Today, we want to talk about a topic that is near and dear to every lacrosse player’s heart: breaking in new lacrosse cleats. We all know the excitement of getting a fresh pair of cleats, but we also know the agony of trying to play in them before they are properly broken in. In this article, we will share some tips and tricks to help you break in your new lacrosse cleats effectively, so you can hit the field with confidence and comfort. Say goodbye to blisters and hello to a seamless transition with your new kicks!
Choosing the Right Size
Measure Your Feet
Before purchasing your new lacrosse cleats, it is essential to measure your feet accurately. This simple step will ensure that you choose the correct size, ultimately enhancing your comfort and performance on the field. Use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the length and width of your feet. Refer to a shoe size chart specific to the brand you intend to purchase from, as sizes may vary slightly between brands.
Consider the Sport Specifics
When selecting lacrosse cleats, it is crucial to consider the sport’s specifics. Lacrosse is a high-energy game that requires sharp turns, quick movements, and sudden bursts of speed. Therefore, it is important to opt for cleats that offer excellent traction and stability. Look for models specifically designed for lacrosse or other field sports to ensure optimal performance.
Try Different Brands
Not all cleats are created equal, and each brand may have its own unique fit and feel. We recommend trying on cleats from different brands to find the one that best suits your feet. Brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and New Balance provide a wide range of lacrosse cleats, each with its own style, fit, and level of comfort. By trying on various brands, you can identify the one that provides the perfect combination of support and flexibility for your feet.
Check for Comfort
While style and performance are important factors in selecting lacrosse cleats, comfort should be at the top of your priority list. Uncomfortable cleats can cause blisters, chafing, and even affect your performance on the field. When trying on different cleats, pay close attention to how they feel on your feet. Walk around, do some light jogging, and make sure there are no areas of discomfort or pressure points. Remember, comfortable feet are happy feet, and happy feet lead to a better lacrosse experience.
Prepping Your Cleats
Inspect the Cleats
Once you have chosen the perfect pair of lacrosse cleats, it is important to inspect them before wearing them for the first time. Check for any defects, loose threads, or signs of damage. This will ensure that you are starting with a good quality pair of cleats that will last you for a long time.
Remove Any Protective Coverings
Some lacrosse cleats come with protective coverings or plastic caps on the sole to preserve the traction and prevent damage during transportation. Before wearing your cleats, make sure to remove any of these coverings. Leaving them on can affect your grip on the field and may cause discomfort while playing.
Clean the Cleats
Before breaking in your new lacrosse cleats, it is a good idea to clean them. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may have accumulated during storage or transport. This will ensure that your cleats are in the best possible condition and ready for use.
Apply Leather Conditioner
If your lacrosse cleats are made of leather, applying a leather conditioner before wearing them can help soften the material and prevent stiffness. Simply follow the instructions on the conditioner’s packaging and apply a thin, even layer to the leather portions of your cleats. This will enhance the comfort and durability of your cleats as you break them in.
Breaking In Gradually
Start with Short Sessions
Breaking in new lacrosse cleats should be done gradually to allow your feet to adjust to the shoes’ fit and support. Begin by wearing your cleats for short periods, such as during practice sessions or low-intensity activities. This will help prevent blisters and discomfort that may occur from wearing stiff, new cleats for an extended period.
Wear Thick Socks
To aid in the break-in process, consider wearing slightly thicker socks than you normally would when first wearing your new lacrosse cleats. The added cushioning provided by thicker socks can help prevent rubbing and reduce the likelihood of blisters. As your cleats gradually mold to the shape of your feet, you can gradually transition back to your regular socks.
Perform Flexing Exercises
To help accelerate the break-in process, it is beneficial to perform flexing exercises while wearing your lacrosse cleats. Flexing exercises involve bending and flexing your feet in different directions to help loosen up the cleats’ stiffness. Move your feet up and down, rotate your ankles, and flex your toes to increase flexibility and promote a more comfortable fit.
Take Regular Breaks
While breaking in your new lacrosse cleats, take regular breaks to give your feet some relief. This allows your feet to rest and recover from any discomfort or pressure points caused by the new cleats. Additionally, taking breaks can help prevent the formation of blisters and other foot issues that may arise from prolonged wear.
Wearing the Cleats Outside
Use Cleat-Specific Socks
When wearing your lacrosse cleats outside for the first time, it is recommended to use socks specifically designed for use with cleats. These socks have additional padding and support in key areas, providing extra cushioning and reducing the risk of blisters. Cleat-specific socks also offer better moisture-wicking properties, keeping your feet dry and comfortable during gameplay.
Walk Before Running
Before jumping into intense gameplay, it is advisable to start by walking in your new lacrosse cleats. Walking allows your feet to gradually adjust to the cleats’ fit and allows you to assess any areas of discomfort or potential issues. Walking also helps break in the cleats’ sole and improves traction on different surfaces.
Practice on Different Surfaces
To ensure that your lacrosse cleats are fully broken in, it is beneficial to practice on various surfaces. This allows the cleats to adapt to different terrains and enhances their overall performance. Try practicing on natural grass, turf, and other field surfaces to get a feel for how the cleats perform in different conditions.
Targeting Specific Areas
Bending the Cleats
If you notice specific areas of stiffness or discomfort in your lacrosse cleats, you can gently bend the shoe in that area to help loosen it up. Using your hands, apply gentle pressure to bend the toe box, sides, or other areas that feel tight. This promotes flexibility and aids in the overall breaking-in process.
Stretching the Toe Box
The toe box, or the front area of the cleat that covers your toes, can sometimes feel tight when wearing new lacrosse cleats. To alleviate this discomfort, you can stretch the toe box by placing a small, soft ball or shoe stretcher inside the cleat overnight. This method gradually expands the toe box, providing a more comfortable fit.
Softening the Heel Counter
The heel counter, located at the back of the cleat, can sometimes feel rigid and uncomfortable when new. To soften the heel counter and improve overall comfort, you can use a hairdryer to warm the area and then gently bend it inward and outward with your hands. This helps mold the cleat to your heel shape, reducing pressure and discomfort.
Use Moleskin or Blister Pads
If you experience any hot spots or rubbing that may lead to blisters, using moleskin or blister pads can provide immediate relief. These adhesive pads create a protective barrier between your skin and the cleat, reducing friction and preventing blisters from forming. Make sure to apply the pads to areas prone to discomfort before wearing your cleats.
Apply Petroleum Jelly
Another trick to prevent blisters and reduce discomfort is to apply petroleum jelly to areas that are susceptible to rubbing. The petroleum jelly acts as a lubricant, reducing friction and preventing blisters from forming. Apply a thin layer to areas such as the heel, sides, or any other spots that tend to irritate your feet.
Adjust the Laces
Properly adjusting the laces on your lacrosse cleats can make a significant difference in comfort and fit. Experiment with different lacing techniques to find the one that best alleviates any discomfort or pressure points. Ensure that your cleats are snug but not too tight, as overly tight lacing can cause discomfort and restrict blood circulation.
Use a Heel Cup
If you experience discomfort or heel pain while breaking in your lacrosse cleats, using a heel cup can provide additional support and cushioning. Heel cups offer extra padding and shock absorption, reducing the pressure on your heels and relieving discomfort. They also help maintain proper foot alignment, improving overall stability and reducing the risk of injuries.
Rotate Cleats during Break-In Period
To maximize the lifespan and comfort of your lacrosse cleats, it is beneficial to rotate between two or more pairs during the break-in period. By alternating between cleats, you allow sufficient time for each pair to rest and recover between uses. This prevents the cleats from wearing out prematurely and helps maintain their shape and performance.
Use a Backup Pair
Having a backup pair of lacrosse cleats can be invaluable, especially during the break-in period. If you experience significant discomfort or blisters while wearing your new cleats, switching to a backup pair allows your feet to rest and recover. It also ensures that you can continue playing without compromising your performance or risking further foot issues.
Alternate Cleat Types
If you have access to different types of cleats, consider alternating between them during gameplay. This variation can help prevent overuse injuries and give your feet a break from the specific fit and pressure points of your primary cleats. For example, if you typically wear high-top cleats, try switching to low-top cleats occasionally to provide different support and movement.
Caring for Your Cleats
Clean Your Cleats Regularly
Properly maintaining your lacrosse cleats is crucial to prolonging their lifespan and functionality. After each use, remove any dirt or debris from the cleats’ exterior and sole to prevent buildup that may affect performance. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the cleats and allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Regular cleaning ensures optimal performance and keeps your cleats looking their best.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme temperatures can damage lacrosse cleats, so it is important to store them in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving your cleats in direct sunlight or in extreme heat, as this can cause the materials to warp, crack, or deteriorate. Likewise, exposing your cleats to harsh cold can cause them to become stiff and less flexible. By storing your cleats properly, you can maintain their shape and performance for longer.
Store Cleats Properly
When you’re not using your lacrosse cleats, it is essential to store them correctly to maintain their shape and condition. After cleaning and air drying them, place them in a shoe bag or a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight and moisture. Avoid storing them in a tightly enclosed space, as this can promote the growth of bacteria and unpleasant odors. Proper storage helps preserve the integrity of your cleats and ensures they are ready for your next game.
Recognizing When Cleats are Broken In
Lack of Discomfort
One way to tell if your lacrosse cleats are properly broken in is the absence of discomfort or pain while wearing them. Initially, new cleats may feel stiff and cause some discomfort. However, as you continue to wear and break them in, this discomfort should diminish. Once your cleats feel comfortable and no longer cause any discomfort, it’s a good indicator that they are broken in.
Another sign that your lacrosse cleats are broken in is improved flexibility. Initially, new cleats may feel rigid and limit your range of motion. However, as you gradually break them in, the materials become more flexible, allowing your feet to move more naturally. Increased flexibility in the cleats enables better performance and reduces the risk of foot and ankle injuries.
When your lacrosse cleats are properly broken in, they should provide a secure and snug fit without being overly tight. Your feet should feel supported and stable within the cleats, allowing you to make quick movements and change directions with confidence. Signs of a secure fit include minimal slippage, adequate arch support, and no excessive pressure points. If your cleats meet these criteria, you can be confident that they are broken in and ready for the game.
Replacing Cleats When Necessary
Check for Visible Wear and Tear
Even with careful maintenance and proper break-in, lacrosse cleats will eventually wear out and require replacement. Regularly inspect your cleats for visible signs of wear and tear, such as frayed stitching, torn materials, or significant sole wear. These indicators suggest that the cleats have reached the end of their lifespan and may no longer provide the necessary support and performance.
Monitor Traction Loss
One crucial aspect of lacrosse cleats is their traction on the field. Over time, the cleats’ grip can diminish due to wear and tear. If you notice a considerable loss of traction or difficulty maintaining your footing, it may be time to consider replacing your cleats. Inadequate traction can affect your performance, increasing the risk of slips, falls, and injuries.
Consider Your Performance
Ultimately, your own performance and comfort are essential factors to consider when deciding whether to replace your lacrosse cleats. If you find that you are struggling to move efficiently, experiencing discomfort, or your overall performance is noticeably affected, it may indicate the need for new cleats. Trust your instincts and evaluate how your cleats are impacting your game to make an informed decision.
Breaking in new lacrosse cleats properly is a crucial step in ensuring optimal performance, comfort, and longevity. By choosing the right size, prepping your cleats, gradually breaking them in, wearing them outside, targeting specific areas of discomfort, reducing discomfort, alternating cleats, caring for them properly, recognizing when they are broken in, and replacing them when necessary, you can enhance your lacrosse experience and play at your best. Remember, taking the time to break in your new cleats effectively will result in happy feet and a happier lacrosse journey overall.