The world of football shoes and boots can be a very confusing place. A simple google search or trip into any decent sport shop can leave you unsure of what’s the best football shoe for you.
So we decided to take the stress out of your search by doing all of the hard work for you. Our aim is to help you find a the perfect boot for you and clear up a lot of the confusion by simplifying the football jargon brands use to sell boots
First things first what is a football shoe?
Football Shoes – What You Should Know Before Purchasing
Let’s begin by discussing the basic types of football shoe or boots available and this comes down to the surface you are playing on.
The base of any football shoe is known as the ‘soleplate’. This is the area which differs from football shoe/boot type and is specifically designed for different ground types and conditions.
Wearing the wrong ‘soleplate’ or type of football shoe/boot will result you slipping or even injury.
Types of Football Shoes
Firm Ground (FG) Football Boots
Arguably the most popular type of boot, the firm ground boot is built to provide grip and traction for hard outdoor ground with natural grass.
Most FG sole plates have rubber blades or studs that a fix in place.
Unless you live in a hot climate, this boot often is suited to the spring and summer months when the weather is drier.
Soft Ground Football Boots
The best option for muddy wet winter matches. Soft ground football boots give you added grip and tractions due to their longer studs.
Many soft ground options have detachable metal tipped studs allowing you to vary the stud length depending on how bad the playing surface.
Most elite level soft ground boots have a variety of detachable and fixed studs.
Soft ground soleplates are the best option for autumn and winter months.
Artificial Grass Football Shoes
Often referred to moulds or moulded studs these football boots are also a great choice hard natural grass pitches as well.
The outsole is usually filled will a number of small rubber moulded studs distributed throughout.
These boots have all the characteristics of the firm and soft ground boots, the only difference between the shorter studs.
Artificial Turf Football Shoes
Also known among football players as Astro turf boots are a great option for training. Suited to synthetic all weather pitches these durable football shoes have a very small rubber (turf) studs on the outsole.
The rubber studs provide great stability and grip on artificial turf as well as hard natural ground.
Check out our list of the best football boots on the market right now.
Futsal and Indoor Football Shoes
Players often spend week’s research there match boots and then chuck any leisure trainer on for indoor training. This is a huge mistake. Turning your ankle due to wrong footwear is not uncommon when playing indoors, therefore an indoor football shoe is essential.
Indoor football or Futsal shoes have a low cut profile and rubber outsole for traction on court or gym floors. These shoes are carefully designed to not mark the floor and are extremely lightweight.
Women’s Football Shoes
Designed to fit a women foot more snugly, these boots have a narrower last and have specific technologies to suit the female foot. In most cases females may choose to wear a men’s football boot as there is more variety on offer. If this is the case the player should aim to wear a size or size and half down to ensure a good fit. For example women who wear a size 8 would choose a men’s 6 1/2.
What are the different parts of a football shoe?
So now we’ve discussed the types of football shoe, let’s go through the different areas of the boot so you can understand the football boot jargon.
This will allow you to make an informed decision when assessing each football shoe or boot and make sure it’s the right boot for you.
Is the part of the football shoe that is not the outsole. In simple terms the top of the shoe is the upper, then bottom of the football shoe equals outsole. This section is broken up into 4 sections, the forefoot, midfoot and heel and the interior of the football boot.
There are different variables that come with football boot uppers and the main one is the material it’s made from. Companies will usually call the material leather (k-leather, kangaroo leather, full grain/calf skin leather, Taurus leather) or synthetic (anything that isn’t leather).
Is the part of the football shoe where you put your foot into the boot. The main feature here is the materials used. The majority of football shoe openings will have a soft microfiber sued material, which tends to lock in your foot as you sweat for extra support.
For a different type of opening, check out recommendations for the best sock football boots.
The narrow part at the middle of the foot. Most boots are made with a narrow midfoot, however if you are looking for a wider fit checkout out our suggestions of the best football boots for wide feet.
The Insole or Sockliner
Most modern insoles have some form of porous foam, which is designed for comfort whilst not taking on moisture. The insole is basically the removable layer inside the football shoe that provides cushioned foot bed.
Is a term used to describe how a football shoe was manufactured to suit a shape similar to a human foot. Boot makers use this to determine the size and shape of the football shoe. You will often hear the boot describe as having a wide or narrow last. Narrow last =
Narrow last = Narrow feet
Wide Last = Wide feet
The Heel Counter
Most modern football shoes have a heel counter built on the outside of the upper. This provides spring and shock absorbing when you’re running on your toes. This also protects your heel in tackles from other players.
There are boots with internal heel counter, these are often more durable than external heel counters, however provide less protection. The external heel counter has a pre-formed shape and is less likely to give, so if you have a wide heel, you may feel some discomfort from an external version.
This is bottommost part of the football shoe housing the studs or blades that comes in contact with the ground surface.
This is the area of the upper that makes contact with the ball when striking. It is also know the strike zone. Brands add extra technology to this area of the boot to help manipulate the ball or add extra force when shooting.
The Studs: The additions to the outsole which help to improve grip and traction depending on the playing surface. Known as either studs or cleats, they can be blades or cone shaped and fixed or removable. There are generally three types of stud/cleats:
• Hard Ground
Studs also come in three different material metal tipper, plastic and rubber.
Conical studs will provide more contact with the ground which provides more grip and stability therefore lowering the risk of losing footing and injury.
Blades are great for generating speed and traction. A boot which offers a combination of both is a good option.
Football Shoe Materials
One of the main components that determine a boots price, weight and durability is the material it’s made from.
As mentioned earlier football shoes and boots uppers are made of synthetic, full grain or Kangaroo leather and these materials have different benefits:
Synthetic Leather Football Shoes are made of animal hides combined with polymers to produce leather like material. Synthetic boots are cheaper because they use less leather. Although the lower price leads to a boot with a more rigid, less breathable boot with no give. This is not ideal in a tackle, as the foot takes more force, which can cause injury.
Football shoe brands are investing heavily to develop their own synthetic materials to decrease production costs and increase profits.
Full Grain Leather Football Shoes are as close to their natural animal state as possible. Made from calf leather, players at all levels understand the improvements in touch, feel and comfort from a supple full grain leather boot.
Over time the boots leather will conform to the shape of your foot, whiles the breathable material ensure your feet stays cooler than a non-breathable synthetic option.
Kangaroo Leather Football Shoes
The top end material for football shoes is Kangaroo leather. Also known as K-leather this material is light but retains is durability even when thinned to decrease the weight of the boot. This also allows the leather to keep is strength and safety properties which are important at all levels. Therefore many players opt to spend a little more on the stronger more durable Kangaroo leather boots, for added safety and comfort on the field.
Football Shoes Sizing
There is nothing worse than having distractions from boots that are too big or too small. You need to make sure the football shoes have a snug fit from the first time you try them on. You should leave no more than 1/2 an inch gap at the end of the toe box (anywhere between 1/4 1/2 is perfect).
Tips to remember when buying football shoes or boot
Football Shoes Tip One: If you are going to try on some boots in a shop, remember to always brings football socks so you can get the right fit.
Football Shoes- Tip Two: Try a half size smaller than your normal everyday trainers when buying football shoes to ensure a snug fit.
Football Shoes- Tip Three: Always clean your boots straight after the game or training. This will ensure the boots last as long as possible and look awesome.
Football Shoes-Tip Four: Make sure you leave your boots to dry out before putting them in a bag.
Football Shoes- Tip five: If you are still growing it may be best to buy football shoes with a little more toe room and wear two pairs of football socks.
Football Shoes- Tip Six: As natural leather boots ‘give’ after a few matches, make sure you buy a snug fit. This is not needed for synthetic boots as these will not change shape or stretch.