With the new season almost upon us and kids returning to sport at school, it can only mean one thing for the nation’s footy parents: they will soon be besieged by pleas for new boots.
If they have either outgrown their current pair or are in need of an upgrade, you need to arm yourself with some knowledge before your senses (and bank account) are overloaded with the bewildering array of options available at the local sports shop.
The newest releases from the most recognisable brands can be expensive, but they are scaled down versions of the same boots you will see on the feet of global football superstars, incorporating the same cutting-edge design and material technology.
What you will be looking for in the high street boot rooms depends entirely on where your child will be playing their football.
If they are playing outside, then with autumn and winter on the way, it won’t be long until the hard baked pitches of summer tournament football start to churn up, so you’ll want boots that are made to play on softer ground, with metal studs or a mixture of metal and moulded, to give more traction in wet and muddy conditions on grass.
In addition to this, most players will also need boots suited to the country’s artificial astroturf pitches, but no matter what’s underfoot, players of all abilities are going to need a boot with good stability and support, which are nice and lightweight so that they can play their opponents off the park.
Finally, bear in mind that if your superstar sports a size six shoe or above then you’re often going to be paying adult prices for the boot.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Adidas predator mutator 20.3 multi ground
The boot, which was popularised by David Beckham, has been a massive hit with players since it was re-launched in 2017 and the latest shoe, the mutator, looks like it’s going to carry on that trend. A superb all-round boot, that really comes into its own if the player is in a league and it’s likely that they will be playing on a range of surfaces across the season from soft ground to 3G and 4G astroturf pitches. The upper is pock marked with little spines that forwards liked for instilling swerve into free kicks and whipping passes across the pitch. The raised sock upper also meant that the boot didn’t fill up with the little rubber infill particles that usually pour out of the boot after playing a match on 3G.
Nike jr. phantom GT club
This multi ground boot for younger kids has an upper made from a GT synthetic leather, which stands for “generative texture”. This translates on the pitch to a nice grippy boot that will really improve the control of younger players just starting out on their footballing journey. The back of the shoe is raised nice and high and the whole boot offers good all-round protection from clumsy challenges while allowing movement around the ankle for turns and changes of direction at pace. There are two colourways to choose from too.
Adidas X ghosted.1 soft ground
Adidas’s laced offering for the 20/21 season is all about speed – even the characteristic three stripes have been designed with speed in mind, apparently. These are the boots that your footy fanatic has probably already spotted on the likes of Mohamed Salah and Heung-Mon Son, so there will inevitably be a lot of interest and the boots are very lightweight and clearly made from high performance materials. Low profile with a nice, snug fit, these are a good-looking boot with a seamless upper of “translucent mirageskin” – basically semi-see through, which will no doubt add to the desirability factor.
Nike jr mercurial vapor 13 academy MG
These boots were a big hit with the midfielders in our testing team as they offered bags of control and a really nice fit. The bright yellow colourway was also a hit with parents for picking their prodigies out on the pitch. For a very good price, you are getting boots that are loaded with exactly the same material tech that’s at the feet of some of the best players in the world.
Puma future 5.3 netfit
Puma’s netfit construction has been so successful in its trainer range that it has started to utilise it to good effect in its footy boots too. This is a fantastic looking boot that also performed well on the pitch with the textured and dimpled upper really helping with our player’s creativity. These also scored highly when it came to comfort with players reporting that they had a nice sock-like feel and were very easy to get on and off even when they were caked with mud. The yellow and black colour combination was the favoured colour scheme, although they are also available in blue and black.
Puma one 20.3
Coming in an eye-catching colour scheme these lightweight boots provided good traction on soft and artificial pitches and really allowed the player to make the most of their possession with enhanced control and passing accuracy. The raised sock upper was comfortable and provided a good barrier to stop mud and 3G particles ending up in the shoe.
Adidas x 19.3
Futsal – a hard, indoor playing court – is becoming increasingly popular among grassroots coaches because it helps younger players develop their touch and control. These boots are an excellent choice for the indoor futsal pitch with a nice low silhouette for comfort and a lightweight feel on the foot. The mesh upper allowed for skilful touches on the ball.
Joma toledo jr
A good choice for any player just beginning their football journey and looking to play indoors. Solid construction and comfortable, these boots offered good all-round protection for the foot, which is vital when novice players are still learning how to time their challenges and the ball isn’t always the first thing that they come into contact with.
Mizuno monarcida neo select jr
If your player has plenty of speed then these boots will allow them to sprint in comfort with a soleplate that gives good traction and allows for explosive movement, quick acceleration and tight turns. The synthetic leather upper offered great touch and we found that these boots were well suited to mini midfield generals who like to control the game and dictate play.
Adidas predator mutator 20+
This is the laceless version of the mutator, which is often loved by those who play forward because they give a large, clean strike zone so that shots on goal are targeted and quick. The boots moulded to the foot really well and meant that we had a great fit for both wide and narrow feet. The absence of laces meant that they were very easy to get on and off too.
The verdict: Kids' football boots
Giving a player an impressive blend of comfort and style the Adidas predator mutator 20.3 will also help them raise their game and give them confidence on and off the ball.
If your child is need of a fresh pair of trainers ahead of the new term, take a look at our review of the best kids' running shoes
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.