Are Metal Cleats Allowed in Soccer? All You Need to Know

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Soccer is a fun game that is played almost everywhere in the world. One of the toughest pieces of soccer equipment to shop for is the right cleats.

But, are you allowed to wear metal cleats in soccer? The simple answer is yes. You can wear metal cleats to play in any soccer competition as long as the referee is okay with it.

The referee does a quick inspection of whatever equipment you come to the field with and decides if you can play in your metal cleats or not.

Wearing metal cleats is not as simple as you may think. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are Metal Soccer Cleats?

Metal cleats are very similar to other cleats, but they just have metal soles. Metal cleats are also called metal studs. In other types of cleats, their soles are either made of rubber or plastic. 

Metal soccer cleats are most effective in particular playing environments and circumstances when their special qualities offer advantages. Although they are not frequently used in most football settings, they can be useful in some circumstances.

Are Metal Cleats Allowed in Soccer?

The soccer field and the referee determine what kind of cleat a player should wear. A plastic cleat is the best option for a turf surface because it provides a solid grip on the ground.

On the other hand, metal studs are best for soft and grassy ground. The soles dig deep into soft surfaces to provide balance and comfort to the player.

Even though the metal studs are durable, they can cause serious injuries when worn out because they can become sharp around the edges.

Difference Between Metal and Other Cleats

Metal cleats come with studs that are made from steel. For low-end cleats, the metal studs are replaceable, just in case they bend or break.

The soles of other cleats are molded with rubber. These are a common type of cleat for young soccer players and are really good on hard surfaces.

Can You Wear Metal Cleats in Soccer?

According to the game’s rules, soccer players can wear any kind of cleats as long as they are not dangerous in any way.

As metal studs provide the best traction on softer grass, professional football players typically wear them. Different football players have different tastes, though. They occasionally choose shorter plastic or rubber studs in nations with harder surfaces.

Benefits of Wearing Metal Cleats in Soccer

Many professional soccer players prefer to wear metal cleats because they help them to give their best performance.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of owning a pair of metal cleats.

Soft Ground Traction

Metal cleats are best to help players maintain their footing. The metal cleats can pierce the soft ground, providing stability and traction in tricky situations. They are perfect for goalkeepers to help them move faster on wet ground.

Prevent Injury

Metal studs can help reduce falls and injuries on wet ground. Because they help players maintain stability on soft ground, many pro soccer players also find them more comfortable.


Most metal cleats last longer than other types of cleats. When they are worn out or bent, you can easily change the individual studs without throwing them away.

Drawbacks of Wearing Metal Cleats

Metal cleats have drawbacks and can be dangerous in some cases. Some studs are very sharp and can cause injuries; for example, in August 2012, Rooney had a traumatic injury in a match against Fulham.

Here are some of the risks of metal studs;

Injuring Other Players

The normal cleats mostly leave a scratch or mark, but the metal cleats can cause more serious injuries. If a player steps on another player, it can result in injuries that can keep the victim benched for weeks.

Improper Surface Use

Metal cleats are designed for soft surfaces, but some players make the mistake of using them on hard surfaces.

Since they are originally made for soft surfaces, it’s hard to penetrate on hard ground. This mistake can lead to a dangerous injury, especially in the knees and ankles.

What Are Soccer Rules About Metal Cleats?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allows metal cleats in soccer. Their official rules state that:

“Shoes shall be worn by all participants in a game. Shoes with soles containing aluminum, leather, rubber, nylon or plastic cleats, studs or bars, whether molded as part of the sole or detachable, are allowed as long as the referee does not consider them dangerous.”

These rules actually seem to be quite flexible, offering professional soccer players a lot of options. Before each player on the field can begin a match, the referees must inspect their shoes to verify everything is within acceptable parameters.

To avoid any problems for players that could harm their reputation, football boot manufacturers are careful to follow the guidelines from the beginning.

Do Professional Soccer Players Wear Metal Cleats?

Absolutely, professional soccer players wear metal cleats from time to time. They mostly wear metal cleats on soft or grassy ground to give themselves the best grip possible. 

Generally, metal cleats are the most comfortable pair of cleats for wet weather and soft ground, which is why most pro players may own a pair. But, some other players may just decide to stick with either the rubber or plastic cleats, regardless of the ground type.

Is Wearing Cleats Allowed for Youth Soccer Players?

Even though soccer allows metal cleats, most referees would rather not allow it in youth soccer, especially because there is a higher chance of them injuring other players.

The referee can decide to allow them in the game if there’s a real need for them. But under normal circumstances, most referees will insist on the plastic cleats.

Everyone knows how clumsy kids can be, so metal studs are mostly avoided.

Are You Allowed to Wear Metal Soccer Cleats in High School Soccer?

Again, whether or not the metal cleats are allowed is mainly dependent on the referee.

Soccer players in high school are mostly amateurs, and it would be dangerous to allow them to wear them. The players can kick high, walk on other players, or tackle forcefully, which leaves other players susceptible to several serious injuries.

Are Metal Cleats Allowed in College Soccer?

Technically, metal cleats are allowed in college soccer. But again, the referee decides whether a soccer metal cleat is necessary for the game.

The referee has the final authority and can choose to recommend or deny them. In most cases, wearing a metal stud in college soccer can be risky, and referees are responsible for banning them.

Are Metal Cleats Worth the Money?

Not everyone can afford metal studs because they are more expensive than normal studs.

Here are things to consider some before purchasing one

  • The surface of the ground

If you play on a wet, sloppy surface, then getting a metal stud may be a good option.

  • How serious a player are you?

You absolutely do not want to spend too much on getting a metal stud, especially if you’re an inconsistent player.

You can decide whether you need them once you’ve given all of these factors serious consideration.

Alternatives to Metal Soccer Cleats

Most amateur players are not aware of this, but a better alternative to the metal cleats is the Screw-in cleats. These are as functional as the metal cleats and are a lot safer.

Personally, I think they are a great buy for any mid-level soccer player and are also a great option for kids and college soccer players.

The screw in soccer cleats can be easily replaced in the case of any wear and tear, and they aren’t as rigid as the metal cleats. I absolutely think these shoes are worth every dime you spend on them.


Metal cleats are great for all levels of soccer, but they aren’t always the best option. They are a player’s best alternative on a soft and muddy surface especially in sloppy weather conditions.

As an amateur soccer player, it is preferable to wear a plastic stud or, better still, check with the referee of the game.

And lastly, do not make the mistake of buying a particular pair of cleats because they look good on your favorite player. They may end up being super uncomfortable for you!


Do soccer players wear metal cleats?

Of course, many of your favorite soccer players wear metal cleats, especially when they know the ground is soft and damp.

Pro soccer players prefer metal cleats because they give them better traction while playing on natural grass. But most mid-level players always prefer to go for plastic or rubber cleats. 

Can you wear metal studs on turf?

Some referees allow it, but it is highly discouraged. Metal cleats can tear the turf surface and cause extreme damage. 

Are metal soccer cleats legal or illegal?

They are legal. According to NCAA regulations, they are permitted; in fact, they are referred to as soft ground studs as long as they are not sharp and made of thick metal.

Additionally, some boots allow you to exchange these for more traction when playing on muddy or extremely soft/wet terrain.

Is it safe to wear metal cleats?

If not used appropriately and in accordance with the laws of your league or organization, metal studs can be dangerous. Since metal studs can harm young athletes, rubber studs are often safer.

Make sure to strictly adhere to your league’s rules if you’re a recreational player who wants to try out metal studs to prevent injury.

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