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

Best Rugby Boots of 2021

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 2021.

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.

Below we run through the best rugby boots of 2021.

Best Rugby Boots

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.

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.

Puma Ultra 3.3 Women’s FG Boots

(Puma)

Ideal for female players who prioritise speed over anything else. The Ultra 3.3s offer a female specific fit with a narrowed heel, lower in-step, and sculpted arch step. The knit upper makes it hard to believe that you are wearing boots rather than just socks. These are incredibly light.

Despite the lightweight fit Puma have still managed to include their SPEEDCAGE technology which keeps the foot planted and allows all the power to be transferred into speed.

+ Very lightweight but still offering a solid and secure fit.

+ A great colour scheme which hasn’t fallen into the trap of going for pinks or purples

These are designed for dry ground or artificial pitches. Anyone playing through winter will need another pair of SG boots

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 Predator Malice Control SG Boots

(Adidas)

The Malice Control boots from Adidas will split opinion. The hedgehog like dimples provide control and accuracy for kickers while the asymmetric lacing provides more space to strike the ball. Foam Sensepods in the heel shrink and expand to fill space to ensure the optimum fit without rubbing.

The upper is crafted from 50% recycled materials and is lightweight but with some protection from rogue boots. The sole provides excellent traction on wet grass without adding weight.

+ 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.

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.

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 ball control for kickers. 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.

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 2021.

Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Please follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.