There are so many football boots on the market today, with each claiming that they are the right choice for your needs.
Here are a few tips on choosing the right football boots with some considerations you might need in order to make the right decision in footwear.
- When it comes to grip and stability, traction, on the field is the most distinguishing feature of the boot for most forms of footy. The structure varies from brands however, its important to note that all boots are positional these days, which means they can be specific to your playing position. Some boots have asymmetrical lacing, others are lighter & brighter and tend to be minimal in design in order to maintain minimum weight, maximum speed, and promote a sense of feeling the ground, otherwise known as proprioceptive feedback. As a result, many features that may be required to protect some feet are required to be sacrificed. There are however some that provide more protection on the top, thus reducing the foot stomping impact.
- With the majority of the game spent jogging or walking, at least 20-30% is spent cruising and sprinting. This increased pace, loads the body weight of 3 times the force through the feet. The minimal design will give limited assistance to those feet with a higher requirement for support.
- The ground surface is one to consider as the preseason stage has dry hard surfaces and will be less forgiving on the feet. This is where a change in footwear of added cushioning and shock absorbing qualities in the boot may assist with comfort and injury prevention.
- I’ve always said that comfort equals performance and this is crucial when maximising performance and minimising injury. Boots that are too tight can cramp the feet, increase injury, and cause nail damage, whilst shoes that are too sloppy will cause the foot to slide around in the boot, leading to uneven weight distribution and ingrown nails.
- The upper material can also affect the performance and fit of the boot. Kangaroo leather is often used for its flexible yet hardwearing properties. Leather shoes will often stretch and conform to the foot, which is a consideration to make when purchasing boots. Synthetic materials will not deform easily. Many of the cheaper plastic materials have been known to contribute to increased friction and may increase the likelihood of rubbing and blistering.
- Remember that leathers have a tendency to dry out and crack, and so regular cleaning and oiling is important for the long-term life of the boot. Being left out in the sun can dry wet boots. Stuffing the boots with newspaper may also speed up the drying process.
- When purchasing boots, it is best to do so with the kit that you will be wearing on the field. Try them on with the socks that you will be playing in. Try them on whilst wearing shin guards or ankle braces if required.
- Finally, if you have a requirement to wear orthotics, it is important to consider this before purchasing new boots. As football boots are traditionally slim in shape, fitting orthotics can be difficult. Picking boots that have a removable insole is a good start as that will free up some space inside the boot. Take your orthotics in with you to test the fit in store. Speak to your podiatrist about either developing pair specific for your boots, or ask if it is possible to make adjustments to an existing pair for a better fit.
- The options for traction appear to be increasing every day. As a general rule, the choice for which type of boot to choose will come down to the position played, the individual foot, and the surface to be played on.
- Removable studs are particularly good for fields that tend to be soft or damp, as the stud length can be changed to suit the field. They can be plastic or metal. Metal studs are more durable, however are not always permitted for safety reasons.
- Moulded and shorter studs are recommended for drier or harder fields. Moulded studs are recommended for younger footy players as they provide a more even force distribution across the base of the boot. Some moulded sole boots have a variety of stud lengths to attempt to accommodate multidirectional activity and for multiple playing conditions.
- Blades have found popularity by claiming an increase in traction of the field, as well as an increased surface area to help distribute body weight throughout the boot. Some claim that blades may offer too much traction, preventing rotation of the foot and leg and contributing to knee and ankle injury.
Wearing the right pair of football boots can make all the difference to a player’s comfort and safety, and even to his or her ability to play a great game. Get the fit right, pick a boot type that works well with your usual pitch conditions and playing position, and then go for the best quality you can find for your money. While the sheer choice of football boots on the market can be a bit overwhelming, there are plenty of local places such as Athletes Foot, Rebel Sport & A-Mart Sports, Sports Mart that are more than willing to offer great service and advice.
We are proud to be sponsors for the VRL Altona Roosters Rugby League Team and look forward to providing a supportive role in sport injury management and prevention for the 2015 season ahead.