Buying Soccer Boots
How to choose a soccer boot
Since soccer is synonymous with the feet, footwear is the most important item you'll buy for a soccer player. Boots are the mark of a soccer player, and they facilitate safety and efficiency of play.
Soccer shoes come in a variety of styles and stud patterns. Studs can be screw-ins, they can be molded or have blades. The screw-ins can accommodate as many as 12 studs or as few as 6. Long studs improve traction and are usually used in wet, muddy conditions whereas short studs are used on harder grounds.
It would be great if you could have several pairs of soccer shoes and wear them based on the condition of the field that day. Unfortunately, most people cannot afford to buy more than one pair of soccer shoes at a time and therefore an informed choice must be made that will satisfy the majority of playing conditions.
Wearing the wrong soccer shoes can result in serious injuries. Long studs worn on hard ground may cause the ankle to roll and cause ankle injuries. Additionally the increased traction and impact with the hard ground caused by long studs will inevitably result in knee injuries.
In general, athletes playing on hard surfaces (such as our Namibian playing fields), need shorter studs on their boots. Shorter studs, and more of them, is good because it more evenly distributes the impact and thus reduces the possibility of knee and ankle injury.
Some players, find that replaceable studs are their best option. These shoes have studs that can be removed from the sole with a wrench and replaced with another kind. In this way, players can customize their studs to meet specific needs.
Steps in buying a soccer boot:
- Study the offerings. There are many types and styles of shoes. Some makes are wider, such as Nike, and others are slightly narrower, such as Adidas. Some shoes are heavier due to the material used and others again are lighter enabling better speed.
- Understand fit. The most important in a shoe is comfort. Shoes should fit snugly, with no more than a thumb's width of space between the toes and the front of the shoes. Remember that sizing is always different from other shoes. You must try on each shoe to be sure it fits.
- Remember, leather stretches and then molds to the foot. More serious players may want pure leather (kangaroo leather) as close-fitting shoes to facilitate the best touch (feel for the ball).
- Choose looser-fitting shoes for young children so that the shoes don't affect the growth of the feet.
- Try on shoes with soccer socks and shin guards to ensure proper fit. Preferably bring your own socks and shin guards. Lace the shoes as tightly as you will when you are playing. Walk around the store for a few minutes.
- Check out the soles. Regulation rubber studs provide traction and stability. Replaceable studs are only for older, more serious players.
Taking care of your new shoes
Soccer shoes will last for about one year. Remember that studs are generally designed to be worn on softer surfaces. Concrete is the biggest enemy to soccer studs. The concrete acts like sandpaper. It slowly, but surely, wears away the surface and reduces the size of the stud faster than the shoe is actually wearing out.
- Wash the outside of the shoe with warm, soapy water because chemicals used on the field can breakdown the shoe material.
- When you take them off, stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper to absorb moisture from the inside of the shoe and to maintain normal shoe size.
The price of the shoe will not make it last longer. The care you provide will.
Visit a soccer specialty store when purchasing soccer shoes. They will know what kind of shoes are available and can give you the individual attention you need and deserve.