Footy is back! And with the smell of wet grass, deep heat and meat pies comes our anticipated Best Football Boots 2021 list.
Off the top we’ll get to the best pair of boots of the season and why. Deeper into the article we’ll talk about boot selection for different positions, foot shapes and grounds. Finally we’ll explain why podiatrists are the absolute best experts on football boots and footy feet going around.
10 Best Football Boots 2021
The All-Rounder Football Boot
Asics Lethal Testimonial 4
With the Testimonial from Asics, there’s a lot to love. A 10mm heel to toe drop to keep you running and reducing the load on your calf muscles and heels. A hybrid stud pattern for all round traction in the wet and dry. A midsole for cushioning that’s not bringing excess weight to your footy boot. And 4 different colours to choose from.
The Lethal Testimonial can be used for mids, lighter rucks and key position players. A solid and regular winner of podiatrists Best Football Boot awards, it’s even possible to fit a full 3D printed orthotic on board.
The Wide Football Boot
X Blades Voltaic Adrenaline
The Voltaic Adrenaline comes standard as a 4E (wide fitting) boot. Unlike many wide fitting “clunkers” of boots of old though the Voltaic Adrenaline is still light and fast.
Combining a 10mm heel drop (pitch) to reduce the peak loading on the calf muscles and then light weight mesh upper. The Voltaic Adrenaline is your go to for footballers who want wide, comfortable football boots without the weight. If you have wide feet then the Voltaic Adrenaline is a great option for you.
The Narrow Football Boot
Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Elite
A fast, narrow fitting football boot from Nike that you’ve no doubt seen on many AFL players’ feet. You won’t be fitting much more than your footy sock and your foot in these boots as they are lightweight and shallow.
For players with narrow feet that are strong as well the Tiempo will see you running over the ground like a cat. Think fleet of foot players who frustrate tacklers and dazzle the crowd.
And not that it’s important… But the Tiempo Legend comes in plenty of colours for the fashion conscious footballers out there.
The Midfielder’s Football Boot
Asics Lethal Tigreor
The Tigreor is a midfielders boot which has taken on board running shoe characteristics for covering the grass all game long.
A large 10mm heel to toe pitch and soft and giving kangaroo leather upper allows you to run bulk K’s and rack up bulk touches without wanting to rip your boots off in pain.
The only risk with the Tigreor is leather poisoning… As you’ll be that close to the action the whole game you’ll have touched the pill more times than is recommended.
*leather poisoning is not something your podiatrist can treat, unlike heel pain which we capable of treating
The Key-Position Football Boot
Asics Lethal Ultimate
There’s A LOT of footy boot on your foot when you’re wearing the Lethal Ultimate from ASICS. This suits those who are on the heavy side, have had a few injuries in the past, or do a lot of grappling and jumping.
This is not a speed boot.
In the Lethal Ultimate you’re getting a serious training shoe hidden within a football boot. Players like Tom Hawkins have played some of their best football when matching their position needs with the right footwear.
Unless you’re covering significant territory where the extra weight of the Lethal Ultimate could slow you down, the Ultimate will be a comfortable and accurate boot for big footballers.
The Rucks’ Football Boot
Asics Lethal Ultimate
The same information we’ve written above for large key position players is why the Lethal Ultimate is great for Rucks as well and deserves two places on the best football boots 2021 list.
When landing repeatedly you don’t want extra long stops increasing the risk of ankle or knee injuries. The Lethal Ultimate provides traction and cushioning without extra risky stops.
A very comfortable midsole also helps big rucks patrol the stoppages dishing out fast hands or quick kicks to fleet footed and hungry mids as the glide by in their Tigreor’s, Tiempo’s, Jet 4’s or Testimonials.
The Orthotic Friendly Football Boot
X-Blades Jet 4
The Jet 4 from X-Blades is not only an orthotic friendly football boot, it’s close to the best football boot going around.
A great all purpose stud set up, cushioned midsole and kangaroo leather upper provides an ideal platform for almost any footballer.
The Jet 4 comes in a 2E and 4E width as well so not only can you fit wider feet or a normal feet, but you can get a 3D printed orthotic on board as well.
The Footy Boot For Hard Grounds
X-Blades Animal Instinct
When playing on dry, dusty and hard football grounds you don’t want extra plastic slowing you down. The Animal Instinct is light and has an excellent blade style stud system to reduce excess friction compared with large screw in stops.
A light upper and a mild cushioned midsole makes this boot ideal for early season football grounds that still have baked in summer clay under foot. Agile players who appreciate light and fast with a focus on control will appreciate the Animal Instinct boots.
The Footy Boot For Soft Grounds & Mud Pits
Nike Phantom GT Elite SG
Like all Nike football boots the Phantom GT Elite is made for northern hemisphere conditions… Which means it’s originally a soccer football boot, but, luckily for those of us who play in mud pits in Australia, very adaptable to our local conditions.
Featuring a stud configuration of 6 large studs for grip with interspersed blades the Phantom GT Elite gives plenty of traction in very slippery conditions.
Be prepared to pull up sore however if you’re playing footy on dry or hard grounds or even running longer distances. This is a great alternative boot for when the weather is really bad or you need to change mid game due to slippery conditions.
** The boot image above is the FG (firm ground) version of the Nike Phantom Elite SG (soft ground). Would you believe that on all the instagrams out there the SG has not gotten any loving?
The Best Football Boots For Kids
Asics Lethal Tigreor
For active kids we love the Lethal Tigreor from Asics. The main reason is that it’s a beautiful soft leather upper and a large 10mm heel to toe drop.
This is super important for growing feet as the heel bone, the calcaneus has a soft growth plate which can be easily irritated. This is a condition known as Sever’s Disease (or more accurately calcaneal apophysitis). It’s an overload condition that’s not contagious at all, however often strikes hordes of young footballers who play in flat soled footy boots (like the Adidas Copa or Predator).
Using a 10mm drop and cushioned football boot like the Tigreor is a great starting point to keep kids feet feeling great and enjoying our great game of football.
Why Different Positions Need Different Football Boots
Look at the variety we have in AFL footy. The variety of players sizes. The variety of playing positions. It’s one of the truly beautiful things about our game.
This variety is one of the reasons why we need to be all using a different pair of football boots to suit our playing position, as well as our feet.
For those who are smaller, lighter and nimble footballers who cover more ground a boot which is lighter is really important.
For heavier players who don’t do the mileage of the small mids some extra cushioning under foot can be really useful to reduce stress injuries.
And the emerging science of traction and joint injury (such as ACL injuries) is showing there’s a relationship between the traction level (surface and stud pattern) and injuries. For those who are often leaping and landing having less traction is looking like it will reduce the risk of joint injuries.
There is a trade off.
Less traction does increase the risk of you slipping over which as any footballer knows is the surest way to make a coach angry.
As an adult I’m much more comfortable getting a spray from my coach for slipping over knowing that I’m less likely to do an ACL… But I can’t say I would have always made this decision in the past. Some of my junior coaches were terrifying when mad! Side note, Skip as you’re reading this list of the best football boots 2021 it’s definitely not you that was the scary one.
The Best Football Boots For Flat Feet
We’re including this here as it’s still something that people consider when buying boots despite what the science may say.
Firstly, flat feet aren’t bad feet for footy!
Having a flat foot from childhood is usually a sign there’s good movement available through your foot joints which is super important for playing a 3D game like AFL.
The risk with flat feet is that some balance muscles have more work to do. They’re mainly located within the calf muscle and also up in the glutes.
As long as you have a well fitted pair of boots for your flat feet you’re half way there. Having a decent heel to toe drop can also help. The last consideration is if you need an orthotic in your football boot as well. The Asics and X-Blades range of football boots above are all capable of taking an orthotic so match your other needs (position and surface) up and you’ll be set.
The Best Football Boots For Heel Support
When considering what’s the best football boot for heel support you need to look at the drop or pitch of the boot. This is how much higher the heel is than the forefoot.
The majority of Asics and X-Blades football boots have a 10mm heel to toe drop which makes them all excellent options for heel support.
Just like choosing the best football boots for flat feet, match up your positional needs and the surfaces you will be playing on and get a boot with at least a 10mm pitch.
A common condition that we see in clinic affecting footballers every year is plantar fasciitis. Get your boots right and this can be an important treatment or prevention strategy to avoid heel pain.
It’s no surprise to see so many Asics and X-Blades boots make our best football boots 2021 list when they’ve invested so much into our local needs.
Hard Ground vs. Soft Ground Football Boots
An important consideration is what type of surface you will be playing on most. If we were all like the elite AFL players we would have multiple boot options with different stud patterns and orthotics for each game.
But, despite years of trying we can’t all play AFL for the Cats can we?
Some of us will have to live with bringing you the best football boots 2021 list instead of dashing down the wing at Kardinia Park.
When selecting football boots for hard grounds make sure you wear a boot which has smaller studs under foot. This reduces excess traction to reduce fatigue and injury risk.
For soft grounds and those stinking mud pits we all come across each winter a longer screw in stud pattern is better for traction.
How To Get The Best Fitting Footy Boots
When shopping for your footy boots the most important considerations in the store are comfort and fit.
Ensuring that your boots are the appropriate width, depth and length can go a long way in preventing issues in the future. A little bit like Goldilocks’ porridge, not too wide and not too narrow. Not too short and not too long.
You want your fit just right!
To get the width right. Your boots should be wide enough to ensure that your toes aren’t being squeezed together. A good way to check this is to take the insole out of the boot and place your foot on top while standing. Your foot shouldn’t spread over the edges.
And for the depth. Make sure that your toes aren’t being compressed or rubbed by the upper of the shoe.
The length fit is what most of us think about when footy boot shopping. For growing feet allow a finger width between the end of the shoe and the longest toe.
And please, wear your football socks when trying on your football boots!
If you’re planning on wearing orthotics for the season take them in and fit them in the boots too. If you’ve had issues with fitting orthotics into football boots in the past we can help. We were one of the first podiatry clinics in Melbourne to be 3D printing custom made orthotics which are super light and less bulky than their predecessors.
Why Podiatrists Know Footy Feet
I managed to make it all the way through my football career (to the ripe old age of 24) without seeing a podiatrist… Which looking back was a big mistake on my behalf.
Podiatrists know feet. Why else would we be so confident bringing out this list of the best football boots 2021? Hands down are the experts in all things foot related like shoes, boots, injuries and products.
Just within our podiatry team we have two cases where pre-podiatry our young amateur footballers suffered injuries to our feet from wearing the wrong boots. We’ve had a stress fracture in our big toes (a rare but painful one) and a significant ankle injury.
With the benefit of hindsight + our podiatry knowledge getting the right boots, the right pre-injury exercises and the right orthotic there’s a very good chance these season ending injuries would not have happened.
Our entire team of podiatrists at PridePlus Health are able to assess, diagnose, treat and work on prevention a range of footy feet injuries.
If you have had an injury or niggle or would like to undergo pre-injury screening book online with our podiatry team at one of our Melbourne based locations close to you.
Also, if you’ve found this best football boots 2021 list valuable we’d love for you to share it with your footy club and team mates.