September comes and the football season is well and truly under way, with a variety of leagues from the Premiership, to local grassroots football competing on a Saturday afternoon for varying degrees of honours.
With the new season usually comes new kit, and for most a new pair of football boots is on the shopping list. This was true for my summer shopping list, but this year I was caught weighing up the pros and cons between the current blade and stud offerings. This has been an ongoing debate at the top of the game for some time. Do blades cause more injuries to players due to the way they grip the turf?
The argument is that a once a blade has gripped, it cannot swivel as freely as a stud whilst in the ground. This therefore could leave your foot embedded in the turf whilst your body countermeasures and impact from a tackle or fall. There is also the concern over the harm they can do to other players in tackles.
It is true that bladed boots have become less commonplace in the top leagues, and although not confirmed to cause more injuries than their stud counterpart, this surely is not a vote of confidence for the design.
With the most common football injuries affecting the lower extremities, including hamstring strains, sprained ankles, knee cartilage tear, hernia and cruciate ligament, the impact a boot could have in preventing such injuries cannot be over looked. I looked back at my own personal experience, and growing up playing football I had never obtained a serious injury until I adopted blades. In three seasons since I have pulled knee ligaments twice and sprained two ankles. A coincidence?
I don’t wish to make assumptions, and the in my opinion bladed boots are in fact more comfortable due to the increased surface area to distribute impact over. They also remain the dominant model manufactured by Adidas as well as many other leading brands.
Although companies like Nike tend to stick to studs, there is also criticism over the protection offered in such boots as the Total 90 model. The argument here is the increased flexibility of newer, lighter boots compromises its overall protection.
‘The metatarsal injury was unheard of years ago, now with modern lightweight football boots its responsible for 30% of long term injuries.’
Either way, the fact remains that there are over 240million registered players worldwide and both boots are readily available to kids and adults who play the game. The fact that some models are not used by certain professional leagues sends a range of mixed messages, and I for one would like some professional conclusions drawn up so people can make informed decisions on which boot to purchase.