The Complete Guide to Buying Nike Soccer Shoes!

March 31, 2021
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The Complete Guide to Buying Nike Soccer Shoes!

Choosing the right soccer cleats can sometimes be challenging due to the numerous levels and qualities available in each style of shoe. Add in the many different brands and their tiering systems and rating scales, and it can turn into an all-around confusing situation. Fear not however—United Sport and Cycle's knowledgeable team is here to provide you with the information you need to buy the best pair of soccer cleats for you!


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How Soccer Cleats are Categorized

Each major soccer brand has a different way of labelling their shoe lines in terms of differing levels of performance and quality. Although the way that shoe levels are named differs between brands – at the end of the day they all follow the same format: as the recommended level of play increases, so does the quality of materials, performance of the shoe, durability, and ultimately, the price.

Today, we will be focusing on Nike's collection and the numerous levels of quality, design, and functionality featured within it. Nike is renowned for its quality and eye-catching designs, and features signature shoe and sponsors some of the best soccer players in the world such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Megan Rapinoe, and Raheem Sterling.

Understanding Nike's Performance Levels

To differentiate between quality levels and features, Nike uses the following naming scheme to tier their cleats: Club, Academy, Pro, and Elite. As you move up the line, you gain features and technology until you reach the ultimate shoe - the Elite!

The "Club"
Cleats labelled "Club" are classified as entry-level cleats perfect for those who play for the love of the game and players just starting out. The Club range offers great value and a quality shoe for lower level players, who have fewer technical demands. There are constructed from lower end synthetic + textile material, giving them a stiffer and less flexible feel on the foot.

The "Academy"
The "Academy" is the next step up in quality from the Club, and consequently a perfect cleat for those who play recreationaly or are younger athletes. The Academy range offers great value for those looking to step up their game - as well is suitable for both turf and grass surfaces, which is its major difference from "Club" models.

The "Pro"
For those serious about their game, our Pro range brings some of Nike’s greatest innovations to the field. Ideal for those seeking outstanding performance and great value for outstanding technologies. At the pro level, high level features such as Nike's signature FlyKnit technology are employed, making them a suitable shoe for higher level players and leagues.

The "Elite"
The cleats for those who demand and appreciate the best of the best. Used by the world’s biggest stars, the "Elite" range offers unmatched quality; perfect for the players who are committed to the game and therefore need the ultimate equipment set up. These are constructed from FlyKnit synthetic material and feature Nike's innovative "All Condition Control" technology, giving them superior feel, fit, and performance.

Generally speaking, each style and colourway of cleat Nike launches will be available in the Club, Academy, Pro, and Elite level, and it is then up to the player to determine what features and quality they feel will best fit their game.

An example of this would be in the Nike Mercurial SuperFly 7 , which is shown below. As you can see , as you move from Club all the way up to Elite, the appearance, features, and price change significantly.

So what's really that Different between Nike's Levels of Soccer Shoe?

To help inform you when making your soccer cleat choice, we have broken down some of the major features that change as you go up in cleat levels, which are listed below. With all of these features, quality increases dramatically as you move from "Club" shoes to "Elites".

Traction & Surface Suitability

As you go up in level, one of the most noticeable and impactful changes in quality has to do with cleat traction and grip – especially on various surfaces. It is important to note that as you go up in quality, the higher end cleats are better suited for various turf and grass surfaces.

Nike’s “club” level cleats are NOT suitable for use on turf, since they will not generate traction on the rubber that is featured in turf. The “academy” level cleat provides adequate turf performance, and is suitable for all surfaces. As we move into the “pro” and “elite” level cleats however, traction quality increases dramatically. These levels are not just suitable for all turf and grass, but are also effective in mud, rain, and even snow.

Overall, traction and cleat quality is one of the more drastic differences between levels of Nike cleat, and will make an extremely noticeable impact on shoe performance as you move upwards from club to elite.

Nike's Signature All Conditions Control

Nikes newest feature included in some of their soccer lines is the unique "All Conditions Control" technology, which allows the boot's surface to maintain the same level of friction, touch and control on the ball in wet and dry conditions. This feature is especially valuable for those living in regions with unpredictable climates, and encounter rain, sleet, snow and heat all in one season.

This technology also keeps feet considerably more dry in wet conditions, which from a comfort standpoint is a huge plus. In addition to the elements, the traction control also has more versatility when it comes to different field surfaces, whether that be turf or grass.

Unfortunately, All Conditions Control technology is only available in the “elite” level cleats, meaning this feature comes at a price. Although this technology won't make or break your soccer experience, it will provide noticeable traction and grip which can translate to a tighter game.

Shoe Material & Breathability

One of the most visible and noticeable differences between the different levels of Nike soccer shoes is the material in which the shoes are made from. The lower level "club" and "academy" shoe lines are made from a synthetic/textile combination which makes them slightly more rigid, less breathable, and gives them a much different appearance.

As you transition into the "Pro" and "Elite" level cleats, FlyKnit technology is used, which not only looks sleek, but provides significant comfort and breathability. According to Nike Flyknit technology uses high-strength fibers to create lightweight uppers with targeted areas of support, stretch and breathability. So basically, opting for a shoe with FlyKnit technology is going to give you a higher performance feel, added comfort, and will make your cleat fit like more of a "sock" than a shoe.

Now you know the Features —Which set do you choose?

Ultimately, as you move up the levels of Nike soccer shoes, you will receive more and more performance inducing features and technology. For the beginner soccer player, we recommend an academy soccer cleat, since they are versatile enough to be used on all outdoor surfaces, plus have enough features and technology to not be outgrown within the first season. As your game progresses and you become more committed as an athlete, you can move up the levels as you see fit, with the "Pro" shoe usually being what most players decide upon.
At the end of the day – the best way to figure out what the best cleat for you is to try them on and see what feels best! Our United Sport and Cycle soccer experts will get you fitted, and recommend the best cleat options for you based on your level and needs. We offer an extensive line of Nike cleats, as well as adidas, and puma lines, as well as any other soccer gear you may need, both in store and on our website.

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