So Fall has dropped, and if you’re a rec player north of the 49th parallel (or in the Northern US), you’re probably in that awkward transition from the outdoor game to the small sided indoor game. Playing multiple nights a week on various surfaces (including court, carpet, and various turf pitches) it’s always interesting to see what kind of boots people are using in the small sided game.
One of the alarming factors I’ve noticed about players boot choices in the indoor game is it suffers from a lot of players who buy a lower tier Indoor Court shoe (Adidas F5 IC or Nike Mercurial Victory IC) and expect it to perform well across the various surfaces which populate the indoor game. So to kick off the indoor season, I want to run through the types of boots people wear indoors from court to FG, and give an idea of what surfaces they’ll work best on.
I’ll also suggest a couple of models which offer both good performance and a decent price (say under $125).
INDOOR COURT (IC): The bread and butter boot of most indoor players, regardless of the surface. If you play on multiple surfaces and can only buy one pair of boots, it’s your best bet. That being said, the sole of the boot is designed for flat surfaces. The Futsal court is where you’ll get the optimal performance, however, the sole is also the best fit for matches which occur on carpeted surfaces and the original astroturf which dates back to the 1960’s, and some centres still doggedly refuse to upgrade. While Nike and Adidas have marketed a line of boots designed more for street play, an old pair of indoors will serve you just as well for informal outdoor kickabouts which occur on tennis courts at public parks, or in the street.
Recommended Boots: Joma Top Flex (Retail ranges from $45 to $75 depending on the colourway); Munich Gresca (Retail $120), Nike Elastico Pro (Retail ranges from $40 for the Elastico I to $80 for the Elastico II), Adidas Top Sala (Retail $60)
TURF (TF): For many years the staple soleplate on everything but the most tattered of turf pitches. Traction is provided by the numerous small rubber studs, which evenly dig into the artificial pitches. The improvements in turf pitches (see FieldTurf) have seen less of a NEED for the pure turf layout, as players are able to wear their FG layouts on the new turf. That being said, if the turf is a little older, or is FieldTurf which just isn’t being maintained properly (turf looks flat, lacking pellets), then the turf layout is the way to go.
Artificial Grass (AG): The new tech when it comes to the indoor game. Nike is very much at the vanguard of the AG movement. The improvements in turf over the years has led to companies taking the game on turf seriously. The small hollowed out studs on the AG soleplate, allow the the advantage of keeping a low centre of gravity while not sacrificing traction. The AG boot is best suited to the current generation of turf pitches being produced, so if your indoor leagues take place in centres built within the last five years, it’s an easy decision to pick up a pair of AG boots. Adidas, Puma, Pele Sports, and Joma all offer an AG soleplate which differs from the Nike system, the former three companies stud layout resemble the seldom seen HG layout, while Joma’s follow the small hollowed out studs which has worked so well for the crew over at ‘Swoosh HQ’.
Firm Ground (FG): While improvements to the quality of artificial turf surfaces has led to the development of the AG soleplate, they’ve also made it possible for outdoor boots to make the transition to indoor. The FG layout will be at home on the current generation of turf pitches, so long as they’re being well maintained by the operators. The main question regarding FG boots on turf is regarding which studs to use. Anecdotally, I advise using the classic conical stud pattern or the triangular studs featured on Adidas’ Sprintframe technology if you plan on using FG boots on the turf, and avoiding boots with blades altogether.
Hopefully, this quick guide to indoor boot choices, will aid you as the indoor season prepares to start up. In my experience players budget much less money for their indoor footwear than their outdoor footwear which is why I’ve chosen boots which will provide you with a quality boot at a decent price. Best wishes for the upcoming indoor season!