Do cleats make the player?

Once upon a time there was only one lacrosse cleat: the Nike Land Shark. Now, not only are there tons of football cleats to choose from, there are many lacrosse-specific cleats, too. Is there a single perfect lacrosse cleat? One of the best ways to answer this is to look at what is currently being worn in college.

Looking into the last Division 1 Coaches Poll, you can see that nearly every cleat manufacturer is represented, including Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Balance, and Warrior.

1. Syracuse – Nike
2. Norte Dame – Adidas
3. Duke – New Balance
4. Virginia – Nike
5. Princeton – Warrior
6. North Carolina – Nike
7. Hopkins – Nike
8. Cornell – Nike
9. UMBC – Nike
10. Hofstra – Under Armour
11. Navy – Nike
12. Brown – Adidas
13. Loyola – Under Armour
14. Maryland – Under Armour
15. UMass – Adidas
16. Penn State – Nike
17. Bucknell – Adidas
18. Villanova – Nike
19. Harvard – Nike
20. Colgate – Nike

Even looking at the Top 5 teams, you see almost an even spread of companies. While Nike still dominates the list, there’s more and more diversity each year. It could be said that no single manufacturer makes the best lacrosse cleats overall, but maybe there is a good cleat for every position, or even better a cleat for every type of player?

We first look at the low top cleats. The perfect cleat for the speedsters of the game, usually at attack and midfield with the exceptions to a few speedy LSMs. These cleats are becoming the more popular in lacrosse. These are for the players willing to sacrifice the extra support for a lighter cleat. The most commonly seen are the Nike Speeds, the Adidas Scorch, the New Balance 895 Lows, and the Warrior Burn Lows. There is one low top cleat that stands out the most, the Nike Vapor Jet (1&2). Resembling more of a track/soccer cleat, the Vapor Jets scream speed showing that you are too quick on your toes to worry about ankle stability. These are usually used by the fastest of the fast.

Next, we look at the mid-top cleats or the ¾’s. These are the “bread and butter” of lacrosse cleats. With the latest cleats they weigh almost as little as the low tops, but don’t sacrifice any stability. These are the most common type of cleats in lacrosse with everyone from attack to defense using them. There are many more options in ¾ cleats; some common mids include the Nike Zoom Talon, the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad, the Under Armour Speed, the Adidas Middie LAX, the Warrior Burn Mid, and the New Balance 895 Mid.

Lastly we look at the oddity of turf cleats wearing on grass or field turf “special” players. These players usually are a mix of goalies, FOGOs, and the occasional bench warmer. These players have less need for grip and more concern for comfort, with most of their running consisting of to the sideline or in warm-ups. The most common of the turf shoes include the Under Armour Combat ATV, the Nike Super Speed Turf, the Warrior Burn Turf, the Nike Air Speed Destroyer, and the Nike Air Astro Grabber.

Looking at all the popular cleats on the lacrosse fields today, it is impossible to pick one perfect cleat for everyone. It is also really hard to pick the best manufacture of cleats for lacrosse too. Nike has the most teams wearing their cleats, but that could also be attributed to the fact they are the largest producer and have the most options to choose from. What do you think is the best lacrosse cleat/manufacturer?

And here is a quick fun fact: Of the last five D-1 National Champions, all wore Nike cleats. Three of the four D1 teams playing this weekend will be wearing Nike (Duke is the exception). It will be interesting to see what teams will be wearing at this year’s Final Four and LPG will be along for the ride.

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