A buyers' guide to the best boots for flying wingers and full-backs

Best Rugby Boots for Speed 2020

How do you reach max speed? You put as much power out as possible with as little weight as possible. The power part of that equation is all down to you but the right rugby boots can help with the weight. A light boot not only helps increase your speed, it also helps you stay agile and dance past defenders. If speed is your only focus then go light.

There are other factors to consider, however. A very flexible boot will reduce the power you can generate as instead of driving through the ground your power will go towards bending and flexing the boot. Modern boots targeted towards improving player speed will tend to offer a solid, or even reinforced, sole that ensures all that power turns into speed.

The last thing to look at is grip. Bigger studs are heavier and that will slow you down, but, you can’t reach top speed if you are slipping around in the mud. In bad weather you are well advised to choose grip at the expense of lightness.

Best Rugby Boots for Speed

Nike Mercurial Superfly Elite DF SG Boots

(Nike)

Let’s kick off with something a bit different. The Mercurial Superfly Elite is an example of where boots for backs are heading. The knit upper is exceptionally lightweight, it is basically just a slightly over-engineered sock. That means two things: unrivalled comfort and unrivalled agility.

No matter what boot you were wearing before, these will be a monumental step up. Add plenty of traction, thanks to the combination of stud types, and a perfect kicking surface, designed for a football, and these boots are ideal for a winger looking to break open the game.

Built for football, these boots are ideal if you plan on making kicking a part of your game

These soft-ground boots have a stud pattern which should allow for year-round use

£200+ for boots is extraordinarily expensive

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

This is a premium boot with a price tag to match

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

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.

+ 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

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 that 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

With an RRP of £180, hese are nearer the top end of most people’s budget

That concludes our guide to the best rugby boots for speed in 2020.

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