Football season is fast approaching again for 2022!
With most senior and junior aged football beginning in April, it is worth beginning to think about your footy boot choices for 2022. Considering that our running loads will be high while in our footy boots (often 1 game and 2x training sessions per week), it is important that we carefully consider which boots will suit our feet best just as we would with running shoes.
An unsuitable football boot can lead to a variety of problems throughout the football season, such as:
- Ingrown toenails
- Increased callus/hard skin
- Trauma to toenails
- Overload injuries
- Acute injuries (such as ankle sprains)
Knowing this, what makes a football boot suitable for your needs?
Image credit: https://profootballlounge.com/
A good place to start is getting the right size of boot for your foot. Just looking at the length of the boot isn’t the only thing that determines whether the boot is the right fit. We also need to look at depth and width (in the rearfoot, midfoot and forefoot).
In terms of length, we should measure from our longest toe to the end of the shoe. We like to see a thumb’s width distance from the toe to the end of the shoe.
Width we are looking at the rearfoot, midfoot and forefoot. We need to make sure our feet are supported by the boots and not protruding over the edge, and therefore not receiving the support that the boot provides. We also need to make sure that there is adequate space in the forefoot so that the boot isn’t pushing against the inside of the big toenail (which can cause problems with the nail).
As for depth, we simply need a boot that isn’t going to be pushing constantly on the top of the toenails which can also cause pain and problems with the toenails.
Something else to consider with sizing is if you are going to be wearing orthotics with the boot, making sure that the boots will accommodate your orthotics.
Stud location is something that is often overlooked that shouldn’t be. Football boots are different to runners due to the fact that the whole underside of the shoe is not in contact with the ground, only the studs are. Therefore, wherever the studs lie underneath your feet becomes a high loading area. Thus, we would prefer the studs to not be underneath areas of any previous injury.
Another thing to take into account with studs is the type of studs. Studs come in different sizes and materials. There are moulded studs and metal studs. Moulded studs are made from the material of the sole of the boot. Generally speaking, metal studs should only be worn on a wet and soft field to improve traction for change of direction. For firmer ground, moulded studs are generally better as they are softer and therefore are less likely to lead to excessive loading. If screw-in boots (metal studs) are unable to be worn (*** Certain competitions may not allow for metal studs to be worn, especially in junior football), or the player prefers to not wear them, it may be worth looking at getting boots that have moulded studs of longer length for improved traction.
Players of higher levels would often pack a pair of moulded and metal studded boots and decide on the day of competition which boot to wear depending on the ground condition.
There are different grades of materials in football boots. Often these are separated into synthetic leather and leather. Whilst there are other materials on the market, these are the most common. Synthetic leather boots are often cheaper, but often not as supportive and durable. Therefore, it is recommended that leather boots are worn if possible, due to the durability of them under foot as we run long distances, change speed, change direction and jump in lots of different climates/conditions.
Orthotics and football boots
As we discussed, width is important to note especially when wearing orthotics in a football boot. It is generally recommended that a slightly wider fitting boot should be worn if wearing orthotics inside your football boots. If you still feel that the orthotics are too wide for your football boots, we are able to help with that too! You can often keep your current pair of orthotics but having them adjusted. However, it is often highly recommended that a new orthotic is made whilst having the fact that they will be worn in boots in mind. Orthotics can be prescribed to be slimmer than they used to be with modern technology so that they fit seamlessly into football boots for increased comfort.
Low and high top football boots
Something that is becoming more popular in football boots is a higher top or built in sock to the boot. It is something commonly seen in basketball shoes and is something that may be good for a footballer who often suffers from ankle sprains. Although there isn’t any research to prove that these higher tops don’t reduce occurrence of ankle sprains, it has been suggested by researchers to decrease the severity of an ankle sprain in some circumstances. It should be known that a high-cut football boot should not be used in replacement to ankle taping/bracing in prevention of ankle sprains.
Lastly, It is a good idea to start by wearing your football boots at training for at least a few sessions before proceeding to wear them for matches. This gives your feet a chance to adapt to the new boots, the boot material to be worn in, and also gives you a chance to change anything that is needed after your initial change into your new boots.
If you have any questions about football boots or any other concerns, feel free to book an appointment with us!