Are Soccer and Lacrosse Cleats The Same?

player wearing all black Nike soccer cleats with white socks on a soccer field

Soccer and lacrosse are two of the most popular sports around the world and share many similarities. If you play both sports, wearing the same pair of cleats could make a lot of sense especially when money is tight.

This article answers the question “Are Soccer and Lacrosse Cleats The Same?” by uncovering similarities between cleats used for both sports. We also discuss the inherent differences between soccer and lacrosse cleats if any to help easy identification and differentiation. Let’s get started.

Are Soccer and Lacrosse Cleats The Same?

Soccer and lacrosse cleats are different despite the seeming similarities at first glance. Soccer cleats can be worn for lacrosse but not vice versa thanks to the appearance of toe spikes in lacrosse for ankle support. Lacrosse studs are positioned on the external areas of the sole to offer more stability.

You could be forgiven for confusing the cleats for both sports but while they may have similarities, especially from a distance, lacrosse cleats are quite different from soccer cleats in a range of areas.

What Are Soccer Cleats?

Soccer cleats are shoes designed for playing soccer and while the most popular sport on the planet may have started with barefoot players, a type of special shoes for playing has been worn for the last century or so.

Soccer cleats have evolved greatly from the period and several iterations have been made to improve player performance and comfort over the years. Their physical appearance has a lot in common with regular shoes with the main difference being the presence of cleats at the bottom.

Cleats are vital to the player’s movements and safety by providing traction during play since soccer fields can be slippery due to weather changes like rain and frost. The cleats provide a grip for the player to be able to move, change direction, and engage in varying kinds of play during practice and games.

Soccer cleats also allow players to hit balls with accuracy from anywhere on the field including curving the ball into the opponent’s net or creating goal assists. No wonder many soccer fans believe that soccer balls are filled with helium gas.

Types of Soccer Cleats 

Soccer cleats come in 5 main types with each being more suitable for specific playing field conditions.

Artificial Ground Cleats: These are soccer cleats designed to provide more traction on astroturfs.

Firm Ground Cleats: They are engineered for the typically hardy natural grass-surfaced soccer fields. 

Hard Ground Cleats: Hard ground cleats are suitable for playing in the summer when natural surfaces typically dry up quicker.

Multi-Ground Cleats: They’re engineered with world-class versatility to be suitable for different playing surfaces.

Soft Ground Cleats: Soft ground cleats are perfect for playing in muddy fields and are designed for playing games and practicing after or during rainfall. (Source)

What Are Lacrosse Cleats?

two lacrosse players battle for the ball but What Are Lacrosse Cleats?

Lacrosse cleats are shoes engineered for playing on lacrosse fields. They feature cleats at the bottom for easy traction and movement during play. This minimizes the risk of injuries especially when the condition of the field is not ideal.

Lacrosse cleats typically feature carbon fiber, polyurethane, and leather material which are known for enhanced durability. It is not uncommon for lacrosse players to wear the same cleats for a few years when cared for properly unlike soccer cleats.

Similarities Between Soccer and Lacrosse Shoes

Shall we dive deeper into the similarities between soccer and lacrosse shoes to offer a better understanding for players?

Soccer and Lacrosse Cleats Feature Spikes

Soccer and lacrosse cleats feature underneath spikes for stability on the playing field. Both sports are played on fields that can be quite slippery making advanced stability a necessity for not only players but referees and even the medics.

Quick foot movements are essential in both games and the wearing of cleats provides the necessary traction to achieve just that. The presence of cleats minimizes slippage thereby allowing both games to flow and enabling players to maximize tactics to win.

Thick Socks 

Wearing lacrosse and soccer cleats without socks is not an option for anyone serious about the sport. Not only will referees not tolerate pulling up on the field without socks but wearing thin socks can also expose players to injuries like blisters and discomfort during play.

Break-In Period 

Like most sports shoes and regular shoes, soccer and lacrosse cleats require a break-in period to fit snuggly. Wearing brand new cleats for an ultra-important game could backfire because you may not be too comfortable during the game since the cleats require being worn a few times before breaking in.

Differences Between Soccer and Lacrosse Cleats

Soccer cleats may be used in lacrosse without problems but both sets are not without differences. Here are variations between soccer and lacrosse cleats.

Ankle Support in Lacrosse Cleats vs No Ankle Support In Soccer Cleats

Lacrosse cleats come in a high topped design that offers amazing ankle support on the playing field. Soccer cleats do not offer any form of support for the ankles thanks to the low-topped design.

This makes ankle injuries more prevalent in soccer compared to lacrosse especially since soccer is physically more demanding. However, the presence of ankle support also slows down soccer players which may put them at a disadvantage against opponents.

Low-Cut vs High-Cut Designs  

soccer player wearing low-cut cleats

Standard soccer cleats are low-cut thanks to the need for more agility during pressing, defending, and other critical areas of the game. Players should be able to change direction without delay during soccer and the low-cut cleats make that more possible.

Lacrosse cleats are usually high-cut because the needs of the players on the field can be starkly different from soccer.


Soccer shoes feature shallow engineered cleats compared to lacrosse shoes. The cleats also come in a straight-line design which enhances play especially during speedy trackbacks to help defenders or in the middle of attacking runs.

Lacrosse cleats are often deeper and appear in non-straight lines making them dangerous should a player accidentally step on another in the middle of a game or practice.

Gender-Specific Soccer Cleats vs Unisex Lacrosse Cleats

There are gender-specific cleats available for soccer players and each player orders one based on his or her gender. Female soccer cleats are typically available in smaller sizes and offer different arch heights, toes, and heels compared to male cleats.

Lacrosse cleats are unisex forcing both males and females to choose from the same designs. Since the majority of women have smaller shoe sizes, they’re often forced to choose children’s cleats to get the right fit.


lacrosse player wearing black and grey looking cleats

Synthetic materials feature heavily in the manufacture of soccer cleats, unlike lacrosse cleats which are primarily made of carbon fiber, leather, and polyurethane. The difference in component materials makes soccer cleats typically lightweight compared to those worn by lacrosse players.

Thinking of playing on a muddy field after heavy rainfall? Soccer cleats could be a better choice for free movements and the prevention of slipping and falls even for lacrosse players.

Number of Studs

Soccer cleats feature fewer studs in contrast with lacrosse cleats. There are no studs in the toe area in soccer cleats unlike their lacrosse rivals but areas such as the forefoot and heel typically feature studs.

Spikes are another area where lacrosse cleats trump soccer cleats in terms of the numbers. The number of cleats in soccer shoes is minimal, unlike lacrosse shoes which usually feature extra spikes at the front and in the ankle to offer more protection.


Soccer cleats are engineered from top to bottom to be relatively less heavy. Not only are lightweight fabrics like synthetic preferred but the low-cut design and the minimal number of studs contribute to making that a reality.

Lacrosse cleats on the other hand are typically heavier and more restrictive to players as a result of the heavyweight raw materials. The extra spikes and studs also increase their weight more than the average soccer cleats.

Conclusion: Are Soccer and Lacrosse Cleats The Same? 

Soccer and lacrosse cleats are two different sets of shoes designed to meet the needs of each sport. While soccer cleats may be used during lacrosse games, they’re far from the same as you can tell by now.

Lacrosse cleats are typically heavier and feature more bells and whistles like ankle support and the presence of more spikes and studs. Besides, heavyweight materials like leather and polyurethane are used, unlike soccer cleats which are primarily made from lightweight synthetic materials.

Soccer cleats are available in gender-specific designs while lacrosse cleats are gender-neutral.

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