Football Vs Lacrosse Cleats—The Key Differences

For most sports, cleats are designed to give athletes extra traction. This extra traction prevents injuries and helps improve mobility. However, it is important to note that there are different types of cleats for different games. For example, football cleats and lacrosse cleats have key differences that make them unique to their sport. We've identified what makes these cleats unique so you can choose the best shoe for your sport.

Both football cleats and lacrosse cleats use molded studs; the shoes are made with leather or synthetic uppers and focus the cleats along the outside edges. However, they have some significant differences, namely:

  • Airflow around the feet
  • Number of studs
  • Shoe ankle heights

This article will delve into how to choose the appropriate cleats, explain the differences between the two types of cleats in detail, and let you know if you can wear lacrosse cleats for football. We will also provide links to high-quality cleats to help with your search.


emale player lacing up her cleats, outdoors on the field. Football Vs Lacrosse Cleats—The Key Differences


What Are The Differences Between Football And Lacrosse Cleats?

As we talked about above, the main differences between these two types of footwear are the airflow around the feet, the number of studs on the shoe, and the shoe ankle heights. Let's look closely:


When you are playing lacrosse, your cleats have more breathability. They are often equipped with mesh that allows the air to circulate better around your feet.

Football cleats, however, have to be tougher to protect the wearer from injury. As a result, they have less breathability.

Number Of Studs

When you are picking out cleats, the number of studs differs depending on what position you play. Generally, lacrosse cleats have more studs than football cleats.

Lacrosse cleats usually have four studs around the heel and six to eight in the toes and ball of the foot area. They also usually have a toe spike.

On the other hand, football cleats have a much different layout. There are usually two studs at the heel's back and five studs under the toes and ball of the foot.

Ankle Height Of The Shoe

Both types of cleats offer different cuts. However, football cleats offer a wider variety in shoe cuts because you need a different shoe for different positions.

Lacrosse cleats typically come in mid-cuts and low-cuts. Mid-cuts offer more stability and support, while low-cuts offer more flexibility. You can find high-top lacrosse cleats, but mid and low-cut cleats are more common.

When you play football, however, you can find shoes in high-tops, mid-tops, and low-cuts. Usually, linemen use high-tops, quarterbacks wear mid-tops, and players who need to move quickly use low-cut shoes.

Can You Wear Lacrosse Cleats in Football?

Despite their differences, you can wear lacrosse cleats for football. In fact, even some professionals use lacrosse and football cleats interchangeably.

One thing to be aware of is that lacrosse shoes tend to have more breathability than football shoes. So you might notice your feet sweating more if you use football cleats instead of lacrosse cleats.

What Cleats Are Best For Football?

American Football Kickoff close-up photo. Athlete ready to kick the ball.

When buying new football cleats, there are some important qualities you want to find. These qualities change depending on what position you play. Generally, you look at the cut of the shoe, midsole and outer sole quality, the material it is made of, and how the shoe fits.

Cut Of The Shoe

As discussed above, there are three cuts of shoes: high-top, mid-top, and low-cut. Mid-top shoes are the most versatile and preferred, but which one you will want depends on your position.

  • High-top shoes work best for positions like linemen who need a lot of protection and stability.
  • Mid-top shoes offer more flexibility than high-tops while still supporting the ankle, which makes them ideal for quarterbacks.
  • Low-cut shoes offer the most flexibility and can be used by players who need to be fast on the field.

Midsole Quality

You want your midsole, which is the shoe's footbed, to have plenty of cushioning. This will ensure the shoe is comfortable, as well as able to absorb shock and impact.

Outsole Quality

The tip of the shoe, or outsole, should provide excellent grip. This is especially important because you want to make sure the shoe has excellent traction and stability.


You need to decide whether you want leather cleats or synthetic ones. Leather cleats tend to be more breathable and form around your foot for extra comfort.  They also tend to be more durable and fit well.

However, synthetic cleats are cheaper and still provide good support. Because of this, they tend to be preferred by younger players who outgrow their cleats faster.


Your cleats must fit well, as poorly fitting cleats can cause blisters and injuries, in addition to being uncomfortable. Make sure to break your cleats in by wearing them around for a bit before wearing them in a game.

They should fit snugly in the heels, and your longest toe should be about a 1/2-inch from the end of the shoe. Football cleats can be narrow, so look for wider sizes if they are too tight. You should be able to move your toe when wearing the shoes.

Best Football Cleats By Position

It is important to get the right cleats for your position. We have some high-quality options to get you started on your search, organized by position.

For Skill Position Players: Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360

Click here to check Nike's Vapor Edge cleats out on Amazon. 

Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and other skill players need comfort, stability, and speed to perform well. Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360 cleats provide all of this, as well as breathability, and a ghost lacing system that will prevent your shoes from becoming a distraction on the field.

For Linemen: Under Armour Highlight MC Football Cleats

Click here to check these out on Amazon. 

Linemen need a lot of ankle support and protection while playing. These cleats offer that while also providing an excellent fit. It utilizes a molded 4D foam footbed that molds to your foot's exact shape. As a result, the shoe will minimize the pressure of the cleats on your foot.

Are Metal Cleats Allowed In Football?

Before we move on to lacrosse cleats, it is important to note that you may not be able to use metal cleats depending on what league you play in. The NFL, for instance, doesn't allow metal cleats. Some high school leagues allow metal-tipped cleats, but not all.

This is because metal cleats offer better traction by digging into the ground more. However, this can cause more damage to the field. So, before you get metal cleats, make sure to check that they are allowed.

What Kind Of Cleats Are Used For Lacrosse?

Lacrosse player in action

Lacrosse cleats are built for speed and traction. When you buy lacrosse cleats, you want them to be comfortable and support your ankles. You will need to consider what type of field you are playing on and what size you need.

Keep in mind when shopping for your cleats that metal cleats are not allowed in lacrosse.

Field Type

When choosing your shoe type, you need to find out what type of field you will be playing on. There are different kinds of cleats for different surfaces. You can choose between molded, detachable, and turf cleats.

Molded and detachable cleats work for fields with natural surfaces, like grass. The difference between the two is that molded cleats are permanently attached to the shoe while detachable cleats can be switched out, depending on what field you're on.

If you are playing on a synthetic surface, then you will want turf shoes. Turf shoes are more flexible and cannot be used on natural ground. Athlete Audit talks in more detail about the types of cleats and how to choose the right cleat.


Lacrosse shoes tend to be the same size as your normal sneakers. They should be comfortable and have no more than a finger width of space from your toe to the tip of the shoe.

How Tight Should Lacrosse Cleats Be?

Lacrosse cleats should fit almost exactly the same as your street shoes do. They shouldn't slip when you walk or cause any kind of friction. You want the shoes snug, but comfortable.


The cut of the shoe determines how much ankle support the shoe will have. Lower cuts have less support and more flexibility, while higher cuts have more support and less flexibility. Most people prefer a mid-cut cleat.

Lacrosse Cleats For Men: New Balance Freeze V3 Agility

Click here to see these lacrosse cleats on Amazon.

This shoe has a TPR outsole with added ankle support from a locking tongue and a pivot plate designed for lacrosse players. Synthetic/mesh material is breathable. It works really well for offensive players.

Best Lacrosse Cleats For Women: New Balance Burn X2

To check the Burn X2 shoes out on Amazon, click here.

This shoe utilizes a dual-density TPU plate to offer flexibility, traction, and ankle stability. Ankle stability is the number one priority of these cleats and many of the features, such as a bungee tongue strap, help lock your ankle into place. As a result, you will be comfortable and supported.

Can You Wear Sneakers In Lacrosse?

Earlier, we talked about how lacrosse shoes should fit similarly to your regular shoes. However, according to League Athletics, only cleats, turf shoes, or flat-soled workout shoes can be worn when playing lacrosse. These are the rules for indoor lacrosse, but there's a good reason these rules are in place.

If you wear other kinds of shoes, you won't be as effective on the field. Plus, you might be putting yourself at risk for an ankle injury.

Various colorful cleats against artificial turf. Football Vs Lacrosse Cleats—The Key Differences

Final Thoughts

Football and lacrosse cleats vary in a few key areas. However, in a pinch, you can use them interchangeably. Just make sure they fit well and provide the proper protection.

If you liked this post, click the links below to explore more on this blog:

3 Types Of Football Cleats You Should Know

Should Football Cleats Be Tight Or Loose?

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