Are football boots and rugby boots the same?
We’re looking at a question that may seem trivial but that you often ask: What are the differences between football and rugby boots?
If you watched matches of the last Rugby World Cup, you might have seen Mercurial Superfly 7s, Mizuno Morelia 2 Neo, or even Under Armour Magnetico. These are the same boots that are used by football players, and they get a second look in the feet of rugby players every weekend. However, for some years now, the market for rugby boots has been booming. Whereas 10 or 15 years ago, rugby players had to go to the football department to find a pair of boots, rugby shoes now have specific ranges, and brands such as Adidas, Gilbert, or Canterbury are playing the game by launching special models. So what are the differences between football boots and rugby boots? Can I play football with a rugby boot and vice versa?
To understand the differences between football boots and rugby shoes, we must first look at the specificities of each of these sports. Indeed, in these two disciplines, the needs can be completely different. While in football the need for grip is very important, in rugby it is simply vital, which is why most of the rugby boots offered by the brands are presented with aluminum studs on SG soles. While in football we are used to seeing SG plates with 6 studs (4 front, 2 back) and even though Adidas is now only launching hybrid soles with smaller studs in addition to the historical 6 studs, in rugby the soles are often designed with 8 studs (6 front, 2 back) to ensure excellent grip, especially for the forwards. While the height of the studs is also sport-specific (up to 21mm in rugby), the construction of the boot itself may also be different in some cases. Once again, it’s on the side of the forwards that you should look to note these changes, as brands often offer reinforced or shell uppers to protect the toes.
In other positions, the need for protection will be less present, but the grip will remain one of the essential elements in the choice of models. This is why many brands have created models directly inspired by football boots but with an outsole that includes the famous eight studs. These shoes are made of lighter materials, similar to those used in football, and offer a mixture of traction and flexibility. But if there was a comparison to be made between football boots and rugby boots, it would be between the boots for the backs. Indeed, as they share the same needs as footballers in terms of flexibility and reactivity, most rugby backs will play with boots designed for football, whether they have SG soles with 6 studs, FG soles for drier pitches, or hybrid soles that combine screw-in studs and molded studs.
To go further into the differences, you’ll notice that on the pitch you’ll find very few football models from Adidas. You will hardly see any Predators, Xs, Copas or Nemeziz, while Nike players will easily be wearing Mercurials, Phantom Vision, Venoms, and Tiempos. This can be explained by the fact that the German brand has developed specific models for rugby, while the American brand has no model dedicated to rugby. As you can see, despite the presence of studded boots in both sports, the needs are different and it is therefore not surprising to see brands developing specific products for rugby…