This guide will help you determine if your child needs cleats, and if so, how to go about getting the right ones.
Once you've determined your kid should wear cleats for soccer, you need to know how to choose which cleats are the best soccer cleats for kids in each age bracket. It's easy to get confused which are the best because there are so many to choose from.
For newbie soccer moms and dads the first query always surrounds the question of whether their toddler, 3 year old or 4 year old child even needs to wear cleats to play soccer. The quick answer is no, but there are several benefits you should know about before you decide.
We'll kick things off by looking at 3 different age groups to see if kids can okay soccer without cleats or not. The choice of wearing cleats or not depends on the age of the player. Kids under 4 years old don not need to wear cleats in order to play soccer. Children ages 4-5 are not required to wear cleats for soccer. Kids who are older than 5 should wear cleats for outdoor soccer on grass.
First, we'll look at cleats for toddler soccer. Toddlers do not need cleats for soccer. Does that you mean you should not buy them? no. It's not necessarily a bad thing to have your toddler wear cleats for soccer. Here are several benefits of having your child wear cleats.
FUN: Just like any other opportunity to play "dress-up," toddlers develop an affinity for wearing certain shirts, pants, socks, and even shoes during certain activities. If increased fun results from wearing them, I highly recommend them.
COMFORT: Soccer cleats will feel different than other types of shoes. Wearing them at such a young age will accelerate the kids feeling of familiarity on how it feels to run and kick while wearing cleats. The more comfortable and familiarity kids have with running and kicking while wearing cleats, the better they will perform.
Remember to have proper fitting soccer socks on when you're wearing your soccer cleats.
SHOE WEAR: Your toddler can wear any comfortable athletic type of shoe on the soccer field, but they may wear quicker and get dirty easier. Soccer cleats are designed specifically for grass and dirt field play on the soccer field and will hold up better in wet conditions too.
If you have the money to spend-they're really not that much-it can be a good thing to buy your toddler a nice pair of soccer cleats.
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Soccer players that are 3 years old do not need cleats in order to play soccer. It's an age where some parents will choose to get cleats for their 3 year old kid and some won't
Benefits are the same for 3 year old children as with toddlers, but with the added benefits of preventing slipping. Three year old kids can run a little faster and may need a little extra grip while running in thick grass. Soccer cleats have little nubs that improve traction.
Soccer cleats are not usually required for 4 and 5 year old kids, but they are often recommended. Many leagues will allow kids to play soccer wearing sneakers too, but will encourage this age group to wear them. This is especially true for larger recreational programs that have more competitive divisions in their programs.
That need for added traction becomes stronger for 4 and 5 year old soccer players. As the kids get older, the speed and natural competitiveness of soccer increases and wearing a good pair of soccer cleats becomes more important.
These young players should wear their soccer cleats at practice as well as at games. The grass on soccer fields can occasionally get slippery. It can be a little funny to watch kids slip around at first, but that sliding around could lead to injury.
Generally speaking, all kids over the age of 5 should wear soccer cleats and properly fitting shin guards while practicing aa well as during the playing of soccer games. Here's the complete post on shin guards for kids.
Now we should look for the features you want in a good soccer cleat. The best soccer cleats for your child needs to fit properly more than anything else, but here are the 5 features to look for.
1. SPIKES: For most leagues the studs or cleats must be rubber or molded plastic and they must be rounded. They should not be metal and they should not be pointed. The cleats designed for baseball or football may be different and would be dangerous on the soccer field.
2. SIZE: It's always a good idea to have sufficient toe room which will accommodate the rapidly growing feet of a young child, but the soccer shoe should be able to be tied snugly around the instep.
Some parents like to buy a soccer cleat that is a little too big and double up on their soccer socks. The idea behind this technique is to get two years of use out of one pair of shoes. If the soccer cleat is too big, it can affect your child's ability to run and kick.
3. PRICE: Doing some quick research on Amazon and Walmart shows that the prices of soccer cleats for young kids varies from about $10 up to about $275. I recommend you don't waste a lot of money on a highs end soccer cleat that your child will out grow quickly.
It's easy to get caught in the trap thinking that buying an expensive pair of soccer cleat for your kid will make her a great player.
4. LACES: Laces are very important to have with soccer shoes because of the subtle adjustments you can make to how the soccer shoe will fit on an individual's foot.
In addition to having traditional laces, soccer shoes are available with Velcro. You now have the option of soccer shoes that come with or without Velcro at the top of the shoe, along with the regular shoes laces on the instep.
The Velcro tops do a good job of preventing the tradition laces from coming untied while playing. I can't tell you how many times I coached young players who had their shoes come untied right in the middle of game action.
For the very youngest of soccer players, soccer shoes that only have Velcro for adjusting the fit are just fine.
5. MATERIALS: Soccer cleats that are made with synthetic fabrics will hold their shape longer. Soccer cleats with leather tend to stretch gradually over time. With young children, the shoes are far more likely to be outgrown before they wear out from use.
In my research for this post on cleats, I came across the question of what the best soccer cleats are for kids with wide feet. Just like other shoes for people with wide feet, it's not advisable to just buy bigger shoes.
Buying a larger shoe will increase your toe room more than the width increase that you need. Although the selection is more limited, it's better to buy a brand of soccer shoe that comes with larger wider options.
At the time of this post Zephz and New Balance offer wider sizes in kids soccer cleats.
Cleats are made to be specific for each of the many sports that kids can play. If kids are interested in playing multiple sports soccer cleats are the way to go. They can be use in other sports where as many of the cleats designed for other sports cannot be used for soccer.
Although not always required, wearing a good pair of soccer cleats can benefit your child in many ways. Like other soccer equipment for kids, it's not necessary to buy expensive accessories to inspire a child with the life lessons that soccer can teach.
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