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Best football boots 2022: The finest footwear for soft ground, firm ground and artificial surfaces


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

Current underfoot conditions are pretty heavy, so you'll want to be wearing a pair of the best football boots for soft ground when you take to the pitch.

Moulded studs don't quite cut it on boggy surfaces in the winter and leave you in danger of ending up flat on your backside rather than on the end of an inch-perfect cross.

Below, you'll find our pick of the best football boots for use on a variety of surfaces, with our favourite soft ground options at the top. Big-name manufacturers like Adidas and Nike have released a number of boot updates for the 2021/22 season, meaning you have more choice than ever.

Regardless of your budget and whether you're a towering centre-back, midfield maestro or fox-in-the-box goal poacher, there's something for you in the list below.

Before we dive into the list of entries like Neymar in the box, we'll break down all the things you should consider before buying a pair of the best football boots. Picking the right type of stud is crucial but there are a few other factors worth considering before splashing out on a new pair of boots.

READ NEXT: The perfect footballs for training, matches, futsal and more

Best football boots: At a glance

How to choose the best football boots for you

What type of football boots should I buy?

The first decision to make is whether you’re buying boots for soft or firm ground (typically referred to as SG or FG); almost all popular boots will come in versions designed for each terrain. Soft-ground boots will have longer, changeable studs that are more capable of handling muddy conditions. Firm-ground boots generally have moulded studs for better grip and speed on harder pitches. In the rainy UK, soft-ground boots are usually the way to go during the winter, but you might want to invest in more than one pair of boots to have the best option available whatever the conditions. In addition, 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 Neymar you can end up spending hundreds of pounds on faithful replicas of their boots – but it’s absolutely not necessary to spend that kind of cash to get a quality pair of boots. Most popular lines start at under £50, although the cheapest boots will be quite different to the most expensive. You can often pick up a bargain by looking at last year’s model – these can be heavily discounted, and honestly not all that much changes from year to year. If you’re looking at Adidas, Nike and Puma boots in particular, it’s definitely worth checking the price of past models.

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 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. With 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. 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 at Wembley, expect to feel every bump and puddle.

The best football boots to buy

1. Nike Premier 2: The best soft ground football boots under £100

Price: From £80 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Soccer

The Nike Premier 2 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 2 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

Buy now from Pro:Direct Soccer

2. Pantofola d’Oro Lazzarini Tongue Combi: The best football boots for classic style

Price: £140 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Soccer

Pantofola d’Oro translates as “golden slipper”, which should give you an idea of the comfort involved with their 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

Buy now from Pro:Direct Soccer

3. Adidas Copa Mundial: The best football boots with moulded studs

Price: £130 | Buy now from Adidas

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

Buy now from Adidas

4. Nike Tiempo Legend 9: The best all-round football boots

Price: From £115 | Buy now from Nike

Nike’s Tiempo Legend boots received their ninth-generation update in the summer of 2021 and remain among the most comfortable boots in the business. Top of the Tiempo Legend 9 range is the Elite, which comes with a hefty price tag, but there are cheaper versions like the Pro and the Academy, along with options for playing on every surface.

Nike says the Legend 9 are some of its lightest Legend boots yet and has tweaked the design with attackers in mind. The boots' leather uppers feature raised textures backed by soft foam pods to help increase precision and control, while a cushioned insole ensures a luxurious fit.

That combination makes these boots a creative player's dream and they look the part, too. We particularly like the understated black version pictured above, but those wanting something a bit more outlandish may gravitate towards the white, bright crimson and pink blast model available here.

Key specs – Types available: FG, SG, artificial

Buy now from Nike

5. Nike Phantom GT2: The best football boots for strikers

Price: From £160 | Buy now from Nike

Being fast is great, as is having flawless ball control, but ultimately only one thing wins football matches, and that’s scoring more goals than the other team. If you’re all about finding the back of the net, then the Nike Phantom GT2 are the boots for you, with sharpshooters like Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski wearing them to help them boost their goal tallies.

Off-centre lacing provides more surface area with which you can control and strike the ball, while raised patterning helps improve passing and shooting accuracy and generate more spin.

Key specs – Types available: FG, SG, artificial

Buy now from Nike

6. Adidas Predator Freak .4: The best cheap firm ground football boots

Price: £45 | Buy now from Sports Direct

While they may not be as eye-catching as some of Adidas’ Predator variants, the Freak .4 FG are a solid choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive pair of boots. Control print on the upper section of the boot aids ball control while their mid-cut design is perfect for those that aren’t keen on boots that feel as though they’re climbing up your shins. The studs are positioned in such a way as to disperse pressure on your feet when you run, too, which is all-important on the firmer ground they’re designed for.

Key specs – Types available: FG

Buy now from Sports Direct

7. Nike Mercurial Superfly 8: The best football boots for speed

Price: From £80 | Buy now from Nike

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

Buy now from Nike

8. Puma Future 5.1 NETFIT: The best football boots for a perfect fit

Price: £90 | Buy now from Pro:Direct Soccer

The innovative design of the Puma Future 5.1 NetFit allows for a close fit on every foot. You can lace it up in whatever fashion you like, thanks to the netting that covers most of its upper. The first time you do this, it might take some time to get it set up just right, but a little fiddling is a small price to pay when the net result is as perfect a fit as you’ll find in any football boot.

Alongside the netting, the textured knit upper aids your touch, so there’s no need to worry about the netting having a negative effect on your ball control. There’s a mix of bladed and conical studs on the sole, which have been placed in smart fashion to support both sharp turns and straight-line speed.

Key specs – Types available: FG, SG, artificial

Buy now from Pro:Direct Soccer