Before all of my youth soccer games, the referee would have us tap our shinguards, check for jewelry, and lift our shoes to show we did not have metal cleats.
Showing our cleats as part of this ritual gave the impression that metal cleats are not allowed in soccer.
Yet, when I got to college, they provided us with a pair of metal cleats to use in wet field conditions.
The laws of the game permit metal cleats in soccer, yet many youth referees will not allow them due to the potential danger.
Wearing metal studs in soccer is not as straightforward as you may think. Here’s what you need to know.
Can you wear metal cleats in soccer?
According to the laws of the game, you can wear metal cleats in soccer. The Laws of the Game only state that players cannot wear anything dangerous, and that footwear must be worn.
The NCAA specifically permits metal studs in soccer. The NCAA official rules state
Shoes shall be worn by all participants in a game. Shoes containing aluminum, leather, rubber, nylon, or plastic cleats, studs or bars…are allowed as long as the referee does not consider them dangerous.NCAA Official Rule 4.1.17
can you wear metal studs in soccer for kids?
Technically, soccer permits metal studs. Yet, most referees will not allow youth players to wear metal cleats.
Ultimately, the referees have the final authority about what equipment is dangerous. Understandably, metal studs pose a pretty big danger to other young kids.
Kids are more likely to accidentally kick each other, high kick, step on toes, and fall during play.
Metal studs raise the chance of serious injury for young players, so they are usually not permitted.
Benefits of Wearing Metal Cleats in Soccer
Many collegiate and professional players wear metal cleats, and not just for fun. Let’s dive into the key benefits of wearing metal studs for soccer:
Soft Ground Traction
The main reason to wear metal cleats is to get better traction on soft ground. Metal studs can dig deeper into wet natural grass, making them the ideal choice for sloppy weather conditions.
Metal studs help prevent injuries by providing the necessary traction. By providing players with more control on soft ground, metal studs can reduce falls and related injuries.
Metal studs are fairly durable and long-lasting. Most allow you to swap out individual studs, so you can replace them once they are worn instead of replacing the entire cleat.
Risks of Metal Studs
Metal studs have some upsides, but are metal cleats dangerous? It’s easy to imagine how metal studs could injure other players.
Here are some risks of metal cleats
Injuring Other Players
Regular cleats can leave their mark when involved in a tackle, but metal studs can have resulted in greater injury.
They are more likely to break the skin and certainly hurt a lot more when making contact with another player.
Improper Surface Use
Metal studs are designed for soft ground surfaces. Using them on the wrong surface is very dangerous.
The metal cleats cannot properly penetrate on firm ground or turf. Wearing metal studs on the wrong surface increases the risk of injury, especially in the ankles and knees.
Do professional soccer players wear metal cleats?
Many professional soccer players wear metal cleats when the conditions permit. High-level soccer players tend to have different cleats for different surfaces.
Professional players choose metal cleats when playing on natural grass that is very soft. They choose metal studs for better traction while playing on soft surfaces.
On the other hand, it’s more common for amateur players to stick with cleats with plastic studs.
Metal studs are specifically made for soft ground, whereas plastic studs can work on a variety of surfaces.
Can you wear metal studs on turf?
Technically, the referee may allow you to wear metal cleats on turf if they do not deem them dangerous. However, you should not wear metal cleats on artificial grass, turf, or even firm ground.
The top reasons why not to wear metal cleats on hard surfaces include:
- It will be uncomfortable.
- You increase the risk for injury.
- Metal cleats may damage the playing surface.
Are Metal Studs Worth the Money?
Soccer cleats with metal studs are often a little pricier than those with plastic cleats. So, are they worth the money?
Here’s what you have to consider:
Are you shopping for a youth player? Metal studs are not usually worth it for youth players (especially under U15) as most referees won’t allow them.
What surfaces do you commonly play on? If you mostly play on turf, then metal studs are not worth it. They are worth it if you play on the wet, soggy ground a lot.
What is your climate like? Players who play on natural grass in very damp climates will benefit immensely from metal cleats.
How serious of a player are you?
Depending on the level you are playing at and your commitment to soccer, metal studs may or may not make sense to invest in.
Can you find a good deal? Even if you do not play very competitively, metal soccer cleats may be worth it if you can find a good deal.
Are Metal Cleats Allowed in Soccer?
While metal soccer cleats are permitted according to the laws of the game, some referees may not allow them. Referees rarely allow youth players to wear metal studs.
Soccer players wear metal cleats to gain traction on soft ground. Commonly, they are part of a professional player’s cleat arsenal, and they may be worth it for some amateur players.
Ultimately, the referee can determine if the metal cleats are too dangerous to use so you should always have a backup option with you.
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.