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Best Rugby Boots [Uk Buyers Guide]

When you first start out in rugby, you can wear whatever outdoor sports shoes you have handy.  It’s best if they have spikes (for grip) but you can probably manage without.  Once you start playing properly, however, you’ll get a lot of benefit from proper rugby boots, which are (very) different from football boots.

Rugby boots vs Football boots

Rugby Boots versus Football Boots

Rugby is, basically, a game you play with your hands.  There is the odd bit of kicking, but it’s only a very small part of the game and when it does happen, it tends to be all about strength rather than subtlety.  Football, literally by definition, is a game played with your feet and while there are certainly occasions in which players just blast a ball up a pitch, there are also occasions where they use great subtlety and finesse.

This means that, basically, rugby boots are designed for strength, in its various forms, (e.g. traction, ankle support, protection during forceful kicks), whereas football boots have to balance the need for strength with the need for “feel”, which is required for the fine degree of control shown by the best footballers.

On a practical level, this means that rugby boots are wider than football boots, again, to emphasize strength.  Rugby boots also use wider studs and some rugby boots have a couple of extra studs (8 rather than 6).  Again, this is all about the strength.  Those extra studs help rugby players basically dig themselves into the ground and challenge an opponent to make them shift.  In football, the studs are basically just there for basic grip, especially in the wet.

Speaking of studs, another major difference between rugby boots and football boots is that rugby boots are split into two categories depending on whether they are for play on firm ground or soft ground.  If you’re playing outdoors in the UK you want the latter.  The key difference between the two types of rugby boots is the type of stud used and it is really important to wear the right rugby boots for your playing surface to keep yourself safe during play.

For the sake of completeness, rugby is much stricter about studs than football, essentially because there is much more scope for players to get injured by them.  In short, rugby rules ban players from using any studs which could be considered “sharp or abrasive”.  It doesn’t matter how they got that way, what matters is the referees opinion.  If you want your studs to say in good, playing condition, avoid walking on hard surfaces in your rugby boots as this wears down the studs unevenly and can make them sharp and/or abrasive.

In football, referees don’t really care about studs other than to make sure than players keep them down when tackling.

Cutting to the chase, what this means in practice is that once you get past the casual level, if you try playing rugby in football boots then you stand a very high chance of getting injured.  If you try playing football in rugby boots, then you stand a very high chance of becoming extremely frustrated by your inability to control the ball.

Rugby boots have different designs to suit different positions

While there are some general points common to all rugby boots, the best rugby boots for any given player will depend on their position.

rugby boots different design

Props and front row players need power and support

Props and front row players are generally the biggest people on a rugby team, which is saying something.  They’re the people who will dig themselves into the ground in front of an opponent and dare a player to shift them.  They’re also the players who’ll be involved in the rucks, mauls and scrums.  Because of this, the best rugby boots for these players place great emphasis on durability and traction.  These are the rugby boots which will have 8 studs in a 6*2 formation.

The very best rugby boots for these players will, however, be lighter and more flexible than you might expect, thanks to advances in technology.  This makes them more comfortable, but also allows for plenty of support, especially around the ankle.

Backs, wingers and kickers prioritize speed and maneuverability

Backs, wingers and kickers may be tall but they are also (relatively) light and they need to move quickly so the best rugby boots for them are noticeably lighter than the best rugby boots for the props and forwards.  Even the thinnest of edges can count.  For example, these days it’s quite common for rugby boots for the backs to sacrifice a bit of traction and use 6 studs in a 4*2 formation instead of the usual 8.  It’s only a slight saving in weight, but these tiny differences can quickly add up.

In addition to being light, they also need to be close-fitting.  Essentially, they need to be more aerodynamic as well as capable of supporting more precise movements.  Speaking of support, for backs, wingers and kickers, support, especially lateral support, is much more important than durability.  Last, but by no means least, backs really need their boots to be comfortable so that they can have the confidence to move their feet however they want without having to worry about discomfort let alone injury.

Best Rugby Boots Reviewed

Best Rugby Boots Reviewed

All these rugby boots are for soft ground even if that isn’t stated in the name.  We’ve split our best rugby boots review into two groups.  Basically the first group is for more serious play and the second is for more casual matches (plus there’s an option for the juniors).  All of the rugby boots have been picked on a combination of performance and price, basically value for money.  At the current time, they’re all easy to find in the UK in a decent range of sizes.

Adidas Men’s Kakari (Sg) Rugby Boots

Adidas Men's Kakari (Sg) Rugby Boots
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adidas Mens Kakari SG Rugby Boots Lace Up Lightweight Stripe Black UK...

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

£47.99 £59.99

These are nice, solid boots for nice, solid forwards.  The studs are in a 6*2 formation for extra traction.  The one slight quirk about these boots is that the sizing is on the small side even for adidas, so you might want to go at least a half-size up possibly even a whole size.

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Adidas Men’s Rumble Rugby Boots

Adidas Men's Rumble Rugby Boots
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adidas Men's Rumble Rugby Boots, Black (Negro 000), 11 UK (46 EU)

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

£41.99 £44.99

These are very similar to the Kakari rugby boots.  The big difference is that the sole design and, in particular, the studs, make these rugby boots suitable for playing on artificial surfaces as well as grass.  The studs are in the same 6*2 formation as the Kakari rugby boots, but they are a bit longer, which is what enables them to grip on firmer surfaces. 

Basically these rugby boots are a good choice if you just want a single pair of rugby boots to play on any surface.  They’re especially good for forwards, due to the grip and durability, but they’re also lighter than you might expect so they might still be worth a look if you play at the back.

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Adidas Predator Malice Control Sg, Men’s Rugby Shoes

Adidas Predator Malice Control Sg, Men's Rugby Shoes
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adidas Men's Predator Malice Control Sg Rugby Shoes White Size: 6 UK

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

It almost seems pointless writing a review of the adidas Predator Malice rugby boots.  They are quite probably the best-known name in rugby.  For the sake of completeness however these are lightweight boots designed for precision kicking. 

The front of these rugby boots is soft enough to allow for great precision and the entire upper is a masterclass in how to deliver security without compromising on comfort.  These rugby boots are very breathable and the asymmetrical lacing isn’t just for aesthetics, it allows for cleaner contact with the ball.  Even though the outsole only has 6 studs (in a 4*2 formation), it gives plenty of traction.  You’ll never have to worry about the grass bringing you down as you’re sprinting away from the opposition.

In short, if you’re a back, these are great boots and if you’re a kicker, they’re your dream boots.  As you’ve probably guessed by now, these are definitely not the cheapest, but if you take the game seriously, they’re worth every penny.  They are slightly narrow-fitting so if you have wide feet you might want to go half a size up.

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ASICS Men’s Lethal Scrum Football Boots

ASICS Men's Lethal Scrum Football Boots
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ASICS Men's Lethal Scrum Football Boots, Multicolour (Black/White/Vermilion), 8 UK 42.5 EU

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

We were a bit surprised to discover ASICS made rugby boots, but they do and they are very good, albeit sized on the small side, so you might want to go at least a half-size up if not a whole size, especially if you have wide feet.

The fact that these rugby boots are called Lethal Scrum points to them being designed with forwards in mind.  You’d therefore expect rock-solid build quality and a 6*2 stud formation.  That’s exactly what you get.  You also get decent comfort.  What you don’t get is lightness, these are “old-school” style rugby boots in that regard, but the benefit of the extra weight is that they do last a long time.

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Canterbury Men’s Control 2.0 Soft Ground Rugby Boots

Canterbury Men's Control 2.0 Soft Ground Rugby Boots
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Canterbury Men's Control 2.0 Soft Ground Rugby Boots, Turquoise (Carribean Sea), 11...

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

These rugby boots look very much like they’ve been “inspired by” the adidas Predator Malice rugby boots, right down to the asymmetrical lacing for cleaner contact when kicking.  Even if that’s our imagination, they’ve certainly been designed for backs, hence the 6*2 stud formation. 

Canterbury specialize in rugby boots so they know what they’re doing, but they don’t (yet) have the brand recognition of the likes of adidas and the Control 2.0 rugby boots don’t (yet) have the history of the likes of the Predator Malice.  This is one reason why the price is substantially lower.  The other reason, quite bluntly, is that they aren’t the same quality, but they are still more than decent and excellent overall value.

Basically, if you’re a back, especially if you’re a kicker, the adidas Predator Malice may be your dream rugby boots, but in the real world, where people have to watch what they spend, the Canterbury Control 2.0 rugby boots offer a lot of the same good points at a far lower price.

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Canterbury Men’s Speed 2.0 Soft Ground Rugby Boots

Canterbury Men's Speed 2.0 Soft Ground Rugby Boots

These rugby boots are a clear example of the “new school” of rugby-boot design.  Essentially, they are styled along the lines of football boots and, as the name suggests, place strong emphasis on lightness, hence the 4*2 stud formation.  Notwithstanding this, however, they have a reinforced toe box and lots of cushioning, especially around the collar.

Kickers are likely to prefer the Control 2.0 due to the asymmetrical lacing, but the Speed 2.0 are great rugby boots for wingers and backs.  The one quirk about these rugby boots is that they seem to be sized on the small side so you may want to go at least half a size up, a whole size if you have broad feet.

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Canterbury Men's Speed 2.0 Soft Ground Rugby Boots, Sulphur Spring, 11 UK,(Manufacturer...

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

£58.00 £60.00

Best Cheap Rugby Boots

If you play often enough to want proper rugby boots, but still need to watch your pennies, then these could be the best rugby boots for you.

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Canterbury Phoenix Club Rugby Boots

Canterbury Phoenix Club Rugby Boots
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Canterbury Phoenix Club Rugby Boots (UK 13 Mens)

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

The Phoenix Club rugby boots are designed for forwards and utility players, hence the 6*2 stud formation.  That said, back players might want to take a look at them as they have reinforced zones and good support in the heel and ankle.  They also have a flap to go over the laces for cleaner contact when kicking.

Basically, these are good, all-round rugby boots at a very decent price.  They’re not really good enough for serious, competitive play, although if you’re on a tight budget they might just about do.  They are, however, a great option if you play regularly for fun.

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Optimum Razor Rugby Boots

Optimum Razor Rugby Boots
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Optimum Men's Razor Rugby Boots, Yellow (Fluro Yellow), 8 UK

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

£29.69 £29.99

Optimum have largely cornered the market in entry-level, affordable rugby boots.  Officially, these are designed for forwards, hence the 6*2 stud formation.  Unofficially, there are probably numerous backs who use these boots as well.  Basically, if you just want a decent set of boots for casual play or if you need to get a young adult rugby boots for school, then these are a perfectly decent option.

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Optimum Men’s Tribal Moulded Stud Rugby Boots

Optimum Men's Tribal Moulded Stud Rugby Boots
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Optimum Men's Tribal Moulded Stud Rugby Boots, Black (Black/Red), 7 UK (40...

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Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

Basically, everything we just said about the Razor rugby boots but with slightly lower quality and hence at a slightly lower price point.  We strongly suspect that the vast majority of these rugby boots are bought for use at school and they’re more than adequate for that purpose.

Best Kids Rugby Boots

If you’re looking for little boots for little feet but want to keep the price down because little feet grow so quickly, then here is our suggestion for you.

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Canterbury Unisex Kids’ Phoenix Raze Soft Ground Rugby

Canterbury Unisex Kids' Phoenix Raze Soft Ground Rugby
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Canterbury Boys Phoenix Raze Soft Ground Rugby Boots, Black (Black/True Red), 4...

Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days
Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

These rugby boots are very similar to the Canterbury Phoenix Club rugby boots.  The only real difference (apart from the sizing) is the fact that they have 4*2 studs, but most kids rugby boots do for the simple reason that there isn’t space to add more studs.  Juniors don’t really have the muscle to make use of traction the way adults do.  What they need is basic grip, support and protection and Canterbury delivers all of that at a reasonable price.

Best rugby boots – round up

The best rugby boots for you will depend on your position and, in the real world, your budget.  Objectively, the adidas Predator Malice may be the best rugby boots on our list, at least for kickers, but for most people the price of these rugby boots can only be justified if you’re playing really seriously.  For everyone else, the lower-priced rugby boots on our list will probably be more than sufficient and much more wallet-friendly.

How to take care of your new rugby boots

Rugby boots Cleaning

If you’re investing in the best rugby boots you can afford, it makes sense to take care of them.  Here are some tips.

Take off your rugby boots by undoing the laces properly and sliding them off.  Never just pull them off or even just part-undo the laces and pull them off.  This is basically asking to damage your rugby boots.

Once your rugby boots are off, keep the laces untied.  This helps to prevent them from getting stiff and fraying.

As previously mentioned, try to avoid walking over really hard surfaces (like concrete) in your rugby boots as this wears down the studs unevenly and may lead to them being declared uneven.  Check your studs regularly and learn how to replace them (most decent rugby boots make it possible to change out the studs without needing to buy a new pair of rugby boots).

Clean the exterior of your rugby boots after every use.  A damp cloth or a soft brush are your best options for this.

NB: Even if you don’t have time to clean your boots, take them out of your kit bag as soon as you can.  Not only will this remind you to clean them, it will stop them from rotting and/or being attacked by mould.  It will also help to deodorize them.

Keep your boots at room temperature.  If they are wet and you want to dry them quickly you can either stuff them with newspaper (the old-fashioned approach) or get some small, cotton, drawstring bags and fill them with bicarbonate of soda, which will soak up moisture without drying out your rugby boots.  For bonus points with your housemates/partner/parents you can add some essential oil to the bicarb to help deodorize your boots.

Your boots are going to get scuffed and scratched, that it just part of the game.  If you have leather rugby boots, you can try treating them with leather treatment.  These days, however, most rugby boots are made of breathable synthetics so you just have to live with it.  Everybody else will have the same issue, so as long as your rugby boots are in overall good condition, a few marks are fine.

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