How To Select the Right Soccer Shoes
The game of soccer has been enjoyed in one form or another for over 200 years. Within that time the soccer boot, the most important piece of equipment, has undergone some major evolutions. Today’s technology and choice of materials offer a range of choices for players of every skill level and position.
Footwear is the most important piece of soccer equipment, as it will have a direct impact on your performance, and can also be the most difficult to choose. The specific boot selection can vary depending on the chosen playing surface. The shoe must be comfortable and be fit properly to provide a snug fit.
Boot materials will have an impact on your comfort and the feel of the ball on the shoe. From beginner to pro, Source For Sports® can get you in the right gear for your game.
Synthetic leathers are a great option for the entry level player. This material offers comfort, good feel of the ball and fun colors without breaking the bank.
Boots with synthetic leather are made of a microfiber material that has the characteristics of an elastic band, offering maximum comfort and lightness. When the foot is in the shoe, the material expands around the foot and conforms to the shape immediately, but will return to its original size when the foot is removed. Synthetic leather is slightly more durable than kangaroo leather, is lighter than full grain leather, but does not offer maximum breathability. It is gaining popularity with players as this style is available in fun neon colors, and also allows great touch and feel when the ball is contacted.
Full Grain Leather
Traditional leather materials continue to be a popular choice for many players. Leather breathes and stretches, allowing the boot to eventually mold to the shape of the foot, making it suitable for players with a wide foot. Basic full-grain leather is very durable, however it tends to be the heaviest shoe material.
Many players have turned to uppers made of high-end kangaroo leather, which gives a nice, soft touch when the ball contacts the shoe. Kangaroo stretches and expands, especially in width, and stays stretched, sometimes up to a ¼ size. It has the best breathability of boot materials, however it is not as durable.
The outsole is the area of the shoe in contact with the ground, including the sole and the cleats, and will be determined by the type of field you play on:
Firm Ground (FG) or Molded
Designed for firm natural playing surfaces, the popular molded studs provide good traction and are usually have both conical and bladed studs.
Soft Ground (SG) or Replaceable
For some natural surfaces, such as a well-groomed pitch or mud field, soft ground or replaceable studs are ideal. Studs are usually well spaced apart and replaceable, and some models have permanent studs. If used on pitches that are too hard, the result will be stud pain and injury.
Hard Ground (HG) or Multi-Ground (MG)
If you will be playing on artificial or naturally hard surfaces like a sun baked field, these cleats generally have a large number of short round studs evenly distributed across the entire outsole.
Artificial Grass (AG) or Indoor
Indoor soccer shoes are available with gum rubber, non-marking soles, as well as a low profile Turf shoe for dry artificial surfaces. These indoor boots feature small rubber studs or patterns on the outsole to improve traction.
Another model of indoor shoe is the artificial (AG) shoe. The cleats are less prominent than the traditional molded cleats, but have more profile than a turf show. They are specifically designed for the new types of artificial playing surfaces, that have actual blades of artificial grass.
Elevate your Performance with the Proper Fit
Once your playing surface is determined, the proper fit is going to make or break your game. Boots should be snug in the heel and the toe which will not only allow for better control of the ball, but also keep the foot in place to avoid blistering. It is very important for parents to understand that buying soccer boots that are too large for their child to “grow into” is not recommended - the fit will be wrong and can contribute to accidents or injury. The soccer boot not only controls the ball, but transfers the energy from the player for quick turns and stops, and it should be snug but comfortable.