Choosing The Proper Lacrosse Cleat: Important Factors To Consider
Lacrosse players run a lot. Whether it's the significant amount of intermittent sprinting required to navigate a game, or the miles of road work many coaches suggest for cardiovascular fitness, lacrosse and running go hand in hand. Since runners are notorious for being picky about their footwear, it's only natural that lacrosse players choose their shoes carefully as well.
However, choosing a running shoe is a lot different than choosing a lacrosse cleat. The additional factors of ankle support, cleat style, and playing surface make a lacrosse player's choice difficult. Fortunately, if you keep a few general considerations in mind, you'll be able to find the right shoe for you.
Many people make the mistake of considering lacrosse cleats to be the same thing as soccer cleats. This is completely incorrect. Due to the footwork required to perform in a soccer game, those cleats are designed to be extremely light and offer little ankle support.
Lacrosse cleats, on the other hand, are designed to provide more ankle support to prevent injury. They often come in mid-top and high-top variants. This means you'll have to choose the right level of ankle support for you—and soccer cleats are not usually a proper choice.
Look at your medical history and determine whether you have a history of ankle problems or not. If you do, opt for the most support you can find. Then, before you make a purchase, try the shoes on with both game socks and any inserts you plan to use. That's really the only way you'll know if a particular cleat is right for you or not.
Runners tend to purchase specific shoes based on their stride and foot profile. With lacrosse cleats, your options are much more limited in this area. That's because soles must be constructed in a specific fashion to allow for the cleats to work properly. The result is usually a rigid sole with a lot of arch support—but little shock absorption.
If you already have an orthotic insert or a preferred insole for the sake of comfort, all you need to do is determine whether the cleat is wide enough to allow for your inserts. If you don't, remember they are available. To know if your cleats can handle an insert, try them on with a double pair of socks. If the fit isn't overly tight, an insert will usually fit.
The style and material of your cleats are going to change based on the playing surface you're going to be on. Fortunately, metal spikes aren't typically allowed in lacrosse, so your choices are limited to rubber studs. However, there are a number of variants available to make this decision complex nevertheless.
For players who play on a turf field, it's a good idea to choose short cleat lengths. That's because the grass length and surface layer will never be sufficiently soft enough to merit a longer, more penetrating cleat. For grass fields, the length of your cleats should be a bit longer.
If you're unsure of your playing surface—or if your team travels frequently—you might opt for removable cleats, This will allow you to retool your shoes to meet the varying conditions caused by a wide variety of playing fields. These cleats tend to be more expensive upfront, though that cost is often reclaimed by being able to replace broken and worn studs as they occur.
Lacrosse cleats are required to give you a combination of comfort and performance. By keeping your individual ankle support needs, insole choices, and playing surface in mind, you can choose the right shoe that will give you the best of both worlds.
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