Cheap Football Cleats: Make big hits on the field without taking a big hit out of your wallet. Any body who's played football (or any sport for that matter) knows that proper equipment isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. And football cleats are among the most important of all pieced of football gear, since helmets, shoulder pads and leg pads won't do a bit of good if you can't even keep your balance.

Contrary to common belief, a generic pair of athletic cleats won't work will on the football field. Each sport has specific demands on the body, and cleats made for other sports simply can't withstand the stress and rigors of America's most popular sport.

What Makes A Good Pair Of Football Cleats?

Generally speaking, you'll want a pair of football shoes that support the ankle and offer several cleats or "spikes" on the bottom of the shoe. Why is ankle support so important? For starters, football players are constantly changing directions - often at full speed - and that puts a tremendous stress on the ligaments and bones within the ankle and foot. Not to mention the fact that large players will constantly be rolling on your feet throughout practices and game days. Without proper support, you're facing an increased liklihood of injury.

As for the spikes, go for either hard plastic or the famous "turf shoe" design. Typically, naturall grass is taller and bushier than turf, so if the majority of your games and practices take place on real grass, I'd make sure your football cleats are designed for it; the converse is the same for turf. Or better yet, purchase a separate pair of football cleats for each surface: Grass and Turf. That way you won't "sacrifice" when you play on a surface you weren't expecting.

When trying on new cleats, try to simulate some of the rigors you'll experience while playing. If possible, ask to wear them out in the grass, then run a couple of sprints and make some hard cuts. You want to make sure that your feet don't slip out from underneath you while also making sure your shoes don't slip off your feet!

What Shoe Companies Make Football Cleats?

Almost every major athletic shoe company makes football cleats, though some offer more options than others. Primarily, the two biggest footware names in the world, Nike and Reebok, typically have the largest varieties, though Adidas, Asics, Puma and others offer cleats for the grid iron as well. Chances are, you'll need to either look online or visit a sporting goods store, though; because most department stores won't stock a wide variety of football cleats.

How And Where To Buy Cheap Football Cleats

You probably already know that these kind of shoes aren't exactly inexpensive. In most instances, a good pair of football cleats will set you back at least $100 at national chain athletic shoe retailers like Foot Locker, Sportsman's Warehouse and Sports Authority. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can save significant money while still getting the right cleats for your feet.

Here are some of the easiest ways to knock some decent money off that bill:

Buy Online. Most online retailers offer the same products for lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores. The downside is that you can't try on the shoes before your buy them. The solution: Go to the spendy store and try on several pairs of football cleats until you find a pair you like. Write down the manufacturer, the model number and the size, then go home and find the same exact shoe on the Internet.

Buy "Out Of Season." If you have the luxury of making your purchase after the football season ends for the year, you can usually catch some amazing deals. It's the same principle as buying coats in the summer and swimming suits in the winter - when the demand side of the supply and demand curve is low, the prices are adjusted downward to match.

Buy Direct From The Factory. This isn't always an option, but many shoe makers allow you to purchase their shoes directly from them, rather than working through a middle-man retailer.

Buy Used Football Cleats. This is especially true for younger players with feet that are still growing. Many kids simply outgrow their cleats before they wear them out, which means you can get next-to-new cleats for only a few dollars. Look in your local classified pages to start, then move on to online classified sites such as Craigslist. Even eBay has some decent auctions on cheap football cleats.

Proper footware is critical to your success on the football field, but it doesn't have to come at the expense of your wallet. Remember, the game is supposed to be fun; if you're worried about spending too much money on equipment, it will only negatively affect your perception of the game. So rather than spending more than $100 or even $200 on a pair of football shoes, why not look for cheap football cleats and save?