Every sport requires proper gear, from a tennis player’s racquet to a football player’s pads and helmet. Soccer is uniquely accessible, as the only gear an individual is required to bring to the pitch are athletic clothes and shoes. That said, the soccer player’s most important single piece of individual equipment is footwear. There are two categories to consider based on environment, i.e. whether the game takes place inside or outside. Here, we’ll be looking at the best indoor soccer shoes to buy in 2023.
Indoor Soccer Popularity
Soccer is the biggest sport in the world in terms of both participation and viewership. One estimate tallies the number of global fans at 3.5 billion. Meanwhile, the combined number of players—from pee-wee leagues to pros—is estimated to be 265 million. It’s safe to say that even when weather in many parts of the world is frigid and frozen soccer fields are abandoned until spring, indoor soccer fields and complexes bustle during the winter. A quick Google search of your area should yield results. If you’re in the United States, you can also check out this list of the indoor soccer arenas by state.
Differences Between Indoor Soccer & Outdoor Soccer
Before you can pick the best indoor soccer shoes, it’s important to understand the major differences between indoor and outdoor soccer. As Red Bull notes, there are several distinctions to consider.
Indoor Soccer Fields Are Smaller And Player Counts Are Fewer
In America, the U.S. Soccer Federation mandates that indoor fields measure between 175-210 feet in length and 100 feet wide. That’s considerably smaller than an outdoor field, which typically measures 360 feet long and 225 feet wide. In total area, the biggest indoor soccer field measures 21,000 square feet, which is roughly one-quarter of the total size of an 81,00-square-foot outdoor field.
With such a vastly smaller size, the player count per team drops from 11 on an outdoor pitch to 6 on an indoor pitch. The goal sizes also drop to 12 feet wide by 6.5 feet tall. Compare that to the standard official outdoor goal size of 8 feet tall and 24 feet wide.
Playing Surfaces Differ
Outdoor fields are almost always surfaced in one of two materials: natural or artificial grass. Conversely, indoor soccer is played on a synthetic/artificial turf or hard indoor surfaces, including Duracourt, wood, or other types of flooring.
Games Are Shorter In Indoor Soccer
Outdoor soccer games last 90 minutes, with a 15-minute halftime at the 45-minute mark. Indoor soccer games last a total of 50 minutes, with a shorter five-minute break at 30 minutes. One could make the argument that outdoor soccer requires more stamina and jogging ability, and indoor soccer requires greater fast-twitch speed and sprinting ability.
Other Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Soccer
When a ball goes out of bounds in outdoor soccer, a player from the possessing team throws the ball from the out-of-bounds point to restart the play. In indoor soccer, the ball is simply placed on the ground where it went out and kicked to restart the game. Even casual fans are aware of soccer’s yellow and red penalty cards, but in indoor soccer, a blue card can be issued by a referee for the least offensive soccer infractions. The player is punished with a trip to the penalty box for 2-5 minutes. Finally, there’s no offside rule in indoor soccer, allowing a player to set up anywhere on the pitch at any time.
The differences in rules, regulations and playing surfaces all dramatically affect soccer playing styles.
Picking The Best Indoor Soccer Shoes 2023
General Outdoor Soccer Shoe Buying Tips
Like any good athletic shoe, indoor soccer shoes should have excellent traction. Soccer players often make quick cuts and rapid changes in direction. Obviously, they need to do so without slipping. Companies like Adidas, Puma and Nike have developed various types of outsoles to maximize performance.
Cushioning is another key. It’s a more subjective attribute, but the more cushioning a shoe has, the more comfortable it will be. Too much cushioning in a soccer shoe can seriously screw with a player’s touch, so the shoes need to strike a balance between comfort and touch.
Outdoor Soccer Cleats vs. Indoor Soccer Shoes
The most important thing to note about indoor soccer: Cleats are definitely not allowed. In terms of footwear, this is the single biggest difference between indoor and outdoor soccer. Outside, players wear cleats featuring soles embedded with rubber-coated spikes that penetrate artificial grass.
Take note of the differences between artificial grass cleats, which is what you’d use in an outdoor soccer game on artificial grass, and artificial turf shoes, which is what you’d use at an indoor soccer game on artificial turf. Soccer.com provides a great breakdown of the difference, but the biggest takeaway is that shoes made for use on artificial turf feature shorter studs, preventing overpenetration on thinly layered indoor turf. The studs are also more numerous, which mitigates the risk of foot or knee injuries by spreading the pressure across over multiple studs. You should absolutely never use a cleat on artificial turf.
Studded shoes designed for artificial turf is one of two main types of indoor soccer shoes. The second type is designed for indoor courts. Out of all of the soccer shoe designs, this is the type that’s most akin to a street shoe. The rubber sole is almost entirely flat without studs. You could lace on a pair of stud-less indoor court shoes at home, drive to the game, walk through the parking lot and start playing without having to change your shoes.
You can use either shoe on either surface. Ideally, studded indoor soccer shoes are best for artificial turf. Meanwhile, stud-less indoor soccer shoes are best for indoor courts finished with hard surfaces.
We’ve divided our list of the best indoor soccer shoes in two categories. The shoes under the “Indoor Court” section are all stud-less, while those under the Artificial Turf section have studs.
The Best Indoor Soccer Shoes For 2023 – Indoor Court
Nike Zoom Mercurial Superfly 9 Academy IC
The Superfly 9 Academy IC is loaded with a Zoom Air unit and flexible NikeSkin up top for exceptional touch. It features an all-new Zoom Air unit, which sits in the outsole. The Zoom Air unit provides an additional level of springy underfoot feel that helps you move faster on the field and create separation in key situations, like setting up a goal or beating defenders to the ball.
An interior Speed Cage is made of a thin but strong material that secures the foot to the outsole without adding additional weight for optimal lockdown. Nike’s Sports Research Lab implemented its analysis of player movements to design a rubber outsole that supports multidirectional traction on street, court and indoor surfaces.
Nike’s yarn Flyknit also supports the ankle while facilitating movement. A redone Flyknit design improves the fit, so that it better simulates the naked foot. Nike claims this was achieved using data from wear tests on hundreds of athletes. The result is a more contoured toe box and better lockdown in the heel. The upper is crafted from NikeSkin, a soft and flexible mesh material linked together by a thin coating. If you’re not feeling pink, blue and gold colorways are also offered.
Adidas Samba OG Shoes
With a timeless design that dates back to 1949, the Adidas Samba functions as both an indoor soccer shoe and a venerable piece of street style. These shoes stay true to their legacy with a soft, full-grain leather upper and suede overlays, as well as synthetic leather lining, a gum rubber cupsole and gum rubber midsole.
Nike Phantom GX Academy IC
The Academy shoes are said to offer the precision touch needed to transfer your instincts to actions the field. Featuring NikeSkin to help enhance your precision and an agility plate that’s designed to swerve and sprint with you, it’s “ready to ignite your spontaneous playmaking spirit.”
Touch is such a selling point that the NikeSkin upper has its own mesh “touch zone,” which is designed to bring your foot even closer to the ball for better control while dribbling and passing in wet or dry conditions. The upper is soft and almost knit-like while the contact zone on the inside of the shoe is heightened for even better touch.
Asymmetry in the heel is designed for comfort, while special elements in the heel ease the break-in process and help reduce irritation and pressure without compromising stability and structure. A generative texture outsole gives you traction on street, court and indoor surfaces.
Adidas Copa Gloro Indoor Soccer Shoes
Once again, Adidas is coming in hot with an indoor soccer shoe that looks at home sprinting on a court or strolling in the streets. The Copa Gloro silhouette features a soft suede upper that molds to your foot for stability. This offers an assured touch when the ball’s coming at you fast. Sitting on a grippy rubber outsole made for indoor courts, the EVA midsole provides ample cushioning. Stitched details add an especially attractive aesthetic element.
Nike Lunar Gato II IC
Meanwhile, the Nike Lunar Gato II is about as soccer-looking as indoor soccer shoes get. Designed with small-sided games in mind, the soft leather at the forefoot has a smooth, natural feel for precision strikes. Lunarlon cushioning feels springy and responsive, while rubber tread gives you traction for quick cuts on indoor surfaces. Mesh Panels provide breathability, while Nike Grind rubber promises long-term durability.
Nike Tiempo Legend 9 Club IC
One of Nike’s lightest Tiempos to date, the Nike Tiempo Legend 9 Club IC is made to go on the offensive with a low-profile design that caters to attackers. The upper has raised textures backed by soft foam pods for precise dribbling, passing and shooting, while a rubber sole helps supercharge traction during tight games. Not to mention, the two-tone gold and black colorway pops with all the pizazz of a superstar’s custom kicks.
The Best Indoor Soccer Shoes For 2023 – Artificial Turf
King Top TT Soccer Shoes
It wouldn’t be a soccer shoe roundup without an entry from Puma, which was founded by the rival brother of the Adidas founder. Like Adidas, the Puma brand is intertwined with soccer history. Since its introduction in 1968, the Puma King has been laced upon the feet of the sport’s legends, including Brazilian goal-scoring wizard Pele and World Cup Winner-turned commentator Matthaus.
Originally engineered in Italy, the King Top TT features a sleek kangaroo leather upper—the use of an exotic animal justifies an uptick in price compared to other shoes on this list. A soft padded collar promises comfort while a fold-over tongue emblazoned with Puma’s prancing feline adds a distinct piece of visual interest. Meanwhile, the low-profile rubber outsole features strategically placed studs for versatile movement and traction on the field.
Adidas X Speedportal.1
“Mind. Body. Shoe. Connected in the blink of an eye.” Adidas may overthink the copy on their product descriptions, but X Speedportal. 1’s feathery upper, stretchy collar and carbon heel lock ensures a secure, lightweight fit at high speeds. Sitting on a lug rubber outsole, its low-profile Lightstrirke midsole supports quick reactions on artificial turf.
Nike React Phantom GX Pro TF
This is one of the more expensive Nike silhouettes on this list of indoor soccer shoes for a reason. Nike’s Pro soccer shoes put passers on a position to wrap the the ball around the defense and dripple with precision. Nike’s enlarged touch zone up top complements a design that moves with your natural on-field flow. The specs are nearly identical to the React Phantom GX Pro Indoor Court, with the additional of turf-penetrating studs.
Adidas Predator Accuracy.1
The Adidas Predator Accuracy soccer shoes have a soft HybridTouch upper with High Definition Grip rubber elements in the strike zone. As well as providing solid grip on the ball, they ensure the forefoot stays flexible for comfortable movement. A Bounce midsole cushions every step, leap and bound on artificial turf courts.