Picking the best soccer cleats for midfielders is essential for your performance and enjoyment of the game in the middle of the park. On top of that, it’s just flat out fun to express yourself with the cleats you choose to wear. The demands of the position are many and it’s important to look at the movements and actions you make the most during play. Those movements are the criteria we used when determining the best soccer cleats for midfielders.
Midfield is commonly referred to as “the engine room”.The one constant for all of midfield is you’re going to be doing a lot of running. However, there are different demands on a player depending on what midfield position you play. For example, a holding midfielder is going to have much different needs from a cleat than a wide player. As such, we will look at a few different positions and make our recommendations based on the needs of the position. Be sure to check out our guide to saving money on soccer cleats when you’re done to see how to get the best deal once you’ve identified the perfect pair.
If your player is not old enough to be playing 11 a side, simply look at the movements they make most or style of play and do your best to identify the most similar position.
The holding midfielder or “number 6” position is the anchor in midfield and is tasked with protecting the back four defenders and always being available for a pass. They are often the link between defense and attack and have heavy defensive responsibilities similar to a center back. Sergio Busquets and Nemanja Matic are perfect examples of this role.
Generally they aren’t asked to dribble a lot, but they are asked to make a variety of passes, win aerial duels and tackles, and regain the ball. As such, they will need a cleat that has a great touch/control for hitting a variety of passes, a slightly thicker upper for protection in challenges, and a strong heel counter for support when jumping and landing (to understand the terminology used for the parts of the cleat, check out our guide to soccer cleats). There are a number of cleats that fit the bill for this role.
- adidas Predator – with a tag line like “Master Control”, you know these cleats were made for picking out any pass needed. They’re great for straight line speed, stand up to a challenge, and have a strong heel counter for winning headers. Find out more about the Predator in our guide to adidas soccer cleats.
- Nike Phantom Vision – these cleats give comfort for the full match, provide grip for any type of pass, and give a little extra protection for physical challenges. The interior heel counter is sturdy so you don’t have to worry about any sprained ankles when coming down from jumping either. Look no further than Fernandinho for a due it all holding midfielder that wears them exculsively. Read more about the Phantom Vision in our guide to Nike soccer cleats.
- Puma ONE – this cleat will hold up to all the demands of the game and is ideal for holding midfielders. The Evoknit sock gives a snug comfortable fit, and the strong heel counter gives all the support needed for aerial duels and challenges. Cesc Fabregas is one pass master that wears these and can attest to their suitability in the middle of the park. Read more about the ONE in our guide to Puma soccer cleats.
- Nike Tiempo – similar to the Magista but with a leather upper, the Tiempo is ideally suited to the demands of a holding midfielder.
Attacking midfielders are the crafty players that drop into pockets of space and wreak havoc on defenses. They are the creators and often the key to unlocking the opposition. Modern examples of attacking midfielders are Coutinho, Eden Hazard, and Jesse Lingard. They are adept at dribbling, quick and agile, accurate with their short passing, and strike a ball well. As a result, their cleats need to be lightweight and form fitting with tight lockdown for quick movement and agility. A thin upper is essential for natural touch, and flexibility in the collar is ideal for twisting and turning past defenders. Fortunately, the cleat designers of the world have provided a few options.
- Nike Mercurial Vapor – perfectly suited for elusive players just like the name suggests. The lightweight, ultra thin upper make this a go to for shifty attacking players like Coutinho and Hazard. The 360 flyknit wraps your foot so it feels like you’re wearing no cleat at all.
- adidas Nemeziz – weighing in at 7.2oz and tagged as the “pure agility” cleat in the adidas lineup, the Nemeziz is an ideal fit for the demands of the position. Everything about this cleat is made for twisting and turning your way past defenders and it’s almost like it was made for Messi himself.
- Puma Future – boasting ultimate lockdown thanks to Netfit technology’s unlimited lacing options, the Future will allow you to twist and turn past defenders. The evoKNIT sock fused to the synthetic upper gives a snug stretch fit ideal for quick changes of direction.
WIDE MIDFIELDERS & WINGERS
Wide midfielders and wingers conjure up slightly different players when you speak to the soccer purist. For our purposes, we will look at wide players in general to determine what cleats are best suited. Wide players need to have speed, good crossing ability, and beat players 1v1 to create chances for others. The really dangerous wide men will be able to cut in and score as well. As such, they need a cleat that is lightweight, has a good touch on the ball, and a textured upper for grip when whipping in crosses.
- Nike Mercurial Superfly – worn by wide midfielders all over the world, the Superfly is ideal with its ultra-tight fit and lightweight. The Flyknit technology ensures superior lockdown for sprints and cuts and the textured upper is great for whipping in crosses or striking a ball from distance. If they’re good enough for Ronaldo, they’re good enough for anyone.
- adidas X – ideal for speedsters out wide with NSG (non-stop grip) technology to help you put that extra whip on your crosses. adidas have gone to great lengths to ensure everything about this cleat is ideal for speed and its noticeable when you put them on. Mo Salah wears the X exclusively and he is one of the fastest players around.
- Nike Mercurial Vapor – ultra lightweight and thin to give you a great feel on the ball. You will see this cleat on wide players in almost every game you watch which says it all.
- Nike Phantom Venom – these cleats are made for wingers and forwards with an eye for goal. With a precision strike instep that has 13 textured ridges and a micro-fiber textured toe box, these cleats have been made to finish in every way imaginable. You won’t need to look hard to find wide players all over Europe wearing the Phantom Venom as they torment defenders.
The test of any cleat is to put it on yourself, but you can’t go wrong with these recommendations. If you play another position, check out our guide to cleats for goalkeepers, defenders, and forwards as well.