The best cleats for paintball can be tough to find. When I was looking for my first pair I looked high and low for a top-quality design which would last me for a while. Unfortunately, this is not what I got. Instead I was left shelling out for a new pair less than 6 months after my first purchase.
This experience has taught me what is an absolute ‘must have’ in the best paintball cleats and also what is not needed and is just sales jargon or rubbish!
In this article, I will discuss the features to look for in the best cleats for paintball before recommended some of my own.
If you are in a hurry and want a quick recommendation, you should check out the HK Army Digger X1 Hightop Paintball Cleats. These cleats are exceptionally well made and have all the features you need to look for in a paintball boot!
Want more details? No problem, let’s jump straight in!
What To Look For In The Best Cleats For Paintball
Given that we paintball in all weather and in all conditions, ankle support is absolutely vital to supporting your upper foot, and ensuring that you don’t lose your shoe in the mud (this happened to me twice and it was a nightmare to sort).
Some of the best cleats for ankle support are wide receiver or lacrosse boots. These have hightop construction and are flexible, lightweight whist having a clever cleat pattern design for cutting and acceleration.
This is one of the most important features to look for in paintball cleats
After a few rounds you are definitely going to be feeling the heat. This isn’t just metaphorical heat from the game but also the heat generated by constantly being on the move. That is why your cleats need to have good ventilation and be made from a breathable materials.
This will help your boot remove sweat and moisture from your foot. Not only will this increase your comfort levels (there is nothing worse than being all hot and sweaty) but will reduce the risk of injury and discomfort from sores, rashes and blisters.
This is something which you don’t need to worry about when buying a premium pair of paintball shoes but it may be an issue if you are looking at cheaper options.
You need to make sure your boot is flexible and can manoeuvre comfortably and easily. Imagine playing a speedball field and having a heavy pair of hiking boots on. You would lose that half a yard of speed and flexibility which can be the difference between making cover and taking a hit!
There is a fine line between flexible and having a lack of support for heavy terrain arenas so make sure you have a clear idea of what terrains you will be playing in before making your decision.
This may seem obvious but a comfortable fit is something many people take for granted. I bet you have heard people saying ‘my paintball cleats are just not comfortable’.
There are three key elements to the best paintball cleat which affect how comfortable it is:
- Fit. Make sure the cleat is the right size for your foot. Remember, a paintball cleat does not always correlate to your shoes size. If you are unsure try going in store to size up a pair, or make sure the pair you order online has a good returns policy.
- Insole. The insole of your best paintball cleat is where your foot rests. You should always try and find a boot with a removable insole as this will allow you to maintain and increase the life-span of your boot. The best paintball cleats will have in-built insole technology and features to improve the comfort of your boot. This may be cushioning or shock absorbent materials.
- Arch support. Given that paintball is a high-intensity sport and movements are made in short, sharp burst having the right arch support is critical for both the comfort of your cleat and your long term health. Having extra support for your arches, can reduce the pressure on your foot and heel. Furthermore, wearing insoles will both prevent injuries or if you have had foot injuries in the past, prevent them from returning.
This may sound odd but I once bought a cheap pair of paintball cleats which arrived with only 4 studs. This was absolutely useless and did nothing for my grip or flexibility when out in the arena.
Now, there is no hard or fast rule when it comes to cleat design. Some people like lots of little spikes for enhanced traction, others prefer 10 or less but a larger in size and offer greater stability in wet condition.
If you are at a loss of what to look for, I would suggest around 15 spikes which are small to medium length in size and have been designed for traction control. This will give you a versatile boot which can be used in different conditions without too much performance difference.
Best Paintball Cleats - Our Top Picks
What kind of cleats do you use for paintball?
There are a load of different options when it comes to the best paintball cleats. You can choose specialist cleats which are designed specifically for paintballing – but – this isn’t absolutely necessary. A pair of lacrosse or wide receiver styled cleats will be fine as well. These boots will offer plenty of ankle support whilst being flexible enough for those tight corners and sudden movements. Just make sure you refer back to my key features section so that you know everything you need to look for in your boots.
Unless money is no object, I would always recommend a pair of paintball cleats which can be used in multiple settings and arenas, as well as in different game types – otherwise you are going to fork out lots of money on different pairs of shoes for each format of the game (if you know you only play in one setting this is less of a concern).
Conclusion: best cleats for paintball
The best cleats for paintball will give you the confidence, versatility and flexibility to take your game to the next level. They will be comfortable and have build-in features such as arch and ankle support so that you can go those extra yards in cleats you trust. The best performing cleats, in my opinion, are the HK Army Digger X1 Hightop Paintball Cleats. These cleats are exceptionally well made and have all the features you need to look for in a paintball boot!
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As an avid paintballer myself who quickly grew tired of renting equipment every week and playing with sub-par gear, building my own paintball gun brought