Soccer shoes are every bit as important to the soccer player as tires are to a performance driver. They’re the interface between you and the turf, and one of your best chances for avoiding or minimizing slips and slides. Just as with putting the right tires on a vehicle, getting the right fit in your soccer cleats is critically important; if the shoes fit sloppily, it’s going to be hard to keep your game play tidy, and you might even find yourself stumbling or getting hurt.
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Wait until the afternoon to try on soccer shoes. This is when your feet will be at their largest, having naturally swollen from normal everyday activities.
Wear the same socks you intend to wear while playing or practicing soccer when you try the shoes on. Bring your shinguards with you, too; while only ankle-protection shin guards should affect the fit of the shoe, it’s better to be sure the shinguards—no matter what the style—will work with your shoes before you purchase them.
Ask one of the shoe salespeople to measure both feet for you if possible. If they don’t have the means to measure your feet, start by trying on cleats in your normal street-shoe size and adjust up or down as necessary until you find the right fit.
Lace the shoes tightly, as if you were going to play in them. Insert your shin guards into your soccer socks; if you’re wearing ankle protection shin guards, these will need to go on before the socks.
Stand up and walk around. The shoes should fit snugly, especially if they’re made of high-end leather, but your toes shouldn’t touch the front seam of the shoe. Look for the snuggest fit possible on the sides of your feet and a ¼ to ½ inch gap between your toes and the front seam. Young players may opt for a slightly larger gap and fill in the space with extra socks, to allow room for growth.
Spend a couple of minutes in the shoes. If you feel any hot spots or pressure points, the shoes are too small or badly shaped for your feet--size up. If the shoes don’t feel snug, especially on the sides, lace them tighter if possible or size down. If the shoes feel overly tight on the sides, you may need to try a different brand of shoe, as most don’t come in wide sizes; you simply have to search for a brand that is better shaped to your foot.