The best laceless soccer cleats you can buy in 2023

Laceless soccer cleats guide GOAL / various
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Since their introduction in 2006, laceless soccer cleats have taken over the pitch and the locker rooms of many, and for good reason. With the latest tech and a host of benefits behind them, more and more soccer players are looking to get in on the laceless soccer cleats hype.

GOAL takes a deep dive into everything laceless soccer cleats. We're talking the benefits, the history, the market leaders, and of course, where you can buy your very own pair. We've highlighted everything you need to know to find the best fit and given you a round-up of the very best laceless soccer cleats for every soccer player.

What are the benefits of laceless soccer cleats?

Admittedly, most soccer cleats in the history of soccer have come with laces – some of them have even become iconic because of their laces – but laceless cleats have their own benefits. One of the key strengths is the control given by replacing the uneven surface of the lace area with an entirely smooth section. This allows for cleaner contact with the ball, helping to improve control, shooting, and passing.

One player who has spoken about the need for laceless soccer cleats in the past is Mesut Özil, who explained that “my whole career, I have tried to minimize the impact of laces on my strike and ball control.” To cope with this, Özil developed a special technique. “I knot the laces over and over again and then tuck in the ends, that way, they do not interfere with my touch.” The arrival of laceless cleats meant that Özil didn’t have to do that anymore, and the top of the boot became perfectly engineered for control.

adidas laceless cleats - Oziladidas

What is the history behind laceless soccer cleats?

Laceless soccer cleats have been around for more than 15 years, although it wasn’t one of the big brands that pioneered the technology. Back in 2006, Italian label Lotto launched its Zhero Gravity line – the design was relaunched in 2021 – and tapped Brazil legend Cafu to premier the laceless silhouette.

Despite the Italian brand’s best intentions, the design didn’t catch on, and it would be a full decade before laceless soccer cleats hit the mainstream. In 2016, adidas arrived with its ACE 16+ Purecontrol, setting the tone for a new generation of laceless designs. At the time, Ivan Rakitic called them “the best boots I’ve ever worn,” adding that “because there are no laces, the surface area is a lot larger, meaning controlling the ball is easier.”

Lotto Zhero Gravity cleatsLotto

Looking for the best soccer cleats in 2023? GOAL has you covered

Who makes the best laceless soccer cleats?

Seven years after it took laceless soccer cleats firmly into the mainstream, adidas is still the market leader. Almost all of its top-level silhouettes – from Predators and Copas to Speedportals and Speedflows – have been given the treatment, and brand-new laceless iterations of each design arrive regularly.

That isn’t to say that adidas has it sewn up. Other big players in the boot industry are beginning to release more laceless cleats, and almost all of them utilize the design for their children-focused designs. While it is yet to go fully laceless, Nike recently launched the next generation Phantom GX silhouette, with a ghost lacing system covered by GripKnit to accentuate touch and control. It’s the closest Nike has ever got to laceless and shows the benefits of using that area of the boot for control.

Nike Phantom GX CleatsPro Direct Soccer

Where can I buy laceless soccer cleats?

adidas may be the major player in the laceless cleats world, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only company to have done away with traditional fastenings.

Here are five of the best laceless soccer cleats currently available, ranging from new versions of classic adidas silhouettes to innovative designs from other boot brands: