The Northern Hemisphere’s foremost rugby showpiece, the Six Nations Championship, is now underway. And it could come down to the finest of margins; a kick, a sidestep, an extra drive from the forward pack, with the players wearing the best boots to ensure they are performing to their maximum.
Picking the right boots is crucial in rugby, with the quicker players looking for lightweight boots which don’t sacrifice grip while the burly forwards are looking for power and traction, without being demobilised.
The boots on this list include the best options for each position and style of play – be it speed, comfort, durability or just a desire to stand out.
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1. Adidas Predator Malice SG: £139.95, Adidas
Arguably the best-looking boots on this list, the Predators come with most history than most – just ask Jonny Wilkinson. These are Adidas’ lightest-ever boots, allowing faster acceleration, greater control and dynamic changes in direction. However, the best part of the boot is the asymmetric lacing system which provides a larger surface area when kicking the ball, be it into touch or from the tee. These boots are a full-back’s dream but work equally as well for a fly-half.
2. Nike Tiempo Legend VI Pro: £118.99, Nike
The Tiempos are built to withstand all weather conditions and can perform on either soft or hard ground, depending on the state of the pitch, due to the moulded inner studs. There are also blades to create grip and disperse the pressure, which is also supposed to relieve the stress on the lower limbs. Tiempo’s are the choice of England vice-captain and fly-half Owen Farrell, but they’re not just for the kickers in the team.
3. Mizuno Morella Neo II SI: £96.98, Amazon
Made predominantly to suit back rowers and centres, this Mizuno pair offers a lightweight alternative to the stereotypically clunky boots normally aimed at the bigger players in the team. The 6x2 stud design means the traction remains intact and also offers exceptional weight benefits with the graded Pebax soul plate. The external heel counter offers a similar level of protection and ensures the durability of the boot while the leather provides a great level of comfort.
4. Adidas Kakari Force SG: £139.95, Adidas
The Kakari Forces have undergone a complete revamp, with Adidas making the lightest-ever version of the boot. There is the inner sock which covers the ankle, adding extra security, while the raised heel provides extra grip for scrummaging, and helps with other dynamic movements. If you have the need for speed, these would make an excellent choice. The Kakaris are perfect for second rowers and even props who are looking to catch the eye.
5. Adidas Adizero Malice SG: £100, Pro:Direct Rugby
Calling all speedsters! The Adizeros – from the same ‘Elements Pack’ as the Kakaris – are made for wingers to evade defenders on mazy runs. They come with an elasticated sock to aid agility and a “sprintframe”, which is a lightweight but tough-wearing sole. The studs are designed to prevent mud getting stuck in them, allowing speed off the mark. They also have a larger surface area on the instep for kicking. However, be warned: these boots are unlikely to be much use in a maul or drive situation as they are built for speed only.
6. Under Armour SpeedForm CRM LTHR: £120, Under Armour
You might not be able to play like an All Black, but this blacked-out SpeedForm pair will at least make you look like one. Worn by the likes of Wales duo Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny, the boots are perfect for a back. Weighing in at just 213g, the boots are among the lightest pairs on the list and provide a sock-like feel with the articulated toe box moulding to the shape of your foot. If speed is what you are after, these are perfect.
7. Canterbury Phoenix Elite 8 Stud SG: £75, Canterbury
These boots are designed for all positions on the field, although they have more of an appeal to those playing in the back row. Canterbury is a rugby specialist and that is evident in the design, giving outstanding support and stability with the aim of preventing injury from rolling your ankle or heel. The 3D TPU heel offers crucial heel support when holding your position in a scrum. But they are also designed for players who like to run with confidence, with the eight studs providing traction and grip, especially on softer ground.
The Verdict: Rugby boots
There are some boot-iful (sorry) pairs on this list from the Under Armour SpeedForces to the Nike Tiempos but for aesthetics and versatility, the Adidas Predator Malice is the stand-out boot on the list. It;s light and good for running, kicking and comfort. The pair is perfect for, but not exclusive to, backs and the history the Predator boots carry mean they will always be the footwear of choice for aspiring rugby players. With the rate Adidas brings out new pairs of Predators, reductions on classic pairs like this one are always available.
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