We are back with some fresh editions of our “Boots by Position” series to help offer suggested options to help narrow down your search for new boots. First up, we are going to start with the all important role of defenders, from the center back with a domineering aerial presence, to outside backs that like to get forward with the ball. One thing we have learned over time is that the best way to break down a list like this is by playing style, and the attributes associated with different positions.
Our goal here is to provide you with a list of our top recommended options, the boots that hold key characteristics to fit the right role. There are sure to be more options, and we’d like to hear your take in the comment section, should you have another boot to add to the list.
“Dominant Center Back”
Has the ability to win any aerial dual, whether that be defensively or attempted to score off set pieces. Might not as gifted on the floor, and they are not likely to win a lot of foot races, but give them the opportunity to put in a challenge and they will clean up any situation. Needs a balanced boot, something that reduces roll over and provides sufficient protection.
Top Option: Nike Hypervenom Phantom II
Not my favorite boot in the world, but they are made to suit defensive style players that want something with some serious modern upgrades. First thing to note is that the mid-cut collar is not there to stop ankle roles, but the added constriction through the region can only help. It is the evenly balanced conical stud configuration that provides your best bet for mobility while jumping, landing and looking to close in quickly on defenders. Of all the Nike boots, the Hypervenom Phantom II offer the most adequate protection, with the upper material holding a slightly stiffer feel. (Available here)
Puma evoPOWER 1.3 – Accu-Foam through the upper provides nice protection, and a perfect strike zone for important clearances.
Mizuno Wave Ignitus 4 – Excellent protection right across the upper, a very comfortable boot from first wear.
Nike Tiempo Legend – The top all around defensive boot on the market, worth consideration by all defenders.
“Passing Center Back”
A player who craves the ball at their feet. Has a knack for driving forward with the ball, and is also extremely dependable when it comes to making passes. In fact, they often have most completed passes of any player on the pitch. Needs something with good touch and control, some extra protection and a leather upper for visual.
Top Option: Nike Tiempo Legend VI
What do Gerard Pique, Laurent Koscielny, Rapael Varane and Sergio Ramos have in common? Talk about a line-up of defenders with no fear of moving up-field with the ball at their feet, all while wearing the Tiempo Legend series. One of the most comfortable boots on the market, the support cage underneath provides support while providing top quality touch and control. The soleplate offers a modern appearance, but sticks to a simple conical style configuration, insuring quick release from the surface when you need it most. (Available here)
Mizuno Morelia Neo – Lightest of the options available, these provide comfort with a premium cushioned touch.
Puma King II – A boot that hasn’t reached the heights of its reputation, but it still has that buttery soft upper and perfect styling to match the needs of entertaining defenders.
“Attacking Wing Back”
Has the ability to create from the back by making dynamic forward runs. Likes to take players on and get crosses into the box, occasionally striking a 30 yard bomb into the upper corner. Needs something a little lighter, but still with a protected upper.
Top Option: Adidas Ace 16.1 Primeknit
We are going top of the line here, with the first boot that features a full Primeknit upper. adidas has worked on balancing weight with performance, producing a very versatile boot that will match the needs of defenders that like to work hard. The Techfit collar also keeps your feet locked down in place as you look to accelerate away from opposing players, providing a sense of security in your footing. (Available here)
Puma evoSPEED 1.4 – A newer release available at a fantastic price, the evoSPEED weighs in at 7.6oz and is ideal for players like like to get involved on both sides of the pitch.
Nike Magista Opus – The version without the mid cut collar. It offers a slightly more protected upper with very even performance.
“Gritty Outside Back”
A more traditional style right or left back, sits in position and keeps things clean. Is the first player that sits back in a central role for attacking set-pieces. Needs a simple no-nonsense boot that provides comfort and helps you work hard through a 90 minute game.
Top Option: Adidas Gloro
There are two versions of the Gloro available to choose from, the original and the 16.1. We prefer the later in this instance, where that clean leather upper matches the simple necessities of defensive players that value consistency. adidas has looked to keep things simple, with an emphasis in insuring players have a snug and comfortable boot that allows them to focus on their game. They are also a nicely padded boot, especially around the ankle region. (Available here)
Nike Premier – A modern classic, Nike has kept the general design simple yet very functional. A definite option that caters for players with more of a no-nonsense style.
Adidas Copa Mundial – The original, a boot that has survived every modern day release brought to market. Quality materials, great fit and comfort highlight the Copa.
Nike Tiempo Legend IV – The top all around defensive boot on the market, worth consideration by all defenders.
There to break-up play and ensure attackers know that they are going to be there to stop them. Likes to tackle hard and control the game from in front of the back-line. Needs protection and mobility, especially through lateral movements.
Top Option: Puma evoPOWER 1.3
We were memorized by the initial evoPOWER release, and this version brings back fond memories. Lined with Accu-Foam across the upper, you are getting a boot that matches protection with quality feel on the ball. If you get stuck in on tackles, it provides one of the better impact resistant options on the market. While the clean strike zone will come in useful anytime you feel like pulling the trigger from 40 yards out! (Available here)
Adidas X15.1 – Not a boot you might expect to see here, but the X-cage system provides a confident, locked down fit that reduces hesitation in key moments. Ideal for players that like to leave their mark on a game.
Mizuno Wave Ignitus 4 – Excellent protection right across the upper, very comfortable right from first wear.
Adidas Ace16.1 – The latest from adidas offers comfort and a non-slip grip upper for perfect first touch before you meet the opposing attackers legs!
Out of the entire list, it is the Nike Tiempo Legend 6 that provides the most universally proficient option for defenders. If you just want one suggestion, they would be the boot of the moment right now! Check our Legend 6 review here. Should your budget be a little tighter, take a step to the mid-tier Nike Tiempo Legacy II, a boot that will also provide you with consistent performance at a solid price point.
Next up, we will take a look at midfielders! Stay tuned….
One note for the attacking wingback slot. Personally, I wear Copas and I would recommend them, along with any of the other higher quality heritage releases like the Morelias or even Ryals and such. When you run that much comfort is key and your boots need to be durable to take that kind of punishment. I just don't feel like some of the modern releases can truly take the beating for that position. Also, with those heritage releases protection isn't a problem so if you do have to charge in there's no worries. Granted they don't come with all of the technology and they are bulkier but ultimately they work and are very well rounded in terms of performance. Good for shooting, passing, tackling, stability, maybe not grip so much when it's wet but hey, no clear is perfect. I do also admit to having a preference towards leather. That being said heritage boots shouldn't be written off for attacking wingback a because they are so versatile, which you need in that position.
All good points! The Copa definitely has the versatility to fill the role very well.
I have to agree Antonio. Was wondering why the Morelia or Morelia Neo didn't make the list. I play fullback and, with exception to the Tiempo, the new, synthetic shoes just don't offer the protection, comfort, or touch a Defender needs. Copa is the truth, but so is the Puma King Top. Not mentioned much, but checks all the blocks. And at about $100 a good value.
Might have to look into the Kings again. I got my Copas right before the price hike so I might shop around some when they die. $135 is still fine by me but if I can find something of similar quality for $100 I'd try it.
You could always check out the Gloro also, modern version of the Copa and the price is closer to $100!
Boots by position is just marketing method to lure customers to buy specific products, which is just bad way to choose your next pair of boots.
The most important thing when choosing football boots is just feeling. Just choose one that you feel comfortable and confident when using it. That's why many defenders are using thin synthetic boots and many forwards are also using padded leather.
Boots by position is a crock…it's merely a ploy to get more affiliate bucks with certain sites.
Then your a crock, the boots don't make the player. However the right boots help a players game. Those boots are based on a lot of factors. The attributes of a given boot, as they relate to a certain position, is a great place to start. Not a marketing ploy. Of course a player who loves the Tiempo can play striker in them, or midfield. However, they just check a lot of boxes for what most Defenders are looking for. That's the point. Nothing else. It's a guide, not the rule, guy
You have having a laugh, right? These are simply recommendations. Frequently players look for help in narrowing down the huge number of boots currently on the market. Having had the opportunity to test all boots on the list, I feel decently qualified to be able to narrow that field down to what are the most suitable options.
I'm really surprised the New Balance Visaro K leather isn't included. It's a great boot, extremely comfortable, lighter than the copa and provides a better feel (IMO) than the premier. I rank it right up there with the Tiempo, which I moved away from to get the visaro.
The Visaro K is definitely the best of the New Balance boots on the market, but from a performance perspective, I find it tough to recommend them with confidence.
Boots by position is just ridiculous. Wear the boot that fits your footshape and feels comfortable period. If you want the feel of leather, go for the Tiempo, if you want a lightweight shoe go for the mercurial, that´s how you should recommend shoes and not recommend them by the position and the attributes you have as a player. I expected you to have more knowlegde about football cleats.
I'd agree with wearing "the boot that fits your footshape and feels comfortable period". Unfortunately, a lot of stores carry minimal options, so people come looking for advice on what options are available. We get a LOT of requests for information based on playing position, thus the series. It might not suit your style, and if that is the case feel free to look past it. If you'd like a "best boot by type" article, feel free to request it!
The Umbro Speciali Eternal is a very good boot to mention. the likes of pepe wears them. One of the most comfortable, durable, pillow like touches on the ball. It's worth a look!
Soccercleats101 pls give your opinion
Good one, What about the Nemeziz
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