When buying anything football related, we’re inevitably influenced by the superstar players who command our screens week-in, week-out. Fortunately, most football players wear brands you can easily find online, like Puma and Nike – so all you need to do is decide which design best suits your game.
On the outside
Football boots have come a long way from the black leather boots that were the norm for so long. In fact, the emergence of flashy football boots has been an incredibly quick one: a survey in 1996 revealed that 100% of kids aged 7-12 wore black boots, while now only a quarter of the same age group do. Flashier designs in white, red, blue and green have all become far more popular than the plain and practical original.
The material has also changed a great deal, with leather being replaced and co-habited by synthetics, largely because it’s a lighter material – and now that the ball is also made of synthetics, it sticks more to the boots. Synthetics also create lighter boots, which are ideal for attacking players who’ll need to run with the ball a lot. Defensive players tend to need more protection, so a firmer material on the top of the boot is important.
An attacking player like Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero wears Puma’s 1.2 Evospeed boots, because his game is built around speed and movement. These boots are lightweight with a firm heel cage, creating a firmer base to push off from. In creating these, Puma used a lot of the same designs and technology as they did for Usain Bolt’s on-track footwear, so if you envisage yourself powering up the pitch at similar lightning speeds, these should be ideal.
Although the material and weight of a boot helps make the most of any footballing ability, getting the correct studs is particularly important for safety. The three different types are studs, blades and moulds. Studs are the old fashioned metallic type, which are best for digging into softer ground and moulds are rubber, best for gripping to hard ground. Blades are somewhere in between and can be metal or rubber.
The Puma trainers above are something of a hybrid, with both moulded and metal studs. The metal studs are best for softer conditions – the softer and wetter the pitch, the longer the studs need to be. For dry pitches, your best bet will be something like the Puma Evospeed 3.2 Firm Ground boots with moulded studs. Designed for firmer pitches, they can grip to the turf and make it easier to change direction. You can also use them on some AstroTurf pitches, but if you’re planning on using them for your local five-a-sides, check that you’re permitted to wear moulded studs – some leagues don’t allow them.
When playing on AstroTurf, unsurprisingly, you’ll be best off with AstroTurf trainers. Sturdier than football boots, the moulded studs here are short and part of the sole unit. This means the whole base of the foot offers grip on a solid surface on hard ground, but avoid wearing them on grass – especially when it’s been raining.