Now that the "Sock Cut" or "Mid-Cut" Soccer Cleat has established itself after a year or so people still wonder, "what are its benefits and is it right for me over a traditional cut soccer cleat?" Having searched the internet for various opinions as I was writing this Blog the general consensus seems to be that it is purely a cosmetic change without any real performance. I disagree. Too a point.
We can call this a collar, a sock, a Mid Cut but what we won't call it here is one of the wacky official techno names. So here goes:
I started wearing the Nike Mercurial a bit after its original release. As both a Goalkeeper and a Field Player one of my main issues was a nagging injury (from playing hockey of course, not soccer) that seemed to bother me just enough to make steps on Firm Ground semi-uncomfortable especially around the ball of my ankle. Not being used to the snug sock fit, putting this on was at first a chore, but after a little help from the world's new instruction manual youtube I was in and once you've mastered the method it really becomes second nature. As soon as I started to wear the high socked design I felt more support and stability in that area. I also felt more bounce or boost when I dove in the nets. Now, in theory there is nothing in the shoes design that really would back this up. It is after all a Sock like stretchy material but it does in fact "hug" your ankle and that to me in its own right is something.
The Mercurial was an early version of the design so at the time it was essentially a regular cut cleat with the sock collar sewn around it. If you cut the collar out (and some pro players did) you basically would have a regular old traditionally cut Soccer Cleat.
Since then I have been in a number of Adidas Cleats all of which feature the high collar including the Ace 17.1 and the Predator 18.1. For the record I tend to like the .1 Versions as opposed to the + versions as I like having laces on my cleats as opposed to the ultra-high end laceless versions. The technology and designs have changed and now the Collar is a much more integrated piece of the boot. Both of the adidas models mentioned above are fully intrograted, so gone are the "Sock Material sewn to the top of the boot" days. The lower priced models in the line like the Predator 18.2 and Predator 18.3 as well as Adidas Women's Cleat Models feature the same integration.
What does the Collar Design provide? In my humble opinion three things: 1) It gives extra support and a nice feel and fit and 2) You won't get stepped on and come out of your boot mid-game.
3) It eliminates the problems caused by a shoe tongue which has always been an albatross for me on every old pair of cleats, moving around, slipping down or folding up regardless of lace tightness or configuration.
Of course I do like the way they look too.
The only minus would be that there is an ever so slight learning curve in actually putting them on. I actually said, "These are way to small." on my first attempt, but of course they weren't so don't automatically go in to a panic when you put them on for the first time. As I said, once you get them on it becomes second nature.
So is the new(er) Mid Boot Design right for you? as you may have seen not only is the adidas Predator line all in for this design from top to bottom, but popular models like the X and Nemeziz moved to ever so subtle changes in design around the ankle.
Is this a better design than a traditional boot? I want something that feels good and looks good too so
I can only speak for myself when I say that for me it is. Worst case it's a placebo, and I'm ok with that.