It goes without saying that choosing the right pair of football boots is an important decision for any player. Comfort, grip and durability are the main things to look out for when deciding which boot to use.
Pavl Williams, a professional football coach and author who specialises in grassroots and youth
Screw-in studs: variable-length, screw-in studs are used on soft grass pitches and for extra traction when the surface is wet. Smaller rubber studs can be bought to convert the boot into a hard ground boot. Some players prefer the traditional 6-stud layout, these plates are being phased out for newer designs which spread the player’s weight more evenly across the foot and are generally more comfortable.
Moulded studs: more numerable, shorter plastic studs are used on harder surfaces such as firm grass and 3G astro-turf. These boots are more comfortable than screw-in models and are generally suitable for any but the most slick of grass surfaces, making them a good all-round choice.
Moulded Blades: Designed to combine the grip of metal/screw-in studs with the comfort of moulded studs, ‘blades’ and other alternative patterns are an excellent versatile option. In particular, plastic blades can be worn in almost any environment (offering good grip on even wet surfaces and comfortable and safe enough to wear on astro-turf). Metal blades are great specialist soft-ground boots but are not suitable for harder surfaces.
Leather: Ideally players will be able to pick-up some genuine leather boots. They are softer, adapt to player’s feet over time and provide exceptional feel for the ball. Unfortunately they are usually the most expensive type of boot to buy; the top models use the same materials as the professional’s boots and can be very expensive. However, it is occasionally possible to find an affordable pair.
Plastic: The cheapest model often bears only an aesthetic resemblance to the professional boot – they are usually made of plastic and any other features are merely cosmetic. Plastic boots stubbornly hold their shape, even when that bears no resemblance to the player’s foot. These boots often rub against the toes and heel giving some players blisters.
Synthetic: A third option is a synthetic material which is often used on mid-range boots. It is a polyurethane base but modified with micro-fibres to create a more flexible and softer material. These boots are only slightly less comfortable than leather boots and are often half the price. For the majority of players these boots are ideal.