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The Best Indoor Soccer Shoes

Finding the perfect indoor soccer shoes can be quite a challenge.   Hardwood or artificial turf?   Kangaroo or synthetic material?   Thick or thin-soled?  Studded or not?

There are hundreds of choices and many different brands of shoes. Your choice depends on what you are looking for in a shoe. Although we can’t tell you what to wear, we can give you the basics of what to look for in an indoor soccer shoe. We will also show you some sites that have much more details about the different brands of soccer shoes. We want to make sure you are fully comfortable when you show off your kicks at Evolve Soccer LA.

So what does an Octopus have to do with soccer shoes?

The biggest difference between artificial turf shoes and futsal shoes is the “field” you play on.  The type of court reminded me of our old friend,  Paul the Octopus, may God rest his soul.

About 10 years ago, scientists undertook some experiments with animals for … yes… predicting soccer matches.   For the 2008 Euro Cup, the most accurate animal was an eight-legged cephalopod named Paul the Octopus.

Paul’s owners gave him a choice of two glass boxes both containing Paul’s favorite shellfish. The boxes were identical except that they were decorated with the different team flags of the competitors in the next Euro football match. Whichever box Paul ate from first was considered his prediction for which team would win the match.  Amazingly, for Euro 2008, Paul predicted 4 out of 6 matches in the tournament.

Here is a video of Paul the Octopus choosing Spain (1:19)

Shot to stardom by social media,  Paul skyrocketed to fame for the 2010 World Cup.   Paul amassed a stunning record of 12 correct predictions out of 14 matches: a success rate of approximately 85.7%, and correctly chose Spain as the winner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final.  Paul became a world-wide phenomenon and although Paul had an exhilarating life, he passed in late 2010.

So why the Octopus?

Would you play basketball with metal golf or studded soccer cleats on?  Of course not.  Paul the Octopus slithers around easily with little suction cups on his tentacles. If he had high studs, he would probably get caught in every crevice that he tried to crawl through. Not good for searching for shellfish to eat.

Soccer players also need to wear the right type of indoor soccer shoe to “grip” the floor they are moving around on.  Regular soccer cleats work well on grass where a player needs to keep good traction on a wet or muddy field. But the high stud on a regular cleat might cause a player to sprain an ankle on artificial turf.  And obviously, a regular soccer cleat would do nothing but hurt the flooring on a hardwood futsal court and possibly hurt a player too.  The small sucker-like studs on indoor shoes are similar to the suckers on Paul’s tentacles. They are helpful in keeping a player balanced and ‘stuck’ to the hardwood floor while maintaining flexibility for quick soccer movement.

Artificial Turf OR Hardwood Futsal Shoes

Players play futsal on a hard court like basketball, and the shoes usually have a gum rubber flat outsole.  These futsal shoes have a flat, stiff sole designed to cope with the hard, smooth playing surfaces. They are very lightweight and flexible to adjust to the quick turns made on a futsal pitch. The outsoles have patterns to provide the traction that is needed and some also have nubs, like octopus suckers, on the bottom to provide extra traction, although these are mainly found in the turf shoes. This outsole is perfect for hard court surfaces.  They have a lower profile fit and look like a lightweight sneaker, so you can even wear these casually on the street.  You will not usually find indoor soccer shoes with high tops as these will restrict the movement of the foot, especially when kicking and dribbling the ball.

Turf shoes for artificial grass are more durable and have a little more traction than court shoes. Although not as high as a regular soccer cleat,  artificial turf shoes usually have low profile studs (or nubs), which you can tell by the protruding rubber bumps on the bottom. You can use turf shoes on hard, natural dirt fields and artificial turf where they aren’t meant to dig into the ground too much. They also feature thicker cushioning and are great for training on outdoor fields.

Choosing Indoor Soccer Shoes

Below is an infographic, by Athlete Audit, that gives a brief overview of choosing indoor shoes.

How to Choose Indoor Soccer Shoes - Infographic by Athlete Audit

The Top Indoor Soccer Shoe

Because each person’s foot is different, it would not be appropriate to recommend the top futsal or artificial turf shoes, but it would be remiss for us to NOT mention the shoe that almost every site mentions:  the Adidas Samba Performance Classic.  Although perfected every year, this shoe was first originated in 1950, before Nike had even heard of soccer. To be fair, here are some reasons why and why not to buy the Adidas Samba.

You have to make your own choices for the shoe that fits you the best. Below are a few of the websites we found which give some great details about the different types of shoes.

  • has a great explanation about the various materials for ALL types of  soccer shoes.
  • Futsal Expert top 10 indoor shoes
  • Shoe Advisor describes more differences between turf and hardwood shoes
  • Shoe-Guide has a variety of  details  about indoor shoes
  • Athlete-Audit describes in detail the anatomy of indoor soccer shoes

And as always, feel free to stop by Evolve Soccer LA and talk to others about their favorite shoes.