While finding the right athletic footwear can be challenging, buying cleats for your kids doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If you head out with a few tips in mind, it is possible to narrow down the choices to the best option for your child whether they are playing flag football, soccer or baseball.
When buying cleats for your kids, always begin by having your child’s foot measured by a professional. Measure your child’s feet when they are standing up bearing their full weight. It’s also best to measure both feet in case they vary in size. Choose the shoes that fit the larger foot.
Yet, you should not buy cleats any larger than a thumb width beyond your child’s big toe. This will ensure that your child’s feet will have room to grow without the cleat being too large and affect your child’s ability to run or play. If possible, shop at the end of the day when your child’s feet are at their biggest. Also, make sure you have the necessary sports socks on hand to allow for any extra thickness.
Besides purchasing the proper size footwear for your athlete, it is equally important to consider the comfort level of each option. When buying cleats for your kids, avoid ones that will need to be “broken in.” Take your time when it comes to trying on the cleats and ask your child to spend a few minutes walking around the store before you buy. If the cleats are too tight they will cause unnecessary foot pain. Cleats that are too loose will cause the feet to pull up during the on-field activity (known as pistoning) causing blisters. These are signs to keep looking to find a well-fitting cleat for your child’s sport.
Cleats vary from sport to sport due to the nature of the terrain and the individual demands of the game. While both soccer and baseball cleats provide extra stability on the field, soccer shoes are designed with a slightly narrower upper to help control the ball. If your child is playing outdoor soccer, they will likely need cleats – but if they are playing indoor soccer, there are typically specific shoes for that which don’t have cleats.
When buying cleats for kids in the 9-14 age range, having multiple cleats on the heel will prevent unnecessary pressure and heel pain. If your child is playing soccer or flag football, choose a cleat made with a synthetic material on the upper portion of the shoe. Man-made materials tend to absorb less water and will keep your child’s foot dry. Also, football cleats may extend above the ankle for additional support.
Be sure to check the equipment requirements for the program your child is participating in before buying cleats. Depending on the sport and your child’s age, the specifications may vary. For instance at i9 Sports®, rubber cleats are encouraged for our kids flag football, soccer and baseball leagues, but are not required. But, if a program is played indoors on artificial turf, cleats may not be allowed. In addition, wearing metal cleats is not allowed in any i9 Sports® program.
Buying a well-fitting cleat will ensure that your child has a happy and healthy sports season. Ask questions of the in-store assistant to understand the differences between the specific varieties and brands offered. Consider shopping online as well to compare product reviews from other customers. Buying the right cleats for your child will mean that he or she can focus their full attention on playing the game and having fun!