Cleats are goofy looking to me. I never wore than as a kid so I have no idea about how they are supposed to look and fit. When my son joined a peewee soccer team, I went out to get some gear and just looked around for “cleats.” Who knew that they are not all the same. I just grabbed some that would match his team colors, as requested, and toted them home. Alas, they were not the right kind. What! I exclaimed. How can that be? My son just laughed and said they are not all the same. He promptly grabbed a sports magazine called Top Corner Mag and turned to a page with an ad for soccer cleats. So, I muttered. Just look harder, he said.

Before I had to go back to the sporting goods store and grapple with limited parking, he gave me a lesson. He’s learnt it all from chatting with the magazine on their Twitter page. Well, now I know. Golf cleats are a basic sneaker with spikes projecting from the soles. These spikes are not of the same ilk as soccer cleats. They are for arch support and lateral stability which most everyone needs in sports, but the shoe itself, whether leather or a man-made material, is quite different. The top-grade golf shoes with cleats feature boost foam technology in the heel and the forefoot for greater underfoot cushioning while playing. Good design will “maximize energy return and comfort in multiple parts of the shoe for complete performance.” Sounds great to me.

Football cleats are another animal. The modern football shoe looks a bit like those used for soccer but the appearance and spacing of the sole projections are different. Cleats all seem to offer grip and control, but on different surfaces and for various kinds of movements. They tout a secure fit and enhanced playing skills. Imagine getting all that in a shoe. The cleats that are billed as “premium” seem to be the most recommended despite the higher price.

Soccer shoes have a cleated outsole (unless you play indoors) and superior construction designed just for this game. The shoe look a bit outer space to me to which for my son is part of the fun. There are soft ground and firm ground versions. The latter has short, circular molded and bladed studs that are patterned strategically on the sold. Note: they can’t be too long. If the player is outdoors on a natural grass surface, as well as turf or artificial grass. Let’s go to the soft ground model. They feature longer and fewer interchangeable studs. These are spaced farther apart to dig into soggy ground. If a team lives and plays in a wet climate, they would choose this model or add it as an alternative style on rainy days.

I bet my son could tell me more, but I think I know enough to go back to the store and select the right item. He told me the name of the shoe and his size so I couldn’t go wrong. I learned my lesson well and won’t make the same mistake ever again.