Adidas, Nike, Puma, Mizuno, Umbro, Warrior, Lotto, Under Armour, Joma, Asics and Hummel just to name few. Whether you are professional, amateur or somewhere in between there comes a point in time where you must choose a new boot.
We have all heard the saying ‘Boots won’t make you a better player’. This is true is in some regard, however, having the right boot will help you become the best player you can be. Here are some of my tips when picking out a boot.
1) Pick something to suit your position.
Goalkeepers – Choose something with good traction (slightly longer studs), this is vital to help you change direction and get a good push off to dive. Something with a big ‘sweet spot’ for clearing kicks will help.
Defenders – Something which offers good comfort and protection.
Midfielders – Something that is extremely comfortable which allows box to box running for 90 minutes.
Wingers and strikers – Something lightweight which allows for that burst of speed, a boot with a clean strike zone for shooting and crossing is important.
2) Playing surface.
These days there are many different playing surfaces, picking the right boot for your playing surface will decrease the risk of injury, give you comfort and make them last longer. If you play on a variety of surfaces its best to pick your boot according to your training and home ground as you play the most games there. For most people a Firm ground boot is the best choice however some players prefer to have a boot for each condition.
Firm ground – These grounds are usually grass which do not get a lot of rain. Most Australia pitches are like this.
Soft Ground – Soft grounds are often grass fields which get a lot of water. Soft ground boots (metal studs) should only be worn when playing on these types of ground.
Artificial Grounds – These grounds are becoming more and more popular. These grounds have a synthetic surface. Boots made for artificial surfaces often have more studs and a lower profile stud. This type of boot often gives brilliant traction on this surface.
3) Boot material
Kangaroo leather, natural leather, synthetic leather, synthetic or mesh. Boots are made from numerous materials. My advice here is to pick whatever feels most comfortable and gives the best fit. Boots are now also getting lighter and lighter with synthetic and mesh materials, these materials also tend to wear out quicker therefore the durability of these boots are compromised.
4) Getting the right size
Aim for about the width of your little finger between your toes and end of the boot. If there is more than a thumbs width they are too big. And if there is less than and little fingers width they are too small. However for children with quick growing feet a thumbs width is usually enough room to get at least one season out of them, children usually will outwear their boots before they outgrow them! Also remember that boots do give a little and may stretch depending on what they are made out of.
Be careful when ordering online, often it is hard to buy a boot just by seeing it online, my advice is only buy online if you have tried the boot on in real life before. This will avoid the disappointment of waiting and waiting only for a boot that does not fit to arrive. Also buy from larger well known websites to avoid getting fake boots sent out.
In conclusion the above are just tips to take into consideration when buying boots. The most important things are to find something which is affordable and comfortable. Maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity of your boot. Take them out of your bag after training, let them dry out in a nice cool area (away from direct sunlight). Don’t wear them on concrete and some extra love with cleaning products or leather softener occasionally doesn’t hurt. If you look after your boots your boots will look after you.
Shin pads are required to protect you from serious injury. Shin pads can’t guarantee you won’t get bumps, bruises or broken legs however they significantly reduce the likelihood of serious or permanent damage.
As you can see above there are many different types and designs of shin pads, some offer ankle support and some just slip in the front of your socks. As a rule of thumb the size of your shin pads is based off your height (see below). This is not a strict rule as the thickness of everyone’s legs are different. The larger the shin pad the wider the shin pad also.
A good shin pad gives you enough protection to go into tackles hard but also enough comfort to play in.
Small: up to 5’2”
Medium: up to 5’10”
Large: up to 6’4”
X-Large: up to 6’10”