Fit those football feet
SG, FG, cleats, outsoles and moulded TPU …. when I joined the Children’s Shoes buying office this sounded like a foreign language to me, and I’m sure it can be just as confusing to anyone who doesn’t follow football
With the run-up to the Olympics in London and the general focus on sports, football continues to top the list as a favourite sport amongst children in the UK. With the ever-evolving technology, together with the advertising and celebrity endorsement that surrounds the subject, it’s no wonder we have to keep on top of the latest football boot technology.
One of the key starting points when buying a boot is to know what type of surface your child will be playing on. There are a number of different types of studs that are adapted to help combat all the different conditions you might encounter; broken down simply, these are:
SG = soft ground. These boots come with screw in studs in either a traditional conical or more contemporary blade shape. These are normally in a six stud configuration, and are ideal for grass surfaces, especially in autumn/winter when the pitch is particularly wet or muddy. The studs are interchangeable, and can be swapped for longer versions depending on how muddy the pitch is. Most brands come with a spanner to help make the change over easier! Ronaldo’s football boot of choice is the Nike Mercurial, but for Arsenal fans the Nike Libretto finds favour with Cesc Fabregas
FG = firm ground. These boots have molded TPU (Thermo Polyurethane) studs, and are best for pitches with short grass that are occasionally wet but rarely muddy. They’re ideal for the spring/ summer season with an asymmetrical formation, and are designed with sharp strong studs at the heel to enhance grip, balance and control. Lionel Messi’s skills are apparently attributed to the Adidas F50 TRX, while Carlos Teves favours Nike Tiempo.
Turf = turf bootshave small short multiple rubberised studs or grips. They’re best used for dry pitches with little or no grass, astro turf pitches or sand, and can be used all year round. The outsole will be rubber and the studs are multidirectional, so perfect for fast 5 or 7 a side and recreational kickabout football. Take a look at the supple Nike JR Tiempos, or the banana yellow Adidas Astro Turfs.
It’s also important to consider upper materials when buying football boots. There’s a choice between natural leathers (often kangaroo) which are soft, supple and lightweight, enabling a supreme ball feel; and synthetic leathers - these maintain their shape, are also lightweight but durable, and don’t absorb water.
Asymmetrical lacing is a popular design feature these days, as with the Nike Librettos - it’s integrated and provides a cleaner surface and apparently bigger striking zone!
Working with the biggest brands in football - Nike and Adidas - all our football boots are specifically designed with children in mind. Although the styling mimics adult versions, they’re often lighter to help develop co ordination skills, and with fewer studs as children run in a more vertical position, so don’t need as much traction to keep them on their feet. Happy striking!