Can You Wear Metal Stud Soccer Cleats?

If you consider yourself a soccer enthusiast, you probably already know that footwear used in the sport is somewhat similar to footwear used in football. Running on a grassy field or turf can be a bit challenging in either one. Because of that, many different manufacturers have constantly been developing technology around soccer cleats or boots (a more popular name used in the UK). 

A soccer game can be played in various conditions. Alongside that, there are still several other factors that affect the choice of cleats a player will wear that day. These factors are, for example, the height of the grass, the quality of the surface, and humidity. The shorter the grass, the faster the game. On the other hand, a more humid and wet surface makes the game a bit slower than usual.

A short answer to the question would be – yes. Soccer players can, in fact, wear metal stud soccer cleats. But the main question here would probably be – how often do they do that, and is it a preferred option?

soccer cleats with metal studs

Let’s start with professional soccer:

According to International Association Football Board (IFAB), five items are mentioned in the section regarding compulsory equipment to participate in a professional soccer match. The items in question are shirts with sleeves, socks, shorts, shinguards, and footwear. 

If you’re wondering about the first item mentioned on the list, don’t worry. It does seem strange at first glance, but there’s a good reason why that had to be stated. In 2002, Cameroon successfully defended the title of the best African national team in Mali. They did so by wearing sleeveless shirts that more resembled vests than typical soccer jerseys. FIFA then placed an exclusion of sleeveless shirts in all official matches.

As you can see, there is no mention of metal stud cleats and their potential exclusion. Something that confirms this is the safety section. A phrase states “A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.” What is considered dangerous is something that the official at the game determines.

Some might argue that this is a gray area, but most of the referees don’t oppose this rule. So we can safely say that metal stud cleats are allowed in professional soccer. 

How often do players choose to wear them?

Since metal soccer cleats are specially designed and manufactured to provide a better grip on softer grounds, they are a frequent choice among players who have a matchday right after a rainy night. Furthermore, since  the studs are replaceable, it’s easy just to have a couple of different sets, which would then be easily mounted on soccer cleats depending on the conditions.

Many world-class players like Harry Kane, Neymar, and Christian Pulisic use metal soccer cleats. Another interesting aspect of top-tier professional soccer cleats is that they are all custom-made. The studs are placed on the cleat’s sole according to the player’s position.

To answer the question, they are quite popular. Under appropriate weather conditions, metal cleats are a go-to option for many top-tier players.

The difference between the two options

As briefly mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are reasons why a player should and shouldn’t wear metal soccer cleats. One of those reasons is, of course, the surface of the playing field.

With the evolution of technology within soccer, we’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of artificial turf. Turf, alongside natural grass, is now frequently used by many clubs all around the world. The difference between these two surfaces is, therefore quite important when choosing the correct set of cleats for the game.

The quality of the playing surface can also vary – some of them being fairly cheap fields – basically, green carpet laid over concrete. At the other end of the spectrum, we can also see some high-quality artificial options that, in some cases, are even better than the real thing.

Metal studs, also known as soft ground studs, are mostly used in specific weather conditions, as mentioned above. Since metal stud cleats have a hard and stiff outsole, they are made to be worn on natural grass. The grass can, of course, sometimes be quite wet and muddy. These specific conditions are where metal cleats excel.

On the other hand, if a game is played on artificial, synthetic turf, players don’t need to wear metal studs. The players’ performance would in that case even be hampered to some extent. An option better suited for artificial turf is to use plastic studs.


Wearing footwear with a hard insole can lead to a potential injury if used on a hard surface. The reason why many players use softer options on the harder surfaces is to avoid ankle and knee injuries – the most common setbacks in soccer.

A soccer player will usually run anywhere between seven and nine and a half miles. If a player is using footwear that is not surface-friendly, there is a massive risk of getting injured. Twisting your leg or foot can not only lead to significant pain, but to potential injury that can leave a player off the pitch for the remainder of the season as well. This happens because of the lack of traction that metal stud cleats provide. In addition, any sudden change of direction or speed leads to a sprained ankle.

The effect that metal studs can have on a surface

Depending on the surface of the playing field, metal studs can damage artificial turf and natural grass quite a bit. The main goal of those who do the upkeep is to keep the playing area safe, which metal cleats affect quite a bit.

Building up huge patches of grass on a natural surface is yet another issue that can lead to a severe injury. Not only that, but huge bumps on the field can affect the game quite a bit. With that in mind, there is a reason why some leagues are, to some extent, forcing the clubs to change to the artificial option. The fewer players use metal cleats, the more minor damage.

Less natural grass means fewer metal cleats, which ultimately leads to less damage and lower cost of the upkeep.


One of the most important gameday activities is choosing the right footwear. Various conditions require various types of studs, and picking a wrong one might not only affect the outcome of the match, but also player’s fitness. Potential injuries can harm the whole squad – pinning down the issue to an incorrect set of studs could be quite frustrating.

While players are allowed to wear metal stud soccer cleats, the issue at hand is much bigger than that. Metal studs are legitimate part of a uniform and should not be something that’s taken for granted.