Choosing the right sporting footwear can improve your performance and prevent injuries. This applies to any sport, but it's particularly important for footballers.
Football is a demanding sport, and it requires a lot from the boots worn by players. They need to facilitate rapid changes of direction, provide plenty of grip and be extremely flexible too. Just as importantly, boots can also protect against injury by providing ankle support and cushioning against the impact of other players' studs.
When you are choosing your next pair of boots, you can do your feet a big favour. Here are some key things to think about.
Don't Forget to Give Your Toes Some Wriggle Room
It's tempting to seek a snug fit for your boots. Although this might make for a more sensitive feel, it can cause problems for your toes. Sports podiatrists tend to recommend leaving half a thumb's width of room for your toes when you are wearing football socks (so remember to take a pair of socks with you when you head to the store).
A High Quality Upper Can Offer Protection and Control
The materials used in the upper of your boots make a big difference to your ball control, but you need to balance control with protection. The best uppers blend synthetic plastics with leather to provide support for your feet and optimal control.
Positive Pitch Can Protect Your Tendons
Achilles tendons can be a source of chronic pain for athletes. If you suffer from this kind of pain, you might want to choose designs that are pitched towards the heel thanks to higher studs at the back of the boot. This puts far less stress on your ankle, helping to ease Achilles pain.
Choose the Right Studs for Your Surface
Boots should also be selected with surfaces in mind. If you play on harder surfaces like artificial pitches, moulded studs are preferable to metal studs, but extra-grip cleats can be even better. Whatever you choose, make sure that the boots have plenty of flex around the balls of your feet and that there are no studs underneath your big toe.
Think About the Width of Your Boots
Finally, choose a pair of boots that matches the width of your feet. If the outsole of your boots is too narrow, the whole design will become less stable as your feet place more pressure on the upper. Try to find a pair that matches your feet almost exactly.
Choosing the wrong pair of boots can lead to sprains and broken bones along with basic wear and tear, so it's an important decision for serious sport lovers. If you have specific injury worries, you may wish to take advice from a sports podiatrist. However, by selecting wisely, you can find a pair of boots that will protect your feet without affecting your skills.