In my household, the onset of the colder months brings about the ritual of cleaning off the rugby boots, checking fit, buying new studs and laces.
It makes me think about what makes a good boot. Is it best for a heavy but robust boot? A light quick boot? Or something that can do everything?
There is no doubt about it, rugby boots come in all shapes and sizes and are becoming ever more specific depending on the players position and relevant requirements. The backs (players who form the faster, agile and swift ball movers of the team) require a boot which is lightweight, swift and provides close contact with the foot which often share characteristics with the football boots on the market. The forwards (the players who form the Scrum and provide huge workloads in close contact play) tend to use a boot that is more robust and able to provide firm ground grip and good ‘feel to the foot’.
My favourite boot has to be from the Asics range. A good boot that is technologically advanced. Asics have used all the knowledge they have gained from designing running shoes and translated this into rugby boots.
The 10mm heel gradient puts these boots amongst the most technical in the market. The idea behind this is to ensure that the heel is in an elevated position to allow ‘take off’ from elevated heel position rather than that of the traditional ‘’flat’’ boot. This action provides for less work required of the calf muscle and puts the player in a better position for ‘toe off’. The boot combines a gel heel support system for shock absorbency and a mid-sole unit designed to support the foot in a neutral position (neither pronated nor supinated).
Now, let’s not beat around the bush, they are not cheap! At just over a 100 pounds they are perhaps more for the advanced player but in today’s market, you get what you pay for.
For me, I’ve worn many boots for many years and I have to say that they are the most comfortable boot I have owned in years. Good ground contact, good fit and superb shock attenuation. Now it just remains to convince my two teenage boys of my choice!