Soccer shoes are no longer just a tool to help a player perform at their best in the field, as there is plenty of sponsorship, high levels of research, and the commercialization of the game itself. This is most evident when examining soccer cleats, which have come a long way since the beginnings of soccer.
When it comes to the manufacture of soccer cleats, it will mainly involve assembling and cutting the material to size, stitching it on the shoe and printing, assembly and lacing, and packaging and quality control. The process is not that long, even though it involves multiple steps – many times, the shoe can go through all these in a single day.
What are cleats?
These are protrusions that you will find on the shoe sole, and they serve as a way of giving additional traction on the surface. They can either be made from metal, rubber or plastic, and this will depend on the environment they are used in.
The materials that make up soccer cleats are of various types, and these range from kangaroo leather to synthetic material. The choice you make will depend on your preferences, as well as the surface you are playing on.
- Kangaroo leather – For high end cleats, K-leather (kangaroo leather) is often the primary material. However, it is quite expensive, although it molds very well to the foot and gives the shoe exceptional levels of durability
- Goat or calf skin – these are similar to K-leather in terms of durability and comfort. However, they tend to be heavier compared to other soccer cleats.
- Synthetic – these are quite popular and are the most affordable types. They are also quite recent additions to the game compared to the other cleats.
How are they made?
Cutting and the materials
The stripes for the patterns are first marked on the shoe and the material, in order to act as an accurate outline during the cutting process. Through the use of metal cookie cutters, the material is cut out, as well as the lining foams.
Stitching guides are also screen printed on the material to act as a guide later on. Afterwards, the material goes through skiving, which makes the edges thinner and creates neater seams.
Stitching and printing
Any decorative detail is screen printed before stitching begins, and this is done on individual material pieces. After this is done, the material then goes through stitching to create the shoe through using the stitching lines as a guideline. The inside seam of the shoe is then ponded flat by a hammer to prevent it bulging and rubbing on the foot.
The lacing will then be responsible for the shape of the cleats. This is through lacing them up, and then positioning a tuck board inside the shoe bottom. The shoe goes through machines that wrap the upper material edges, and the outsole and lacing are attached together, glued using cement and primer, and then cured using UV radiation to activate the glue.
Finally, the cleats are then attached, quality control is done to check for any mistakes, and they are packaged for sale.