A buyers' guide featuring boots for flashy stylish backs, traditional forwards and everyone inbetween

Best Rugby Boots of 2020

Unlike in a sport like cycling or golf, there isn’t much equipment you need to play rugby. One thing you cannot scrimp on is a good pair of boots.

Gone are the days when your boots would be heavy by half-time and you could have any colour as long as it was black. Boot technology has made significant strides and it is probably time to trade in your old kicks for something more modern with our guide to the best rugby boots of 2020.

Looks are important but there is more to a modern pair of boots than just if they’ll stand out when you run onto the pitch on a Saturday. Most boots will be specified as either soft ground (SG) or firm ground (FG). Soft-ground boots are for the mid-season when the ground is muddy with little grip. They will have traditional studs; long, rounded, and metal. Firm-ground boots are for better surfaces where you can forgo long studs in favour of sleeker plastic pegs, shorter metal studs, or a combination of the two.

A lightweight boot will allow you to reach your top speed but it comes at the expense of protection from a stray stud. Forwards may prefer to carry a bit more weight to protect them in scrums and mauls whereas backs would be advised to head down the lightweight route to maximise their agility.

Best Rugby Boots of 2020

Adidas Kakari Z.0 SG Boots

Adidas_Kakari_Z.0_Soft_Ground_Boots

(Adidas)

The Kakari Z.0 is classy and understated enough for even the most traditional of forwards. The bootie style fit is exceptionally comfortable but an inner support strap ensures that comfort doesn’t come at the expense of performance.

The split sole is ideal for the grunt work of the tight five. You can stay low and planted in the turf and still generate power thanks to the sole flexibility.

+ 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 almost £170 this really is at the top end of boot prices.

Canterbury Phoenix 3.0 Pro SG Boots

Canterbury Phoenix 3.0 Pro SG Boots

(Canterbury)

A do-it-all boot which looks as good as it feels. The Phoenix 3.0 is designed to be lightweight but without sacrificing durability or protection thanks to a TPU mesh skin. The foot is held in place by a neoprene tongue, which combines with internal straps to provide a comfortable but secure fit.

Finally, a mix of removable studs and molded elements gives you maximum grip in the winter and flexibility to put on some shorter studs for those spring and autumn days.

+ The classy black design is offset perfectly with some silver detail on the laces, a very good-looking boot.

+ A comfortable fit coupled with a durable upper means you will get plenty of game time out of these boots.

Designed for back-row players, these boots lack some protection for the front five and might not be agile enough for the backs.

Gilbert Kaizen 1.0 SG Boots

Gilbert Kaizen 1.0 SG Boots

(Gilbert)

Designed for speed and agility, these are perfect 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 these are best avoided if you are wearing a number in single digits.

Adidas Kakari Elite SG Boots

Adidas Kakari Elite SG Boots

(Adidas)

Some things can be found in all rugby clubs anywhere in the world. The first is at least one Welsh person and the second is a host of players wearing these boots.

The Kakari Elite is a boot for forwards which shuns the perceived wisdom that forwards only want to wear black boots. The upper provides protection from a misplaced size 12 but these are still lightweight despite that. An integrated cage system straps the foot firmly in meaning you can dance past the last man once you make the break.

+ A stylish boot that is still somehow understated despite the orange and blue colour scheme.

+ Achieves the balance of being comfortable and protected while also keeps the foot strapped in place.

Not a year-round boot, you will find them much less comfortable during pre-season training on a sun-parched track.

Adidas X.Ghosted 1 FG Boots

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.

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 getting away from 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.

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 that is noticeable without being over the top.

As the name suggests, these don’t come with much in the way of protection so may be worth steering clear if you’ll be packing down in the tight five.

Asics Menace 3 S SG Boots

Asics Menace 3 S SG Boots

(Asics)

Loud, proud, and deadly. These striking peach and gold boots will have you feeling like a pro before you have even stepped foot on the pitch. The nylon and microfibre upper is exceptionally light but strong enough to last for match after match after match.

A stiff sole plate means that all of your sprinting power is directed straight through the ground so you can reach your max speed as you flash through the line.

+ Light as air but with a stiff sole to allow you to be agile and quick.

+ Six-stud design gives you enough traction without added heft.

Not for forwards. Everything that is good about these boots is what makes them not a good choice for a forward.

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

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