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Best football boots 2024: The finest footwear for soft ground, firm ground and artificial surfaces

Best football boots - Lead image

Ensure you're properly equipped for the season with our pick of the best football boots

These days, finding the best football boots can be a tricky process. With an array of choices on the market offering the latest in technology and engineering, it can be difficult to know if you’re making the right choice.

Below, you’ll find our pick of the best boots for use on grass, hybrid and artificial pitches. Regardless of your budget or whether you’re a towering centre-back, midfield maestro or fox-in-the-box goal poacher, you’ll find something to match your style of play.

However, before we dive into the entries, we’ll break down everything you should think about before making a final decision. Picking the correct stud type is crucial, but there are some other key factors worth considering before splashing out on your new pair of boots.

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Best football boots: At a glance

Best for soft ground Nike Premier III (~£110)Check price at Nike
Best for speedNike Mercurial Superfly 9 (~£255)Check price at Nike
Best for comfort UA Clone Magnetico Elite 3.0 (~£225)Check price at Under Armour
Best for controlPuma Future Ultimate (~£160)Check price at Puma

How to choose the best football boots for you

What type of football boots should I buy?

The first decision to consider is whether you’re buying boots for soft or firm ground – typically referred to as SG or FG. Almost all boots will come in versions designed for each terrain, but you’ll need to know what surface you’ll be playing more regularly on before buying.

Soft-ground boots will have longer, changeable studs that are better suited to handling muddy conditions, whereas firm-ground boots generally have moulded studs for better grip and speed on harder pitches. In the rainy UK, soft-ground boots are usually favoured during the winter, but you may want to invest in more than one pair of boots to ensure you have the best option available for all conditions. There are also boots specifically designed for artificial, astroturf or indoor pitches.

How much do I need to spend?

If you dream of emulating Messi or Haaland, you could spend hundreds of pounds on faithful replicas of their boots – but you don’t need to overspend to get a quality pair. Most popular lines start at under £70, although the cheapest boots will differ noticeably with regard to material and quality.

You can often pick up a bargain by looking at last year’s models, which are usually heavily discounted and will feature near enough the same engineering. So if you’re looking to save a few quid, it’s definitely worth checking out the 22/23 range as well.

Should I go for leather or synthetic boots?

Leather is traditionally considered the best material for the upper section of boots because it’s comfortable and moulds to your feet over time, which will help aid your ball control. However, it’s absorbent, so unlike synthetic materials, it can get heavier in wet conditions and is harder to clean.

Synthetic boots are often cheaper, too, but they might not match the comfort of leather, especially at the bottom end of the market. That said, once you get up to the mid-price and beyond, you’re going to find great boots regardless of the material they’re made from.

What else do I need to consider?

The fit of a football boot is extremely important, and it can vary a lot from brand to brand, and even within a single product line. So it’s vital to try on a pair before buying if at all possible. For those with wider feet, be sure to check out our best football boots for wide feet, where we’ve selected the top options for a perfect fit.

Another factor is weight: a very light and thin upper is great for close control, but the featherweight boots used by pros are designed for perfectly kept pitches; if you’re playing on Hackney Marshes rather than Wembley, expect to feel every bump.

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The best football boots you can buy in 2024

1. Nike Premier III: Best for soft ground

Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at Nike

Nike Premier III SG Anti-clog football boots in black on a white backgroundThe Nike Premier III SG are perfect for use in wet conditions. They feature a mixture of fixed and detachable studs to grant extra traction when it’s soft underfoot, and their anti-clog design helps prevent mud from sticking to the soles of the boots, allowing you to focus on doing your job for the team. Made from kangaroo leather, the Premier III are supple and mould nicely to your feet, while a fold-over tongue covers your laces, providing a smoother area with which to strike the ball.

The black version is wonderfully understated when compared with many modern boots, though there are a few more punchy variants available for those that like a splash of colour on their feet when they play.

Key specs – Types available: FG, SG

Check price at Nike

2. Under Armour Shadow Elite 2: Best for agility

Price when reviewed: £205 | Check price at Pro:Direct Soccerbest football boots Under Armour Shadow Elite 2 blue and white football boots on a white background

If you’re a nippy winger or playful forward, you’ll need a pair of boots to match your style, and the Shadow Elite 2s lend themselves perfectly to the role. The boot’s performance comes largely from the support and flexibility it provides. Under Armour’s breathable IntelliKnit upper delivers a secure, wrap-around feel that fits tight to the foot, while the Exo Lock cage at the midfoot works brilliantly to bring added stability.

The Shadow Elite 2s also benefit from a full-length carbon fibre soleplate. Both sturdy and flexible, it generates an almost spring-like feeling during quick turns and changes of pace. This is synergistically assisted by the unusual dynamic stud placement, which has been specifically designed to ensure a rapid response and consistent grip underfoot.

On the pitch, these boots were an absolute treat to play in. They felt nimble and natural, and, thanks to the lockdown design, provided a second-skin feel on the ball. When it comes to complementing your game, the Shadow Elite 2s more than meet the mark.

Key specs – Types available: FG only (suitable for 4G/5G)

Check price at Pro:Direct Soccer

3. Adidas Copa Mundial: Best boots with moulded studs

Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Adidas

Adidas Copa Mundial football boots in black and white on a white background

These immensely popular boots are minimalist in design yet effortlessly stylish. In an age where flashy boots are all the rage, wearing these understated beauties is a statement in itself. They’re extremely comfortable thanks to their kangaroo leather uppers and foam mid-soles, and their moulded studs mean you can wear them on firm ground and most artificial surfaces.

In our experience, there are normally at least four players in every game we play wearing Copa Mundials and for good reason – they’re exceptional football boots. For those wanting to stand out from others rocking Copa Mundials, Adidas offers the option to personalise the heel of each boot with seven characters of your choice. Just bear in mind that having your name on your boots brings with it the expectation of a certain level of performance.

Key specs – Types available: FG

Check price at Adidas

4. Nike Mercurial Superfly 9 Elite: Best for speed

Price when reviewed: £255 | Check price at Nike

Nike Mercurial Superfly 9 football boots in white and red on a white background

If you’re going to wear a boot as showy as the Mercurial Superfly, then you’re probably going to need a burst of speed to get away from the many Sunday league defenders who will fancy bringing out their roughest sliding tackling to cut you down to size. Fortunately, these boots are built for speed, with a lightweight design that features a stretchy collar for support around the ankle and an ultra-thin upper that helps you control the ball at pace. That last bit is crucial – there’s little point in running so fast that you can’t keep the ball under your spell, after all.

As with Nike’s other boots, the Mercurial range includes options catering to most budgets. The Elite (pictured above) are the most expensive of the bunch, while the Pro and Academy are more affordable alternatives if you can live without the highest-quality technologies and materials.

Key specs – Types available: FG, SG, artificial

Check price at Nike

5. Under Armour Clone Magnetico Elite 3.0: Best for comfort

Price when reviewed: £225 | Check price at Under Armour

Under Armour Clone Magnetico Elite 3.0 in coral on the floor - Best football boots

We’ve worn a lot of boots in our time but none as comfortable as the Clone Magnetico Elite 3.0. They may feel a little tight initially, especially if you have wide trotters, but the uppers mould to your feet and, once you’ve got a couple of games under your belt, it’s like you’re wearing slippers.

Textured grips on the insteps aid ball control, while the asymmetrical tongue maximises the surface area with which you strike the ball. The studs are moulded to an incredibly light soleplate and distribute weight evenly, and provide ample traction on grass and artificial surfaces, meaning you can change direction quickly to get the drop on the oppo.

If luminous red is a little punchy for your tastes, the Clone Magnetico Elite 3.0 are also available in black, though they’re still rather eye-catching thanks to their pearlescent soles.

Key specs – Types available: FG

6. Puma Future Ultimate: Best for control

Price when reviewed: £160 | Check price at Puma

Puma Future Ultimate in blue on a white table with a sofa and cushions in the background - Best football boots

There’s something to be said for a pair of football boots that can give you a boost in confidence and, when it comes to close control, the Puma Future Ultimates do exactly that. Equipped with a FUSIONFIT360 upper and PWRTAPE support, the boots wrap snugly around your feet to provide an enhanced feel and bolster your stability.

We tested these in a size 9 and, although the upper fitted perfectly, they came up about half a size too long, so it might be worth double-checking Puma’s size chart before buying. That said, they still delivered exceptional performance on the pitch. They are light – weighing just 214g – thanks, in part, to the synthetic mesh upper, which features 3D textures at key contact zones to increase ball grip for close-quarter control. The heel padding keeps the foot locked in place for quick turns and changes of pace, while the outsole on the FG/AG model proved to be incredibly versatile on both heavy turf and 4G pitches, meaning you can use them all year round without needing to switch to SG.

The Ultimate series is on the expensive side, but if you’re looking to save, the Future Pro and Future Match models are available at a lower price – just bear in mind that they won’t come equipped with the same technology and materials.

Key specs – Types available: FG/AG, SG, MG

Check price at Puma

7. Sokito Devista: Best eco-friendly football boots

Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Sokito

Sokito Devista in black and red on a white table with a sofa and cushions in the background

Creating a high-quality, handcrafted boot from 56% earth-friendly materials isn’t easy, but Sokito has done exactly that. With each boot containing at least 2.5 recycled bottles, repurposed rubber, and cellulose (100% waste paper fibres), these boots deserve to lift the eco-friendly cup – and they’re also great football boots in their own right.

Although a little snug in the toebox to start out with, the Devistas broke in nicely following three or four runouts. The supple K-Leather on the forefoot provides a flexible and durable upper, while the eco-foam insole delivers a comfortable feel underfoot. Weighing in at only 214g, they’re a treat to play in. They’re lightweight on the feet, offering a natural feel and good stability during quick turns, sprints, close-quarter passing and control.

A nod to the early Adidas Predators, the attention to detail and top-end craftsmanship make the Devistas a fresh face on the block. What’s more, if you recycle your old boots with Sokito you’ll receive £20 off your new pair.

Key specs – Types available: FG, SG

Check price at Sokito

8. Pantofola d’Oro Lazzarini Tongue Combi: Best for classic style

Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at Pro:Direct Soccer

Pantofola d'Oro Lazzarini in black on a white background

Pantofola d’Oro translates as “golden slipper”, which should give you an idea of the comfort involved with these boots. They come in a variety of styles and colours, but it’s hard to beat all-black for a classic design.

It’s not all about looks, though. The fold-over tongue, secured by elastic, covers the laces to help you strike the ball cleanly, and the combination of firm and soft ground studs makes the Lazzarini Combi a great versatile option for amateur-level grass pitches, as long as it’s not extremely muddy or rock hard.

Key specs – Types available: FG/SG

Check price at Pro:Direct Soccer

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