Soccer cleats are the most valuable companion of both professional athletes and casual sports enthusiasts. They are predominantly used in soccer, but they can also be used for other sports activities such as softball, baseball and lacrosse. If you are participating in any of these activities or your kid does, you probably have at least one pair of these in your home.
There are several pretty common questions soccer cleat owners ask online. We have decided to compile them into one article in order to help you find all the important information in one place. So without further ado, let’s jump into some pro tips that will help you maintain and use your soccer cleats to the fullest.
How to Shrink Soccer Cleats?
It is pretty common for soccer cleats to become larger than your foot once you put them to regular use. In some cases, parents also buy a one or half a number larger size for their kids. In any case, playing soccer in cleats that don’t fit perfectly is really uncomfortable and it also affects one’s gameplay.
But did you know that this is a reversible process? Yes, you can apply several techniques that will help you shrink your soccer cleats to their previous size. Please note that some of these methods might not work if your cleats are made of composite materials. For the ones made of purely natural materials, you will get the desired results.
In order to make your soccer cleats smaller, you will have to put them in warm water for up to half an hour. After that, you can put some old newspapers you’ve got lying around at home inside of them and let them dry. Some players say that this is not good enough and that they get the best results when they use a tumble drier after soaking their cleats in warm water. If you don’t have a dryer at home, some other heat source will definitely suffice, e.g. sunlight or a fireplace.
On the other hand, people also got positive results by putting a shoe tree in their cleats after washing them. Others simply wear the wet shoes to conform them to their feet. Make sure to use a leather protector spray on your cleats to prevent the leather from warping.
How to Dry Soccer Cleats?
We have already addressed some aspects of how to dry your soccer cleats in the paragraph above, but those were more focused on how to shrink the cleats. Cleats don’t just get when you wash them, right? How many times have you or your child played in the rain? And we all know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to play soccer in wet cleats.
The best way to get your cleats dry is to open them up by loosening the laces. This will increase the amount of air that circulates through them and allows for faster drying. Also, by loosening up the laces, you will remove the stress from the leather and the lace holes, since cleats tend to shrink while they are drying.
While we’re on the subject of effective drying, we have to remind you to remove the insole too. In some models this is not possible, so make sure not to use any force to remove it. You can dry the insoles by wrapping them up in paper towels, or you can just put them upright by an open window or hang them with a clothespin.
Getting grass and mud marks of your cleats are also important and you should do it before you put them out to dry. People usually use damp towels to remove these marks before drying the cleats. Don’t refrain from using more water to get rid of them.
In order to speed up the drying process, you can put balls of scrunched up newspapers inside the cleats. This will not only help by absorbing water, but it will prevent the cleats from shrinking too much. Pro tip: Do not crunch the newspapers too much. The looser it is, the more water it will absorb. And, yeah, make sure to change the newspaper every 2 hours or so.
Unless you want to shrink your cleats and risk doing some damage to them, avoid exposing them to a direct source of heat, such as a hair dryer, drying machine, oven or sun.
How to Lace Soccer Cleats?
Soccer cleats have to provide comfort during the entire soccer match. They should not hinder your performance in any way, but rather improve it. Besides that, cleats should also provide safety. There is one thing that can affect all of these three, and that’s how you lace them.
This is why you should not take lacing lightly. Set some time aside to properly lace your leats and then test them on the field. Make sure they allow you full freedom of motion while they are perfectly tight.
Here we are going to focus on showing you the most common technique for lacing the soccer cleats. First, make sure to step into your unlaced cleats. Before you start lacing, you want to be in comfortable place, so that you can maneuver your hands freely. Make sure that you see all of the holes and eyelets clearly, take the shoelace with both hands and determine where the middle point is.
Start lacing by putting your shoelace through the lowest pair of holes. Make sure that the middle of the lace is on halfway between the holes. From here you want to form an X shape. You will do this by threading the right end of the shoelace through the next upper left hole. Do the same with the left end of the shoelace. This requires some skill and practice, but once you get it right, you will be able to do it with your eyes closed.
From this point, you should continue threading. The end pattern should be a crisscross one. When you are done, pull both ends of the lace. You want to make it tight, yet comfortable on your foot. Make sure that your ankle is free and that your shoes are not restraining it in any way.
How to Tie Soccer Cleats?
Up until recently, tying soccer cleats was not rocket science. A basic shoelace knot was everything you needed to know in order to play soccer comfortably. Today it is quite different; people are using different knots, saying that it makes some difference. Besides, we also have different tying techniques that apparently help players increase performance and security.
The most famous alternative to the common way of tying soccer cleats is the one that provides support for the ankle. It will help you improve your performance by locking your ankle down. To tie your cleats for ankle support you will have to leave the last two holes free by dragging the shoelaces out of both of them.
Then, you have to thread both ends underhand through the first hole. When you pull them through, don’t cross them. Do the same through the hole on the same side of the shoe. The left one should come through the left hole, while right one come through the right hole.
When you thread laces this way, you will be adding extra tension and pull the sides of the cleats closer to your ankle. When you are done threading, pull both ends until you feel comfortable and then make a loop with one end of the laces.
While you hold the loop between your index finger and thumb, wrap the other end of the lace twice around the loop you are holding. Make sure that the lace goes around your fingers while you are wrapping. To finish it, push the middle of what remains of the lace into the space your thumb and index finger is forming. Pull it through, and voila, you’ve completed the knot.
How to Clean Soccer Cleats?
After the soccer match, you have to clean your cleats. The first step includes removing dirt, mud, and grass. You can do this by physically knocking off the excess dirt. Some dirt will inevitably stay on the soles. This dirt can be removed with a brush or some other specific cleat cleaning tool if you have it. Some people use a toothbrush to loosen and remove any dirt that remains.
To remove the dirt from the upper part of your cleats, you can use warm water mixed with some soap. Make sure to use just a small amount of soap in warm water, especially if you have leather cleats, as too much soap can damage the leather.
When you are done removing the dirt, you can use a paper towel to remove any bits of remaining dirt and to dry the cleats. With a paper towel, you can reach small areas between the spikes in order to dry out the surface and remove any persistent dirt that remains.
Before cleaning the upper part of your cleats, don’t forget to remove the laces. Use a toothbrush and a sponge with a soapy solution to remove any dirt from the surface. Use the paper towel to clean and dry off the cleats. Make sure everything is dry – the soles, sides and tongue.
As you can see, owning soccer cleats will require you to use a few maintenance tricks that other sneakers and shoes don’t necessarily require. We hope that these tips will help you improve your performance and comfort while you are on the grass.