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Mens vs. womens football boots: are they unisex?

Adult football boots are more closely matched than they’ve ever been. Why? Are they now unisex? Let’s take a look and find out.

mens and womens football boots are they unisex

It was way back in 1975 when the female game was first recognised with its own specific pair of women’s football boots.

It’s not surprising that sportswear giants adidas were behind the boot, which was named the Anja. Things have certainly come a long way since then.

The women’s game has been enjoying a meteoric rise in recent years, and rightly so. As a woman who plays the beautiful game, you should be demanding a wider selection of unisex football boots to choose from.

Unfortunately, manufacturers and their marketing teams haven’t quite kept up with the demand of the women’s game as much as they should have. That's until fairly recently.

Before we begin firmly ringing the bell of shame at sports brands, there is some good news. Along with a much improved range of women’s releases in recent years, football boots are now being created with women in mind and can be worn by everyone. They are now truly unisex.

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Is there any difference between men’s and women’s football boots?

mens vs womens puma ultra football boots silver
Images from Puma.

Generally speaking, men are genetically bigger than women. That’s just science. Which means the feet follow the same rule (it would look a bit weird if they didn’t).

Women’s feet tend to be slimmer, with a slightly deeper arch. Men have longer, wider feet and shallower arches.

This leads to a few things to keep an eye out for when you’re looking to choose a fresh new pair of boots.

Sizing

Of course, as you’d expect, sizing is the main difference. If you’re a woman who prefers the look of men’s boots, a general rule of thumb is to go down either one size or a size and a half (depending on brand).

Try to stick to models of football boots more suited to narrow feet, rather than some of the brands which suit wider feet.

Colourways

Girls are pink and boys are blue? Nonsense. This old hat view has clearly (and thankfully) disappeared from the world of football boots.

The range of colours that you see players wearing in both the men’s and the women’s games are all the evidence you need.

Whether you’re matching an array of colours to your team’s latest kit, or you’re a white or black boots kinda player, we’ve got all the options here.

Materials

Women’s, men’s and kids’ football boots are usually made in the same factories. This means big brands and manufacturers will save by bulk buying the materials that go into producing thousands of pairs of boots in their latest design. That’s just business economics 101.

The good news is, those materials don’t generally differ between the size of boot. Everybody gets the same quality materials. It only differs in terms of which tier of boot you opt for, usually the less you spend, the lesser the quality.

Stud configuration

In more recent years, Nike, adidas and the likes have been creating what they call a ‘women’s soleplate’.

This meant moving from the larger studs, to rounder firm ground plastic studs (like the Puma Ultra image from earlier). For the most part though, stud configurations have remained the same across male and female football boots, and you can get hold of whichever suits your game.

The choice shifts through soft ground and firm ground studs, stretching to artificial turf, astro turf and indoor shoes. If you’re not sure which is best, you can read our handy blog on which boot surface type you need to wear.

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Can women wear kids’ sizes of football boots?

kid vs adult football boot size adidas x
Images from Futbol Emotion.

Technically speaking, yes. You can follow the same rule that applies to men’s sizing (size up by one) but use it oppositely, and instead subtract one size from your usual fitting.

This means petite women who are a size 4 can save some money by grabbing a kids’ pair of football boots in a size 3. Bear in mind that due to the lower pricing, you may get subtly different looks and tech though.

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Why are football boots specifically for women hard to find?

Manufacturers and brands these days are producing a vast range of silhouettes, tiers, sizes and stud configurations of football boots.

It’s more economical for them to produce the same boot components, in smaller sizing (to be labelled with women’s sizing) as it is to produce and market “women’s boots” separately.

This is why most women will find unisex football boots that they can wear, listed in wider selections of sportswear websites. If you need help on what will work for you, we've even picked our own list of the best women's football boots.

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Best unisex football boots available for women

5. Nike Phantom GT2

Image from Unisport.

We always call the Nike Phantom GT2 a plucky, all-rounder. Which is exactly why it’s ideal for both the men’s and women’s games. Pernille Harder & Lucy Bronze choose to lace these up, and they’re pretty darn good when they do.

The off-centre lacing helps to tighten the fit, and the lively colourways on offer will always sprinkle a touch of pizazz on your kitbag situation.

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4. adidas X Speedflow

Image from Unisport.

The laceless ‘+’ option of the adidas X Speedflow is renowned for its snug, hugging fit. It’s a boot which tips in at the narrower end of the scale too. You only need to look at Vivienne Miedema to understand the X’s potential.

The colourways are sharp, exactly like the tech that’s packed in. And you’ll find plenty of tricks, sprints and goals too, all wrapped up in this beautiful lightweight package.

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3. Nike Mercurial Vapor 14

Image from Unisport.

Yes, it’s clearly something special to look at, but this boot also has a higher arch and a narrow fit which can be ideal for women’s feet. Sam Kerr sets the example for just how good the Vapor can be for your game.

The sizing starts from 3.5, so you should be able to get hold of the perfect pair for you. The speed and agility of your game is about to be raised, a lot.

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2. adidas Predator Edge

Image from Unisport.

This is a beautiful boot, and the reason we’re showing you the Predator Edge.1 is because of the lacing system. It gives extra opportunity for women to get the correct fit and French superstar Wendie Renard can often be seen bossing the park in these.

It’s a fairly narrow boot which is available in smaller sizes for women ‘ballers too. The colourway options are incredible, and it’s a perfect example of today’s unisex-friendly gamewear.

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1. Puma Ultra

Image from Puma.

Specifically designed with the women’s game in mind, this boot shows that Puma are no slouches when it comes to producing classy products for its female customer base.

It’s also worth noting that the Puma Ultra has helped legendary French forward Eugénie Le Sommer hit the back of the net a fair few (massive understatement) times.

We’re fans of this colourway, which is laid on quality materials that you expect from a top tier boot. Oh, and it’s super lightweight too.

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In our opinion, not all is right in the world in terms of equality with football boots. It’s a real shame. But there is hope on the horizon, modern ranges are clearly offering more unisex boot options.

We do believe though, companies are starting to work harder to provide more options for female players. After all, we all love this game as much as each other. Compare and find the best deal at FOOTY.COM.

Kevan Thorpe

Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.