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Selecting Rugby Boots

Rugby boots, as with other types of athletic footwear, come in a variety of colors, sizes, styles, designs, and materials.  The traditional rugby boot varies from football boots in that it has a high cut designed for ankle support.  The selection of rugby boots depends on your position, the way you run and the shape of your feet. Options that are available when selecting a boot include low, high or mid cut and hard or soft toe.  In addition, there are boots designed for junior and senior players.  If your child has just joined the school rugby team you need to purchase junior boots.  There are a variety of manufacturers who produce rugby boots.  Some of the more popular brands include:  Adidas, Asics, Canterbury, Kooga, Nike, Optimum, Puma and Umbro. 


How Position Helps With Boot Selection

It is important to select a boot based on the position that you are playing and your running style.  Forwards, need extra support around the ankle and protection since they are in direct contact with their opponent, so they usually opt for a mid or high cut boot with a hard toe.  Kickers may prefer tight-fitting boots to give them a better feel for the ball. Those playing backs usually prefer a low cut, soft toe boot to help with mobility. 

Foot Shape and Rugby Boots

The shape of your foot, whether you have a high arch or are flat-footed will determine the right boot for you.  Lastly, the boot must be comfortable so that you can perform to the best of your ability. 

Materials Available

Traditionally there are two types of uppers available: leather and synthetic.  Each type has their own advantages and disadvantages and in the end it comes down to personal preference.  Leather boots are comfortable and will mold to your foot, however they can stretch in wet conditions, and are more expensive.  Synthetic boots are light, waterproof, strong, and less expensive, however the can tear easily.   It is worthwhile to consider shoes that are made from a combination of both leather and synthetic materials.  There are junior boots that are made from synthetic leather which are comfortable and durable.

Rugby Boot Studs

The conditions of the pitch and the type of studs on a boot can make a significant difference in a athlete's ability to play.  Traditional metal studs are designed for use on soft ground and when the ground is hard there are boots with molded or firm ground studs.  Boots with screws in the studs are popular because it gives the player the option to adjust their studs based on playing conditions. Longer studs are used for a muddy pitch and shorter studs are used on drier, hard ground.

Purchase Tips

Consult with the experts at the store to get their opinion.  Always wear the socks that you will play in when you purchase your boots.  It is important to try on the boots and walk around in the store to make sure the fit is right for you.  Remember ease of motion, stability, comfort and protection should be a priority in your decision. There should be a gap of approximately 7 to 10 mm between the players longest toe and the tip of the boot.  Look for preformed foot beds and  padded tongues on the boot.  Most importantly when the laces are tied the foot should be supported and feel comfortable.  Remember to break in your new boots by wearing them for training and gradually increasing time intervals that they are worn.

Boot Care

 Boots should be cleaned immediately after practice or a match.   Remove all traces of dirt or mud with a soft cloth and then use a leather cleaner to remove excessive dirt.  Laces can be removed, soaked and then placed in the washing machine.  Boots should be dried naturally to avoid adversely damaging the material.  If boots are wet, from bad weather, stuff them with newspaper and let them sit overnight to absorb moisture.  Screw studs must be removed, cleaned thoroughly, and greased to prevent rust.  You can prolong the life of the boot by treating with a waterproof leather spray.