A buyers' guide featuring boots for fleet-footed wingers and game-winning kickers

Best Rugby Boots for Backs 2020

Buying a pair of boots as a back can be a minefield. Not only do you have to select from a wide range of rugby boots, you also have a universe of football boots you can choose from.

If you are an outside back, you will be making minimal tackles and getting involved in just a few rucks. Because of that you can eschew the protection of the ‘traditional’ rugby boot and move towards some of the lightweight, low protection, slippers that are now on the market.

It isn’t just about getting the lightest boot, though. Some very light boots come at the expense of stiffness. That means that when you make your burst through the line, instead of powering away, you end up dissipating that power through a bendy boot.

Of course, the other thing that backs will usually care about is kicking. To get consistent contact, you need a good surface to make contact with. Most back-specific boots come with offset laces, or sometimes hidden laces, to keep that contact area undisturbed. That is perfect if you are lining up a kick at goal or looking to slip a grubber through for your winger to get on the end of.

If you play in the pack, read our guide to the best boots for forwards in 2020.

Best Rugby Boots for Backs

Gilbert Kaizen 1.0 SG Boots

Gilbert Kaizen 1.0 SG Boots

(Gilbert)

Designed for speed and agility, these are ideal for fleet-footed outside backs. A knitted upper, brought over from football boots, hugs the foot without adding more than the bare essentials in weight. Perfect for some dazzling footwork and a sprint into the open field.

The offset laces mean that, even when your only option is to kick, you can do it with confidence thanks to an unbroken kicking zone.

+ Very lightweight but still offering a solid and secure fit

+ A raised heel ensures you are always in the most powerful position when you need to surge by the last defender

The knitted upper and lightweight construction means you can expect a few bruised toes, even if you avoid rucks as much as possible

Mizuno Morelia Neo 3 Beta SG Boots

Best Rugby Boots for Backs

(Mizuno)

This offering from the Japanese firm just screams pace. The Morelia Neo 3 Betas weigh in at an almost impossibly light 190g. The barefoot knit material around the collar reduces weight but a series of beta mesh windows mean the weight reduction doesn’t come at the expense of either comfort or stability.

Mizuno have even toned down the logo to save weight, all in the pursuit of a perfect boot for the quick players.

+ A perfect mixture of lightweight without compromising foot security

+ A mix of plastic and metal studs should offer enough traction, without the discomfort of full metal studs, for year-round use

We are well over the £100 mark. This is a premium boot with a price tag to match

Adidas Predator XP FG Boots

(Adidas)

As a kid the Predator was the boot you had to have if you were playing football. That boot has evolved to this. The Predator XP has a knit upper to provide breathability but that is combined with foot security so you can dart left and right and know that your foot will be held in place.

Asymmetrical laces increase the contact patch so you can be confident of a consistent outcome when kicking.

+ Extra padding around the ankle cuff will protect your ankle joint from any impact

+ Lightweight and comfortable but with a secure fit to allow for fast footwork

The firm ground studs probably won’t offer enough traction in the midwinter so you will need a second pair for soft ground

Adidas X.Ghosted 1 FG Boots

(Adidas)

Ideal for speedy backs who steer clear of the rough stuff or prioritise accurate kicking over the odd bruise. Exceptionally lightweight construction and sock like comfort will leave you feeling like you’re not wearing any shoes at all.

A carbon-fibre insert under the foot means that all power is sent straight through the turf to fire you forward rather than lost in a bendy sole. There is plenty of space on the toe and instep for consistent and accurate kicking, whether at goal or sliding through a grubber.

+ Exceptionally lightweight but more than comfortable enough to wear for hours on end

+ Ideal for kickers who want a clear contact patch between boot and ball

Right at the top end of the budget for most and, unless you live somewhere warm and dry, unusable in the winter months

MORE RUGBY BOOTS BUYERS’ GUIDES

Puma Future 5.3 Netfit FG/AG Boots

Best Rugby Boots for Backs

(Puma)

The Future is aptly named, this is what rugby boots will become. Part sock and part boot, the Future is super lightweight but with a lacing system which keeps the foot firmly locked down.

That means despite the flimsy looking exterior they will allow you to dance around with as much confidence as any ‘normal’ looking boot. Unsurprisingly, for a football boot, the contact area is ideal for kickers.

+ Perfect for powering through the line or dancing past a defender, thanks to excellent foot security

+ Great on hard surfaces and synthetic ground, this offer usage in all but the worst conditions

The colour scheme might be a bit out there for some, although the Battenburg styling will appeal to those who like to stand out

Canterbury Speed 2.0 SG Boots

Canterbury Speed 2.0 SG Boots

(Canterbury)

A blend of pure speed and lightweight agility with enough grip to keep you planted even when the weather turns bad. A locked in toebox and collar ensures the wearer can be confident when dancing around in the backfield but cushioning on the ankle means these boots feel more like slippers than jail cells.

Six metal studs on the outer, with seven additional molded studs, allows these boots to be worn throughout the whole year. They are comfortable on cricket pitch-esque touch grounds and quagmire like December surfaces.

+ A reasonably priced boot which can do it all

+ Eye popping colour scheme which is noticeable without being over the top

As the name suggests, these don’t come with much in the way of protection

Under Armour Speedform CRM Leather SG Boots

Best Rugby Boots for Backs

(Under Armour)

The anatomical heel cup keeps your foot firmly planted while the foam interior ensures that close fit doesn’t translate into discomfort. The synthetic leather exterior gives the same comfort without overstretching or taking on more water which would adjust the fit.

They are designed for soft ground but the combination of metal and plastic studs mean these will be perfect virtually all year round.

+ The all white colour scheme is breathtaking and will stand out on any pitch

+ A well mixed set of studs allows for comfort on hard ground and traction on soft surfaces

These are nearer the top end of most people’s budget

Adidas Malice Elite SG Boots

(Adidas)

A boot for speedy backs that won’t break the bank. Asymmetrical laces make more space for a clean contact and a series of raised dots on the upper enhance ball control for kickers.

The stud pattern combines metal and plastic studs offering plenty of traction year-round without causing discomfort on hard pitches. The upper is synthetic and keeps feet firmly in place to allow quick changes of direction.

+ A boot that can be used year-round all for a very reasonable price

+ An enlarged contact patch makes kicking simple and consistent

The mix of orange, purple, and yellow may be a bit much for some

That completes our round-up of the best rugby boots for backs in 2020.

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