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, ensuring 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 ensuring 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….