Tips: Proper Fitting and Breaking in of Cleats

Not many things can spoil a soccer or football game quite like a blister from uncomfortable cleats. You should break in new cleats before you actually play in them — otherwise you might suffer painful consequences.

Treating your cleats with petroleum jelly can help break in and mold your new cleats to fit your feet properly.


Consider What Makes for a Proper Fit

A proper fit for athletic cleats means the shoes support your feet without causing any discomfort. Your toes should not be squeezed together in the front, nor should the cleat’s upper cause any irritation on your skin from rubbing. The cleat should be flexible and bend easily when you run.

If you feel discomfort or are getting blisters from your cleats after weeks of use, you should apply petroleum jelly on the surface to help soften them. If treating the cleats with jelly doesn’t help, you may need a different size or style of cleat.


Using Petroleum Jelly

If you have new cleats that are uncomfortable but want to play in them right away, you can expedite the breaking-in process by rubbing a small amount of petroleum jelly on them. Cover the entire cleat with a thin coating and work the jelly into the cleat with a clean towel or rag. The jelly helps soften the cleat and also encourages the shoe to mold to the shape of your foot.

You can reapply petroleum jelly to both leather and synthetic cleats over the span of several of weeks, until the cleats are soft and broken in to your liking.


Football Cleats

Most high-quality football cleats are made from leather. Leather cleats provide an unmatched feel and fit on your foot, and they tend to offer exceptional feedback when controlling the ball. Soft leather cleats are better than hard leather cleats in this regard, and they respond better to your movements.

They do not, however, last as long as hard leather cleats and typically need replacing on a regular basis, especially if they are consistently exposed to wet playing conditions.

Leather cleats break in quickly and easily with use and petroleum jelly treatment, while synthetic material cleats may take longer to break.


Other Uses

Besides treating your cleats with petroleum jelly, you can also apply some to your feet to help lessen the effects of irritation that new rigid cleats can cause. Put a thin coating on the upper part of your foot, in between your toes and around the heel and ankle to reduce the friction between your foot and the cleat. New cleats typically squeeze the toes together in the front, which can cause blisters.

Petroleum jelly in between the toes can help avoid blisters from forming. Use the jelly conservatively, however, or otherwise your feet may move around too much in your socks and cleats.


Written by Dan Harriman

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