There is a wide range of more experienced players out there who find it a little more challenging to find the right type and style of boot in today’s wildly visual market. Things are not as simple as they were a decade ago, when players simply needed to flip through a Eurosport magazine and settle for their favorite style of boots. We seem to have a market that currently evolves on a daily basis as companies look to increase their prescence. Frequently, emails come in from players who just want a bang for their book boot that will offer protection and last at least a season of play without all the complex technology.
If you are one of those players or just someone looking to get back into the game after time off, here we guide you through the decision making process with ideas of what you should be looking for as well as some recommended options.
High Price Doesn’t Always Mean Durability
This is an area that is often misunderstood by players. Top tier releases on the market generally hit the $200 mark, a high price that makes you think they will naturally be built to last longer. But this is not so. First, it is important to note that these are the boots being produced for the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Brands will look at the market, evaluate the requests of these high profile players and create a boot designed to perform at the top level of play, until they need a new pair. If you know anything about top level players, it is that they will only wear a pair a few weeks or maybe a month, before switching to a new pair. In other words, these tyoe of boots are built with poerformance in mind rather than comfort and durability. Also, in general these boots will be lighter with less material used in their construction.
So, where does that leave players who want a more durable option? The key is to take a step down to the mid-tier range, or the boots that are generally priced between $80 and $120. You are getting a top performing boot that will have more materials included and a more solid construction.
Understand Boot Categories
There are four different categories that we use when talking about boots.
- Speed boots are the lightweight ones used by the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.
- Control boots are the ones that generally feature some technology along the instep.
- Power boots are constructed with elements along the strikezone, intended to create extra rebound and swerve on shots.
- And the final category is Heritage, the old school boots intended to provide players with a more uniform level of performance.
I doubt it will come as any surprise that they category most recommended to experienced players is anything in Heritage! In saying that, there are plenty of boots in the Power and Control category that will also provide a balanced feel and solid performance, but you are going to find much better options and traditional styles in the heritage category.
Stud Configurations and Ankle Safety
It is important to ensure you are using a boot that features the correct style of stud configuration to ensure those ankles and knees are not put under any unnecessary stress. In general, players will use SG boots on soft or wet pitches, FG on firm ground fields or turf, HG on hard ground surfaces, AG on artificial surfaces, and TF on turf. There are definitely plenty of options on the market, but the way you are going to want to go is in two directions; either a conical FG stud configuration or a TF.
FG soleplates come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The problem being, as you cross over to bladed configurations there is more drag through lateral movement and this can cause issues as you move side to side. The safest option for use on natural grass and artificial surfaces is conical studs, the round ones that are generally dispersed in an even manner across the soleplate. The lower the profile of each stud, the better off you will be!
TF, or turf, is an even safer option for players as the soleplate will be constructed with smaller studs condensed right across the surface. The space in between each stud creates some grip while the overall uniform nature keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground. If you have any interest in chopping quickly or accelerating away, these will not be your best option but where they will prove useful is when you are getting your foot on the ball and moving it across the pitch.
Figure out your foot shape
One thing that a lot of new players are unaware of is the fact that pretty much every boot on the market fits in a different way. Even when you look across a single brands silo’s, you will see that they have intentionally sized each boot in a different fashion to suit several player types. If you have the opportunity to get into a soccer store and try shoes on, you are golden and way ahead of the game. Unfortunately, a lot of players have to rely on buying new boots online. There are 3 specific ways to figure out what boots suit you best:
- Read review sites like SoccerCleats101 – all of our reviews have details on sizing and fit. Another great site to check out comes from our friends across the Atlantic, footy-boots.com.
- Ask a friend what boots they wear and compare your fit with theirs.
- Use a boot sizing app to figure out what you shape you are best suited to. Soccer.com has just added Shoefittr to their boot listings and it offers players invaluable advice when selecting the right shape to look for.
Recommended Boot Options
There are obviously a ton of different options out there, but here are the boots I frequently find myself recommending to more experienced players. They vary in price and general style, but the fundamentals of heritage boots are all there.
Adidas Copa Mundial
The age old favorite that has stood the test of time and continues to be a market top seller. The Copa Mundial weighs in at 11.4oz and features a k-leather option. Since they were designed at the dawn of time, they are not a very advanced boot technology wise and they are on the slightly heavier end. But they will last a long, long time and leave you feeling snug and secure every time you wear them!
Current Price: $149.99
My current top recommendation on the list for several reasons. Nike only recently released these boots to market, with the intent of providing players a market competitor to the Copa Mundial. What Nike has on its side is a lot of research and a team dedicated to creating a modern performing boot with quality materials and an awesome price tag! These boots weigh in at 8.6oz.
Current Price: $109.99
A boot that has been very successful over the past few seasons is the Maracana. This is a simple boot built to be extremely durable and very, very comfortable. In fact, they lead the way in comfort out of all 132 boots we have tested over the past 5 years! Also worth noting is that the leather upper features an anti-stretch lining, allowing the boot to keep its shape for an extended period of time. Weigh in at 9.4oz.
Current Price: $84.99
Asics DS Light X-Fly
These are an absolute personal favorite and a really top performing boot. The issue for some might be the colorways and the higher than average price compared to other boots on this list. It is the X-Fly soleplate on these that makes them special. It is made of a Solyte Polymer compound that offers a loose feel without taking away from stability. It is actually designed to even out pressure distribution equally through and this plays true since it is combined with low-profile conical studs. Weigh in at a very lightweight 7.2oz.
Current Price: $209.99
Puma King Top K
Another classic boot that has been around for a long time and continues to impress in the performance category. When you mix the quality k-leather upper, balanced conical stud configuration, classic fold over tongue and reputation of Puma, you are on to a definite winner. Again, this is an option that can cross over between FG and TF surfaces without any problems. Similar to the Copa’s, they weigh in at 11.4oz.
Current Price: $149.99
Ryal La Storia
For those that want something vastly different, you definitely should check out the Ryal La Storia. Ryal are an Italian brand who only sell in Europe, so should you decide to pick up a pair that is where you will be ordering them from. In terms of style, these boots are phenomenal and provide the most unique, old-school look with the benefit of modern performance. The materials included through the boot are quality and the snug construction of the boot keeps your foot shrouded in a cloud of comfort through wear! Weigh in at 10.5oz.
Current Price: €119.00
Adidas 11Nova TF
The top turf specific option would have to go to the Adidas 11Nova. Being that this is a new boot release, there are limited options when it comes to colorway at this point. That could be a stumbling block as there isn’t a traditional black release available yet. A huge advantage to going TF is the fact the boots are much cheaper, primarily because you are getting a rubber soleplate as opposed to an actual stud configuration. The upper is a soft full-grain leather upper, with a layer of suede added around the toe-cap to ensure they are very durable and built to last. Weigh in at 10.6oz.
Current Price: $74.99
Nike Tiempo Legacy Turf
Another quality TF specific boot to consider is the Legacy. They have a similar styling to the 11Nova, but you automatically get the classic black look if you take this route. The upper is a calfskin leather, with a suede toecap again ensuring durability is at the max! Weigh in at 10.6oz.
Current Price: $99.99
If you are still in need of help selecting new boots, let us know in the comments below and we will look to offer guidance and advice where we can. Alternatively, we also encourage players to leave their personal feedback and any experiences that might prove beneficial to other players reading!