Cleats are a necessity in field lacrosse. Sharp cuts and hard changes of direction are a definitive component of the sport. Players without the proper cleats will find themselves at the back of the pack, chasing the tail end of the competition. Not only that, players wearing improper cleats are at a higher risk for ankle sprains and more severe types of lower extremity injuries.
The importance of proper cleats is undeniable. This leads many to the question, “Can you wear football cleats to lacrosse?” For many football players that are transitioning to the sport of lacrosse, this is a fair question. After all, it seems like a waste for your football cleats to just gather dust in your storage locker. In this article, we will be exploring whether or not football cleats are a viable option on the lacrosse field.
Football cleats can be worn for lacrosse play. Football cleats and lacrosse cleats are fairly similar in terms of ankle support, cutting ability, and weight. Though, lacrosse cleats are slightly more tailored toward lacrosse play relative to football cleats.
With that being said, there are a number of costs and benefits that go along with wearing football cleats rather than lacrosse cleats. These pros and cons will be scrutinized in depth in the latter portions of the article. Keep reading further to discover these exact positives and negatives for yourself.
Lacrosse and Football Cleat Features
To understand the practicality of football cleats in lacrosse, it is necessary to know the signature features of both cleat types.
The material of the cleat determines whether or not air is able flow in and out of the cleat. More porous, mesh-like material allows for this breathability. Hard, solid material prevents this breathability from happening.
Proper air flow has a major influence on the overall comfort of the cleat itself. Without appropriate breathability and comfort, it is difficult to embrace the transition into a new set of cleats.
Lacrosse cleats almost always incorporate a porous, mesh-like material on the outer surface of the cleat to ensure breathability. Football cleats, on the other hand, must incorporate hard, non-porous material into the cleat to protect against the constant physical stresses of football.
There are several defining features that characterize lacrosse and football cleats. One striking feature is the customizability of the ankle support.
When the sport of lacrosse was emerging onto the scene, there was a limited selection of lacrosse cleats. Nowadays, there is an assortment of lacrosse cleat subsections to choose from.
The ankle support of lacrosse and football cleats comes in three different forms: low cut, mid cut, and high cut.
In the past, only low cut and mid cut lacrosse cleats were available for purchase in lacrosse. As the lacrosse community has expanded, more and more lacrosse players demanded greater ankle support. For this reason, high cut lacrosse cleats burst onto the scene.
Football cleats have always trended toward the higher ankle support end of the spectrum due to the heavy reliability on explosive cuts and dynamic changes in acceleration.
Durability of Material
The durability of the cleat material is another major facet of lacrosse and football cleats.
As aforementioned, lacrosse cleats feature softer plastic and porous mesh material to allow for breathability. Although this certainly improves the comfort of the cleat, it comes at the expense of durability.
These cleat materials are relatively weaker compared to the hard plastic material that football cleats are comprised of. It is for this reason that football cleats are comparatively more durable to that of lacrosse cleats. The harder plastic is far more equipped to take a beating than its porous mesh alternative.
Lacrosse and football cleats have what is commonly referred to as a stud pattern.
The stud pattern is the structural arrangement of the spikes at the bottom of the cleat sole. These studs are what provide cleats traction on the field surface. The studs can be structurally configured to be aggressively spiked or relatively blunt. The configuration of the stud has a direct correlation with the amount of traction a cleat is able to generate.
The sports of lacrosse and football are played either on grassy fields or turf fields. Performing hard changes in direction on this type of ground surface demands a rather aggressive stud configuration.
The similar playing environments in lacrosse and football has resulted in a similar type of stud configuration in lacrosse and football cleats.
Cleats are designed to optimize sports performance, so it should come as no surprise that both lacrosse and football cleats are relatively lightweight.
In both lacrosse and football, cleats that are equipped with more ankle support typically weigh a bit more due to the excess material. Thus, low cut cleats lie on the lighter side of the spectrum.
The harder material that football cleats are comprised of may add a bit of additional weight relative to lacrosse cleats. Nine times out of ten, however, this difference is negligible.
Similarities Between Lacrosse Cleats and Football Cleats
The similarities between lacrosse and football cleats that were previously discussed are summarized in the following list:
|Ability to choose between low cut, mid cut, and high cut cleats|
|Stud pattern specialized for traction on grass and turf fields|
|Lightweight optimized for sports performance|
Differences Between Lacrosse Cleats and Football Cleats
The differences between lacrosse and football cleats that were previously discussed are summarized in the following list:
|Lacrosse Cleats||Football Cleats|
|Sufficient breathability||Lack adequate air flow|
|Integrates softer plastic with mesh-like material||Composed of harder plastic and non-porous material|
|Less durable||More durable|
Potential Benefits of Using Football Cleats
There are a number of benefits to using football cleats as opposed to purchasing a separate pair of lacrosse cleats for the lacrosse season. These benefits are explained in depth below.
Saves You Time and Money
It makes the most financial sense to use one pair of cleats for both football season and lacrosse season. By simply transitioning over your football cleats to the lacrosse season, you do not have to spend the extra cash to purchase a new set of cleats.
You do not even have to make the trip to the local sports store. All you have to do is take your football cleats and plop them in your lacrosse bag. Although, I would highly suggest putting those football cleats in the wash first. Just a pro tip.
Can Skip the Pain of Having To Break in New Cleats
I do not know about you guys, but breaking in a new pair of lacrosse cleats one of my least favorite aspects of the sport. I remember the sheer pain of my feet after lacrosse practice and being flooded with relief as soon as I ripped those bad boys off. Honestly, the worst part is knowing that the same pain awaits you the next day at practice.
With football cleats, you can simply just gloss over this aggravating break in period. Your football cleats will already be in tip top shape.
Potential Drawbacks of Using Football Cleats
There are two sides to every coin. Just as there are benefits to using football cleats instead of lacrosse cleats, there are also drawbacks. The most prominent of these drawbacks are discussed in the ensuing paragraphs.
At a Slight Disadvantage Relative to Other Players
The most glaring drawback is that football cleats are not optimized for lacrosse. Football cleats are optimized for football.
Although football cleats are a reasonable substitute for lacrosse cleats, they are not specifically geared toward performance on the lacrosse field. For this reason, your lacrosse play may take a slight tumble when it comes to the speed of your cuts or the quickness of your acceleration.
This slight reduction in agility is most likely negligible and there are exceptions to this trend. Certain lacrosse players just operate better with football cleats. Nonetheless, it is certainly a point of consideration if you are looking for every possible advantage you can muster.
Excessive Wear and Tear
Dragging a single pair of cleats through multiple sports seasons is rough work. Your football cleats will inevitably acquire some additional battle scars as a result of lacrosse season. If your football cleats are not up to par, this excess stress may do some irreversible damage.
Playing with a compromised pair of cleats is not ideal. Improper footwear puts lacrosse players at a much higher risk for injury. It is far better to play it safe if your football cleats look like they are on the verge of collapse. Purchasing a new pair of cleats is definitely worth the investment if it means that you can avoid sitting on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Summary of Pros and Cons
|Saves time and money||At a slight disadvantage relative to other players|
|Can skip the pain of having to break in new cleats||Excessive wear and tear|
Is It Common To Play Lacrosse In Football Cleats?
Lacrosse cleats are certainly the prevailing type of cleat seen in lacrosse games. After all, lacrosse cleats are specifically streamlined by professionals toward the play style of lacrosse.
However, it is not uncommon to see a few players sporting football cleats during a lacrosse game. There are an abundance of multi-sport athletes in lacrosse that realize the unmistakable similarities between football cleats and lacrosse cleats. These athletes see no reason to go out and purchase another pair of cleats when they already have a perfect set of cleats available. For the most part, these athletes are right!
Most football cleats are entirely compatible with lacrosse, which is why many athletes choose to wear one pair of cleats for both sports. So if you were worried about sticking out like a sore thumb, worry no longer! There are plenty of other lacrosse players that share your sentiment regarding cleats.
Is It More Advantageous to Play Lacrosse In Football Cleats?
For most lacrosse players, football cleats are not more advantageous relative to lacrosse cleats. However, there is no real objective answer to this question. Ultimately, the solution to this question comes down to preference.
As discussed previously, there are indisputable pros and cons to using football cleats for lacrosse. So although the majority of lacrosse players will experience a slight disadvantage of utilizing football cleats rather than lacrosse cleats, you may be one of those rare exceptions.
Trial and error is your best bet when it comes to uncovering the answer this question. Go out and try out your teammates’ lacrosse cleats for a practice or two and see if they make any noticeable difference. Unless you experiment for yourself, you will never truly know.
Are Lacrosse Cleats Really Worth It?
If your playing style is heavily dependent on acceleration and change of direction, lacrosse cleats are definitely worth the investment. Lacrosse cleats do provide a bit of extra traction when you plant your foot into the ground.
This may grant you the extra offensive cushion needed to get a quick shot off. Or if you are a defenseman, that extra half second may help you to drop the hammer on an offensive opponent to save a goal. It is virtually impossible to exactly quantify the impact that lacrosse cleats can have on your game relative to football cleats. So if you feel faster in a pair of lacrosse cleats, just run with it.
However, I would argue that this is not even the biggest benefit.
Wearing lacrosse cleats delivers players an extra vote of confidence when they are on the field. Confidence is key to the game of lacrosse. Without the proper mindset, a lacrosse player can become their own worst enemy. There is no greater foe in lacrosse than a lack of self confidence.
Players need to trust that they have all of the tools necessary to play their best. So even if slipping on lacrosse cleats provides just a little sliver more confidence in your game and removes a bit of self doubt, I would call it a win.