Take a soccer cleat designed around a man’s foot. Shrink it. Pink it. Sell it to women and girls. That’s been the standard protocol for women’s and girls’ soccer cleats offerings–until IDA hit the scene.
IDA is the only company to design soccer boots specifically for the female foot anatomy. I’ll tell you why that’s important in my wear test and gear review of the IDA Sports Classica Women’s Soccer Cleat FG (firm ground).
You’ll get an honest review of my thoughts on the IDA cleats as a lifelong soccer player (this isn’t a paid sponsorship post, nor did I receive free product). I did become an IDA affiliate because I genuinely believe in the company and its products.
The IDA Sports Company
I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon IDA, but I recall following them on Instagram a couple of years ago. The fact that they were a women’s soccer shoe designer-focused company piqued my interest.
If you’re a woman who plays soccer or perhaps have a daughter who plays, you know there are challenges in finding a soccer cleat that fits great. It’s like we are Goldilocks in the world of trying to find the right cleat–they are too wide, the arches don’t support, they cause heel slippage.
Instead of finding the cleat that’s “just right,” we women and girls often settle for the cleat that’s “good enough.” That can mean wearing a boy’s soccer boot or cleats marketed as designed for women, but really they aren’t.
IDA decided to change the game. IDA was born as a result of the pain that came from a woman wearing a boy’s soccer cleat. That woman was Laura Youngson, IDA’s co-founder and amateur soccer player.
Youngson, who has a Master’s Degree in Physics, partnered with Ben Sandhu to design the first IDA cleat prototype in 2018. Sandhu, a former professional cricketer, and Youngson played indoor soccer together.
In 2020, IDA launched its first official women’s soccer cleat.
Women’s/Girls vs. Men’s/Boys Soccer Cleats: What’s the Big Difference?
Anatomically, there are some fairly significant differences between the male and female foot. Articles in Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal and Lower Extremity Review do great jobs of getting into minute details, but I’ll summarize some key male vs. female foot differences.
- The female foot is typically smaller than the male foot
- The female forefoot generally is wider relative to foot length (forefoot extends from toes to about midway of the foot) than a male foot
- Women’s ankle circumference and shape are greater and different, respectively, than men’s
- The inside curve of a woman’s foot is more pronounced
- Women tend to have higher arches than men
- Women have a narrower heel, ball, and instep than men; the instep is the bony top of the foot that follows the curve of the inner arch
- Women’s wider hip placement causes different types of pressure load on their feet
The IDA Soccer Cleat Design For Women And Girls
Because of all the aforementioned anatomical differences, IDA engineers their soccer cleats differently for women and girls. IDA boots have a wider toe box, more arch support, a narrower heel cup, and shorter conical studs.
This different engineering is meant to provide more comfort and minimize pain and injury. As a middle-aged woman who still plays soccer multiple times a week, I’ll take all the help I can get!
My IDA Sports Classica Women’s Soccer Cleats FG Wear Test
To give you a little background, I’ve played soccer pretty much my whole life. At 50 years old, I still play at least a couple of times a week—sometimes more. I play in tournaments. Soccer is a huge part of my identity.
I play forward and sometimes outside half. On a rare occasion, I get put into defense, where I massively screw up the offsides trap because that’s what forwards who play defense do.
I’ve tried a lot of different cleats in my life: Adidas, Puma, Nike, Umbro, Lotto, Pantofola d’Oro. I’ve had issues with toe squeeze, lack of arch support, and, most recently, plantar pain. So I was pretty excited to try the IDA’s to see if I’d notice a difference.
Unboxing The Boot
Lookswise, the Sports Classicas weren’t my favorite. I’ve really been salivating over these and these. But, as I said, I got a great deal, so I compromised style for a bargain this time. Don’t get me wrong, the Sports Classicas aren’t bad looking–I’ve just always worn a flashier cleat.
The cleats look very well constructed. The studs on the bottom of the cleat look different than what I’m used to–an intentional design to better distribute weight and pressure load on the feet for women who naturally have wider hips than men.
The Sports Classicas are constructed from sustainably sourced k-leather, so the feel is ultra soft. The toe box of the cleat looks a bit bulky, which is my biggest con.
I took out the insole for an inspection. It’s soft and airy, which should lend well to breathability.
Wearing the Boot
The real test is in the wear. I wore the IDA cleats for a game on grass (if you can call this particular field grass), and the next day on turf.
When I slid on the boots, they felt immediately comfortable, which surprised me. They felt supportive and soft, and true to size (sizes range from US 5-11).
On the field, I forgot I was wearing a brand new pair of cleats. Soccer players are notoriously resistant to getting new cleats because of the dreaded break-in period. The IDA cleats needed exactly zero seconds to break in.
The grass field was a bit muddy, so there was slipping happening to everyone. And despite the Classicas being firm ground cleats, they held their own on the pitch. Cleat-to-ball touch felt good.
On the turf the next day, the grip of the IDA’s was just enough–solid without being sticky. I felt like I’d worn the cleats for months already.
The best part for me? I had no pain in my lower back or the bottom of my arches like I usually do. I sporadically get shin splints, so I’m curious if the IDA’s will stave those off from future recurrence.
I’d rate the Sports Classicas a 9 out of 10.
IDA’s Other Options
If you like a flashier boot as I do, IDA’s design team obviously got the memo. Their newer Rise and Centra cleats have sleeker designs and more color options.
The IDA cleats come in firm ground and artificial ground options. And for futsal players who compete on courts, the IDA Spirit collection offers a flat, grippy sole. As a recently minted pickleball player, I’ve got my eye on these as well.
How to Buy IDA Footwear
The primary way to purchase IDA cleats is through their website. IDA offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and prepaid shipping for the return should you change your mind.
The IDA cleats are a solid choice for women and girls who, until now, were relegated to soccer cleats designed for men. The world of female soccer has seen massive advances in recent history, and where we were once an afterthought, we are now becoming aforethought.
And, of course, Adults Play Sports is here to support your soccer ventures. If you’re looking for a league, visit our league directory to find one near you.