When I started compiling all the cleat data, I wondered if I would have any of the most well-reviewed cleats in my collection. Turns out I do – the Adidas Team Mundial turf shoes! They are my favorite and most often used boots.
Nike Totalstrike T90 Soccer Cleats: As for the rest of my collection, I picked up all three of my Total 90 soccer cleats at a store clearance maybe 5-6 years ago for $25 each. That was the first time I’d ever owned more than one pair and really the trigger for my love of soccer cleats. After all – I suck – so I should own nice equipment right? Right?
For the first time I owned good soccer cleats and it took me from sucking to average. At the time, I was managing and playing on a men’s competitive outdoor team here in San Diego. I was about 25 years into my soccer career and I really felt like these three T90 soccer cleats transformed my game. The shoes don’t make the player but there is definable difference when you’re playing with the right shoes. These three fit like a glove and were not made of the cheap hard plastic of the $30 shoes I used to pick up from Sports Authority.
Pele Sports 1962 Firm Grounds: So going back to my collection – maybe the best pair of cleats I own that no one has ever heard of are Pele Sports 1962 firm grounds – these babies are made of a single piece of calfskin leather. They are like leather tanks on your feet and a great shoe for defenders or goalies who need that extra protection from clumsy challenging players (you know who you are). Pele Sports also offers the 1970 firm grounds which are made of a single piece of kangaroo leather. (Side note: There is a seller named “SHOEBACCA” (love that name!) selling these on Amazon right now for like $30-$35 which is an absolute steal since they used to retail for over $200. Check out this glowing review of the 1970 shoes from former pro player Bryan Byrne.)
Adidas Team Mundials: My Team Mundials are the work horse of my collection since I only play indoor soccer right now. A cousin of Adidas’s classic Copa Mundial – a line of shoes dating back to the 70’s- the Team Mundial’s maintain that classic look and feel. These cleats are almost feel like a normal shoe and are the most comfortable cleats I’ve ever worn. The aggressively studded bottom’s grip really well on artificial turf which is what I play on in my indoor league.My only pair of kangaroo leather soccer cleats – the leather is soft and you can truly feel the difference when receiving, passing, and shooting the ball – especially when compared to my other turf shoes, the Adidas f10’s.
Adidas F10’s: So the F10’s are kind of a funny story. They are the most recent addition to my collection when I went to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. I wanted to bring back the ultimate souvenir – soccer cleats bought and made in Brazil. I chose the f10 turf because it was blue and made in Brazil for the cup.The only problem is that no one, I mean NO ONE sells US size 13 cleats in Brazilian retail stores (or any of the other countries in South America). I would ask in broken Portuguese for the Brazilian equivalent size 45 and they would look at me like I was crazy.
I found a size 11 in one store and tried them on out of desperation but alas it was nowhere close to fitting – even in that cleats-are-supposed-to-be-super-tight-fitting way. So at the behest of my wife – who I think was tired of being lugged around to 12 different stores when we could have been on the beach in Rio de Janeiro – asked, “Why don’t you just buy them online?” So I did – I bought them from Adidas’s site from our abode in Rio and sent them to the states. When I got home, I saw that the shoes were made in Indonesia. Alas – but at least I was able to tell the guys on the soccer team “Yeah I bought these in Brazil” which is true. Kind of.