It’s coming up to the time of year in most football codes where players begin to transition from runners into boots. Boots are one of players few pieces of equipment in most football codes and must be chosen carefully to maximize function. There are several important factors to consider when choosing a football boot.
- Injury history
- Foot function
- Foot shape
- Typical field conditions
- Specific football code
- Player position
Characteristics of the boot directly contributing to these factors include:
- Last shape
- Mid-foot stability/torsional strength
- Heel counters
- Stud configuration and type
Players with a significant injury history of the lower limb should be looking to get a boot with a strong heel counter, good torsional stability and possibly even a bit of cushioning. The same applies for the player with known biomechanical abnormalities or poor foot function. Asics is probably the leading brand in this area with boots such as the Lethal Ultimate and Lethal Tigreor.
All brands supply boots in a variety of widths and depths, however not many retail stores will stock much beyond the average width boots. It is important to try on a variety of boots and ask to have something ordered in to try if required.
Specific code, player position and typical field conditions will all affect the stud type and configuration chosen. It may also be necessary to have a second pair of boots for alternative conditions.
- Dry grass pitches, positions that require more running, AFL – moulded studs
- Wet/muddy conditions, rugby front rowers – screw in studs
Beware the first few sessions in your boots!
There are some key differences between your runners and the majority of boots on the market which will mean significant changes to your biomechanics and tissue loading when changing your footwear. These include the heel to forefoot gradient and midfoot stability. Both of these are often significantly higher in your average runner compared to your typical football boot. This results in higher loading of structures in your feet and lower limb when transitioning into your boots. As such a couple of tips when buying and transitioning into your boots:
1. Match your boot characteristics to your runners characteristics
2. When trying boots, wear your playing socks and allow around half a thumb widths space at the end of your toes (slightly tighter than your runners)
3. For a great range of shoes as well as advice from Sports Podiatrists, go to Active Feet, who have clinics in Prahran, Heathmont, Camberwell and Sandringham.
4. Gradually increase the amount of wear in your boots (don’t begin with a full session!)
5. If in doubt seek professional help from your podiatrist
Shay McLeod is a McKenzie Credentialed Physiotherapist at Advance Healthcare Hoppers Crossing. The clinic provides physiotherapy services to Point Cook, Altona and surrounding areas. We have podiatry services at Advance Healthcare, led by Sports Podiatrist Scott Cameron at our Boronia Clinic. To book with Scott, phone 9839 3322