It is AFL Season!

Physio's Guide to Football Boots

With many clubs getting back to training, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a moment and make sure you have the right kit before you hit the oval. It is vital to wear good supportive football boots for any running-based change-of-direction athlete wanting to perform at their best and reduce injury risk. And when in doubt… Ask the experts. Physiotherapist Darcy Sharples and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Lauren Campbell, from the Optimal Health Lab, share a wealth of experience working with footballers from all levels of the game. Check out their tips and advice on what to look for in football boots and how to ensure you make it through the remainder of the season – injury free!


Start from the ground up!

Firstly, it is imperative to ensure your boots fit your feet correctly. It is equally important that the boots are appropriate for your foot type and picked with consideration of your past injury history; not simply picked for the best colour coordinating with your club colours. A correctly fitted shoe helps with reducing the incidence of foot and ankle injury, as well as ensures good comfort while playing.


A physiotherapist’s favourite is the ASICS football boots as they have great shoe architecture around the ankle and heel. The inbuilt shock absorption and 10mm heel lift help to take load off your joints, but they also reduce the load on your Achilles tendon and calf muscles (which is especially importantly if you’ve suffered from Sever’s Disease, calf tears or achilles tendinopathy in recent seasons). Lastly, an ASICS football boot also have different stud patterns appropriate for different turf and oval types to further optimise grip and control when running, kicking and changing direction.

Clinical Tips to Reduce the Risk of an Injury

As important as football boots are, it is integral to ensure your body is well prepared for the rigours of your sport. The Physiotherapy team at the Optimal Health Lab are keen to share these little clinical gems of knowledge to reduce your risk of needing us… 

1.     Ensuring you have been engaging in lower limb strength programming to be prepared to run at high pace, change direction suddenly and control complicated landings. The key muscle groups are your quads, hamstrings, adductors, glutes and calves.


2.     Stability and endurance strength through your hip, lower back and pelvis (known as your lumbopelvic region for physios) are important for reducing injuries in these areas, but core strength is also great for tackling strength, keeping your feet in a tackle and controlling those complex movements involved with changing direction while kicking.


3.     Optimising your skills and quality of movement while jumping, hopping, and landing. This aids in improving how well you run, landing quality, and kicking. Along with a good football boot these skills have been proven to reduce the incidence of lower limb injuries such as ACLs, ankle sprains and hip/groin injuries.

4. Ensuring good conditioning in preparation for the upcoming season is incredible importance, but realistically COVID-19 restrictions forced everyone into more isolated and solo training schedules (often in smaller spaces too). We highly recommend you gradually build back up your fitness if you didn’t continue to train (in whatever way you could) during the restrictions period.


5. Warm up is an underappreciated part of performing at our best. A designated time of roughly 15min is minimal to get yourself ready to perform and reduce your injury risk. A warm up should focus on and include dynamic stretching, muscle activation warm up exercises, progressive running drills and some key football skills like kicking/ handballing/ tackling. Gone are the days of only stretching to ‘warm up’.


6. Recovery is essential to help reduce the incidence of injury and ensure you are ready to train for football/ other sports in the days after. Following any sport you should engage in a 15-30min cool down. This ideally consists of light jogging, gentle stretching, foam-rolling and icing, and then rehydrated and refuelling.


In summary, combining appropriate footwear, strength and conditioning, a good warm up and cool down aids in reducing injuries in the lower limb to help keep you on the park for longer. Choosing appropriate football boots and ensuring you are engaging in individualised injury prevention techniques are of the best ways to keep yourself fit and healthy when playing sport. Physiotherapists are great people to get into contact with to help with this. Get in contact with us or your local physiotherapist if you need more information specific to you.

You can book in to see Lauren, Darcy and team at Optimal Health Lab HERE or give them a call on 03 9431 5955.


Lauren Campbell

Optimal Health Lab Director/ Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

Darcy Sharples

Physiotherapy/ Head Physio at Lower Plenty Football Club

How to Pick a Football Boot

Asics Football boots are designed for Australian ground conditions; they have coverage for the wet winter months and hard surfaces of summer when pre-season training commences and some codes of football are played. It is important to ensure you are wearing activity specific shoes to improve performance, minimise fatigue and the risk of injury. Therefor increasing level of performance, enjoyment and success.


Features:

10mm HEEL GRADIENT: Enhances cushioning, durability and reduces loads on Calf and Achilles.

IMPROVED COMFORT: Outsole stud configuration changes depending on the ideal surface type of the specific boot. Creating improved comfort and even distribution of weight load.

TRUSSTIC MIDFOOT BRACE: Supports arch, increases torsional support and improves shoe durability.

INCREASED CUSHIONING: Lightweight Solyte midsole and rear foot ASICS Gel, provides greater cushioning and shock absorption.


Recommended Styles


ASICS Lethal Ultimate

This is the closest boot to a runner in terms of comfort. This would suit an individual whilst they train or if they play another sport such as soccer. Often players will wear this boot for training and running on grass due to the GEL-Kayano style design. Good for those who want a bit more spring in their step and like the runner feel. This boot can also accommodate orthotics if needed. Made of strong kangaroo leather for good foot to ball contact.

 

 

ASICS Lethal Tigreor

This is your high performance boot- for the player that is very serious about their football or if they play at a higher level. The Tigreor is a good game day boot as it is more responsive, lighter and a more narrower fit which allows for a better feel of the footy as you kick through. Features a kangaroo leather upper. This provides better ball to boot contact as well as being resilient and well suited to the wet conditions and physical demands of the sport.

Considered more of a midfield boot –depending on the individual players size.

One very important factor to consider when selecting your football boots is your height and weight. A boot such as the Tigreor can often be uncomfortable for larger or taller players such as ruckmen or full forwards/ full backs. That is why such players might look to the Lethal Ultimate or the Lethal 18 as alternate option. Again, this is dependent on the build and requirements of each player.

 

ASICS GEL-Lethal 18

Entry level boot. Great for someone who dabbles in the sport but still wants a premium feel to their boots. The studs are more prominent on these boots (compared to the Ultimate) which gives you greater traction. This boot is well suited to those that find the Tigreor too narrow. They are a slightly wider fit and can also accommodate orthotics well.


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At Active Feet we are about more than just shoes – we are about complete footwear solutions. Our highly-trained team provide FREE in store industry leading video gate-analysis, so you can be sure you are fitted in the right shoe for you. We offer a wide range of the best brands at competitive prices. Including orthotic friendly, sports specific, varied widths, specialty styles and accessories.


The Active Feet Difference

At Active Feet we are about more than just shoes – we are about complete footwear solutions. Our highly-trained team provide FREE in store industry leading video gate-analysis, so you can be sure you are fitted in the right shoe for you. We offer a wide range of the best brands at competitive prices. Including orthotic friendly, sports specific, varied widths, specialty styles and accessories.


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