10 Feb Its that time of year again…time for New Cleats!
While it can be very exciting to pick out your new favorite boot, there are some important things to remember before busting them out on the pitch.
Not all cleats are equal. Cleat construction varies greatly between models, whether that be the materials used, the shape of the cleat lugs or the shape of the footbed; all these things greatly affect how the cleat feels on your feet. What feels perfect for one person may cause pain for another. If you have a favorite model of cleat you like (for me it was always the classic Adidas Copa), sometimes just picking up the newer version of that cleat is the best idea (however sometimes even these can be different enough to cause pain). Think about how different your cleats feel than your regular shoes. A cleat is made to be lightweight, and enhance your touch on the ball; so this often equals being minimally cushioned and less than supportive. Due to these characteristics, its always best to gradually break-in a cleat, and gradually acclimate your feet to them. To do this, I recommend wearing them for non-soccer activities only a very small amount the first few days you get them, and gradually add in soccer activity and gradually increase the time you wear them, up to a full practice or game length. So the first few days, maybe just wear them and walk around your yard for 10-15 minutes. The next few days, do the same, but add in some passing and dribbling. Then start doing some running and cutting in them.
It is fine to wear your old cleats to practices while breaking in your new cleats at home, or wear your new cleats while warming up before practice starts, but toss on the old ones for the rest of practice. There is really no perfect right way to break in a cleat, but opening the box and putting them on for a hour-plus long practice the first day is all too often a recipe for foot pain and blisters. No one likes that.