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Choosing The Right Equipment

Choosing The Right Equipment

03/12/15 03 December 2015

“Which are boots are better?” The true question to ask is; “which boot is going to amplify my game?” At Buy Football, we have a simple philosophy – We’ll only ever stock product that is suitable for pros and if we wouldn’t wear it, we won’t sell it. The reality is every product on our site is elite and premium and while they each are constructed from different materials and possess contrasting features and designs, each product holds a specific purpose and should be selected by a specific breed of footballer and what defines their style. In short, we aspire to remove the emotion associated with buying and focus on performance.

We have discussed with several engineers, physiologists as well as unbiased past and present players who are held in high regard with in the football space in order to compose and quantify the key criteria that determine functionality of a football boot; providing ratings for Speed, Agility, Touch and Strength. It should be known that it is fundamentally impossible for a single boot to achieve high to max ratings in every parameter. For every feature designed to improve one area it inevitably impacts another.

When discussing touch; inaccuracies in striking a football are often caused to unevenness in the foot. Looking at the anatomical shape of the foot; we see bones, knuckles, uneven bumps around your toes, odd shapes that when a specific point makes contact with the ball, it potentially causes undesired effects – a shot off target, poor first touch, etc. Modern football boots seek reduce this events by “evening out” these shapes into a smooth surface for clean striking typically achieved by softer uppers that will indent and deflect only around that specific point (think of a handprint pressed on to memory foam). To get the best feel for the ball it is desirable for the boots upper to be as thin as possible to have that closeness of foot to the ball. A thinner material can improve touch however it can cause a detrimental effect to the concept of “evening out”. Natural movement is a critical factor as much as it is an over-looked one. Here we are looking at how collapsible the heel and flexibility of the sole which gives the wearer freedom of movement that will allow subtle, specific positions and angles that will improve control. It is worth noting that boots with a more rigid heel supports can offer more stability and thus greater agility as well as rigid/responsive soles improve speed.

Speed of a football boot is related rigidity and responsiveness of the sole as well as overall weight. The premise behind a lightweight speaks for itself, though responsiveness is judged on how readily the sole utilizes kinetic energy from flexed to flat. Using the same concept as running spikes; bending from the forefoot pushing off the ground, the sole impulsively snaps back to shape driving the athlete forward.

Agility is traditionally associated changing direction; but more specifically, it is stopping and starting. As an athlete completes a shuttle run, sprinting to and from cones, at each change of direction the net velocity on the horizontal axis is equal to zero before accelerating again. Thus; we are testing the boots on their stop/start suitability. Agility is related to traction but over the length of the foot as opposed to the forefoot in acceleration. The combination of the studs thinness and size perpendicular to the direction of movement is what will improve stop/starts and lateral movements. It is also worth noting the strength/thickness of upper on the anterior side is taken into account. Stronger uppers prevent the foot from “sliding” within the boot while changing direction.

Strength is assessed by inspecting the overall soundness of the boot for one that will provide a sense of security and assurance the wearer would feel when getting stuck into heavy challenges. The level of protection the boot would offer is based on the strength and thickness of its materials. Added strength typically comes with a compromise speed and touch due to the additional weight and security. In reality all boots offer the wearer some form of protection from knocks and tackles sustained in match play – albeit at an absolute minimum at some ends of the spectrum. How much is required is based on that individual’s role and position. A simple example being a centre forward or winger whose games are built around taking on his opponent and are much less likely to get involved in strong confrontations rather than a centre back or ball-winning midfielder. It’s only logical in this case that the added benefits of a boot that embraces greater speed and agility would outweigh its low strength value.

The above represents an in-depth and accurate guide to choosing your next pair that will help you be the best you can be as opposed to picking one based on which superstar wears what.