Are your boots causing you injuries?

Jun 01, 2016 by

Last weekend in the inner sanctum of the Brisbane Strikers dressing room, before our big game against the Brisbane Roar, I couldn’t help but notice the kaleidoscope of different football boots all the senior players wear.

There were more varieties of boots than David Beckham has had hairstyles. This left me pondering a question I often get asked by players, “what should I look for in a football boot?” 

Picking the correct football boot is essential because a Brisbane Strikers first team player can cover as much as 12kms in one game. The type of boot you choose can assist with your performance and significantly help to minimise injury. To help you choose, below is a list of factors to consider: 

Synthetic vs. Leather
What your boot is made from can influence the fit and comfort. Many popular brands are made from synthetic materials, which has allowed boots to become lighter and more water resistant. However, synthetic materials have varying levels of quality, which can influence the durability and longevity of the boot. Leather boots, commonly made from cows or kangaroos, often last longer and mold better to your feet due to the soft nature of the leather. However, leather boots are often a little heavier and styles are limited. 

The most important thing to consider is how long and often you intend to use the boots for, and how they feel when they are on your feet. If they feel uncomfortable in the store, it’s likely they will feel uncomfortable when you’re covering close to 12kms in a game.

Stud Pattern
The type of studs you choose will depend on the type of pitch you are going to be playing on. Molded stud patterns are often recommended for harder surfaces as they maximise grip while keeping the boot light. Stud patterns can vary amongst boots, but it is important that there is NO stud underneath the joint of the big toe as this can compromise flexibility where you need it most. 

Screw-in studs are designed for softer surfaces, as they have better grip. However, players who have had knee reconstructions or have issues with stability should be aware that boots with extra grip can be ineffective, as the foot could become stuck in the ground during quick changes in direction. In Brisbane most pitches are considered hard so the majority of players will benefit from a molded stud pattern. If you do have the funds, having a second pair with screw-ins can cover you on the rare occasion you are exposed to soft and wet pitches. 

Heel of the boot 
The heel of the boot is important to consider as this provides specific stability for the foot and ankle during change-in-direction movements. A deep, contoured and rigid heel is essential. When testing the strength of the heel support, you should not be able to squash the back of the boot down with your thumb. There are also some boots on the market with a heel lift. Players with a history of Sever’s and/or Achilles injuries can benefit from boots with a heel lift as this can help take pressure off the Achilles region. 

Mid sole of the boot
The forefoot aspect of the boot should have some flexibility, yet the middle of the boot should be stable. Next time you pick up a boot, see if you can bend the boot approximately 5cm from the front, which is where it should bend. Then see if you can bend the boot completely in half. If you can do this, the boot lacks mid boot stability which could expose you to lower limb injuries such as shin splints, knee pain and ankle pain. It’s best to look for boots that don’t bend directly through the middle to ensure they provide you with arch support and minimise excessive movement through the midfoot. 

Next time you are looking at boots, consider these tips to improve your performance and, most importantly, minimise injuries so you keep kicking goals every weekend. Keep an eye out each month, as I will be writing about injury management and prevention strategies that I have used during my time working with professional football clubs. If you would like to know more information about what you should look for in a football boot, or have any other questions, please send me an email on luis.resa@outlook.com. 

LUIS RESA
Physiotherapist
Get Athletic “Physiotherapy for Athletes”

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Marketing Brisbane Strikers