I was one of those children who liked to play as many different sports as possible, but during the Winter season, two sports dominated my time – Rugby and Football. During some seasons, I was playing Football matches every week for my school and Rugby matches every week for my club. I was young enough that finding the energy to do this wasn’t a problem, but it was demanding in terms of my boots.
There was only ever a finite amount of money my parents were prepared to spend on my boots. If that budget was £40, I could either split it £20 for Rugby boots and £20 for Football boots, or spend £40 on just a single pair to be used for both sports. If you spend wisely, investing all of the money into one pair of boots can allow you to enjoy wearing a higher quality product, though they will be naturally less suitable for one of the sports than the other.
My first pair of boots were Rugby boots. They were perfect for Rugby and definitely the option to choose if Rugby is your sole focus. However, playing Football proved pretty difficult! The design of Rugby boots makes applying subtle touches like curling a ball harder. If you’re a centre back whose game involves winning the ball from the opposition and the lumping it out of defence, Rugby boots might just about be okay. If you’re a tricky winger though, Rugby boots are certainly not the option for you.
For future seasons, I switched to Football boots. Naturally playing Football was no problem, and despite playing primarily in the front row and exclusively as a forward, playing Rugby wasn’t a problem either. As long as you select the right studs, grip isn’t a problem, and the slightly lighter boot helps in terms of speed and changes of direction (admittedly not a major part of my game but still something I enjoyed). You don’t get the same level of protection for your toes or ankles as you do with Rugby boots, but thanks to a good pair of shin pads with an integrated ankle guard, I managed to steer clear of injuries in these areas. However, the choice of studs is key.
You have three main options available in terms of studs. You can either use moulded studs, ‘blades’ or screw-in studs. Screw in studs are the least convenient, as standard Football studs will not be permitted for Rugby and vice-versa. This means each time you switch sports, you will have to change your studs, something you don’t have to worry about with moulded boots or blades.
In terms of performance, I never noticed a huge difference between the options when playing Football. However, when playing Rugby, I definitely preferred screw-in studs, because they are more versatile. You can choose a longer or shorter stud depending on your role in the team or the ground conditions, flexibility you simply don’t have with moulded studs or blades. The length of the studs was key for me. Playing on wet or muddy grounds as a forward, you need all of the traction you can get, and the longer studs help you to achieve this. Therefore for these reasons, I’d recommend choosing screw-in studs over moulded studs or blades.
If you play both Rugby and Football throughout the year and only have the money available for one good pair of boots, Football boots are definitely a better option than Rugby boots. If you choose this option, think carefully about your choice of studs as you’ll need all of the traction you can get during the Winter!
The Kipsta team sports range is available exclusively at Decathlon.