How to choose the perfect football boots | ultimate guide
You can always find your perfect football boots by following these 9 simple steps.
Finding the right pair of football boots can be a nightmare. When you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, the sheer number of surface types, model numbers and upper materials can quickly induce a serious headache. And don’t even get me started on the amount of jargon involved.
The thing is, buying a new pair of boots doesn’t need to be this stressful. Instead of leaving you completely confused and overwhelmed, it should be an exciting, enjoyable experience which soon has you dreaming of better performances out on the pitch.
The current market is packed with intriguing new innovations and glittering colourways, but making the wrong choice could quickly lead to a complete disaster. To help you choose the perfect football boots this season, I’m running you through all the major factors you need to consider in your search. Let’s do this.
1. Set Your Budget
Before you start getting carried away, you need to decide how much money you actually have to spend on a new pair of football boots. The last thing you want is to get your heart set on a £250 pair of adidas Predators, only to realise you’ve stretched your overdraft limit as far as it will go and you’ve got to settle for something cheaper.
This won’t only lead to a great deal of wasted time, but looking at boots you can’t really afford will ultimately leave you disappointed with whatever you end up with. It sounds like an incredibly obvious piece of advice, but always make sure you’ve set a budget before starting to shop.
2. Decide On Your Playing Surface
Different football boots are suitable for different playing surfaces. By turning up in the wrong kind of footwear, you’ll inevitably put yourself at risk of serious injury and end up playing like a lethargic Ali Dia. Not to mention, you’ll become the laughing stock of your teammates for the rest of the season.
You need to find a pair of football boots which is perfectly suited to the surface and conditions you’re playing in. There’s a variety of boot surface types out there for you to choose from, and these are typically the main ones to consider:
Firm-ground football boots (FG): ideal for dry or slightly moist natural grass surfaces.
Soft-ground football boots (SG): suited for wet and muddy natural grass surfaces.
Artificial ground football boots (AG): perfect for 3G and 4G artificial pitches.
Astro football boots: built for basic sand and water-based astroturf pitches.
Indoor football boots: for when you’re playing on an indoor court. You probably knew that.
You’ll be able to tell which category a boot falls into by which type of studs are used. For example, soft ground boots will consist of metal studs, astroturf boots have hollow studs, while indoor boots will have flat rubber soles.
Although you might be tempted to simply get the most out of your boots by wearing them on multiple surfaces, the incorrect use of studs can cause some incredibly nasty accidents indeed. Namely, getting your foot stuck in the turf when you’re running full pelt down the wings. Big ouch.
3. Choose Your Material
I almost exclusively wear leather football boots, simply because I find them more comfortable and robust. However, plenty of other people prefer the more modern synthetic and knitted uppers, including the vast majority of professional players out there. Everyone has their own preferences, and you need to find yours before splashing the cash on some new boots.
Leather Football Boots
Popular leather boots, such as the Nike Tiempo and Puma King, have always been famous for their comfort and reliability - and rightly so. But there’s no doubt that the latest synthetic and knitted boots are now getting much closer to matching these attributes, with the added benefit of being lighter, faster and ultimately more durable.
Synthetic Football Boots
These alternative materials might not feel as authentic as good old-fashioned leather, but they also don’t involve the frustrating drawback of soaking up water and becoming heavier in wet conditions. Just as importantly, they won’t overstretch and will offer a fantastic fit straight out of the box.
Synthetic boots also aren’t as expensive as their knitted counterparts, meaning that you can get the best of both worlds for a very decent price. Unless you’re addicted to old-school leather, synthetic boots are the best option out there for the vast majority of players - which is why they’re by far the most popular.
Knitted Football Boots
The game is now faster than it’s ever been before, and the prospect of being slowed down by bulky leather boots obviously isn’t ideal for any speedy wingers out there. Knitted boots are the lightest and fastest of all, with the latest Nike Mercurials providing the perfect example of how innovative these boots can be.
Of course, such innovation often comes at a price, so I’d only recommend knitted boots to serious players with a bit of money to spare.
4. Make Sure They’re Comfortable
Comfort is everything when it comes to football boots. You can forget all about your fancy colourways, upgraded soleplates and micro-textured uppers: if the boots aren’t comfortable, then they just aren’t worth buying.
This will typically come down to how well the boots actually fit, with the shape of your foot having a major influence on what you decide to wear. For example, those after boots for wide feet may find more joy with leather boots such as the Puma King or Mizuno Morelia Neo II, while narrow-footed players might opt for the adidas Nemeziz instead.
The most comfortable football boots will always offer a stable and secure lockdown of the foot, but they also shouldn’t feel too tight and restrictive. It’s always a good idea to go a size or two up from what you usually wear, because you’ll need a bit of wiggle room around the toe box and anything too tight will result in an onslaught of blisters. Not nice at all.
READ | Our definitive ranking of the best football boots for 2020.
5. Consider Your Playing Position and Style
The days of simply picking out a standard pair of leather boots are now well and truly behind us. Nowadays, you can get your hands (or feet) on a pair of football boots which are specifically designed for your favoured position, with innovative features designed to enhance your particular attributes.
The lightweight adidas X and Nike Mercurial, for example, are the ideal boots for wingers with bags of pace, while a robust centre-back might feel more at home in a pair of Nike Tiempos. There are boots out there for strikers, midfielders, defenders and even goalkeepers, with each one specifically designed to improve shooting, passing or other skills.
Instead of just opting for a pair of boots because that’s what Lionel Messi wears, you need to seriously think about which piece of footwear will help you make the most of your game. Even if you’re just playing a casual game of five-a-side every week, it makes sense to go for the boots which really complement your game.
6. Select Your Colour
You should never choose a pair of football boots just because they look good, and the other factors listed above are all far more important. However, once you’ve found a boot model which meets those vital criteria, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting them to look damn good at the same time.
Besides, football boots can be very expensive, so you’ll want to spend your money on something which turns your mates sick with envy. Well, maybe not sick, but a little green at the very least.
Speaking of green, there are now literally tons of awesome colourways out there for you to choose from. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a more traditional Copa Mundial or black Predator, but I can think of nothing worse than a world where all football boots look the same. If you’ve got your eye on white, pink or even gold boots this season, then just go for it. Good for you.
So long as they make you feel comfortable, confident and happy out on the pitch, you can go for whatever style you want (unless you’re an academy player, in which case you’re probably restricted to blackout boots).
7. Research the Latest Releases
Much like Jurgen Klopp’s infamous gegenpress, the wave of football boot releases is absolutely relentless. On a seemingly weekly basis, the big brands are unleashing fresh new colourways or re-releasing old classics, with each launch tempting us to unfasten our purse strings and splurge some cash yet again. And again. I’ve always been a sucker for advertising.
Keeping up to date with all these releases is hard enough, but you also need to look into which of these boots are actually worth the investment. The various buying guides at FOOTY.COM are a great place to start, since we’ll identify which models are best for your requirements and then give you an honest review.
Places such as SoccerBible are fantastic for keeping up with the latest boot launches, while the likes of RunRepeat and Amazon are great places to find out what other wearers think. Before you buy anything, you should do your homework and look into what’s really popular right now, as this is the only way you can really hope to find the best boots for you.
8. Compare the Cheapest Prices
No matter which football boots you ultimately decide to go for, you’ll always want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. FOOTY.COM is the home of football price comparison, and it’s our mission to help you save a little money by comparing prices from multiple online retailers. Yep, even the big ones.
Instead of spending hours trawling through various websites (who seriously has time for that any more?), you can simply type in the boots you’re looking for and then click on the cheapest price. In fact, you can even set up a price alert, so we’ll let you know as soon as a particular pair has fallen within your budget!
By finding the perfect boots at the best price, it’s fair to say you’ve just made the best possible start to the new season. We’ve got cheap football boots for men, women and kids, covering all surface types, upper materials and playing styles. Getting great value for money has never been simpler, to be honest with you.
9. Look After Them!
Once your shiny new football boots have arrived, the work doesn’t stop there. If you want your “perfect” boots to remain perfect for a decent amount of time, then you’ll need to go out of your way to look after them. Before you start rolling your eyes and telling me you can’t be bothered, this will undoubtedly save you a substantial amount of money in the future.
By cleaning and caring for your boots properly, you’ll inevitably maintain their condition and increase their overall lifespan. Instead of having to buy a new pair every 5 minutes, you just need to spend a bit of time washing, drying and disinfecting your boots to stop them from rapidly deteriorating.
After spending so long searching for your new boots, you’ll want to do everything possible to make them last longer.