Rugby doesn’t require a whole lot of kit making it an easy sport to try out without having to invest in a lot of expensive equipment right away. As you skill and interest in the game progress you will find that making good choices about your footwear can have an impact on your performance.
The difference between football and rugby boots
In the past there were noticeable difference between rugby and football boots. Rugby boots tended to have more ankle support and came up higher on the ankle than football boots did. The toes of rugby boots were also tougher to protect the players toes and give more stability and support to the ankle. Backs, who need to be fast on their feet, were known to use football boots in place of rugby boots as the lighter construction made them more nimble on their feet. In response to this trend, modern rugby boot design has made use of lightweight, yet supportive materials such as neoprene to give the bootie type design a lightweight makeover. Under Armour has a good variety of the hybrid boots as well as more traditional style, if you are in the market for new boots there are some great Groupon deals available for Under Armour at the moment.
Although football boot can often be interchanged with rugby boots it is worth noting that there are some styles of football boots that are actually illegal for rugby playing purposes. Pointed studs that are perfectly acceptable for football are not allowed for rugby. If you are concerned that boots may not meet rugby standards ask if they are approved by World Rugby before buying them.
The placement of studs in relation to the position you play is an important factor to take into consideration when choosing new boots. Typically there are two types of mud patterns to choose from. A 6 stud configuration is generally favoured by backs to give them more speed and greater agility on the field. The other configuration of 8 studs is most popular with hookers, props and locks as the extra two studs give much more traction the ground which is ideal for getting extra grip during scrummages.
Be careful of wearing your studs for extended periods on very hard surface as this can cause them to become sharp. Legally, the referee has a responsibility to not allow player with studs that are considered “sharp or abrasive” to play.
Have a look at this handy video to better explain the importance of studs.
The safety benefits of having good quality footwear cannot be underestimated either, rugby is a very physical game and support for your ankles and feet is imperative. The boot should fit well and securely. Use the rule of thumb to ensure a good fit (especially important for children whose feet are still growing). The big toe should be no more than a thumb width from the top of the boot to prevent the foot from slipping around inside the boot and possibly causing an injury. Happy rucking!