RUGBY BOOTS FOR DIFFERENT POSITIONS-BOOTS FOR FORWARDS, BACKS AND CENTRES
Look at the players in any rugby line up and you’ll almost immediately be able to spot the backs from the forwards. But why do they need different boots? Forwards are all about strength and power while the backs focus on speed and agility. And while there are things, like ball handling and tackling, which every good rugby player will need to master, the two types of player need two very different skill sets. And for that, they need different boots.
FORWARDS – POWER AND STABILITY
Life in the pack is all about attacking, whether it’s protecting possession, winning it back from the opposition or gaining ground to set up a scoring position for the backs. And for that you need to have power. In the professional game it’s not unusual for a scrum to weigh more than 1,500 kg and the pressure when both sides engage is even greater.
So boots developed specifically for forwards should have:
- good grip – long studs dig deep into the turf to give you a stable footing
- a secure, fitted heel – this prevents your foot from moving while you push forward, giving you a more stable platform
- durability – they need to be build to last with so much pressure on them
Plus, they still need to be flexible and lightweight enough for forwards to react quickly and get to the breakdown fast.
BACKS AND CENTRES – SPEED AND AGILITY
This is where most of the points are scored, and with the move often set up by the forwards it’s the backs and centres that make darting runs and skip past the opposition to the try line. They also need to be able to kick – whether it’s an up-and-under, a grubber kick or a conversion.
So backs tend to need boots which have:
- lightweight materials – every gram counts when you need to be quick
- grip – the studs are positioned so you can change direction much easier
- a snug fit – the foot-hugging leather upper helps when kicking
Rugby boots can also play a part in reducing injuries on the field. At ASICS we’ve pioneered a new style of boot with a heel 10mm higher than the front of the boot. It’s a first for the game and it’s designed to reduce the load on the Achilles tendons, calf muscles, hamstrings and back. We call it HG10mm and it’s used in all our rugby and football boots.