Rugby Footwear for Starters: Getting It Right to Optimise Your Performance

If you have just joined a rugby team (could be a club in your locality or school), then you need to understand that footwear needs vary among different groups of players. Since you are new to the game, the position you play will depend on things like your ball handling ability, speed, weight and understanding of other technical aspects of the game such as defence. The following discussion will help you get your footwear right depending on the position you play:

The Forwards

The forwards are composed of the props, a hooker, locks, flankers and an eighth man. If you are going to play any of these positions, you should go for mid-cut boots (also referred to as high-tops). These boots are heavy and have a small extension that covers your ankles. The extension keeps you from being stepped on and provides additional support for your ankles considering that forwards are often the bigger, heavier people in the team.

Generally, mid-cut boots are heavier their low-cut counterparts because of the additional material used to provide adequate ankle support and protect your toes. Most importantly, make sure that the boots have long, screw-in cleats for proper anchorage when you are scrummaging and contesting rucks.

The Backs (Centres and Wingers)

The backs are the fast, dodgy people in the team. They rely on speed and quick shifting of running lines to execute attacks and score. For this reason, their boots are low-cut (reaching just below the ankle) and light. You can opt for short, metallic screw-in cleats or rubber blade studs, whichever feels lighter and comfortable. However, the metallic cleats have the added advantage of better grip in wet weather. At least, you won't be adversely affected should there be a sudden change in weather on game day or during training.

The Playmakers

Playmakers are a special group of team members including the fly-half, scrum-half and fullback. Basically, they control the game in terms of ball possession and everyone else's positioning. This position demands a lot of kicking, necessitating a tight fitting boot that will give you a perfect feel of the ball. Wearing a pair of knee-high socks over a pair of light ankle socks can help you get the tight fit in cases where shoe sizing is a problem for one or both of your feet. Most importantly, nailing the kicks also depends on the configuration of your boot. They should have a large surface area to increase the chances of hitting the precision zone when executing the various types of rugby kicks.