How to Shrink Soccer Cleats: 4 Simple Steps

Having their soccer cleats too big or fit incorrectly is an issue both for professional athletes and amateurs. The problem with soccer cleat sizing is that many people are still asking: “how should cleats fit?”. Human feet are very different, and shoe producers cannot create a universal form for everyone to fit perfectly. There are also sizes in between that may also be confusing when choosing a pair of shoes for sports, hiking, or everyday wear. That is why many people purchase shoes of larger foot size and then shrink them to their exact size.

This complete guide on how to shrink soccer cleats will explain the shrinking process step by step, cover the difference between leather and synthetic soccer boots materials, and answer the frequently asked questions.

Leather vs. Synthetic Soccer Cleats

First of all, it is necessary to explain the difference between leather and synthetic soccer shoes as they will play a significant role in the approach to shrinking. The main differences between the materials are as follows:

leather soccer cleat

  1. Synthetic soccer cleats are thinner than leather cleats. This means that synthetic products will guarantee better control and more freedom on the field or other as there will be almost no barrier between the player and the ball. On the other hand, leather grants more protection to your feet.
  2. Leather cleats are much more durable than synthetic ones. Synthetic boots are thin, and the material is less intense than leather. While synthetic cleats usually last for several seasons only, leather ones may keep their shape for years if handled correctly.
  3. The materials fit differently. According to biomechanical studies, the materials and design of shoes directly affect the overall comfort while wearing them and the playstyle on the field. Synthetic shoes tend to preserve the same form without stretching, while leather ones adjust and mold over your feet. This means that it will be uncomfortable to play in synthetic boots if you have wide feet. However, you can still shrink them to fit better.
  4. It is harder to take care of leather cleats. Leather is a much more complicated material to take care of as it is more fragile and less weather-resistant. Cleaning leather boots is more problematic, and if you decide to shrink them, it is necessary to take double precautionary measures as water tends to damage and even crack the shoes.

How to Shrink Soccer Cleats?

Are soccer cleats supposed to be tight? This question is very common among the new owners of soccer cleats. New cleats straight out of the box are usually larger than your feet, which allows you to shrink them and make them fit you perfectly. This step-by-step guide will cover the main aspects of shrinking and teach you how to shrink shoes half a size. Before you begin, we have to outline that synthetic shoes vary in materials and, therefore, require an individual approach.

Step 1: Spray cleats for protection

As I have mentioned in the previous section, the materials are quite fragile and require you to take proper care of them. The main precautionary measure before shrinking your shoes is to apply a special protective spray to them. Take note that different materials might require other sprays, and don’t hesitate to ask shop assistants some questions that may bother you.

Step 2: Allow spray to dry fully

It is also essential to let the spray dry before moving to the next step. Otherwise, it will be washed out straight away and have no protective effect on your cleats.

Step 3: Submerge your cleats in warm water

This step is pretty simple: you have to prepare a water container, fill it with warm water, and put your shoes there. According to the research by Neil S. Cohen, leather shrinks in water of 185 °F and 230 °F. It usually takes no more than five minutes for the material to shrink. Despite this being easy, there are a few details to take into account. First of all, the cleats must be completely under the water. This might require attaching some weight to them. The second thing is that the boots shrink much better if you perform this step with them on your feet. If you decide to do so, make sure that your water is less hot in order not to get your feet burned. In this case, the cleats will perfectly mold with your feet and repeat their shape.

Step 4: Dry cleats in heat

The last thing to do before you are ready to go is to dry the cleats. The best way here is to dry them out with a towel and leave them in the sun before they are no longer wet. This is especially true with shrinking leather boots because the material is fragile, and quick-drying may crack them.

Are Soccer Cleats Supposed to Be Tight?

How should football cleats fit? The only possible answer is tight. This tip will come in handy in case you choose football cleats as your everyday shoe pair or wear them for hiking or other trips. If you are into sports, making the boots mold to your feet and repeat their form is essential to reaching a better feel of the ball and, as a result, better performance on the field. Oversized shoes will, in most cases, make your feet ache and your balance wrong.

Is It Safe to Shrink Soccer Cleats?

The materials used in the production of cleats are pretty fragile. Putting them in water and drying them out is a challenge for the shoes, but the procedure is pretty safe if done properly. All you need is a protective spray and slow drying.

Alternatives to Shrinking Your Cleats

There are not so many alternatives to shrinking soccer boots. The only way is to wear a second pair of socks or try sports tape. However, this will obviously be less comfortable as it will become an additional barrier between you and the ball.

FAQ About How to Shrink Soccer Cleats

This section is devoted to the questions that soccer players frequently ask. I hope that this section will clarify several points of the article and make you completely ready to shrink your soccer cleats without damaging them.

black soccer cleat

Do soccer shoes shrink in the dryer?

You can use the dryer after submerging your cleats into the water, but it is not the best approach. The materials are fragile, and you can damage the boots by drying them too quickly.

How can I make my cleats tighter?

You can either make them smaller or your feet larger. Therefore, your options are to shrink them or to put additional socks or sports tape on your feet.

How much space should you have in soccer cleats?

In order for the soccer cleats to fit correctly, there should be as little free space as possible. However, they should not be too small so as not to hurt your feet.

Can you shrink leather cleats?

Yes, but you have to be very careful not to damage them in the process. Adhere to the procedure described above so as not to make any mistakes and be satisfied with the final result.

Shrink Your Cleats with Cautiousness

To sum up, I have to say that shrinking is a very popular and useful technique to make the soccer cleats fit better. This method is used both by professional players and amateurs and allows them to have better control of the ball, have a better balance, and run around the field with more comfort. However, I’d like to warn you once again to be careful in the process so as not to ruin your shoes. What do you think about shrinking soccer cleats? Would you do it or would it be more convenient for you to buy a new pair of shoes every time? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments box.

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