There are few sports worldwide that can match the popularity of soccer. It’s a sport that requires little more than an open space and a ball. However, a comfortable pair of footwear is vital (football boots, soccer shoes, soccer cleets etc.).
When searching for a new pair the number of options can quickly become overwhelming. Before diving in and buying the first pair you see that you like, you need to consider the following points covered by this guide.
The footwear that you wear must be suitable for the surface on which you will be playing. Anyone that plays on grass is likely to need at least 2 pairs that will need to be rotated depending on the weather and firmness of ground.
The type of ground that a shoe is suitable for can be determined by looking at the underside.
Metal studs indicate suitability for soft ground and deliver superior traction. For firmer ground, blades or moulded studs are the correct choice. Astroturf and indoor pitches further require additional types of sole.
- Soft Ground – Changeable Studs: these boots tend to come with 6 stud positions. The studs can be screwed in and out, allowing for footwear perfectly tailored to the conditions. They are heavier than other types of shoe. Metal studs can cause injury if worn on firm ground.
- Firm Ground – Moulded Studs/Blades: suitable for hard/dry ground but can also be worn on certain types of artificial pitch (not always). These shoes are lighter in weight as traction is provided via rubber instead of metal. The better option for an all-purpose pair of boots.
- Hard Ground – Astroturf: can be worn on very dry grass but are designed for use on artificial/gravel pitches. Traction is delivered via a series of small rubber dimples. Due to the high impact nature of the playing surface materials used tend to be heavier.
- Indoors – Non-marking rubber soles: have an almost flat underside and are designed to not leave marks on the playing surface.
Style of Play
In addition to the playing surface your playing position should be taken into consideration.
The weight of a shoe is going to impact a players running speed. If your game relies on speed then it makes sense to go for a lighter shoe to maximise your natural pace.
For players that rely on a more physical element to their game (like defenders) they are going to require more protection from their boot and the lighter models could leave them more susceptible to injury.
Its about striking the right balance between protection, speed, accuracy and control.
Sizing and Comfort
With regular shoes and sneakers you can get away with a less than perfect fit.
Soccer players don’t have this luxury and need to make sure that their footwear fits perfectly.
The physical demands placed on the feet ensures any imperfection of fit will result in blisters or injury.
Boots should not be too tight but should provide a snug fit. This goes for the length and width.
It’s a good idea to try more than one brand and even different models per brand. Based on the unique dimensions of your feet, you might find one brand wins out in terms of comfort and fit.
When evaluating how well a shoe fits make sure you are wearing what you would be wearing during a game. Deciding a boot fits well when only wearing a thin sock is no use if during a game you wear thick socks and ankle protection.
Where to Buy
Its easier to get the best price by shopping online, particularly if you are familiar with a brand such as Nike or Adidas.
If it’s your first pair of soccer shoes it’s a good idea to go to a store and try on as many pairs as possible. You can always buy the pair that you like cheaper on the Internet later.