What Rugby or Football Boots do I need?
Did you know there’s actually a huge amount of science that goes into creating boots? Choosing the right pair can make a big difference to your game, enabling you to perform at your best for longer.
Here’s how to pick the right boots for optimum winter sports performance.
If you can, visit a sports shop to have your feet professionally measured. Wear you playing socks and try the boots on. Running shoes are available in various widths, but boots do not have the same selection. Moulded boots and 6 studded boots are generally a little narrower in their fit than 8 studded forward boots.
If you have a wide foot but wear a boot that pressures the sides of your boot, chances are it will split during the season, especially once it has become wet. You can try on a bigger sized boot because it will have more width, but too long and your play will be affected. It is a fine line and one that you will want to put some though into. Either way ensure the boots are comfortable before you buy.
Studded or Moulded Sole
One of the first things you need to consider is whether to wear boots with a moulded sole, boots with a studded sole- or perhaps boots that have both. The position you play on the field plays a part in the type of boots you wear.
As a player you can wear whatever you wish, but traditionally a rugby backline player would wear 6 studded boots for grip and speed. (4 on the forefoot and two on the heel). From the factory the forefoot suds are 13mm long and the heel studs are 16mm. The boots will fit nylon studs or aluminium studs and rugby players can use either. Football players can wear studded boots, but only use nylon studs- aluminium is not allowed. And football players, if you are playing on artificial turf, check the boot and stud rules for your local field.
Traditionally a rugby forward, particularly in the tight 5, wears 8 studded boots. (6 on the forefoot and two on the heel) These studs help grip the ground when pushing in scums or rolling malls. From the factory the boots are often fitted with 16 mm studs on the forefoot and 18 mm studs on the heel. (The maximum stud height is 21 mm)
A big advantage with studded boots, is that if the ground is very soft, you can fit longer studs. If the ground is firm, you can fit shorter studs.
Most studded boots have a generic thread and therefore fit studs that are readily available. There are some boots for sale that only fit specific studs for that boot. That’s not a problem for as long as you can source those studs. Be aware of this so you are not surprised when you try to find studs the day before kick-off. Also the studs for these boots often require a specific stud wrench. Do not lose this !
Over the last 12 years or so, moulded sole boots have become very popular. A benefit is that a moulded sole might have as many as 15 points of contact (Cleats) with the ground, which results in better weight distribution for your feet and is therefore more comfortable. There are a number of cleats on the boots which are designed for speed and to give great grip for quick changes of direction, so you can get your sidestep and swerve working. These boots are popular for players who want lightness, speed, and comfort. Although in heavy ground with moulded soles you can retain your footing surprisingly well, to get good grip to drive into tackles or rolling mauls- studs are recommended.
For young kids playing Ripper Rugby, they are not driving into tackles or packing scrums, so the emphasis can be on comfort. Therefore a moulded sole boot in our opinion is the best to support a young growing foot. They will get the best support and comfort, which will encourage them to want to run out and play every week. Once they are playing tackle rugby, it is a personal preference whether to wear studs or moulded soles- although their position on the field will dictate this to an extent. (as above)
For young kids playing football, we recommend moulded soles. More comfort, more support, and more speed.
Most rugby and football boots have no additional cushioning in the sole. A sock-liner is what you see when you look into a boot. Your foot sits on the sock-liner and at best it gives a little cushioning for a few weeks, before compressing to a thin strip. If playing in boots gives you foot pain, you can remove the sock-liner and replace it with a cushioned inner-sole. Double check if you do this, that your foot is not now sitting too high in the boot, because you don’t want to roll your ankle.
There are a few brands (eg Asics) who incorporate cushioned rubber in the midsole of their boots. This gives better cushioning and also lifts your achillies slightly, resulting in less pressure. If you suffer foot pain in boots, perhaps search for a boot with a cushioned midsole.
Your boots are supplied with a plastic stud wrench. Before each game or practice, check each stud to ensure they are tight. Don’t over tighten because you don’t want to wreck the stud housing. Also run your hand over each stud, checking for burrs. If you feel an edge, lightly run a metal file over the stud until the burr is removed. If you chose, you can help prevent the stud threads from rusting by smearing them in Vaseline or similar. Always carry spare studs because you will lose some, and you may chose to carry spare sizes so you can change the studs for various field conditions.
When the studs start to wear down, replace them before they become difficult to remove. There isn’t a lot of point in having studs if they are half worn and you end up slipping and sliding during the game.
After the game wipe the boots with a damp cloth to clean them of mud and dirt. Leave them to air and dry naturally in the front porch or similar. Do not force dry them in front of a heater or fire, because the upper will crack and suffer. Don’t continue to leave your wet boots in your boot bag, because the upper will rot.
There is a lot of choice for boots. When you are searching for boots concentrate on comfort and grip. Care for your boots and you should get many seasons of service from them.
Click here if you want to search boots https://shop.thesportshop.co.nz/estore/category/footwear/football%20and%20rugby.aspx