant for both types of shoes,  it is even more so in lengthy marathons and long periods of running. 

To allow for airflow and temperature control, soccer shoes are very breathable. However, because soccer shoes are only supposed to be worn for just 1-2 hours at a time, their breathability isn’t as crucial as that of running shoes.

Running can last several hours or even all day as in the case of a marathon. As a result, having well-aired feet is critical if you want to have a good chance of outrunning hundreds of other competitors. Good airflow also prevents foot fungus or other issues that can result from hot, sweaty feet.

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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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Soccer Products FAQ

Can I Use Running Shoes for Soccer? 

You can play soccer in running shoes, but you won’t have the best performance unless you wear cleats or soccer boots.

Why are soccer balls black and white?

Soccer balls are traditionally black and white because when soccer was first shown on TV it was in black and white, so the mix of black and white on the balls helped viewers see the ball easier. 

How hard and what pressure should a soccer ball be?

The FIFA regulations say that the soccer balls should have a pressure between 8.81757 psi (0.6 atm) and 16.1655 psi (1.1 atm). If you’re playing soccer with friends, then opt for a pressure amount from the lower range.

What is the size of goals in soccer?

5-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-7 and under-8 soccer games
7-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high again. Such soccer goals are for under-9 and under-10 soccer games
9-A-Side has dimensions that are 16-ft wide by 7-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-11 and under-12 soccer game
11-A-Side or full-size soccer goal has dimensions that are 24-ft wide by 8-ft high for the under-15 and over. Whereas, for the under-13 and under-14, it is 21 ft wide by 7-ft high

What is the soccer ball size and weight for each age group?

Size 1 - 3 years or under - 18 to 20 inches - 195 to 205 grams
Size 2 - 3 to 5 years - 20 to 22 inches - U4 - 250 to 280 grams
Size 3 - 5 to 8 years - 23 to 24 inches - U5 to U8 - 300 to 320 grams
Size 4 - 8 to 12 years - 25 to 26 inches - U8 to U12 - 350 to 390 grams
Size 5 - More than 12 years - 27 to 28 inches - U12 to Pro - 410 to 450 grams

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