Why Football Players Spat & Tape Their Cleats

By Alex Mercer

November 7, 2018

Football players will spat their ankles for many different reasons. It’s often found on skill players (wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks). Why do these football players spat their cleats?

Football players spat their cleats to add ankle support, reducing the risk of injury. The added layer of tape protects against contact from other players.

This article will show you why football players spat & taped their cleats.

How To Spat An Ankle For Football

To properly spat or tape your cleats, you’ll need the following:

  1. Pre-Wrap
  2. Athletic Tape

Start by wrapping the pre-wrap around the ankle for added support. This will also help add an adhesive for the tape rather than sticking directly to your cleats/socks.  

Once the pre-wrap has been applied to the ankle, it’s time to add base strips to the high ankle and horseshoe of the cleat. This requires adding one strip, ripping off a piece, and adding another piece of tape.  

Next, add the “stirrups” to the medial side of the ankle. This requires taking a long piece of tape and sticking it on the high ankle side, all the way around under the foot, to the other side of the ankle.  

Last, add the “heel-lock” and the figure-8’s of tape to the ankle with one continuous motion. This support piece of tape will add support along the heel and lower ankle.  

Once the heel lock and figure 8 are complete, continue to the high ankle and cut the tape. It’s essential not to crimp any tape and ensure all the edges are flat.

Reference the video above to understand these techniques.

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Football Articles Here

Slip On Spats & Cleat Covers For Football Players

Spat covers serve the same purpose as a tape spat does. However, they use a cover that slips right over the cleat instead of wasting tape.

For those who don’t have direct access to athletic tape, spat covers are a better alternative.

cleat spats

Slip-on spats, also known as cleat covers, add minimal ankle support but provide a cool look.  

Growing companies such as Sleefs, Elitetek & Battle have built custom cleat covers with custom designs. These designs are much more popular than your traditional tape. They’re used for more of a fashion look than ankle support.

Slip On Spats/Cleat Covers

If you’re looking to purchase a Slip-on Spat or cleat cover, here are the best ones that are currently on the market.


sleefs spat

 Sleefs has a wide variety of custom and traditional cleat covers. Their unique designs ensure that your custom cleat cover will rarely be worn by someone else.

They also have solid color cleat covers that can work to match your team’s colors.

EliteTek Custom Spats

elitetek custom spats

EliteTek, known for its football equipment, offers a cleat cover that matches team colors.  

They also offer a low price point ($10), which is affordable if the cleat cover happens to rip.  

  • It comes in a Pair (2 covers)
  • Keeps turf rubber/debris out of your cleats
  • It helps stop shoelaces from coming untied. Used in all cleated sports, Football, Rugby, Baseball, and Soccer
  • Machine wash and air dry or dry on low heat. (83% nylon – 17% spandex)
  • Small (Y10-4), Medium (4.5 – 8), and Large (8.5 – 14)

Suggested Application: Pull the cleat cover over your foot and above your ankle area before putting on the shoes. Then, put on the shoe and pull the cleat cover back down and over the shoe.  

Battle Cleat Cover

battle cleat cover

Already have a Battle Backplate?

Match the backplate with these battle cleat covers to keep the look in sync. Here are the benefits of the battle cleat spats:

  • Sold in pairs
  • Keeps laces tight while helping to support the ankle
  • Prevents turf from sticking to cleats
  • Smooth polyester material feels great and washes easily
  • Comfortably fits over the Battle XFAST ankle brace

Why Do Football Players Tape Their Ankles?

Football players tape their ankles to support and prevent injuries that include sprains or breaks. The tape restricts a bit of movement but provides stability throughout the ankle.  

Does Ankle Taping Or Spatting An Ankle Prevent Injury?

Adding support with tape or a spat to the ankle can help prevent injury. However, football is a contact sport where players may get hit on the ankle, bending or twisting incorrectly.  

What’s your favorite way of spatting cleats? Do you use tape or cleat covers? Let us know in the comment section!

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

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