Step into Greatness: How to Break in Soccer Cleats

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

Are you wondering how to break in soccer cleats? Soccer cleats, often referred to as soccer boots, are one of the most important pieces of soccer equipment and knowing how to break them in is crucial for maximum comfort, traction, and performance on the field.

For any soccer player, youth or professional, one of the best feelings in the world is opening up a box of brand new cleats. However, just because the brand new cleats look amazing and ready to use, that does not mean they are.

Brand new cleats will usually always feel tight at first because they need a “break-in” period to ensure optimal fit, comfort, and performance due to various factors such as the materials they’re made of. This is why it is normal if your feet start hurting and if you experience discomfort during the first few days of wearing your new pair of cleats.

In this blog, I will share with you tips for how to break in your new soccer cleats, or soccer shoes.

how to break in soccer cleats

Choose the Right Type of Soccer Cleats

The first step of breaking in your cleats is choosing the right type of soccer cleats based on various factors such as playing surface, size, stud patterns, and preferred materials, which is crucial for optimal performance, traction, and for decreasing the risk of injuries.

Here are the types of soccer cleats that you need based on a specific playing surface:

Also, make sure to know your foot measurements so that you choose a cleat that is the right size and provides you with a comfortable initial fit and feel. Some brands may run true to size or half a size smaller or bigger than other brands so it is important to know the exact measurements to find the right size for you.

It is also important to note that leather cleats will usually break in faster and have a more customized comfortable fit than cleats made of synthetic materials. If you have wider feet it would also be very important to invest in a pair of wide soccer cleats.

how to break in soccer cleats

Image by Jonathan Ward

Wear Socks with your Cleats

When trying to break in soccer cleats it is also very important to wear the same designated soccer socks, or grip socks, specialized soccer socks with grip pads, that you use for training and games. This step ensures that the fit is precise, taking into account the added layer of the socks.

how to break in soccer cleats

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Wear pair of old or custom insoles

One of the reasons you have to break in a new pair of soccer cleats is because you also have to break in the insole. If you have custom insoles that you used for your old pair of cleats or the old ones are also in good condition, you can use these with your new pair of cleats to speed up the breaking in process.

Once you feel the shoe breaking in, or if you have to for some reason, you can switch back to the new insoles that the cleats originally had.

how to break in soccer cleats

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Submerge soccer cleats in a bucket of hot water

One of the most popular techniques for breaking in soccer cleats involves submerging them in hot water at a temperature between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm water helps to soften the materials, making them more pliable and responsive to the shape of your feet.

The proper way to do this is by wearing the cleats while you submerge them in the hot water to help them mold to the exact shape of your foot. After you submerge them, walk around with the wet cleats for a bit, and then take your cleats off and allow them to dry outside with sunlight and fresh air.

how to break in soccer cleats

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Apply petroleum jelly

Another way to help your new cleats feel comfortable and enhance the break-in process is to apply petroleum jelly to specific parts. Petroleum jelly will help in reducing friction when you move as well as help prevent blisters.

This technique creates a protective barrier, ensuring a smoother break-in process.

how to break in soccer cleats Image by Ruben Leija

Stretch the uppers

Another simple way to speed up the break in process is to gently stretch the upper parts of your new soccer cleats. Stretching your cleats gently will help promote flexibility of the cleats, may provide some foot relief, as well as make your cleats more comfortable.

how to break in soccer cleats

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Use your cleats at training

One of the most important parts of breaking in your cleats fast and effectively is to wear them during your training sessions. By wearing your cleats during practice, you allow them to experience the unique movements and the demands of the beautiful game and in no more than a few weeks your cleats will be feeling nice and comfortable.

how to break in soccer cleats

Image by Benjamin Lehman

Do not over-tighten laces

While securing your cleats is essential for optimal performance, it’s equally important not to over-tighten the laces. Over-tightening the laces can slow the break-in process and lead to unnecessary strain.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to break in new cleats?

Breaking in new soccer cleats takes anywhere from a couple of days to even weeks. Make sure to wear your cleats during training and use as many of the tips from this list to help speed up the break in time.

Are soccer cleats supposed to hurt at first?

Yes, it is normal for new soccer cleats to hurt and feel tight when you first buy them. Soccer cleats are designed to have a tight, snug fit, which is why they may feel tight at first, but after you get past the “break in” period, the cleats will feel more comfortable.

How do you clean soccer cleats?

To clean your soccer cleats check out this in-depth blog: How to clean soccer cleats

How much do soccer cleats cost?

Soccer cleats can cost anywhere from $50 up to over $200. Check out this blog to learn more about how much cleats cost.


In conclusion, knowing how to break in soccer cleats is important for all soccer players and coaches looking to optimize their comfort and performance on the field. In this blog, I covered how to break in soccer cleats from tips about choosing the right cleats to techniques that can help make your cleats fit better.

So, now that you are finished with this blog, the next time you invest your money in a brand new pair of reliable and comfortable soccer cleats you will know exactly what to do to break them in properly.

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