A buyers’ guide featuring boots for fleet-footed wingers and game-winning kickers
Best Rugby Boots for Backs 2021
Buying a pair of boots as a back can be a minefield. Not only do you have to select from a wide range of rugby boots, you also have a universe of football boots you can choose from.
If you are an outside back, you will be making minimal tackles and getting involved in just a few rucks. Because of that you can eschew the protection of the ‘traditional’ rugby boot and move towards some of the lightweight, low protection, slippers that are now on the market.
It isn’t just about getting the lightest boot, though. Some very light boots come at the expense of stiffness. That means that when you make your burst through the line, instead of powering away, you end up dissipating that power through a bendy boot.
Of course, the other thing that backs will usually care about is kicking. To get consistent contact, you need a good surface to make contact with. Most back-specific boots come with offset laces, or sometimes hidden laces, to keep that contact area undisturbed. That is perfect if you are lining up a kick at goal or looking to slip a grubber through for your winger to get on the end of.
If you play in the pack, read our guide to the best boots for forwards in 2021.
Best Rugby Boots for Backs
Gilbert Kaizen 1.0 SG Boots
Designed for speed and agility, these are ideal 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 you can expect a few bruised toes, even if you avoid rucks as much as possible
Mizuno Neo 3 Made in Japan SG Boots
Let’s deal with the obvious first of all, yes these are almost £300. That may sound excessive for a pair of boots but the Neo 3s are on a different level. The K-Leather upper provides extreme comfort and ball control for kickers. The fit achieves the rare combination of being sock like but without being sloppy or overly flexible.
The sole comes with a combination of studs and moulds which, aside from in extremely poor weather, should allow year round usage.
+ A very classy colour scheme to fit the premium boot.
+ Year round usage without any excess weight.
– These will be much too expensive for many players.
Adidas Predator XP FG Boots
As a kid the Predator was the boot you had to have if you were playing football. That boot has evolved to this. The Predator XP has a knit upper to provide breathability but that is combined with foot security so you can dart left and right and know that your foot will be held in place.
Asymmetrical laces increase the contact patch so you can be confident of a consistent outcome when kicking.
+ Extra padding around the ankle cuff will protect your ankle joint from any impact
+ Lightweight and comfortable but with a secure fit to allow for fast footwork
– The firm ground studs probably won’t offer enough traction in the midwinter so you will need a second pair for soft ground
Adidas X.Ghosted 1 FG Boots
Ideal for speedy backs who steer clear of the rough stuff or prioritise accurate kicking over the odd bruise. Exceptionally lightweight construction and sock like comfort will leave you feeling like you’re not wearing any shoes at all.
A carbon-fibre insert under the foot means that all power is sent straight through the turf to fire you forward rather than lost in a bendy sole. There is plenty of space on the toe and instep for consistent and accurate kicking, whether at goal or sliding through a grubber.
+ Exceptionally lightweight but more than comfortable enough to wear for hours on end
+ Ideal for kickers who want a clear contact patch between boot and ball
– Right at the top end of the budget for most and, unless you live somewhere warm and dry, unusable in the winter months
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Puma Future 5.3 Netfit FG/AG Boots
The Future is aptly named, this is what rugby boots will become. Part sock and part boot, the Future is super lightweight but with a lacing system which keeps the foot firmly locked down.
That means despite the flimsy looking exterior they will allow you to dance around with as much confidence as any ‘normal’ looking boot. Unsurprisingly, for a football boot, the contact area is ideal for kickers.
+ Perfect for powering through the line or dancing past a defender, thanks to excellent foot security
+ Great on hard surfaces and synthetic ground, this offer usage in all but the worst conditions
– The colour scheme might be a bit out there for some, although the Battenburg styling will appeal to those who like to stand out
Canterbury Speed 3.0 SG Boots
The eye-catching Speed 3.0 packs a lot into a reasonably priced boot. These are built with speed in mind so the construction is lightweight without compromising on power transfer or long term wear. The combination mould/stud sole will provide adequate traction year round without weighing you down.
Ideal for kickers thanks to the asymmetric laces which keep the contact zone clear.
+ A reasonably priced boot which can do it all
+ A clean but not boring look thanks to the black and yellow contrast
– As the name suggests, these don’t come with much in the way of protection
Under Armour Clutchfit Force FG Boots
These boots from Under Armour are the perfect match for any fleet-footed back. The padded insole and ankle cuff provide great comfort without compromising on performance.
The colour might not be for everyone but we all know that red is the fastest colour! Combine that with a hard-wearing outer and these are boots you will be able to enjoy season after season.
+ The red colour scheme is breathtaking and will stand out on any pitch
+ Extremely comfortable for all day wear
– With only plastic moulded studs these may not offer enough grip in deep winter
Adidas Predator Malice Control SG Boots
The Malice Control boots from Adidas will split opinion. The hedgehog-like dimples provide control and accuracy for kickers while the asymmetric lacing provides more space to strike the ball. Foam Sensepods in the heel shrink and expand to fill space to ensure the optimum fit without rubbing.
The upper is crafted from 50% recycled materials and is lightweight but with some protection from rogue boots. The sole provides excellent traction on wet grass without adding weight.
+ Exceptionally lightweight but more than comfortable enough to wear for hours on end.
+ Ideal for kickers who want a clear contact patch between boot and ball.
– Right at the top end of the budget for most.
That completes our round-up of the best rugby boots for backs in 2021.
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