Footy season is upon us. Whether you play for the Redan Lions or Sebastopol Vikings you will be getting around in some form of footy boot.
So is it time for some new ones? And how do you choose? There’s a lot to think about.
Well, for starters, ignore how they look. Comfort and fit is more important in order to reduce your risk of lower limb injury.
Consider your foot-type and shape. Do you need support, cushioning or both? Do you have any bony prominences? If the boot is too narrow in the arch you might experience blisters. Too wide and the boot will shift under you.
Consider the surface you will be playing on. Moulded soles will work for dry grounds, screw-ins might be needed for wet, muddy conditions. The majority of modern boots have moulded bladed or conical studs, or a combination of both. The configuration of these might interact with the bones of the feet, so get a feel for them when trying them on. A typical area of complaint is under the big toe joint where the small sesamoid bones are located.
Consider the weight of the boot. Does your position require you to run more than others during games? You might prefer a lighter boot. If you are in a more specialised position, you might focus more on the kicking sensitivity of the upper.
Leather or synthetic uppers? The leather may stretch a bit over time and accommodate your foot more than the synthetic types.
Do you need to accommodate an orthotic or additional insole? Choose a boot with more depth. This can be increased by removing the existing insole.
Do you need additional heel height? This can be useful in reducing the load on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
Ultimately, the best thing to do is get your boots professionally-fitted. And remember, don’t buy on looks!