Playing soccer on artificial turf pitches during summer months comes with one big problem – the heat of the surface. And if you are anything like me, playing on blazing hot turf with your feet on fire is something that can really take the fun out of playing. This is especially true when you are wearing the incorrect footwear. But, there are some tips and tricks you can use to get some relief.
According to a study cited by the Las Vegas Sun in 2009, artificial turf above 122 degrees is considered “unsafe for sustained athletic use.” You won’t be surprised to hear that depending on the air temperature, turf can get as hot as 180 degrees. That number is not a misprint – 180 degrees in the most extreme conditions. If you’ve played on AG surfaces and encountered the searing pain caused by excessive heat, you will know it is something that can dramatically impact performance.
As well as talking about some of the best boot options, we wanted to highlight some of our tips and tricks that will immediately play a positive role in your experiences playing on hot turf pitches!
#1 – Avoid Soaking Your Feet in Water
I know it might seem like a great idea at the time, but pouring water on your feet is only going to create more problems. As your socks heat up, so will the water you poured on your boots. So, your feet will basically be soaking in a steaming hot bath.
#2 – Change Your Socks and Boots at Halftime
Instead of the above, you should switch your socks out at halftime (or any available water-break) and have a second pair of boots you can switch into on hand. It will give you immediate relief on the pitch, even if it is only for 5 or 10 minutes.
#3 – Mid Cut Collars and Hot Turf Don’t Blend Well
As the surface heats up, it becomes a challenge keeping your boots and feet at a cool level. Add in a constricted mid-cut collar and there is less gaps for the hot air to escape. Basically, no ventilation like you would find with a regular ankle cut boot. As a result, it is even hotter in your boots.
#4 – Lightweight Means Less Material
Avoid anything that is marketed as being lightweight. Why? Well, in order to create incredibly light shoes, I’m talking anything under 7oz here, brands reduce the amount of material being used in all the important spots. They look for ways to decrease the thickness of the soleplate and continue to thin out the insoles. That leaves your foot closer to the surface, exactly what you don’t want on hot turf. Instead, focus on boots that are geared toward “comfort”, where they are built to be a little thicker.
#5 – Consider Some Cooling Socks
This one is more for post game. They might look odd, but they end up working really well in cooling down your feet, while helping to reduce any swelling caused by the excessive heat. There is actually a HUGE selection of cold therapy socks on offer, check them out at Amazon.com.
#6 – Choosing the Right Boots
As per above, avoid anything that comes with a closed collar, or doesn’t feature laces. Why? Because you need footwear that can breath, where the hot air inside can circulate out of the boot more easily. Using a collar, the heat sits inside your boot and causes the temperature to increase quickly. And if they feature a built in tongue, the same thing is true. From experience, the difference between wearing the right and wrong boot is like night and day.
Sadly, modern innovation on the market has evolved in a different fashion. Everything is geared toward snug fitting boots that lock onto your foot. As a result, there are not a great deal of ideal options. And on our list, you won’t find many of the fancy, tech advanced boots you might expect to see.
The handful of boots that we can truly recommend as ideal options right now include the below. Note also that several of them are currently on sale.
Diadora Brasil K – Price: $139.99
Umbro Medusae III Pro – Price: $199.99
UA Magnetico Pro – Price: $219.99
New Balance 442 – Price: $119.99
Mizuno Morelia Neo II – Price: $289.99
Nike Premier II – Price: $109.99
PUMA King Top Di – Price: $119.99
#7 – Not Recommended Options
The list of boots that I don’t recommend is rather large. Think of boots that are fully enclosed such as the adidas Nemeziz, adidas X19, Nike Superfly, Puma FUTURE, NB Furon…..anything that reduces the amount of air circulation. In reality, older model boots that don’t focus on being form fitting are going to suit best. You are also going to benefit more from going with a leather upper over a synthetic. Also, some players suggest that black colored boots tend to get hotter than other colors. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to perform tests to confirm or answer this adequately. I can see how players might connect black with being much hotter under the sun, but there might also be a placebo effect with that.
#8 – Personal Experience
Last weekend, I wore the adidas COPA 19+ and it was an absolute disaster! My feet were on fire within 10 minutes of kick off. It didn’t get much better with my back-up boots; a pair of Nike Vapor 13. It was a 2pm game, and the air temperature was around 100 degrees. I had got to the point where I was jogging on the outside of my feet to try get some relief, and I was spending more time worrying about the heat that what was happening on the pitch. So, I ended up borrowing a pair of Diadora Brasil K that I had given to one of the guys on my team a year or two back. They ended up being an absolute lifesaver, and provided immense relief. I was able to leave the laces a little loose, so hot air could escape through the tongue.
Hopefully some of this info proves useful for you guys. I’m always interested in hearing any other proven tips or tricks you might have on offer, so feel free to drop into the comments below!