A buyers' guide featuring boots for ball-carrying back-rowers and powerful props

Best Rugby Boots for Forwards 2021

It used to be the case that a forward’s rugby boots were black, pretty ugly and very heavy. Most clubs will still have a handful of grizzled old timers who haven’t changed their mind on that, but it needn’t be the case for the rest of us. New materials and manufacturing methods have given us modern rugby boots that are both light and protected enough for even the roughest of ruck bottoms.

In addition to featuring the best of both worlds, the best rugby boots for forwards have become much more appealing. If you can’t face the prospect of trading in your black boots for something garish, then you are in luck. There are plenty of all-black options or, if you’re feeling brave, something understated with a splash of colour. Upgrade into 2022 with our guide to the best rugby boots for forwards.

If you play behind the scrum, read our guide to the best boots for backs in 2021.

Best Rugby Boots for Forwards

Puma King Pro H8 Boots

(Puma)

A classy, stylish option for any forward. The King Pro offers an all-black option that will look brand new season after season. The eight-stud sole offers excellent traction, even when the pitch has turned to mush.

The slip-on construction provides a tight fit, reduced weight, all without scrimping on comfort. The raised heel puts your foot in the perfect position to generate power, whether that is in a scrum or charging through defenders in the open field.

Great value boot given the high-tech features you would normally get at a much higher price range

The leather upper provides protection in even the roughest contests

– Some would call the styling classy, otherwise would say it’s a little boring

Adidas Kakari Z.0 SG Boots

(Adidas)

The Kakari Z.0 of 2020 featured a low key stylish black, white, and red look. In 2021 we all need some cheering up and Adidas has reacted with something bold. The bright yellow and orange colour scheme draws the eye but doesn’t step over into garishness.

The Kakari is a boot designed for the front five and it is packed with features to help those in the engine room. Eight hollow studs provide a strong platform but don’t add unnecessary weight. A synthetic leather upper and padded around the tongue and ankle protect against misplaced feet.

+ A boot for forwards that doesn’t come at the expense of speed.

+ Slipper like comfort means it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a high-performance boot.

At over £130 this really is at the top end of boot prices.

Gilbert Kaizen 3.0 Power SG Boots

Gilbert Kaizen 3.0 Power SG Boots

(Gilbert)

The perfect boot for a mid-winter game. The eight metal studs provided a firm grip in even the most marshy of pitches while the synthetic uppers limit water absorption. The padded ankle cuff provides some protection to your delicate ankle bones and ensures comfort and optimal fit.

These aren’t just for slow-moving forwards though; a heel raise puts the player into their most powerful position, vital for ball-carrying back-rowers who want to escape a chasing defender.

+ A rigid sole and secure inner allow you to exert all your power without fear of losing your grip

+ Provides durability and foot protection without compromising on agility thanks to its lightweight design

For all but the most traditional the design may be a little safe

Mizuno Neo 3 Made in Japan SG Boots

(Mizuno)

Let’s deal with the obvious first of all, yes these are almost £300. That may sound excessive for a pair of boots but the Neo 3s are on a different level. The K-Leather upper provides extreme comfort and some protection from a stray stud. The fit achieves the rare combination of being sock like but without being sloppy or overly flexible.

The sole comes with a combination of studs and moulds which, aside from in extremely poor weather, should allow year round usage.

+ A very classy colour scheme to fit the premium boot.

+ Year round usage without any excess weight.

These will be much too expensive for many players.

MORE RUGBY BOOTS BUYERS’ GUIDES

Canterbury Speed 3.0 Pro SG Boots

(Canterbury)

Just because you play in the forwards doesn’t mean you have to wear a typical ‘forward’s’ boot. If you are playing in the back row it is likely that you want something that compliments your ball-carrying, even if that comes at the expense of some protection.

The Speed 3.0 offers a bootie-like fit which provides extreme comfort and reduced weight. Unlike other bootie-style shoes that offer nothing in the way of protection, the Speed 3.0 comes with a harder outer skin to give foot protection. The mix of moulded and metal studs gives these boots more year-round usage than you get from the eight-stud options.

A speedy option for the fleet-footed forwards

+ The stud arrangement means that, barring any extreme weather, you can wear these all year round

– Ideal for back-rowers, these might be a little sparse on protection for the tight five

Under Armour Spotlight SG Boots

(Under Armour)

Luckily, the idea that forwards can’t wear brightly coloured boots has been consigned to history. These Spotlight boots by Under Armour are aptly named, you really will stand-out with these on your feet. The lime green synthetic upper not only looks great, it will also offer plenty of protection.

The sole mixes studs and moulds to provide plenty of traction without limiting these boots to just winter use. The offset laces offer a clean surface if you do see yourself as something of a kicker.

Solid footing thanks to the mould and stud combo

Amazingly good value for this quality of boot construction

– Might be a little loud for some

Gilbert Side Logo Boots

(Gilbert)

It might not seem like it, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a really good pair of boots. In the Side Logo, Gilbert deliver the ideal boot for a forward, all for under £40.

The laces and padded ankle collar ensure your foot remains locked in, even on the worst of pitches. The collar also gives your ankle bones protection from stray feet. The studs provide maximum traction even under intense scrum pressure. There are no fancy additions, but for most of us, the Side Logo offers everything we need.

Plenty of traction on even the worst of pitches

Amazingly good value for this quality of boot construction

– Black and neon green is a combination which takes a bit of time to get used too

Canterbury Stampede Pro SG Boots

(Canterbury)

A boot for the tight five who appreciate mod-cons. The Stampede Pro looks more like the kind of speedy backs boot we’ve covered. The bootie-style fit offers comfort and sweat-wicking properties as well as trimming some weight off the boot.

The reduced weight is incidental, though, as this is designed for members of the tight five. The leather forefront and PU upper provide durability and abrasion resistance to last for season after season. The boots also have shock absorbing properties, which mean that whether you’re jumping in lineouts or packing down in the scrum, it will take that bit longer for your legs to fatigue.

+ Extremely attractive boot which looks classy without drawing attention to itself

Packed with innovation and technology but without a massive price tag

– The bootie fit may take some time to get used too if you haven’t experienced it before

That is a wrap on our best rugby boots for forwards in 2021.

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