Indoor soccer shoes are slightly different from soccer cleats. First of all, they lack any studs and come with a durable rubber outsole. The outsole used is comparable to one that you might find on basketball or volleyball shoes. Likewise, indoor soccer shoes revolve around a tread pattern that provides optimal traction on glossy surfaces and turf. For this reason, it makes them ideal for indoor soccer and variations such as futsal. However, there are many factors you should take into account when choosing indoor soccer shoes. Some of the most important include performance, traction, touch, durability, and comfort/fit. Of course, there’s a whole lot more that we’ll touch on within this article. (Skip to the bottom for some quick tips on how to choose indoor soccer shoes). But let’s not waste any more time with this idle talk, here’s our guide on how to choose indoor soccer shoes.
How to Choose Indoor Soccer Shoes
You can play with indoor soccer shoes on either one of two types of ground: indoor court or turf.
Soccer shoes for indoor courts have a flat gum rubber outsole which are meant for courts similar to basketball or volleyball courts. And in a pinch, you can wear them as streetwear too. These rubber outsoles are also non-marking, flexible, and often have intricate tread patterns that provide maximum traction. (Look for flex grooves in the outsole for better flexibility).
On the other hand, you have soccer shoes meant for turf, which are more durable and have a little more traction than court shoes. Artificial turf shoes usually have low profile studs, which you can tell by the protruding rubber bumps on the bottom. You can use turf shoes on hard, natural fields and artificial turf where they aren’t meant to dig into the ground. Of course, you can use turf shoes for outdoor turf as well but we don’t categorize them as cleats since they have rubber outsoles.
Although you could use some lightweight lifestyle or running shoes for indoor soccer, they aren’t as ideal. Use them only if you have no other option!
Now, let’s take a look at what position you tend to play. Are you more of an attacking player, a defending player, or do you play as goalkeeper? The type of soccer shoe you’ll need will differ between each. Here’s how:
- Attacking – Since your focus is more on making goals, you’ll want a shoe with a clean strike zone (also called a vamp) and less weight as you’ll want to quickly outmaneuver opponents.
- Defending – Your shoes are likely to go through a lot more abuse if you’re a defender. To guard against your opponents, you’ll want a shoe that offers a lot of protection, durability, and lateral support.
- Goalkeeper – If you play goalkeeper, you’ll want a shoe with lots of lateral support and traction. That’s because you’ll often be moving side to side as you keep your eyes on the ball; a clean strike zone is also suggested.
While on the topic of how to choose indoor soccer shoes, we should touch on material. The material of a shoe plays a huge part in performance as well as durability. Most importantly, different shoe materials offer different touch and feel. This makes the type of material more of a player preference than anything. There are two types of material used for uppers: leather and synthetic. Let’s walk through them.
Leather – Flexible, soft, and molds to your feet. Has excellent touch but stretches as it gets broken in.
Suede leather – Basically leather with the top layer removed for a softer touch.
Kangaroo leather – Also known as k-leather, has amazing comfort and feel. Most expensive leather and not as durable as other leathers.
Calfskin leather – Not as pricey as k-leather and has a similar feel/touch, flexibility, and durability. Retains shape better but weighs more than k-leather.
Full grain leather – Thicker and more durable than calfskin or kangaroo leather with a similar touch/feel. Weighs the most though.
Synthetic – Lighter, thinner, and more durable than real leathers. Doesn’t stretch much.
Synthetic leather – Plays and feels like real leather, although usually lacks a little in touch.
Mesh – Thin and breathable, mesh is very lightweight although offers less support.
Durability depends on the type of rubber used, upper material, and what you use your shoes for. If you use your indoor soccer shoes for streetwear as well, expect them not to last as long. Generally speaking, indoor soccer shoes should last a couple of seasons or even longer. For the most part, rubber outsoles on indoor soccer shoes are highly durable. As for upper material, durability can be approximately ranked as follows:
- Synthetic leather
- Full-grain leather
- Suede leather
- Calfskin leather
- Kangaroo leather
When learning how to choose indoor soccer shoes, it’s essential to find a pair that fits while also comfortable. You’ll be running on the court anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes at a time, so you’ll want a snug fit that doesn’t irritate you in any way.
Thus, you’ll need to learn how to fit your indoor soccer shoes correctly. First, start with your foot size and consider your foot shape. Is it wider, narrower, or does it run normal width? Certain shoe manufacturers have a tendency to run either wider or narrower. You’ll want your feet to meet the sides of the shoes nicely so that it doesn’t move around. It should have sturdy sidewalls and arch support as well. Side to side movements can take a toll on your ankles so we recommend lots of lateral support. Try to leave a tiny amount of room at the very end (where your toes are supposed to touch) for a little more comfort and performance. Indoor soccer players use their toes to kick more often than outdoor soccer players. Also, there should be no discomfort or pressure points when walking.
Also to note is that real leathers stretch with wear. Take this into account when choosing leather shoes and size snugly so that it will mold to your feet over time. If you’re going with synthetics, go with your true size or a little roomier as they don’t stretch much at all.
- Support – Most indoor soccer shoes are low-cut with low-profiles. They’re made in such a way that your feet are closer to the ground for better feel. They also have goods amounts of arch support and rigid sidewalls to provide lateral support. This makes it comfortable when you cut and dash while controlling the ball.
- Weight – Typically, indoor soccer shoes are heavier than soccer cleats as the rubber outsole often has more heft to it. However, weight shouldn’t be a huge concern, it’s not as important for indoor shoes as it is for outdoor cleats.
- Stitching – The amount of stitching a shoe has will affect its durability and performance. Double or triple stitching adds more durability to high wear areas. However, stitching in the strike zone can affect a shoe’s touch. If you want the most touch, look for one piece toecaps.
- Breathability – Important as it can get pretty hot indoors real quick, lighter materials are often more breathable. Mesh in strategically placed areas on a shoe can be a real lifesaver for feet that overheat quickly.
- Cushioning – Very crucial as the impact between shoe and ground is greater indoors than outdoors. Look for a solid midsole and cushioned insole to avoid painful impacts and strain.
- Budget – Indoor soccer shoes often cost less than soccer cleats; most will cost less than $100.
*** Tips on How to Choose Indoor Soccer Shoes ***
- Make sure the outsole matches with the type of ground you’re playing on. Indoor court shoes have flat outsoles with no protruding studs. Turf shoes, on the other hand, often do.
- Leave a tiny amount of room (~1/4″-1/2″) in the front of the shoe for comfort/performance
- Ensure your feet fit width-wise and that it has rigid sidewalls. Lateral support is crucial as soccer requires lots of side-to-side movements
- If your focus is on making goals, find shoes with a large, clean strike zone
- Look for a solid midsole and cushioned insole to avoid hard impacts and strain
- Mesh adds lots of breathability to a shoe. Find a pair with it if your feet overheat quickly
- There should be no discomfort or pressure points when walking in indoor soccer shoes
- Leathers stretch with wear; synthetics don’t stretch much if at all
- Try shoes in-store for the best possible fit
- Indoor soccer shoes can double up as streetwear as well
- Look for flex grooves at the bottom of indoor soccer shoes for added flexibility
- Good stitching is a sign of high durability; look for double or triple stitched in high wear areas