You need shoes to play lacrosse. That is pretty much a given. However, once you start searching for shoes, you will quickly realize that you have two major options available to you; turf shoes and cleats. So, which one is better for playing lacrosse? Well, they are both brilliant for playing the sport. However, they have been designed for very specific purposes. Let me explain. Hopefully, this should make it a bit easier to find the shoes that are perfect for you.
What are Lacrosse Turf Shoes?
Lacrosse turf shoes, as the name suggests, are built for playing on turf.
Lacrosse turf shoes will have small, rounded cleats on the sole. Although, there are a few options that may have treads instead. These treads are going to be quite ‘aggressive’ in their pattern.
These turf shoes will not be able to penetrate the ground. This means that if you run along a muddy field, there will be no ‘bite’ from the shoes. This means that there will be no grip. The shoes have been specifically designed to keep somebody standing upright when they are running along the turf lacrosse field.
Now, I am not saying that lacrosse turf shoes will not work on grass fields. They will. Only in very, very specific circumstances, though. I am going to talk more about those later on.
Due to their design, lacrosse turf shoes are going to be lighter and a lot more flexible than cleats. Most people claim that this lightweightness and flexibility allows them to move a little bit faster when they are playing the sport. Although, I think this is going to be more dependent on the player and their individual technique. If you are not a fast player anyway, I doubt turf shoes will give you that much of a speed boost.
What are Lacrosse Cleats?
Lacrosse cleats are designed for playing on natural surfaces. They cannot be used on artificial surfaces, that would mess up the AstroTurf.
On the sole of lacrosse cleats you will see a lot of studs. I am going to point out at this point that only cleats designed for lacrosse will work when playing the game. I know that you can buy cleats for football and soccer, but the design of these is slightly different. They cannot cope with the playing style of lacrosse. Football and soccer cleats would just break before the end of the game.
If you look at the bottom of lacrosse cleats and compare them to soccer cleats, you will notice that the cleats are in different positions. Lacrosse cleats have the cleats on the side. This allows quick movement from side to side. There is also an additional cleat on the toe, which would not be allowed in soccer due to it being dangerous to tackle somebody foot first with that toe cleat.
Lacrosse cleats are designed to grip properly onto natural surfaces. They can penetrate the ground, which helps to keep the players nice and stable, even if the surface is a little bit slippery.
Which One is Better For Playing Lacrosse?
I hate to break it to you, but I can’t tell you that turf shoes are better than cleats. I also can’t tell you that cleats are better than turf shoes. You really need to be thinking about the circumstances that you are playing to work out which one is best for you.
If you are playing on turf, then turf shoes are your only option. You cannot wear cleats on turf. You will be slipping and sliding all over the place. So, that has pretty much nailed that choice for you.
If you are playing on thick mud, or it is a bit wet outside, then lacrosse cleats are your only option. They will grip the floor properly which will ensure that you are able to stay on your feet when you are darting down the field. If you use turf shoes on a muddy field, you will be tripping up the second you begin your run. It just isn’t feasible.
You will also need to consider your style of play.
If speed is more your forte, then you need to be going down the route of lacrosse turf shoes. They are lighter weight, and the lower amount of grip means that you will be able to shoot down the field like there is no tomorrow. You will often find that attackers will often wear turf shoes for this purpose. They need that speed in many cases.
With cleats, you will be sacrificing speed, but you will find that you will be a little bit more stable on your feet when you are playing the game. You will often find defense players wearing cleats for that extra stability when they are trying to body check somebody off of the ball.
Finally, you will need to think about any lingering injuries that you may have. I find that this should be your final priority. After all, the surface that you are playing on will matter much, much more when it comes to lacrosse shoe selection than whether you have any injuries or complaints.
Lacrosse turf shoes will provide a bit more support for the ankles. This is due to the studs on the bottom of the shoes. So, if you have considered everything else I have talked about, and you suffer from ankle issues, then turf shoes are going to be the route to go down. They may not completely eliminate any ankle complaints, but they should be keeping them to the minimum!
Honestly? In an ideal world, I suggest that you choose a pair of turf shoes and cleats. This way you are going to be covered for every situation.
So, there you have it. When it comes to turf shoes vs cleats, there isn’t really one option that is better than the other. You will need to think about your specific needs on the lacrosse field, as well as the conditions that you are playing in. Only then will you be able to choose the right lacrosse shoe for your feet! Get it right, and the quality of your game will quickly improve!