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Choosing the right footy boot

20/11/2016 by Pivotal Motion

With so many sports boots on the market. Let your Local Ashgrove Podiatry clinic Pivotal Motion Podiatry help you make the right choice.  Call us and make an appointment 07 3352 5116

Selecting the right Footy Boot

Footy Boot selection is Important

Today we have a multitude of boots on the market, each touting that they are the optimal choice for your needs.

This blog is dedicated to all things related to football boots, and hopefully will provide an insight into what considerations you need in order to make the right choice in footwear.

What Features Distinguish a Football Boot?

The requirement for traction on the field is possibly the most distinguishing feature of a boot required for most forms of football.

In addition, football boots are typically more form fitting that typical sports shoes. The logic behind this is to provide better ball handling capability by increasing the ability for the foot to ‘feel the ball’. Some boots provide asymmetrical lacing to enable the top of the foot to contact the ball without interference from the laces. This feature may be particularly useful for codes like soccer.

Football boots tend to be minimal in design in order to maintain minimum weight, maximum speed, and promote a sense of feeling the ground, otherwise known as proprioceptive feedback. As a result, many features that may be required to protect some feet are required to be sacrificed.

 

Demand on the Foot

It is estimated that 60-70% of a game of soccer is spent walking or jogging, whilst 20-30% is spent cruising and sprinting. Increased speed places upwards of 3 times the amount of body weight force through the feet. The minimal design will give limited assistance to those feet with a higher requirement for support.

Consider the type of field that you will be playing on. A dry, hard playing field will be less forgiving on the feet. As such, cushioning and shock absorbing qualities in the boot may assist with comfort and injury prevention.

It is important to consider the differences between activity during training and that whilst playing a game. In soccer, it has been estimated that stress placed upon the boot through training is three times greater than when playing an actual game. Therefore it may be beneficial to consider the activities performed during each session, and perhaps have individual boots with features tailored to the session’s activity.

Sever’s disease is a common complaint that can cause significant heel pain in younger player aged around 8 to 12 years. For these players, or those with achilles and calf tightness, a raised heel of approximately 10-15mm can assist greatly in reducing tension throughout these structures through play.

Materials and Fit

The fit of the boot is crucial to maximise performance and minimise injury. Boots that are too tight can cramp the feet, increase injury, and cause nail damage, whilst shoes that are too sloppy will cause the foot to slide around in the boot, leading to uneven weight distribution and ingrown nails.

The upper material can also affect the performance and fit of the boot. Kangaroo leather is often used for its flexible yet hardwearing properties. Leather shoes will often stretch and conform to the foot, which is a consideration to make when purchasing boots. Synthetic materials will not deform easily. Many of the cheaper plastic materials have been known to contribute to increased friction and may increase the likelihood of rubbing and blistering.

Remember that leathers have a tendency to dry out and crack, and so regular cleaning and oiling is important for the long term life of the boot. Wet boots can be dried by being left out in the sun. Stuffing the boots with newspaper may also speed up the drying process.

When purchasing boots, it is best to do so with the kit that you will be wearing on the field. Try them on with the socks that you will be playing in. Try them on whilst wearing shin guards or ankle braces if required.

Finally, if you have a requirement to wear orthotics, it is important to consider this before purchasing new boots. As football boots are traditionally slim in shape, fitting orthotics can be difficult. Picking boots that have a removable insole is a good start as that will free up some space inside the boot. Take your orthotics in with you to test the fit in store. Speak to your podiatrist about either developing pair specific for your boots, or ask if it is possible to make adjustments to an existing pair for a better fit.

What Code?

Many of the football codes can get away with similar boots – soccer, AFL, and rugby league boots are relatively interchangeable. Rugby union forward positions may be the exception, where the preferred boot for play is usually higher profile, with longer studs to assist with traction during rucks.

Indoor sports, like futsal, do not require studs for traction, and will usually require boots with a non-marking sole.

Astrosoles are boots that are worn for play on astro-turf. Atrosoles have a series of dimples along the sole to assist with traction.

Studs or Blades?

The options for traction appear to be increasing every day. As a general rule, the choice for which type of boot to choose will come down to the position played, the individual foot, and the surface to be played on.

Removable studs are particularly good for fields that tend to be soft or damp, as the stud length can be changed to suit the field. They can be plastic or metal. Metal studs are more durable, however are not always permitted for safety reasons.

Moulded and shorter studs are recommended for drier or harder fields. Moulded studs are recommended for younger football players as they provide a more even force distribution across the base of the boot. Some moulded sole boots have a variety of stud lengths to attempt to accommodate for multiple playing conditions.

Blades have found popularity by claiming an increase in traction of the field, as well as an increased surface area to help distribute body weight throughout the boot. Some claim that blades may offer too much traction, preventing rotation of the foot and leg and contributing to knee and ankle injury.

Special attention is required for the positioning of studs and blades. High pressure areas at the heel and the big toe joint can be especially susceptible to bruising, blistering, and callus formation for some feet.

There are many different types of boots out there to suit the many different types of feet. One boot will not suit everyone, and so it is important to consider what features are most important for you to enhance performance and minimise injury.