Over the last few years, laceless soccer cleats have become very popular among soccer players. Adidas is the brand that introduced them and they make a laced and laceless version of all of their high-end boots. Other brands are following them and have started making laceless soccer shoes.
The main difference between them is that laceless boots give you a really clean uninterrupted striking surface and a very unique one-to-one sensation. They look really cool, and also you get all the latest tech and innovation. But on the flip side, laceless soccer cleats are more expensive than a boot with laces and also the lockdown and the adjustability is not going to be perfect.
Now let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
Advantages and disadvantages of laced soccer cleats
Having laces come with a couple of benefits.
The main one is that you get a better lockdown. When you have a lacing system and you pull it tight the upper wraps the foot and pushes it down on the outsole and that means that it helps to prevent the foot from moving. You get better responsiveness and what that really means is that when you move your foot it translates into movement of the boots too. Better responsiveness translates into better sprinting and running and into making cuts, turns, and changing directions.
Secondly, laces mean that you get personal adjustability and customization. Basically, you can tie the laces to match your foot shape and you can loosen them up a little bit if you have a foot shape that requires a bit more space inside of the boot or simply if you want a slightly more relaxed fit. Or you can really pull your laces tight in case you want a very close and snug fit. Customization is the key here because you can make the boots match your foot shape and not the other way around which is great if the boot isn’t the perfect match straight out of the box.
Another big benefit is the fact that boots with laces are often quite a lot cheaper than laceless boots. That has to do with the different materials used and the cheaper executions in their production. Laceless boots are more sophisticated and all the latest technology and innovations are used in their construction.
On the other hand, the drawback of having laces is that they make the striking area of your boot a little bit less clean. Laces can make the upper feel a little bulky.
Advantages and disadvantages of laceless soccer cleats
The concept behind having a laceless boot is to give you that really clean sensation when touching the ball. Because you have a clean striking surface that makes the feeling on the ball a little bit more natural. Less surface area when you’re striking the ball does offer a very nice and smooth as you can get a consistent clean contact on the ball.
The benefits of having a clean surface with no distractions or variables between your foot and the ball are obvious as the game becomes quicker and more precise. It only makes sense that the footwear should follow that trend.
People also enjoy the aesthetics of laceless boots as they are very appealing to the eye.
On the other hand, the lack of laces also means that laced football boots have less lockdown than football boots that have laces.
Laceless boots have an elasticated tongue sitting on top of the boot that basically allows you to get your foot inside of the boot. This has to stretch so you can get your foot in and this sort of flexibility on top of the boot means that your foot is allowed to move a little bit more inside. Then of course there’s also the fact that you don’t have laces so it will be a little bit harder to adjust the fit.
Because of the not-so-tight fit, the laceless boots can cause heel slippage and that can result in the appearance of blisters.
One other caveat with laceless boots is that if your foot doesn’t match the shape of that boot, you’re never going to have a great fit because there is nothing to adjust on a laceless football boot. You really need some really well-fitting boots to be able to get away with having laceless boots. With laceless cleats, if you put them on and they just don’t feel right that’s not going to get better over time.
There’s also the drawback that laceless cleats are more expensive as you get the really latest highly innovative tech. In order to get a laceless football boot to fit right, you need a good design and you typically need better quality materials thus increasing the cost for purchasing.
I would not recommend buying laceless cleats made of leather because once that leather stretch given the fact that they’re laceless and you can’t tighten them you could run into some issues.
How to increase the fit of a laceless boot?
In order to get the best experience, you need to find a laceless shoe that matches your foot type as closely as possible.
But if you have a laceless shoe that does not fit you perfectly what the solutions that you have are?
- You can use tape and wrap it around the boot and that can give you that really tight fit over the foot as it compresses and keep the boot on. It doesn’t look particularly attractive but it is going to be functional. The bad thing is that you have to retape them every week. Also, a sticky residue might be left on the boot.
- Secondly, what a lot of players actually do and is wear special socks underneath your actual socks. Grip Socks like TapeDesign or the more recognizable Trusox. They also have anti-slip pads and when you put them inside the boot it stops your foot from moving around. So if you wear laceless boots, it can make it a lot harder to get the boots on but if you do get them on then they are going to not slide around so much so that’s a real benefit for the prevention of blisters and others.
- Wear an insole like Storelli Sports Speed Grip insole could also be a solution. So you take out the insole that’s already inside your boot and you slide this one in instead. It’s going to give you an extra kind of fit around the heel and this is designed to prevent your foot from slipping and sliding around so much. You can in fact combine this and a pair of anti-grip socks if you want. That should really cut down the slippage that you get from the unfitting laceless soccer cleats.
- A fourth option is to use lace band covers. These are keeping laces tied and securely in place thus improving the kicking surface for better ball control and spin.
- A fifth option is you could actually make your own lacing system and add extra lacing around the outside of the boot. You can definitely get a pair of longer laces and wrap them around the bottom and that would give you that compression you might want on your boots.
These tricks are only inadequate measures to help you resolve at some point that problem. If you are a recreational player you can use them for some playing sessions but if you are serious about your game your priority would be to find the perfect boot for your needs.
What about trying to put laces into boots, that don’t have laces?
There is always the option to create holes in your shoes and convert them from laceless to laced ones. You can use the lacing system of a boot similar to yours as a reference and pierce the upper with drill bits or scissors or a knife.
This is not that recommended though as those lace holes will tear the entire upper apart. The material is different and the construction across the top of the foot is actually a little bit different. Laced boots have much thicker material on the outside of the upper and then internally there is an extra reinforcement as opposed to laceless boots where they do not have any of those same reinforcement elements. That means that if you take the drill in the upper of this boot to apply laces to what is basically a laceless design, what would it basically end up happening is to just tear through and separate the upper and pretty much just destroy your boots.
Also because you’ve punched holes in your boots you have voided your warranty and any brand is not going to replace them with you because you decided to experiment.
What about removing the laces from your laced soccer cleats?
Also, laced boots are generally cheaper than the laceless version so someone would think to buy the cheaper laced version and remove the laces to finally have a laceless soccer cleat.
But again you should avoid transforming your shoes.
Laceless football boots are built to be laceless meaning that the uppers have been engineered so you get all the stability and the structure and reinforcement that you need through the upper itself. Whereas in a laced version you get the lockdown from the laces meaning that you don’t need that extra reinforcement in the upper.
If your shoes come with a lacing system attached to the boots out-of-the-box there’s a reason why it’s there. The lacing system has everything to do with the performance, the fit, the lockdown, the structural integrity, the support, the responsiveness and the stability of the shoe.
Laceless shoes have an actual system to replace the need for laces. That’s the reason why they’re laceless and that does not mean that you can just take any boot remove the laces and call it a day.
So to summarize, if they’re laceless keep them laceless and if your boots have laces keep the laces. Soccer cleats are designed to be worn in a very specific way so stop trying to change them.
If you are unsure of what to choose, there is always the option to buy soccer cleats with ghost laces. They have a lace cover and you don’t see the laces at all. The laces are the top so you can still customize the fit but you also gain the benefit of a cleaner area due to the lace cover. You’ve still got that lacing so that’s an advantage.
Soccer boots with laces are really nice because they give you good lockdown good adjustability a traditional fit and they’re often cheaper than the laceless options. However, on the other side the laces might be in the way to some people and also you won’t get the same awesome materials and engineering process.
I want to point out that boots do not actually enhance your technique so you won’t see any improvement in your shooting technique by buying a pair of laceless boots. But if you do have a good quality shooting technique, you’re not going to have any distractions or anything to mess up your shooting overall. And that will increase your confidence and the overall enjoyment of the game.
At the end of the day, the most important thing when considering football boots is getting a pair that you are most comfortable in. So you want to be basing your choices on your own personal preference because if you’re comfortable in a pair of boots you’re not going to have any distractions and you’ll play at your very best.