In the end, it all comes down to attributes such as a player’s speed, change of pace and skills, but without proper equipment, you can’t be a real football player. The FIFA Laws of the game offer the basic guidelines, but there is more to it than it meets the eye. Here are some tips how to use football equipment – especially boots – in your favour.
The basic rule is simple: A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player – that includes any kind of jewellery. You should also always use shinguards that must be fully covered with socks. You may get cautioned (or even booked) if you do not follow these rules!
Boots – what should you know about them?
The instriguing history of the football boot supposedly goes back to the 16th century and King Henry VIII, but it was not until 1891 that the boot (almost exclusively made from leather until the 60s) was allowed to have studs. In 1825 the Dasler brothers Adi and Rudolf (who later became Adidas and Puma founders, respectively) “discovered” the boot with interchangeable studs; the improvements have never stopped since. For decades it was not such a problem as today – which boots to choose? Now, when players – not only the best ones like Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – have customized and personalized boots, made from sophisticated materials, the decision is much harder. But we are here to help!
You should always choose your boots depending on which ground you play on. If you are a professional or you want to be (and can afford it), it is advisable to have more than one pair of boots. They should be different, with different kinds of studs, so you can use their advantages properly. Here are some key facts about boots and grounds they are best used on.
The ground can be soft or softer for various reasons, but it mostly has to do with (bad) weather – pitches in England, for instance, can be very soft because of the rain! Cleats for soft(er) ground have longer, screw-in studs or blades that go deeper into the ground and help you stay on your feet even in the wettest conditions. These kind of boots are great for muddy conditions. Athough a bit heavier, they are a “must have” for all players who play the game more seriously, especially if they come from places where it rains more often. Soft ground boots should never be used on AstroTurf. They can be a big injury risk because of balance issues.
Most common and most “all-round” football boots. They have rubber moulded studs or blades that are shorter than soft ground cleats. Those kinds of boots are the best option for playing on firmer grounds. Use them if playing in places with litter rain and a lot of sun (southern Spain, Italy, Greece, African countries, the Middle East … etc.) While they are not as effective in mud or heavy rain (it is very possible that you will slip, while swiftly changing your direction) they can very well be used on AstroTurf.
Although it is said it leads to more and more injuries, especially of knees and lower body ligaments, AstroTurf is becoming more and more popular in the last few years. It has also become better, less hazardous for players’ health; in some (cold and snowy) places such as Russia or Scandinavia, it is also the only possible solution for playing football on the highest level for longer than a few summer months. While the majority of experts still say firm ground boots are best suited to AstroTurf, some also use special AstroTurf boots that are very similar to indoor football trainers (they have only slightly noticeable cleats). Our advice is to stick with the firm ground boots that will – like our slogan puts it – let you show your potential more. Like previously mentioned, never use soft ground boots on this surface. They will not only hurt your mobitily, but can also be very dangerous to your health!