How to pick the best Footy boots for you this coming season!
Picking the right Footy boots is a challenge because of the demands of the game. We all want comfortable boots that allows us to run the large amounts required for a game, whilst still being able to deal with all the change in direction, cutting and pivoting all without getting injured!
People normally pick footy boots based on how they look or if their favourite AFL or AFLW player wears them. This isn’t ideal as it can cause injuries to your foot and ankle or have you playing at not even close to your best.
Going to see a Podiatrist and getting your boots professionally fitted can make all the difference. This isn’t realistic for everyone, so we spoke with Richard Windybank a Podiatrist that has worked with AFL players for close to 10 years, and here are some things to think about!
Key points to know
- If you have had injuries like Achilles problems, “shin splints” that come back all the time, broken your foot or ankle, or bone stress in the foot/ankle or shin, you really should see a Podiatrist or good Sports Physio. It is likely that you will need to have a very specific and well fitted boot for Footy.
- Try before you buy! We all now footy boots are often cheaper online, but at least go to a store and try on a pair, so you know they fit like they’re meant to and are the right size. Once you do that, you can go buy them online!
- If you are wearing a boot for a few sessions, and it feels too tight, you’re getting blisters, soreness or pain in your ankle/foot/shin or knee, you may be in the wrong pair of boots!
Some Smart Tips!
- Up to the age of 16, your foot bones have not fully formed. If you’re under 16, a moulded or bladed football boot with a synthetic upper will better protect your feet & provide sufficient cushioning for your growing bones.
- For pre-season running, a lot of AFL and AFLW players, wear their joggers instead of their Footy boots. This is a great idea, but not ideal if you’re doing a lot of change in direction or agility type running, as you can slip over. If you still want to run in footy boots, some boots are better suited to the warmer months, hard surfaces and the amount of running you do such as the ASICS Menace. They are lightweight and have shorter moulded studs but suit more narrow feet.
Karen Paxman in ASICS Menace
- Some players wear boots for pre-season training and then need new boots come in-season or early in the season. If you have ticked off a lot of running in your boots all pre-season, think about when you may need new boots come in-season.
- Never wear your new boots on game day for the first time. Make sure they are worn in for at least two training sessions first.
- If you feel like there is a pressure point under the ball of your big toe in your foot you can change the position/remove the metal stud or you can grind down a moulded stud. If you see a Podiatrist or Sports Physio, they can help you decide if this is right for you.
The Overall Fit
They should be a thumb width longer than the longest toe, to avoiding jamming the toes into the end of the boot if the foot slides or swells up. When playing footy your foot will generally swell up a bit, as blood rushes to the muscles in your feet. If your boot is too tight, this won’t feel comfortable and you may feel cramping in the foot. If your boot is too loose, it won’t provide enough support to your ankle and knees.
Wearing your playing socks when you go to buy your boots is also important.
Width of shoes can be different for guys and girls. If you are a female buying Unisex/Mens shoes, remember that the “normal width” may be wide for females.
Do you have narrow feet? Try these boots worn by some big names in the game;
Nike Mercurial (Josh Kelly)
Puma Future (Erin Phillips and Jordan De Goey)
Erin Phillips in Puma Future
Stephen Coniglio in Adidas Copa
Are your feet just regular width feet? Try these great boots;
Adidas Copa (Stephen Coniglio)
ASICS Lethal Tigreo (Emma Kearney)
Nike Tiempo (Patrick Dangerfield)
Do you have a slightly wider foot? Try one of these;
ASICS Lethal Ultimate (Max Gawn, Tom Hawkins)
Nike Magista Obra
Tom Hawkins in ASICS Lethal Ultimate
Upper Materials (The Outside Of The Shoe)
Leather, specifically kangaroo leather seems to be one of the best uppers used in the high-end footy boots, but synthetic material also works great for kids, and is often more affordable.
Molded vs Screw-Ins
This needs to be specific to the conditions you play in. Molded boots are best for the general dry or hard conditions. Screw-ins are more for wet or soft conditions that may need longer studs.
In an ideal world, you would have two pairs of boots – one for hard and dry conditions especially during pre-season and the other for wet and soft surfaces.
Some shoe companies know not everyone can afford 2 pairs of boots, so have stud patterns to accommodate the varying playing surfaces and conditions.An example of this is the ASICS Lethal Testimonials, or the Nike Tiempo
Patrick Dangerfield in Nike Tiempo
Courtesy of The Colour Run
If you need these, only a Podiatrist can tell you. Orthotics can be fitted into your boots as long as the boot has the depth and space for it, so if you wear orthotics there are certain boots you should use, and certain boots you should avoid. Your Podiatrist can help you here.
If you have orthotics, get them checked every year by your Podiatrist and make sure you take your boots in to show them!
If you’re 16 years old or under or have Achilles issues or “growing pains” at the back of the ankle such as Sever’s disease, it’s important to think about your heel.
Heel elevation can be achieved in a pair of ASICS boots, and will give you a good start to helping those issues. Be careful if you regularly sprain your ankle as the higher heel height can make you feel less stable in the ankle.
If you are playing and Over 30 years old, the ASICS Lethal Ultimates are great boots as they are wide stable shoes that are comfortable for most people.
Max Gawn in ASICS Lethal Ultimate
Bigger heavier players
Rucks often like big stable shoes like ASICS Lethal Ultimates. They are wide stable shoes that absorb shock.
Key position players can wear a few different boots. As they normally don’t have to cover the same distance in games as Rucks.
Jack Riewoldt plays in Nike Tiempo
Alex Rance and Jeremy McGovern wears X-Blades
If you have big feet (size 14 US or larger), Nike are one of the easier brands to find boots in.
Alex Rance in XBlades
All images courtesy of AFL Media