Do Football Boots Improve Performance?
Do Your Football Boots Make You Better?
There’s an age old question surrounding the beautiful game; do your football boots actually improve your performance? Many players and coaches will tell you that your choice of boots is irrelevant. Some will also say that your boots can have a noticeable impact on your game.
The real answer is a bit more nuanced. Football boots allow you to display whatever talent you possess. Therefore, there are no boots that are going to transform you into a better player. However, different boots can definitely offer different playing experiences. In this article we’ll be taking a look at all of the ways that football boots can affect your performance.
Where Boots Will Make A Difference
Comfort is one of the most important things when you’re choosing a pair of football boots. If you don’t feel comfortable in your boots, you’re simply not going to be able to perform at your best. That’s why it’s important to try on a variety of boots before you choose a new pair.
You should be looking for a boot that doesn’t pinch any part of your foot. You should also avoid getting a boot that’s too large, as this may lead to blisters. Having comfortable boots means that you can focus on your game, rather than how your feet feel. Wearing comfortable boots is the simplest way to empower your performance on the field.
Traction on the Field
If there’s one thing that football boots were made for, it’s traction. Without studded boots, you’d be slipping and falling all over the place. Over the years, boots have definitely developed their stud patterns to be more aggressive and provide more traction.
Depending on the boots you’re wearing, different stud patterns can provide a different feel on feet. For example, compare the sharp and cutting edge of the tri-star studs on the Mercurial Vapor 15 to the rounded conical studs of the Copa Mundial. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but the difference is definitely noticeable.
In recent years, the major brands have been upping their game when it comes to soleplate design. These new soleplates are more snappy and responsive, with the goal of providing a slight energy return with every step.
Although this may seem like it would provide a minimal difference on feet, you’d be surprised just how much can change with a different soleplate. Adidas have implemented this especially well with the Carbitex soleplate in the X Speedportal.
Weight is another factor that can really vary from boot to boot. The lightest football boot you can buy will weigh in several ounces less than a heavier alternative. This isn’t to say that wearing lighter boots will give you the speed of Kylian Mbappe, but you will be able to notice a significant weight difference on feet.
It’s for this reason that players known for their speed often wear the lightest boots available, like the Puma Ultra, Nike Mercurial, and Adidas X Speedportal.
If someone steps on your feet with studded boots, it’s going to hurt. That being said, some boots will offer slightly more protection than others. Boots that give more protection are going to be those with a slightly thicker upper. These may include boots like the Adidas Copa Mundial or the Nike Tiempo Legend 9.
Synthetic boots are designed to provide a barefoot sensation, and that means offering very little protection. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but players should be prepared to feel everything when they go into a challenge with minimalistic boots.
Where Boots Won’t Make A Difference
These days, a lot of boots are advertised to help you get the best touch on the ball. Some football boots have foam embedded in the upper, while others have a grippy outer coating. These elements are a nice touch, and it shows that brands are willing to innovate their technology. That being said, no pair of football boots are going to noticeably improve your first touch.
Having a good first touch involves implementing engrained techniques that you’ve learned over time. Any football boot, regardless of make or model, will give you the same ability to influence the ball.
Continuing in the same vein, the football boots you choose aren’t going to have a big impact on your shot accuracy or power. These are skills that are engrained over time with a lot of practice. Having used both laced and laceless football boots, I’ve never been able to notice a change in how my shots have felt.
Some boots, like the Adidas Predator Edge, have rubber zones on the upper to help add swerve to shots. If you’ve already mastered a curved shot, then it’s possible that you may notice a slight difference with this boot. However, if you mastered a curved shot, you could probably pull off the same technique in a cheaper pair of boots.
I’ve seen several brands market boots that will help you “control the midfield” with your passing ability. While you may be able to control the midfield, it’s probably not the boots that are making the difference. There isn’t really such a thing as position specific football boots, and there’s no boot that’s going to make a major difference in your passing ability.
Your passing ability is reflected as a combination of your individual skills along with the chemistry that you’ve built up with your teammates. Having worn both minimal boots, and classic leather boots, I can attest that you never think about what’s on your feet when you’re passing the ball.
So do your boots even matter? Yes! Of course they do. Most importantly, you need to have a pair of football boots that feel comfortable on your feet and give you enough traction on the pitch.
Although your football boots may not improve your skills, they can still empower you and provide confidence. If you prefer boots with a certain style or material, go with what you like. Finding your favorite pair of boots is an exciting journey, so be sure to try out a wide variety of options to find what’s right for you.
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