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How To Choose the Perfect Football Boots

How To Choose the Perfect Football Boots

Wed, Nov 25, 20

How To Choose the Perfect Football Boots

Buying football boots is a big deal! There's so many different styles on the market from many different brands, so it's totally fine to feel unsure if you are new to boot buying, or buying for a family member or friend - we're here to help with our ultimate boot buying guide to help you choose the perfect football boots. 

With years of experience playing football and stocking boots made for all playing surfaces, we know we can offer sound advice so you can buy with confidence and play at your best on any surface. With this guide you'll have everything you need to know before you buy a pair.

The easiest way for us to point you in the right direction is by breaking down all choices by three category areas which are - Speed, Power/Control and Touch/Comfort. Surface is also of key importance here and we can't stress that point enough, especially in Australia where pitches can be dry and hard. There is also a significant shift in clubs moving to artificial grass pitches to ensure they have a well manicured pitch all year round. 

These are all things to consider as you must wear the right boots on the right surface to avoid injury and to ensure get bang for you buck. Often we see people buy FG (Firm Ground) boots which they wear on AG (Artificial Grass) pitches. This can not only impact on your chances of picking up an injury, but also means that the product won't last as long with stud configurations not built for that specific surface. 

With the help of FC Ultra's Captain, Tom McGowan, we'll run you through everything you need to know before you buy a pair of boots! Check out his intro below.

SPEED BOOTS

One for the pace abusers! This section is for those players who put speed over everything else. If you're fast, you're lucky - it's one hell of an attribute not everyone has. To make the most of your speed, you're going to want to choose the lightweight speed options our brands offer.

Speed boots are very thin because the brands are always looking to keep their speed silos as light as possible so you aren't lugging around extra weight. This gives off that barefoot feel you ofter hear pacy players talk about. They don't want anything to slow them down. 

The downside to this of course is that the added weight missing is often in areas of comfort - so if you're looking for something a big more plushy and comfy like a traditional leather boot might give you then speed boots aren't for you.

One other important point - speed boots are commonly made for players with narrow feet! Don't be surprised if they feel super tight and snug on your foot if you have a wider foot or high arches. 

So what boots should you be looking for then if you are after a speed silo from the brands? These are the ones for you: the Nike Mercurial range which includes the Vapor (low cut) and Superfly (high cut) adidas X, New Balance Furon, Puma Ultra and Mizuno Morelia range. 

CONTROL & POWER BOOTS

Maybe you're not as pacy as a winger or striker. Maybe you're actually the player that bosses proceedings from the centre of the park in Midfield or Defence. In this case - boots for control & power should be on your radar!

The boots in this category tend to have more of a textured upper to give players ultimate grip and touch on the ball which is important if you want to dominate and run the show. Why? Because you need the boots to make the ball do everything you need. 

With that in mind the brands tend to put a lot of technology into these boots, such as the adidas DEMONSKIN upper which is found on the Predator range. This upper has multiple spikes which offers more power and grip than ever before. 

This category of boots is definitely more well rounded than the speed boots in the above section and that is because they are boots that cover off different positions and are tailored to players with different attributes than just speed. The brands pack more materials and comfort in these boots and the last is wider which means it is suited to many more players than speed boots are. 

These boots are the best bet for you average player (and for you at home who might be buying a gift for someone else!). They are a very popular and safe choice for players at all levels - but that doesn't mean they aren't some of the best available shoes on the market either. 

Once again we have plenty of options for you to consider such as the aforementioned adidas Predator, Nike Phantom GT, Mizuno Rebula, Puma Future and New Balance Tekela. 

TOUCH & COMFORT BOOTS

This section is for the purists. Those who love leather over any other material and grew up idolising players like Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo - we're with you! The boots for touch & comfort are typically designed for classy defenders, midfielders and silky number 10's with unbelievable touch and vision which make you stand out from your team-mates. 

The best thing about leather is comfort. There's nothing like pulling on a pair of Tiempos or adidas Copas with a premium K-Leather upper that moulds to your feet over time and remains comfortable for 90 minutes week in, week out. 

Leather boots also typically remain in good shape for longer so if you're after something a bit more durable this section is for you.

These boots are also very good for players with wider feet. You can't go wrong with any of the following boots with the Nike Tiempo, Puma King, Mizuno Wave Cup, and adidas Copa all built extremely well. 

SURFACE SOLEPLATE OVERVIEW

Now to arguably the most important section - SOLEPLATES! Watch the video above where Tom goes through each of these in great detail.

All brands put out boots for different surfaces, meaning the boots soleplate (the sole of the shoe with stud configuration) is critically important to take into consideration when buying boots. 

Your boots will last longer and give you better performance if you use the correct boot for the right surface - and your body will thank you as well. There are many injuries suffered on the football pitch due players wearing the wrong footwear. Be it slipping over on artificial grass or a knee injury because the soleplate isn't giving you enough traction on a specific surface - it's super important to take this seriously. It's not worth putting your body under strain when you don't need to.

It's a smart idea to have two pairs if you are jumping around on different surfaces. Many clubs train on AG pitches then play on natural grass on the weekends, so if you can try and get the two pairs, or potentially go with Puma which offers a hybrid FG/AG option.

Now let's take a look at each different soleplate. 

SOFT GROUND (SG)

SG boots are made for the surface they are named for - soft ground. Think lush and well manicured grass - usually on offer for players at semi-professional and professional clubs. These aren't as common for most players in Australia because we don't normally have too many good soft ground appropriate pitches unless you are playing at a high level. 

Do not use these on artificial grass pitches. The reason for this is because they are a mix of metal and plastic studs which will rip up an artificial grass pitch.

You may also want to check with your club if you are allowed soft ground boots at your level. Some referees in specific age grounds will not let you use them because of the danger they pose to others when being tackled. Those metal studs can do some damage in a crunching tackle!

FIRM GROUND (FG)

FG boots are the most commonly used on natural grass pitches in Australia. They usually feature an aggressive looking style soleplate, often split with studs at the front and back. A lot of tech goes into these plates and you'll notice there are no metals used.  

While you can use these on AG pitches we definitely do not recommend it as they are not made with that surface in mind. The risk of injury increases here and one thing you will definitely find is that the studs will wear down quickly on artificial surfaces - especially in the hot summer sun. We can't recommend having a pair of AG boots enough if you can.

One good option for those who only want or can afford one pair of boots is the Puma Future and Ultra range. Puma has created a hybrid soleplate which we mentioned earlier in this article, meaning it can confidently be worn on got FG/AG pitches. The studs are a bit more rounded to ensure that you have good performance on both. 

ARTIFICIAL GRASS (AG)

As the name suggests - these are the boots for AG pitches. These boots have a soleplate which features very rounded, conical studs. These are designed to be softer for when plant you feet on the ground, with the idea being there is less friction and resistance on the boots surface area which plants down. Because of this the soleplates are a little bit less responsive than the FG versions, but not enough for most to notice a difference.

One thing you'll notice on the Nike AG-Pro boots is that the conical studs are hollowed out. This is so the artificial soil can go in and out and not leave you feeling unbalanced, trying to give you as much traction as possible.

We'll say it again for a final time - a pair of AG boots are essential if you play on AG pitches regularly.

TURF (TF)

TF shoes are typically used on 5, 6 and 7 a-side pitches that are super short and sand-based artificial grass pitches. Not the lush ones that feel more like natural grass. The studs are short and there are lots of them to give you grip and traction. 

If you are playing on these short and sand-based artificial grass pitches - do not use FG, SG or AG boots because you will not have enough traction. The longer studs found on those boots will not sink into the ground like the smaller TF versions will. 

INDOOR COURT (IC)

Playing indoor or Futsal on concrete or indoor court style surfaces? IC shoes are the ones for you. 

One of our most popular options is the Nike Lunar and React Gato options. You'll notice on both they have smooth soles with no studs present due to the fact you want as much grip on the surface as possible - like a Formula 1 car driving around on a sunny day with slick tyres that have the whole surface area on the ground for full grip and responsiveness.

The soles of these shoes are usually rubber, flat and full of grip so you don't slip and have enough traction on the flat ground.

The best part? You can wear these casually as well!

IN SIMPLE TERMS:

Playing on natural grass pitches? (I.e. typical hard or soft grass pitches) - you need SG, FG or a hybrid mix of FG/AG boots which are popular from Puma in particular.

Playing on artificial grass? (I.e. the lush artificial grass that almost feels like real grass which many clubs are lucky to have nowadays!) - you need AG boots, or the hybrids from Puma.

Playing on Turf pitches? (I.e. super short water or sand-based artificial grass pitches) - you need TF boots. 

Playing on indoor court surfaces (I.e. Futsal court or concrete) - you need IC shoes. 

BOOTS BY BRAND

NIKE BOOTS

Nike Mercurial (Vapor and Superfly)

Nike Mercurial

We'll start with the phenomenon that is the Nike Mercurial football boot range, featuring the Superfly and Vapor models. Mercurial has taken the football world by storm since the mid 90's and really rose to prominence back at the France '98 World Cup with the OG Ronaldo creating hype around a boot we hadn't seen before. The silo has been going from strength to strength ever since. You can take a deep dive into the full Nike Mercurial history here

Mercurial football boots are suited to flair players who want to beat the opposition with blistering speed, agility and skill. It's no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé and Australia's very own Sam Kerr all wear the Mercurial Superfly range.

What's the difference between Superfly and Vapor? Superfly is the higher cut version with the collar that keeps your whole foot locked down and secure. The Vapor is the low cut version without the collar. Both of these boots are great choices for those looking for a responsive, lightweight boot that allows you to play with speed. It's really just personal preference when it comes to the collar, with many liking the added fit and lockdown, while others prefer the low cut feel which is easier to get on and off and less tight fitting. 

If you have not worn a collard boot before just be wary that you will most likely experience some heel abrasion after the first few uses. This is normal as your foot begins to get used a design it hasn't been used to before. 

Key details

Fit - The Nike Mercurial fit is very much suited to those with narrow feet.

Who - Players with a key emphasis on speed, agility and skill. Mainly worn by attacking players such as strikers, wingers and attacking midfielders. 

Final considerations - If you are a winger or pacy forward, these are definitely the boots for you.

Nike Phantom GT

Nike Phantom GT Football Boots

The newest member to the Nike boot range. The Nike Phantom GT football boots came about with the merge between Phantom Venom and Phantom Vision. Phantom GT has been created with the best parts of both previous models in mind new single silo, taking Nike forward into the future with a focus on the Mercurial, Phantom and Tiempo range. 

The Phantom GT features Nike Football's latest technology and innovations, which includes a generative texture upper for more grip on the ball, a moulded Flyknit construction and Hyperquick System. 

The new Hyperquick System is a completely new soleplate compared to the previous Venom and Vision. It has been designed for traction and with the focus on allowing players to make agile, sharp movements at high speeds. It sees a more rigid chassis in the heel for support while the split stud sole configuration aids when changing direction at pace. 

Like the Nike Mercurial range, the Phantom GT comes in the high cut DF (Dynamic Fit) version and the low cut. Once again, this mainly just comes down to to preference. The tech is the same across both versions, it's just for you to decide whether you want that extra lock down the collar provides. For instance, Kevin De Bruyne prefers the DF while Jack Grealish prefers the low cut. 

Key details

Fit - The Nike Phantom GT rage is ideal for players with a wider foot. 

Who - Players who like to control the game with a barefoot feel and grippy textured upper allowing for great touch, comfort and strikes. 

Final considerations - These are great boots for players who are looking for control and power. 

Nike Tiempo

The icon that never gets old. The Nike Tiempo has been at the forefront of boot connoisseurs minds since they burst onto the scene 1994, with the product being a favourite in Australia due to our love for traditional leather boots. The Nike Tiempo uses premium K-Leather on the upper and is an extremely comfortable all round winner which has been worn by many of the all time greats. 

If you are a player that craves that leather feel then these are a great option and tend to last for a long time which means you get bang for your buck. 

Key details

Fit - The Nike Tiempo is ideal for players with a wider foot

Who - Midfielders and defenders who value comfort and have a great first touch and are comfortable on the ball. 

Final considerations - These are ideal boots if you're looking for comfort or if you are buying for someone else and are not quite sure. Everyone loves a pair of Tiempos!

ADIDAS BOOTS

Adidas X

adidas X Football Boots

The standout speed boot for adidas in undoubtedly the adidas X. It's a very lightweight boot that is used by so many of the best players in the world like Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

The X Ghosted has been incredibly popular since coming out in 2020, as adidas looked to build on the success of their speed boots of the past to come up with a reinvented X. There's a lot of adidas F50 heritage in these. 

Key details

Fit - The adidas X is ideal for players with narrow feet. Similar to the Nike Mercurial range.

Who - Speedy wingers and forward that are agile and skilful. 

Final considerations - For quick players who play out wide or up front. These are the best adidas boots for you. 

Adidas Predator

adidas Predator Football Boots

Another icon. The adidas Predator has been a smash hit since it broke onto the scene in the 90's, with the Predator Accelerator and Mania in many conversations regarding what the best boot of all time is. 

The current day Predator is packed full of tech, including the groundbreaking DEMONSKIN spikes which now sit on the boots upper. DEMONSKIN has been based off years of research and testing, which resulted in a computer algorithm being used to create an entirely new interface between boot and ball.

It's a favourite for many current and past players, with the current models being very aggressive and tough looking.

Key details

Fit - The adidas Predator is suited to wider than narrow feet but in saying that, the latest Predators tend to be a little tighter than some of the older models. They require a wear in and will get better over time, but you may find you need to loosen the laces a bit to get used to them early on. Once you do though - you'll love the fit. 

Who - Midfielders who love to whip balls into the box and create with stellar passing range.

Final considerations - An iconic boot that has been revamped with some aggressive new technology. The Predator is always one of the best boots available on the market. 

Adidas Copa

Legend gets thrown around a lot - but the adidas Copa, with roots to the Copa Mundial, deserves to be called a legend. Along with the Puma King, the Copa has so much history in the game. Think Franz Beckenbauer and the famous German teams of of the past.

In recent years the Copa has modernised significantly, with the laceless model worn by exciting forward players like Paulo Dybala and João Félix. They aren't  just for defenders or no-nonsense midfielders anymore. 

Key details

Fit - The adidas Copa is more suited to those with wider feet will find the Copa very accomodating. If you have narrow feet you'll most likely find they are too wide. 

Who - Times have changed. Gone are the days when these were a defender or midfielders boot, now players all over the pitch wear the Copa 20.

Final considerations - A classic re-imagined. Super comfortable and classy, but just make sure you don't have narrow feet. 

PUMA BOOTS

Puma Ultra 

Puma Ultra Football Boots

Clearly the best named boots on the market 😉 The Puma Ultra is still a new product having only come out in 2020. It's been very popular as a speed boot from the Big Cat, with the brand focussing on speed once again after going with the Puma Future and ONE as their options in recent years. 

The classic innovation from boots like the EvoSPEED have been implemented and bettered for the new Ultra range. It's a very good all round speed option.

Key details

Fit - The Puma Ultra is suited to narrow feet. Similar to the Nike Mercurial and adidas X ranges. 

Who - Speedy wingers and forwards.

Final considerations - A new style from a brand with deep roots in the speed game. The current Ultra is great and we know it will continue to get even better in the years to come.

Puma Future

Puma Future Football Boots

We've been singing the praised of the Puma Future ever since they debuted back in 2018. The current model is a favourite among many of our staff.

The design can be a bit polarising but that's the only negative we can find. The knitted upper feels sensational on feet, which makes touch and striking the ball a breeze. If you aren't sold on the design then you will be once you try them on - these are a very well executed boot in every way. If you want an alternative to say, the Adidas Predator or Nike Phantom VSM - these could be the ones for you. They are also great for players with wider feet.

Key details

Fit - The Puma Future is more suited to players with wider feet.

Who - Attacking midfielders, wingers and forwards - think Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suárez.

Final considerations - We're big fan of the Future. We highly recommend them if you want something a bit different to Nike or adidas. We doubt you'll find any complaints from someone you might buy these for. A very safe and sure bet!

Puma King

An icon in the world of football. The Puma King has been ever present for decades and worn by the greats. When Maradona, Pele and Johan Cruyff are just a few of the big names that have worn this silo - you know it's got good pedigree. To this day some of the biggest names still wear them, with nearly signed to the brand - Neymar - currently rocking them for PSG.

Key details

Fit - The modern Puma King has a snug fit that works well for narrow and wider feet. The leather will stretch over time so create a very comfortable experience overall. 

Who - You'll find that the Puma King suits almost all playing positions. It is a great all rounder.

Final considerations - An outstanding boot for the price. With years of experience and the fact that this has been a legendary boot for so long, you won't find many complaints with a pair of Kings.

MIZUNO BOOTS

Mizuno Morelia

Mizuno Morelia Football Boots

Those who know, know. That's what we always say about the Mizuno Morelia. Yeah the price tag can be a bit scary to look at, but you've got to remember that these use the highest quality materials and are genuinely still handmade in Japan with love and affection. Plus they are ridiculously comfortable and lightweight. 

Key details

Fit - The Mizuno Morelia is more suited to players with a narrow foot. Think the adidas X, Mercurial Vapor and the Puma Ultra category - but these are a step up in terms of quality and handmade with K-Leather.

Who - Speedy wingers and forward that need the lightest boots possible to hit top speed fast!

Final considerations - Once players try Mizuno we often find that they never go back to any other brand. Once you see past the price tag and give them a go - we'd be surprised if you didn't think they were one of the best boots you have ever experienced. 

Mizuno Rebula

With the Morelia being the king of speed for the Japanese brand - the Mizuno Rebula is designed to be the wider option of the two. The fit is quite different, with the Rebula designed to be slightly wider than most other boots on the market. Once again only the best K-Leather material is used on these meaning comfort is spot on once you break them in.

Key details

Fit - The Mizuno Rebula is definitely for players with wide feet. These are an alternative to boots like the adidas Predator, Nike Tiempo and Puma Future. 

Who - Midfielders and defenders who try to control the game with great touch and skill. 

Final considerations - Like the Morelia, the price tag can be a little eye-water when you compare them to similar options from other brands, but the top quality K-Leather and other materials used mean this is a great option for those who can afford it. 

NEW BALANCE BOOTS

New Balance Furon

New Balance is a brand we know is going from strength to strength. The New Balance Furon is the boot that will really excite boot lovers in 2021 and beyond. If you value speed and want to be a bit different - these could be the boots for you.

Key details

Fit - The New Balance Furon is more suited to players with narrow feet. Once again this is in that category which includes the likes of the adidas X, Nike Mercurial Vapor, Puma Ultra and Mizuno Morelia.

Who - Speedy wingers and forwards. These lightweight boots are perfect for quick and agile players - just like the brands star man; Sadio Mané

Final considerations - New Balance is a brand which is investing a lot of time and money into creating top quality boots. They're on the right direction with the Furon which is a seriously good boot!

New Balance Tekela

Have wide feet? These could be the boots you need. The New Balance Tekela is a very comfortable option and New Balance prides themselves on being able to cater for those with wider feet. These are as wide as it gets in the boot buying game. Please do not buy these if your feet are narrow!

Key details

Fit - The New Balance Tekela has a very wide fit - potentially even the widest boot we have at Ultra Football. They are also very comfortable! 

Who - Midfielders and defenders. These are a great alternative to the likes of the Adidas Predator, Nike Tiempo, Puma Future and Mizuno Rebula.

Final considerations - If you struggle with fit with most boots out there these are our biggest recommendation for you. These are perfect for players with very wide feet. You can't go wrong. 

LOTTO AND DIADORA

Two brands from Italy that have recently just joined the Ultra Football family are Lotto and Diadora. Both of these brands respect their DNA's and focus on the best possible materials - especially for their OG ranges that just ooze class and nostalgia. Every stitch and all the small details count.

Many players who are in their late twenties, thirties and beyond have enjoyed these brands in the past - especially in the 80's and 90's when these two were booming in line with the Serie A being the best league in the world, with superstars all over Italy lighting up the world of football. Fast forward to present day where both have committed to bringing their past successes back in order to give the modern player the chance to experience what some of the all time greats of the past got to - luxury materials and unrivalled comfort.

Key details

Fit - Both Lotto and Diadora perform well for players with wider feet. The K-Leather will stretch and give players a very comfortable experience which is hard to find elsewhere. 

Who - Classy midfielders or defenders. Think the 'Divine Ponytail' Roberto Baggio. Wearing a pair of Lotto or Diadora is a statement that you know your football. You respect the past and are probably one of the coolest looking guys or girls on the team! More power to you if you've got long hair and can rock a headband with these as well.

Final considerations - Definitely something a bit more niche - if you value comfort and like leather boots then these are an excellent choice which will make you stand out from the crowd.

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