How to Choose Footwear for Ultimate Frisbee

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Ultimate is like many grass-field sports where traction is critical to maintain balance over the course of a game. There is only one brand of shoe that is designed specifically for the sport, and so many players are left to choose from footwear created for other uses. For dedicated players, it is not so simple as strapping on a pair of old soccer cleats. There are major differences between ultimate and other field sports that should be taken into consideration, along with field conditions, when determining which type of footwear to utilize. Soccer cleats are designed for ball control, which is not necessary in ultimate. Football cleats are generally heavier to help an athlete maintain their position during contact. What is best for you?

Things You'll Need

  • Feet
  • Peruse the surface. Most ultimate games are played on grass or turf. While most turf is consistent, the condition of grass fields varies widely from parched, brown, brick-hard hay to lush 2-inch deep Kentucky bluegrass. On a dry surface or one with very short grass, many ultimate players prefer to wear "turf cleats," which are also used for soccer. This is a soccer boot with many small nubs on the sole rather than a few spread out "cleats." On very thin, hard turf the same applies. On a dry surface with longer grass, you will want cleats with long cleats to maintain traction. On newer turf fields you will often find that the fake grass is actually long enough that you could consider wearing cleats rather than turf shoes.

  • Take note of the conditions. Nothing is worse than playing ultimate in flats when the ground is muddy. On a wet field it is essential to play with long spikes. For this, often football or lacrosse cleats are best, because soccer cleats tend to have shorter spikes. If it is raining, the ground will get soft quickly. On a hot dry day use turfs or short spikes because the ground will get hard and longer cleats will push back into the bottoms of your feet.

  • Know your style of play. For elite speed players the weight of the cleat is something to take into consideration. The lightest cleats on the market in 2008 are just under 10 ounces. These tend to be expensive, but you can find both soccer and lacrosse cleats in this weight range.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are literally hundreds of cleat models out there and there is no reason to sacrifice comfort for performance. Wear a shoe that fits.
  • Light cleats generally lack ankle support.
  • Metal cleats, such as baseball cleats, are often banned from use because of the risk they pose to other athletes.

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