Words // Tim Dunn
With summer here, and the fall season fast approaching, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to scour the market for the best cleats available for the 2014 season. Taking all positions into account, this roundup includes five cleats we consider to be the absolute top of the class for the upcoming season.
Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite
Built for speed and weighing in at just 9.8 ounces, the Nike Vapor Carbon Elite is perfect for players who need to fly to the ball. Defensive backs, wide receivers, and running backs will benefit from Dynamic Flywire technology. It flexes with your foot to provide lockdown support that doesn’t restrict your movements, allowing you to cut on a dime and accelerate explosively. The Carbon V-plate flexes with your foot’s natural range of motion to enhance propulsion, while “shovel” cleats eliminate micro-slippage that costs you valuable seconds.
Want to take it up a notch? Newly released is the Nike Vapor Ultimate. An amped up version of the Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite, this cleat utilizes Flyknit construction, Nike’s most advanced upper technology, to create something that’s more than just a cleat, it’s an extension of your foot.
Nike CJ Elite 2 TD
Designed for the game’s most dynamic receiver, the CJ Elite 2 TD is an excellent all-around cleat for any position. The mid-cut offers ankle support, while a wide adjustable strap, reinforced with Dynamic Flywire technology provides lockdown support that reacts and adjusts to your movements, giving you more explosion in and out of cuts. The composite TPU mesh in the upper protects the feet from collisions, while still providing the ventilation and breathability needed to keep you comfortable. Rounding it all off, Nike’s implemented a cleat plate that’s been designed to maximize multi-directional propulsion.
adidas adiZero 5-Star 3.0
Weighing in at just 6.7 ounces, the adiZero currently owns the title of lightest football cleat on the market, and make no mistake about it; speed is in its very DNA. Built with a SprintSkin upper that features Shockweb technology for lightweight durability and support, and finished off with a SprintFrame outsole to maximize acceleration and multi-directional traction, every single element of the adiZero 5-Star 3.0 has been scrutinized to reduce as much weight as possible while still maintaining the support and comfort that every-down players require. If you’re a player that’s looking to do whatever it takes to be as fast as possible, this is the cleat for you.
Under Armour Spine Brawler
In a lineman’s world, consistent performance is the name of the game. It’s a thankless job that requires grueling, physical effort down after down. Under Armour built the Spine Brawler specifically with those warriors of the trenches in mind. ClutchFit technology combines with a Power Clamp to keep your feet locked in and secure while you’re straining against the 300lb monsters opposite of you. A Spine plate outsole completes the package, removing unnecessary weight to keep you nimble and agile, while retaining the stiffness needed to support massive applications of force.
Under Armour Highlight MC
Light is the name of the game in football today, but more often than not, players who choose ultra-light low-top cleats still end up taping their ankles for added support. Under Armour created the Highlight MC and killed two birds with one stone. Last year’s model was outfitted with UA’s CompFit technology. This year’s update scraps that in favor of UA’s new ClutchFit technology. ClutchFit is a unique lightweight material, constructed in such a way that it flexes with your every movement, but responds to pressure and stiffens up when you need additional support. The lightweight nature of ClutchFit material allowed UA to build a super high cleat with extraordinary support, without sacrificing the all-important lightweight factor.