Nike vs. adidas Soccer Cleats (Which Brand is Best for You?)

A pair of blue and yellow soccer cleats with a soccer ball next to it.

Nike or adidas? That is the question.

When buying shoes for any type of sport, it mostly just boils to these two brands. Whether it be for basketball, baseball, golf, or soccer, these two brands have got you covered.

In today’s article, we’re going to do a full review of their cleats to determine which brand offers the best soccer cleats on the market.

What is Nike?

A professional soccer player wearing a pair of white Nike soccer cleats.

Nike is an American multinational corporation that sells footwear, apparel, sportswear, and accessories for all kinds of sports.

You probably know it as the brand with the Swish logo, along with the “Just Do It” tagline. It’s the largest shoe manufacturer and supplier in the world, leading adidas by a healthy margin, around 50% more.

The company was founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. The Nike name was taken from the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.

Today, Nike employs around 78,000 worldwide.

What is adidas?

A professional soccer player wearing blue adidas soccer cleats.

If you’ve heard of Nike, I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of its closest rival, adidas.

adidas is the second biggest manufacturer of footwear, apparel, sportswear, and accessories in the world. It is a German multinational corporation founded in 1949, making it older than Nike.

The company was started by Adolf Dassler in his mother’s house, creating their very first product, a spiked running shoe.

adidas is known for its soccer shoes more than its basketball shoes (which Nike is known for). This is because adidas is more Eurocentric than Nike, given that the company is stationed in Germany.

Similarities and Differences

Nike and adidas share a lot of similarities. In fact, these two brands can be considered like mirror images in terms of what they can offer. One key difference is the branding and name of the features.

The other difference, small as it is, is their specialization. Nike seems to be more focused on running and basketball. adidas, on the other hand, is more focused on Eurocentric sports like soccer and rugby.


In terms of features, adidas and Nike are neck and neck. What Nike has, adidas has, too. Their only difference is in the name.

For instance, adidas has Boost, whereas Nike has a tech counterpart called Lunarlon/Zoom Air. Nike has Flyknit, whereas adidas has Primeknit. These are all basically the same features but are implemented in unique ways.

As for cleats, the slight edge would be for adidas. It has better designs. This is possible due to soccer cleats being more popular in Europe.


Both of these brands will offer selections that can rival any brand on the planet. I really can’t say for sure which offers more variety because that’s a lot of pages to comb through.

For this reason alone, I would give this a tie. 

Sizing and Fit

A Phantom GT Elite By You soccer cleats from Nike.

Source: Nike

For cleats, Nike seems to be geared more toward lightness and swiftness. This is evident by their use of light materials in their cleats design. Some players may find this feeling of lightness as bad, but others prefer to play that way.

As for adidas, their cleat designs are more robust. Their designs are geared toward more control and explosiveness. Their shoes may be heavier than Nike’s, but overall, you’ll have more control of your acceleration.

In the end, it all depends on how you play the game. If you play fast, light, and loose, Nike is the better choice. If you play on the aggressive side and control is more your thing, adidas is the superior option.


If you’re buying cleats for your game, the design should not be your first priority. The first thing you should be looking into is the feature.

That being said, the design is still worth checking. You definitely want to look as dashing as your play.

This is a tough choice, but I’d give the nod to Nike. Nike is a bit more trendy these days. They’ve been trying their best to market their shoes as lifestyle wear. This trendy direction bleeds into their performance shoe collection.


Both these two brands have comparable pricing ranges. Their performance shoes usually have the same pricing. The only difference you may see is the occasional discounts offered.


To be honest, you will get about the same amount of durability whatever brand you choose. There have been studies, although a bit informal, comparing the durability of both of these brands, and they seem to deteriorate at the same rate.

It all boils down to how much you use your shoe. In this case, it may also depend on how you use your shoe.

Best Soccer Cleats by Nike

Nike Mercurial Vapor 14 Elite FG

A Mercurial Vapor 14 Elite FG soccer cleats from Nike.

Source: Nike

Your opponents know you mean business when they see you donning these impressive soccer cleats. The Flyknit upper gives you a lightness unrivaled by any other shoe, while the forefoot plate gives you the added traction for your play.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 8

A Mercurial Superfly 8 Elite FG soccer cleats from Nike.

Source: Nike

This is another cleat that belongs in the Mercurial line-up. As such, it shares the same features and design cues as the Vapor 14 Elite. If you want the perfect balance for agility and explosiveness, this is a great choice.

Nike Premier

Nike Mens The Premier Soccer Cleat (Black/Summit White/Orange) (4.5)

If you want to keep it ‘low-key,’ and play in basic soccer cleats, Nike Premier is your best bet. But don’t let that ‘simplicity’ fool you. This cleat has one of the best bang-for-your-buck performance ratios in the market.

If you want to perform without breaking the bank, definitely look into this model.

Nike Tiempo Legend VIII

A Tiempo Legend 9 Elite FG soccer cleats from Nike.

Source: Nike

This model has seen some major upgrades on a year-to-year basis. This is the 8th iteration of the same model, and while it hasn’t seen continuous improvements every year, this shoe remains one of the solid choices out there. 

This is a model that you can’t go wrong with.

Best Soccer Cleats by adidas

adidas Predator 20.1 FG

adidas Predator Mutator 20.1 Firm Ground Soccer Shoe (unisex-adult) White/Gold Metallic/Black 10.5

This shoe has been consistently named the best performance soccer shoe in 2020. It has a Primeknit fabric up top to keep your feet comfortable as you run. The Predator 20.1 FB also has improved traction, which is a feature as important as any in soccer.

adidas Nemeziz 19.1 FG

adidas Men's Nemeziz 19.1 Firm Ground Soccer Cleat (Numeric_7_Point_5)

If you want to perform like a pro while also looking like a pro, adidas Nemeziz is the cleat for the job. The added tension tape inside the shoe ensures that you have a secure fit. This is essential when you’re driving in for the goal, which you will do a lot in this shoe.

adidas X Ghosted

An X Ghosted.1 Firm Ground Cleats from adidas.

Source: adidas

This is quite possibly the most beautiful, futuristic, modern-looking, sleek, and eye-catching soccer cleat you will see on the market. Don’t let the beauty fool you, though. It boasts one of the best performance features, seeing that it is practically a descendant of adidas F50 adiZero, which is a legendary shoe in its own right.

adidas adiPower Predator

Adipower Predator TRX Fg

This shoe features a ‘Bounce’ material add-on to help you get more power into your kick. If you want that extra ‘oomph’ on your kick, this is one of the best offerings out there.

The Verdict

Before we go into the conclusion, I’d like to make a disclaimer saying that this is one tough assignment.

The technologies and features of both these brands are too similar. In fact, most of the features they use are practically the same, with only the names being different. 

An X Speedflow+ soccer cleats from adidas.

Source: adidas

If you are thinking of buying one brand over the other because of a certain feature, I can assure you that the other also has the same feature. For instance, adidas has Primeknit, while Nike has Flyknit—practically the same tech. Nike has Zoom Air. adidas has Boost.

Based on their top-performing soccer cleats, though, I would give the slight edge to adidas. But it is such a small margin of difference that it’s practically negligible. You can’t go wrong with any of these brands.

The one factor that you need to consider is your playing style. adidas has better soccer cleats that are designed for optimal explosiveness and quick change of direction.

Nike, on the other hand, offers better soccer cleats for lightness and sudden bursts of action.

A Telstar Top Glider World Cup 2018 soccer ball from adidas.

What is a Glider Soccer Ball?

A left-footed soccer player kicking the ball on the grassy field during a match.

Do Left-Footed Players Have an Advantage in Soccer?