Choosing the right soccer shoes.
Periodically, soccer players write to me asking what shoes they should buy. Some of them, enter into more detail connected with the kind of field and weather so, instead of continuing to write to them individually, I think it’s time to give some general suggestions to a much bigger audience.
Clearly, they are my personal opinions, based on my 50 years of soccer experience, 30 of them as a soccer player of a decent level.
Even if some times I give the wrong impression that I’m the ‘keeper of truth‘, these suggestions are only my opinions. If you’d like to follow my indications, I‘m more than happy to have been helpful in some way, FOR FREE (which in this country is something deeply wrong to do!) otherwise, if you don’t agree, I can assure you that, I’ll be able to sleep anyway!
Before talking about shoes, there is something that I see very often at practice and games. Almost no one cares about what is put between the inside of the shoes and……………………………… feet! This is very important, even more than choosing the right shoes. If you don’t give attention to this topic, after don’t be surprise if you have blisters, calluses or you lose your toe nails, in particular the big toe nail.
When I was young, I had my correct share of stupidity so, I rarely took care to cut my toe nails often enough. Result? Every few months, both big toe nails were BLACK and ready to leave me! This is the first suggestion:
Cut your toe nails, minimum one time a week.
Put a lot of attention on cutting the big toe nail. The shape has to be strait, not curved, and don’t go deep in the corners where the nail ends in the flesh. If you do that, sooner or later, the nail begins to get ingrown and will get infected and……………………………… lets forget the ‘and‘!
As I was saying, what is between the inside of your shoes and your feet is the second suggestion, and are:
Very often, they are too thin. This means there is nothing that forbids the shoes to sandpaper your feet, when you run. Your feet, with almost no ventilation, will sweat a lot so, thin socks will stick to the skin, becoming the second skin of your feet and they will almost directly touch the soles of the shoes. Result? Sandpaper!
Socks have to be very thick, even in summer time, with 100 degrees heat! Like the ones that you use to go skiing. And because they can get scrunched in the shoes provoking calluses, think about wearing on top of them, a thin pair of socks in silk, very short, that will permit you to avoid the problem. But this is optional. What is important is the thickness. Don’t try to avoid the problem with 2 pairs, one on top of the other. The one inside gets crunched anyway!
Now, lets talk about shoes. Before talking about cleats, the third suggestion is:
They have to be the right size.
Not to big or not to little. How many kids play with shoes to big, bought big because their feet will grown fast, or to little, exactly for the same reason, because they grow fast? A few million!!!!!
The right size is very important. Change them every year, possibly every 6 months. And please, don’t talk about money. 2 or 3 pizzas delivered at home, cost much more than a pair of soccer shoes! So, don’t talk with me about money. Just spend the money, BETTER!
At the store, in trying on the shoes, always wear thick socks and remember that when you play your feet grow a lot in size so, consider this too.
This is the right moment to talk about laces. Fourth suggestion. Very often, players tie their shoes very tight, before the warm up and consequently game. Result? During the game, because their feet get bigger, they will be to compressed and will not receive the correct amount of blood plus, remember the sandpaper? There will not be enough cushion between the feet and the bottom of the shoes that, in fact, is the ground!
Fifth suggestion: Cleats. (Firm Ground or Soft Ground version)
There is no way to find a pair of shoes that are good for both situations, unless you buy a pair that lets you change the cleats. Even in this case, the number of the cleats in the back, will be wrong. I’ll explain why.
For soft surface, wet and muddy, you need only 2 cleats in the back. The reason is that the mud will inevitably stick between the cleats. If there are 4, the wet dirt will stuck between them, creating a new flat surface, that will make you slip. If you have only 2, the mud will stay between the 2, but the cleats will continue to go deep in the ground giving you a stable support.
So, if you choose shoes with detachable cleats, 2 in the back are not good on a dry surface because you can easily twist your ankles and 4 in the wet condition, won’t be good either, because it causes you to slip.
Solution? 2 pairs of shoes. One pair with 6 cleats, long and pointed that go deep in the ground, 4 in front and 2 in back, and one with a plastic molded sole, with a lot of little cleats on the whole surface.
If you can afford only one pair, because you prefer your pizza delivery, it’s better to play on wet surface with the dry shoes, instead of having the ones with long cleats on a dry surface because, you’ll destroy your feet and forget how many times you’ll twist your ankles.
So, remember that the right size and the right socks, are as important as choosing the right cleats!
Sixth and last suggestion.
Remember that good looking and apparent comfort, have nothing to do with being REALLY comfortable and secure. Good looking and protecting your feet, don’t always go together!
For comfortable, I’m not talking about ’comfortable’ like ’home slippers’, with super-thin leather. You have to use them to play soccer and someone, very kindly, can step with LONG and POINTED cleats, on your foot! So, choose shoes, that have a strong and thick surface, in particular on top of the toe and the lace areas. In our feet there are more bones, than in our arms and legs put together and they are like a puzzle, one inside the other. If you get a fracture in one of these bones, there is no way to reach them inside at the ‘puzzle’ and it takes a lot of time to heal.
So, just look good when you go out with your……………………………… you know who!
I’d like to conclude reminding you to clean your shoes after the game. When I was young, we didn’t arrive at the field already wearing the soccer uniform. Our coach gave us the jersey and the number on the back, said what position we’d played in, supposing that we were the starters! At that moment, if we didn’t have our shoes ’super clean’, even if someone was the best player on the team, would not be able to play! To play on a soccer team, it takes discipline and respect for ourselves and others, because we represent the teammates, the coaches, the management of the team, our families and supporters.
To wear that jersey was an honor that we had to deserve! You couldn’t wear it, just because you………………………… buy it! The jersey and the starting place on the field!
P.S. There is even the correct way to tie the shoes but, it’s too complicated to explain here so, if you see me around on soccer fields, and you’d like to know it, please feel free to ask me!
Posted on 22 Mar 2007 by coachgianni