Choosing a soccer boot – Tips from a Podiatrist and Physiotherapist
Rosemary Marchese (Physiotherapist) and Muhammad (Mo) Maarj (Podiatrist)
To find your perfect shoe look at your feet and alignment as well as your own personal playing style. Have you got an injury or a concern that needs to be dealt with? What position do you play the most? Do you swap positions from time-to-time?
The following tips are a guide to help you choose the right soccer boot. Remember, the best shoe is the one that’s most comfortable for you.
What position do you mostly play?
- Goalkeepers require a shoe offering excellent traction and the ability to move side-to-side easily. They also require a comfortable strike zone for those huge kick-outs and accurate passes.
- Defensive players may want a shoe that provides more protection and allows a clean pass on the ball.
- Midfielders need to run up and down the field during the game. Their shoe should be comfortable enough to allow them to do that whilst offering good control of the ball.
- Wingers are required to accelerate and change direction quickly so a lighter weight boot will be a good pick.
- Forwards require an accurate kick and a clean strike zone. A minimal weight shoe allowing for explosive movements is usually a must.
What surface do you play on?
Playing on soft turf is very different to playing on firm ground. There are lots of ground considerations. If you expect to play on a variety of surfaces, pick a shoe that best suits the type of turf you will mostly play on. Pro soccer players often change shoes between games but this is not always financially viable.
- Soft ground boots often have replaceable studs. A good option if you are in a rainy area!
- Hard ground boots are ideal for those that play on really dry surfaces or where the grass has worn away. They may feature conical studs to keep you balanced.
- All turf boots have a very low profile with a concentrated number of small conical rubber studs.
- Artificial ground boots are becoming more popular with good traction being offered by these boots.
- Indoor boots have a solid and flat surface.
What is the material in the upper?
Every player will have a different preference regarding the type of material their boot is made of.
- Various leathers can be tried by different players to see what moulds better to the feet. Some leathers can allow for a unique feel on the ball. Synthetic leathers may have the value of added waterproofing.
- Synthetic uppers are designed for yet another experience and won’t stretch as much as leathers. Be careful that these are not too tight when you first buy them as they are unlikely to stretch at all.
- Mesh is sometimes added to uppers, making them more lightweight. Ask whether the company has built in any waterproofing however as these boots can get heavy when wet.
- Knit is relatively new to the market and provides yet another feel on the ball. There tends to be a protective layer to stop moisture getting in. These brands tend to have higher cut ankle collars, which a lot of players are enjoying.
The weight of the boot
It’s really important to find the right weight of boot. A boot that’s too heavy will make it harder to run for long periods of time and can affect the ability of the forward player to strike with enough power for goal. Boots that are too light don’t tend to last as long. It’s best to aim for a happy medium.
Whilst most expensive is not necessarily always best it’s important not to cut corners on price if possible when it comes to your feet. The lowest end of the price range (under $40) will typically have a similar look to the top brands but lack the added benefits.
Your own foot shape, size and biomechanics
Get a shoe that fits! You need about a baby finger width between your toe and the top of the boot. Try to avoid buying too big or too small. The other thing to consider is your foot shape and any past injuries. Speak to your physiotherapist and podiatrist to get the best shoe for you.
Once you have chosen your shoe it’s time to break in your boots. It may take several wears to get them to ‘feel right’. If it takes longer than that you probably need to try another pair!
Here are some of the shoes our current physiotherapy and podiatry patients find the most comfortable:
Lightweight sock liner for comfort, good support and medium weight.
Asics gel Lethal Testimonial
Supportive, light and well cushioned.
Asics Lethal Ultimate
Full length cushioned midsole, extra width.
Asics Gel-Lethal Tigreor 9 (Best Shoe for kids on the market according to podiatrist Muhammad Maarj)
Heel cushioning, light, moderately shallow and narrow toe box. Wide stud pattern: great for kids with Severs disease (a condition where the growth plate is under pressure from the Achilles tendon pulling on it at the heel, leading to heel pain).
Asics Lethal club
Heel cushioning medium support, medium weight
Note: ALL ASICS HAVE 10mm heel raise, which may be quite helpful in minimising the stress of the Achilles tendon.
Good for wider foot, medium support, more affordable.
Blades Legend Elite
Good for speed, wider fit, good cushioning, 8mm heel raise.
Visit narrabeensportsmedicine.com.au to see Mo or for more information. Click here narrabeensportsmedicine.com.au/recommended-sports-shoes/ for a list of appropriate sports shoes.