Soccer is a grueling and physically demanding sport. Wearing protective gear that fits well is very important to help extend your career. Also important is how you feel wearing that gear. From your jersey to your cleats, having a well-made kit can have a huge impact on your game. If you’re considering a new look or just finding your current gear less than comforting, here are five wardrobe changes you may want to consider.
- Switch Your Shorts
To start the list off near the bottom, choosing the right pair of shorts is a top decision. Split shorts offer players a much better experience than traditional styles by reducing and streamlining the fabric in each pair. Slits on the side allow for better ventilation and temperature regulation. They also keep your shorts closer to your skin and reduce chafing from friction. The more you move, the more these durable shorts stay out of your way. Find yourself a pair and get ready to feel the difference.
- Change Your Cleats
Soccer comes with split-second speed and directional changes. You’ll want as much traction on the pitch as you can possibly get. That comes from a great pair of cleats. Consider the weather you usually play in. Natural leathers offer a greater “feel” against the ball but won’t hold up as well as synthetic materials in wetter weather. Then, make sure your shoe offers adequate arch, heel, and toe support. Finally, make sure the cleat type matches the terrain. Longer metal cleats offer more grip on soft ground, while blunter or even absent cleats are better suited to indoor or artificial grass. Also, check the rules of your league before purchasing, as some leagues may prohibit specific lengths and styles of cleats.
- Pick Your Pads
You may have your shorts and your shoes covered, but what about your shins? Soccer balls can come flying at you at 50 miles per hour or more, so you want to make sure you and your legs are protected. Shin Guards are typically required for all players, but there are different types designed for the different positions and skill levels. Younger players and those playing defense will want thicker pads, while those playing offense or goalie may prefer smaller and lighter options to aid in their maneuvering. Some shinguards attach via ankle straps, while others come already attached to your socks. Spend some time looking at the options to find the best fit for you and your position.
- Swap Your Socks
Once your shin guards are in place, you’ll want to have the right socks covering them. You’ll want to avoid natural fibers like cotton or wool that will hold sweat in and cause irritation. Instead, opt for fabrics such as spandex, polyester, or nylon. Not only will they fit snugger against your legs and shin guards, but they’ll likely also offer moisture-wicking properties. This will help keep your feet dryer and ready for action at any point in the game.
- Transform Your Top
It may be your feet and legs doing most of the work in this sport, but they’re not the only parts of your body that can benefit from quality gear. Just like with your socks, you’ll want to look for shirts made from performance fabrics as opposed to natural fibers. Consider the seasonal weather that you’ll be playing in and your training environment when choosing between tank tops, short sleeve, and long sleeve options. The right style and fit will keep you playing longer and in greater comfort.
You definitely need great skills to succeed in soccer, but you also need great style. Choosing the right gear will take your game to the next level. Pick performance clothing, especially those designed for movement and moisture-wicking, to keep any irritation from sweat and friction at bay. Protect yourself with the right shin guards for your position and experience level. And finally, make sure your feet are covered with well-fitting and supportive cleats. These items will keep your body comfortable and ready for anything that the opposing team may throw at you.