If your young athlete is complaining of pain in their ankles, shins, or even feet it’s a good idea to see if some of their soccer training can be done in turf soccer shoes rather than the standard firm-ground cleat.
We’re not here to disparage the firm-ground cleat, they’re great, and they have been for a long, long time, but the game is changing, and more specifically the surfaces the game is being played on are changing.
Young athletes more than ever are playing on artificial surfaces both for games and practices, and the reality is that firm-ground cleats present some genuine disadvantages on artificial surfaces.
The first and most important is that firm-ground studs can “catch”, and you often hear athletes complaining about this. Turf is much softer than natural surfaces, so the long studs on firm-ground cleats penetrate and can catch or snag on the turf weave. This can throw off a player’s stride and speed fairly easily, but what’s worse is that when a cleat snags athletes run the risk of twisting or turning and pulling or tearing their young developing muscles.
The second disadvantage is that pressure points from the studs are going to slowly wear on your athlete’s feet and lower legs throughout the season.
Youth, Middle School, and High School teams are practicing more hours, so while the first few weeks may pass without concern, as the season stretches on more players tend to have complaints of consistent pain in their feet, ankles, and shins. It’s reasonable to suggest that these pains can stem from the excess hours spent training in cleats.
One of the easiest ways to solve these “snag” issues as well as save your young players feet is to invest in a pair of turfs that can be used for the team’s lighter training sessions. Being able to cycle in a pair of turfs once or twice a week will help to save your athletes feet some of the regular season wear and tear.
Cycling in a pair of turfs can also help extend the life of your cleats significantly, so between the benefits for your feet and your cleats, it’s a win-win to invest in a pair.