A buyers’ guide featuring boots for backs, traditional forwards and everyone inbetween
Best Rugby Boots of 2021
Unlike in a sport like cycling or golf, there isn’t much equipment you need to play rugby. One thing you cannot scrimp on is a good pair of boots.
Gone are the days when your boots would be heavy by half-time and you could have any colour as long as it was black. Boot technology has made significant strides and it is probably time to trade in your old kicks for something more modern with our guide to the best rugby boots of 2020.
Looks are important but there is more to a modern pair of boots than just if they’ll stand out when you run onto the pitch on a Saturday. Most boots will be specified as either soft ground (SG) or firm ground (FG). Soft-ground boots are for the mid-season when the ground is muddy with little grip. They will have traditional studs; long, rounded, and metal. Firm-ground boots are for better surfaces where you can forgo long studs in favour of sleeker plastic pegs, shorter metal studs, or a combination of the two.
A lightweight boot will allow you to reach your top speed but it comes at the expense of protection from a stray stud. Forwards may prefer to carry a bit more weight to protect them in scrums and mauls whereas backs would be advised to head down the lightweight route to maximise their agility.
The Kakari Z.0 is classy and understated enough for even the most traditional of forwards. The bootie style fit is exceptionally comfortable but an inner support strap ensures that comfort doesn’t come at the expense of performance.
The split sole is ideal for the grunt work of the tight five. You can stay low and planted in the turf and still generate power thanks to the sole flexibility.
+ A boot for forwards that doesn’t come at the expense of speed.
+ Slipper like comfort means it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a high-performance boot.
– At almost $123 (aud) this really is at the top end of boot prices.
A do-it-all boot which looks as good as it feels. The Phoenix 3.0 is designed to be lightweight but without sacrificing durability or protection thanks to a TPU mesh skin. The foot is held in place by a neoprene tongue, which combines with internal straps to provide a comfortable but secure fit.
Finally, a mix of removable studs and molded elements gives you maximum grip in the winter and flexibility to put on some shorter studs for those spring and autumn days.
+ The classy black design is offset perfectly with some silver detail on the laces, a very good-looking boot.
+ A comfortable fit coupled with a durable upper means you will get plenty of game time out of these boots.
– Designed for back-row players, these boots lack some protection for the front five and might not be agile enough for the backs.
Designed for speed and agility, these are perfect for fleet-footed outside backs. A knitted upper, brought over from football boots, hugs the foot without adding more than the bare essentials in weight. Perfect for some dazzling footwork and a sprint into the open field.
The offset laces mean that, even when your only option is to kick, you can do it with confidence thanks to an unbroken kicking zone.
+ Very lightweight but still offering a solid and secure fit.
+ A raised heel ensures you are always in the most powerful position when you need to surge by the last defender.
– The knitted upper and lightweight construction means these are best avoided if you are wearing a number in single digits.
Some things can be found in all rugby clubs anywhere in the world. The first is at least one Welsh person and the second is a host of players wearing these boots.
The Kakari Elite is a boot for forwards which shuns the perceived wisdom that forwards only want to wear black boots. The upper provides protection from a misplaced size 12 but these are still lightweight despite that. An integrated cage system straps the foot firmly in meaning you can dance past the last man once you make the break.