Full Back (Right or Left Defender) – Finding the right pair of soccer cleats is paramount to ensuring you are performing at the highest level come the first whistle. Each position is going to have specific boots that are more suited than others. So, in our Best Cleats by Position series, we take a look at what boots suit the needs of each playing position on the soccer pitch.
One of the most underrated positions on a soccer field belongs to one of the most influential players – the full back. You rarely hear about the heroic performance of a right or left defender, yet there job could be one of the most difficult. Think about it for a second, not only are you responsible for getting up and down the line, helping support any attacks and usually whipping balls into the box, but you also have the responsibility of keeping the dangerous wide, attacking players at bay. Full backs have the unenviable task of marking the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Antonio Valencia, which is not an easy job at the best of times! Having the right soccer cleat is, as you would expect, very important in order to ensure the full back is ready for action at all times. The good news is that there is a very wide selection of cleats suitable for full backs, with pretty much any boot on the market fitting the mold. The most important characteristics to look for are:
- Consistency – With so much going in during a game for the left or right back, have an all around consistent performing soccer cleat is pretty essential. You are going to want a boot the delivers at the right time, whether you are on or off the ball.
- Touch – Picking up the ball in the full back position, moving forward quickly, beating one or two players and delivering a deadly cross into the box, sprint back in to position – a typical days work for a full back! In order to complete this chain of events, having good touch on the ball while you dribble, makes a huge difference.
- Traction – Getting involved in the attack is a key characteristic of a good outside back, so you are going to want to cover a lot of ground. Being able to rely on your soccer cleats to deliver when you are crossing or getting back quickly to break up counter attacks is critical.
Nike CTR360 Maestri II (read review)
With the CTR360 Maestri range, you get a mix of solid protection with a creative soccer cleat. As an outside back, the CTR360 offers solid protection for those tough tackles you are going to be making. And when it comes to creating chances, these boots have exactly what you will need. Designed for playmakers, the CTR360 Maestri II features dampening pads along the front of the boot, and TPU fins along the side. The dampening pods are perfectly positioned to offer great touch and control on the ball, while the TPU fins will give you great spin when playing crosses into the box. To be honest, I have been surprised not to see that more full backs wearing these boots!
Search for pairs of CTR360 Maestri.
Umbro Stealth II Pro (read release)
The Stealth II seems to be one of the more popular choices for outside backs in the English Premier League. A large majority of players seem to have turned to the high performance offered by the Umbro’s cleat. The biggest upgrade to the second series in the range lies in the upper of the boot, with Umbro choosing to include a K-leather this time around. In my opinion, this is a great addition and it offers a great combination of properties for defenders, especially when it comes to touch. The leather has actually been formed/riveted to improve touch and enhance power on contact. I also really like the colorway used by Umbro, with the blue/gold detailing on the boot making it look classy. One thing to bear in mind is that these are a HG boot, designed for hard ground.
Search for pairs of Stealth Pro.
Adidas F50 adiZero (read review)
What is sure to be the surprise inclusion in the list of options for full backs, the Adidas F50 adiZero has a balance that will suit pacey defenders who like to join in the attack. The only negative lies in the amount of protection – or lack of – offered by the ultra lightweight boot. The F50 adiZero is a great option for wingers, so you actually get to match what they are wearing, sort of canceling any footwear advantage they might have! When I tested them, I found that they offered a very competitive level of touch and control, and as you might imagine they offer a fantastic option for players who like to run a lot! Just to note, I am specifically referencing the regular version over the Prime based on the value and price – if you prefer the Prime version, they are just as good an option.
Search for pairs of F50 adiZero.
What center backs are currently wearing: (as of Apr 2011)
Patrice Evra (Manchester United) – Nike T90 Laser III
Ashley Cole (Chelsea) – Nike CTR360 Maestri
Marcelo Vieira (Real Madrid) – Nike Vapor Superfly II
Leighton Baines (Everton) – Umbro Stealth II Pro
Danny Alves (Barcelona) – Adidas F50 adiZero Prime
Gael Clichy (Arsenal) – Umbro Stealth II Pro
Joan Capdevila (Villareal) – Lotto Fuerzapura
Maicon (Inter Milan) – Nike T90 Laser III
Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake) – Adidas Predator X
Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy) – Nike CTR360 Maestri II
Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) – Umbro Stealth II Pro
Jose Enrique (Newcastle) – Adidas F50 adiZero Prime
Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96) – Adidas adiPure IV