The soccer cleats that are most suitable for forwards are specially designed to allow the players a full range of motion while amplifying their grip, acceleration and movement.
To save you time the best soccer cleats for forwards are the following:
- Nike Phantom Venom Pro
- Adidas X 18+
- Nike Superfly 7 Academy
- PUMA Future 18.1 Netfit
- Adidas Nemeziz Messi 19.1
Strikers are hands down, one of the most crucial positions in the soccer field that are tasked with scoring goals. In other words, it’s the glamor position. The guys that hog the limelight, the guys that make soccer the adrenaline rush that it is.
So, it’s vital that the cleats they select are versatile enough to allow them to receive balls, both in the air and on the ground, and strike. It should also let them feel the ball upon contact (good touch), enable them to kick hard into the net (roomy strike zone), allow them deft turns (strong grip), dribbles and let them accelerate from nowhere.
While that might seem like an elite and difficult checklist to tick off, there are many soccer cleats for forwards that fit the bill to perfection.
If this is the first time that you are shopping for cleats, then here’s some help.
Best Soccer Cleats for forwards
Nike Phantom Venom Pro
Kanga-Lite Synthetic & NikeSkin Synthetic Mesh
HyperReactive soleplate made of rubber
Adidas X 18+
Skeletalweave and SpeedMesh Synthetic
Rubber with SprintFrame
Nike Superfly 7 Academy
FlyKnit with more prominent textures
Split soleplate made of rubber
Puma 18.1 Netfit
Synthetic Knit called Netfit
RAPIDAGILITY soleplate outsole
Adidas Nemeziz Messi 19.1
Synthetic material called TensionTape
Rubber split soleplate
#1 – Nike Phantom Venom Pro – Best all round pick (Editor’s Choice)
The Phantom Venom Pro is the mid-tier model from Nike’s ‘Phantom Venom’ line of striker cleats that are an ode to the classic, ‘Total 90’ series, which first introduced Nike’s rubber striking elements.
Combine that with the sleek design of the Hypervenom and you’ve got a pair of cleats that will give you wings while letting you feel the ball like none other.
The Phantom Venom Pro retains the aggressive styling of the Hypervenom with the low cut design and the bladed HyperReactive soleplate that have the chevron style studs.
For those who weren’t aware, this is the same soleplate that Nike uses for all its elite, professional-grade boots.
To put this in budget-priced cleats greatly enhances the value. The traction is top notch in all directions.
To add to this, it comes with a flexible forefoot with micro-textures and a K-Lite & NikeSkin upper that’s as close to leather as you can get. The 13-raised fins, which comprise of the strike zone give you great control while receiving passes as well as striking the ball.
The cushioning is way better than on many higher-priced cleats that we’ve tried. But it’s not padded thickly all over the upper which might make it feel rigid. Instead, the padding varies all across the strike zone and is pretty thin in some parts giving the cleats a springy feel upon contact with the ball. We personally loved the feel of the ball on these cleats.
The fit is a little tight for our liking. The cleats have the narrow, streamlined design much like the Hypervenom, which means that if you have narrow, slim feet, this will fit like an old sock.
But if you have slightly wider feet, you’ll find this very difficult to put on without a shoehorn. You might also experience some cramping on the sides which does ease a little as the shoe wears out.
The Flywire lacing system adds to the snugness of the shoes and it has a heel counter that’s a little stiff out of the box. Ensure that you wear these with cushioned socks only.
- Specialized striker cleats from Nike.
- Mid-range model that gives best combination of price and features.
- Flywire lacing system.
- Kanga-Lite and NikeSkin Mesh blended upper.
- 13-raised fins for a clean, prominent strike zone.
- Great feel on the ball.
- HyperReactive Soleplate from the elite range.
- Great traction.
- Narrow soccer cleats. Will be hard for those with wide feet to wear them.
#2 – Adidas X 18+ – Best soccer cleats for speed
Most brands have been following the two-year rotational policy for silos, which means that 2-years is the maximum amount of time before an upgrade hits the stands or they discontinue the line entirely.
When the Adidas F50 was discontinued, it disappointed a lot of fans.
With the X 18+, Adidas revisits the F50. These cleats were the center of attention during the world cup and would stand out with their solar blue claw cut collars and laceless design. In case you managed to miss it, here’s the deal.
The X18+ is Adidas’s boldest laceless cleats till date. It has an identical streamlined design like the F50 and is incredibly lightweight (6.7oz), and very flexible. Two of the most important features sought after by forwards.
These cleats would make a professional sprinter proud with its design and form. It is designed for speed.
Despite looking like the boots would be too tight for comfort, these fit perfectly, like a well-worn, old pair of cleats do.
Adidas’s TechFit compression material, which runs all along the upper and around the collar, hugs your feet without hindering movement. This is essentially what keeps the cleats in place. The downside is that it will take a while to break in.
The upper is a blend of a synthetic material called Skeletalweave, which is an ultra-thin woven grid and Adidas’s SPEEDMESH. This serves a dual purpose. It ensures that the cleats don’t stretch over time, and it gives a fair amount of padding in the entire striking zone.
The result is that while you’ll appreciate the feel of the ball when you make power strikes, you lose some of the responsiveness that’s typical of laceless, mesh-styled uppers.
As a workaround, there’s a little extra material added in the instep region that feels smoother than the weave in the upper. If you are taking touches on the instep, this has you covered.
One of the most underrated feature is the 3D Molded Heel and the SprintFrame soleplate with the arrowhead shaped studs. The soleplate gives you excellent traction, especially during sprints and cuts. Through a process called drillium engineering, Adidas removes some of the studs thereby reducing the weight of the cleats.
- Laceless design with compression collar.
- Snug fit that stays on the feet.
- Claw cut collar.
- Techfit compression material.
- Skeletalweave upper with Adidas’ Speedmesh.
- 3D Molded heel.
- SprintFrame Soleplate.
- Perfect for strikes.
- A little rigid during general contact for passes and dribbles.
- They will take a while to break-in.
#3 – Nike Superfly 7 Academy – Best soccer cleats for wingers
Well, you’ve got to hand it over to the engineers at Nike for managing to come up with the best version of the superfly yet.
If you are a winger, these are among the best soccer cleats for your position.
Out of the box, it looks pretty similar to the Superfly VI and also the Vapor XII, except for the bold ‘Merc’ and ‘Just Do it’ branding, which looks very modern and stylish. Don’t miss the upgraded swoosh which keeps the Blue color as the highlight all over the cleats.
The cleats are very easy to wear and almost instantly, you feel the new, upgraded flyknit upper with the more prominent textures that gives you great grip on the ball. It is flexible, not rigid at all and if you wanted cleats where you get that pingy, responsive feel, these are your best bet.
This is topped by a layer of All Conditions Control (ACC), which ensures that even in a torrential downpour, your feet stay as dry as a bone.
Nike has worked on that mid-cut silhouette and the new dynamic fit collar sits a little lower without compromising on ergonomics or the fit. If anything, you might want to go a size higher if you have wide feet. But if you have normal-sized feet, you can even remove the laces and use these as a slip-on.
These sport the most aggressive outsole with the split soleplate design that is designed for speed, acceleration and deceleration. The traction is top notch on multiple surfaces and the design ensures that the weight of the cleats is kept to the minimum.
- 7th Generation of Nike’s Mercurial range.
- Sleek, aggressive styling.
- FlyKint Upper with more prominent texturing.
- Laced design.
- All conditions control coating.
- Dynamic collar.
- Aggressive outsole.
- Split soleplate design for traction.
- Designed for speed and control.
- Some may find it difficult to put this shoe on.
#4 – PUMA Future 18.1 Netfit – Best soccer cleats for powerful strikes
The Future 18.1 is all about customizing the fit to your liking. When you are a striker about to take a penalty kick or kick the ball into the back of the net, you need cleats that are an extension of your feet. The 18.1 certainly ticks off the right boxes as you’ll discover.
The cleats are ridiculously-easy to wear. And there are 4-ways to customize the lacing system so that you get the feet-hugging fit that Puma claims. To be honest, we loved the fit even with a basic lacing system.
One of the first things that you’ll notice is the evoKnit collar that gives you great ankle support without ever being restrictive.
Secondly, we have the hexagonal knit on the synthetic upper that’s called Netfit. This is essentially a grid of hexagons that runs on the entire upper and separates occasionally to let you run your laces through them. It is slightly raised in the strike zone since there are two layers of the knit to give you that slight punch upon contact.
Guess what? It works.
The added knit layer absorbs some of the pressure that you’d feel on the feet during a hard strike. In other words, it’s all you in control. The extra surface in the strike zone lets you get creative and add some spin to the ball if need be and get additional control from all angles.
A little rigid at times maybe, but nothing to be concerned about.
The outsole is made from a lightweight and flexible material called Pebax. The soleplate is a combination of conical and bladed studs which gives you excellent traction on both FG and AG surfaces.
Overall, the Puma Future 18.1 Netfit is one of the best soccer cleats for strikers. It allows clean strikes while taking the pressure off the feet.
- Unique Multiple Lacing styles to customize the fit.
- Netfit upper with double layer in the strike zone.
- Perfect for hard strikes with great control from all angles.
- Combo of conical and bladed studs that is suitable for both firm grounds and artificial grass surfaces.
- EvoKnit collar for a secure, snug fit.
- This boot is a little stiff out of the box and it may take a while to break in.
#5 – Adidas Nemeziz Messi 19.1 – Best soccer cleats for ball control
While we aren’t too keen on recommending soccer cleats worn by pro players, this one has so much more than the name of Lionel Messi attached to it. It is the Nemeziz 19.1, a great pair of cleats for forwards that gives you great control on passes and dribbles.
There are many features that set the Nemeziz apart from the competition. For starters, these cleats feel great out of the box. The break-in time is very minimal. The knit collar with the low cut v-shape, fits snugly around the ankle and there’s excellent cushioning around the heels minimizing your chances of getting blisters. No more wearing two socks or strapping the heels.
The soleplate is a little rigid in the beginning, but it wears out nicely and offers great flexibility.
With a laced design, the 19.1 feels a little old-school in comparison with the laceless wonders of today. But with Adidas’s new adaptive fit technology, you won’t be missing anything.
If you’ve ever seen Messi, you’d know that his gameplay is all about deft touches and explosive accelerations. That best defines the Nemeziz 19.1. It is all about control while giving you great traction for sudden movements.
The upper uses Adidas’s textile knit material that’s called ‘Tensiontape’. It is thin and it gets you pretty close to the barefoot feel that forward players crave for.
You can feel the ball irrespective of whether you are making a slow pirouette or a fast pass. There’s just enough padding to keep your feet protected during power strikes. But it’s not thick enough to limit movement or give you that rigid feel that many heavily-padded cleats give.
Under the boots, you have a Nike-inspired split soleplate design with eleven studs that feels balanced and firm. You can easily transition from slow turns to sudden explosive accelerations as the combination of conical and oval studs keeps you grounded on a variety of surfaces.
Overall, we would highly recommend the Nemeziz 19.1 Messi at the drop of a hat to any forward player. These cleats are designed for control and speed.
- Laced design.
- Tension tape knit upper.
- Thin and clean feel on the ball.
- Perfect for dribbles and pirouettes.
- Gives you great control.
- Split soleplate.
- Combo of conical and oval studs.
- Synthetic suede innersole.
- Balanced heel plate.
- Very little breaking in time.
- The upper gets slippery when it rains.
Best soccer cleats for strikers buying guide
Forwards make up some of the most exciting, yet challenging positions on the soccer field.
Goes without saying that their choice of cleats can make a huge difference in the way they perform on field.
The right set of cleats can give them the agility, speed and the traction they seek while making sprints or accurate strikes. A wrong one on the other hand will restrict movement and take away the control they seek upon contact with the ball.
Here are some of the key factors to consider while shopping
Speed vs. Control
Some soccer cleats are designed for speed. These are lightweight and perfect for positions that demand quick acceleration and fast cuts.
But if you are a winger, then you will be spending a lot of time making fast dribbles and passes. Rather than opting for a very lightweight cleat, you’d be better off with silos designed for speed and control.
Most of the best soccer cleats for forwards have synthetic uppers. That’s partly due to brands doing away with leather altogether.
But it also has to do with synthetic being lightweight and more pliable out of the box. Most synthetic uppers will wrap around the feet offering a snug fit.
However, while selecting the cleats, you’d also want to know the thickness of the upper. Usually, the thicker the upper, the more rigid it is.
If you prefer boots that are flexible and pliable, look for cleats that have thin uppers that give you the barefoot feel.
The additional padding does dampen the force of the impact during heavy strikes though. If you are the striker, this is something that you’d want to consider while shopping.
The soleplate is what determines the amount of traction that you are able to generate on a soccer field.
Soleplates are typically designed for specific types of surfaces like Artificial Grass or Firm ground.
The stud configurations are in tune with the surface that its designed for and for the position that the cleat is advertised for.
Soccer cleats designed for forwards have stud patterns under the forefoot as this allows players to push off at the start of a sprint. Some stud configurations also position studs on the edge of the cleats allowing the player to make fast cuts to the sides.
Always check the stud configuration as well as the type of stud (conical, hex, bladed).
Most brands have been veering towards narrow, sleek, soccer cleats that wrap around the feet. Some of them loosen up as they are broken in. Others don’t stretch or loosen too much.
Ensure that you pick the right size to prevent cramping and blisters.
If you have wide feet, you might want to consider looking for cleats that are designed for wider feet.
That sums up our list of the best soccer cleats for forwards.
Remember, a great pair of cleats won’t improve your skills as a forward soccer player. But it will go a long way in helping you make the most of your skills. Your traction will improve, you can accelerate without slipping and you can push off easily while cutting.
Take your time and make an informed decision. Happy shopping.