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Which football Boots Do You Need

How do I decide?

There are basically 5 types of football boots.

Boots with changeable studs.

  • Moulded boots.
  • Blades
  • Moulded
    • Changeable studs
    • Astro turf shoes
  • Indoor football trainers.

You first need to look at the surface that you're going to play on.

1. Boots with changeable studs.

Changeable studded boots are for soft ground. The studs are changeable so that the length of the studs will give traction on firmer or wetter pitches. The wetter the pitch, the longer the stud you will need. In Britain these are the most popular boots; around 70% of football boots sold in the UK have changeable studs and 30% are moulded. If the studs are too long, it can be painful under foot.

2. Blades.

Bladed boots are relatively new - they've been around for approximately 10 years. Bladed boots are available in both changeable and moulded studs.

3. Moulded Boots

Moulded boots are for dry and firm pitches. The studs are part of the sole unit and therefore can't be changed. Moulded boots are far more comfortable under foot and yet still get a good grip on firm ground. However, for muddy pitches moulded studs aren't long enough to give good traction and can also clog up with mud, reducing traction further.

4. Astro Turf Shoes

Astro Turf shoes have much shorter, sharper studs and are also a moulded part of the sole unit, which is generally made from long lasting carbon rubber.

5. Indoor Trainers

Indoor trainers have sole units made from gum rubber. Gum rubber warms up when playing on wood and therefore gets a better grip. Gum rubber does not mark wooden surfaces.

How much do I spend?

In the past, the best upper materials were K leather (as used popular football boots like the adidas World Cup, adidas Copa Mundial, Puma King, Nike Tiempo, ASICS Testimonial) followed by full grain, then split leathers and lastly synthetics.

This was because full grain and K leather moulded well to the shape of the foot and were hardwearing (some argue they are still the best), whereas split leather and the synthetic materials were relatively stiff and not malleable.

This, however has now all changed. The football itself has changed markedly -it is made of synthetic material and is much lighter than in the past. The quality of the synthetic leather used in football boots has also improved. These materials now get a better grip of the ball - synthetic on synthetic sticks - and the uppers do now mould marginally on the feet.

Modern boots using advanced synthetic uppers include the Nike Mercurial Vapor, Nike Total 90's, Nike Mercurial Vapors,adidas F50’s and F10’s.

There are now also also mixed uppers available combining the qualities of the classic boots and the new synthetics, for example K leather uppers with rubber outer layers, again getting an excellent grip on the ball without compromising comfort. The best example of these football boots are the adidas Predators.

So how much should you spend? You get what you pay for! Spend as much as you want to afford.

How should the boots fit?

With classic boots in K leather or full grain leather uppers the answer is that your boots should fit relatively tight. The reason is that leather put under pressure stretches and, if it is wet, it stretches even more. Most professionals purchasing classic boots would buy half a size down on their normal shoe size. This is because it is vital that the foot stays over the sole unit to allow the studs to work properly. This is also why the professionals take the time to break in their boots - to get an individual fit.

The new synthetic materials are lighter, do not take in water and, stick to the ball well and stretch only minimally. This means if you've stopped growing you should buy your normal size of shoe. Anyone who is still growing must allow for that growth and buy a slightly larger size. The width of the shoe is also important as it should not be be so wide as to allow movement in the shoe - it is important to keep the foot over the sole plate.

Nike build on two specific lasts; one for the Total 90 range which is broader, and a narrower last which is used on the Mecurial Vapor range. adidas generally build on a narrower last, and this is the case with most manufacturers because of the importance of keeping the foot over the sole plate.

Care of your boots

After playing wash off the mud and allow your boots to dry naturally (they will dry quicker if stuffed with newspaper). In the case of leather, non synthetic boots, replace the natural oils with Dubbin, polish or oils.

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