Best Rugby Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Rugby is a challenging sport to find shoes for. The two most important things to consider when shopping for your next pair of rugby boots, regardless whether you are a professional or an enthusiast, are your playing position and type of ground you will be playing on. Certain boots were designed with certain positions in mind. As such, it can be a real pain to find a shoe that works for you, especially if you’re new to the game and don’t know what position might suit you best. Fortunately, our list of the best rugby boots available on the market gives you plenty of options for high quality, durable and comfortable shoes that are sure to enhance your game level.
Before making your selection for the perfect pair of rugby boots, it is important to consider all the features that they offer compared to similar footwear. Depending on your position, you might be able to get away with soccer cleats, however, this is only advisable if you are a back player who needs a lighter boot. This type of boot will offer less durability and protection that are crucial in a sport such as rugby. Shoes made for fronts will offer better durability and more protection, as well as a better grip so that you are able to keep your footing. Loose forwards need boots that provide good lateral stability as they are expected to quickly change the direction of their movement while still maintaining a firm grip on the ground. Backs require lightweight boots, while kickers need a good kicking surface that will help them direct the ball with accuracy and to great distances.
- Under Armour Highlight MC
- Ankle Support
- Adidas Predator Malice SG
- Asymmetric Lacing
- Speed Traxion
- Optimum Velocity
- Low Collar Cleat
- Excellent cushioning
Considering all these factors, rugby boots tend to run a little more expensive than most athletic footwear, so it’s important to make the best-educated choice before purchasing. The price tag can be a hassle for some people, however, you might find that you can just as easily get away with older models that provide good quality and performance without too much of a spend. Whichever of the boots from our top 10 list you choose, you can rest assured that you will be getting a high-quality pair of rugby boots that will keep you safe while allowing you to make the best of your playing abilities.
10 Best Rugby Boots
1. Under Armour Highlight MC
The very best thing about this pair of boots is the upper which is made with Under Armour’s ClutchFit ankle sleeve which is a compression sleeve that provides stability in the ankle and a customized fit through the padded tongue. They are extremely lightweight, being only 10.3 ounces, the equivalent of a low-top rugby boot, and very flexible, so you can rest assured that the added support will in no way limit your range of motion.
Moulded 4D Foam Footbed
The footbed of these boots is made so that it reduces cleats pressure and molds to your foot, giving you a customized fit for maximum comfort. In addition, these boots feature V56 technology which was developed to limit the level of hyperextension in your toe, helping keep you injury-free while you play. The PlasmaX plates help maximize flexibility by following the foot’s natural motion, while still allowing for great traction and stability.
Cost and Value
Costing about average when compared to other items on this list, the Under Armour Highlight MC is an excellent choice for forwarding players who are looking for added ankle stability without the addition of unnecessary weight. If you have wide feet, it is advisable to order a ½ size up as these are more suited for narrow feet.
- Excellent ankle stability
- Padded tongue for better fit
- 4D printed foam footbed
- Lightweight at just 10.3 ounces
- Wide variety of colors available
- Not suited for wide feet
- Non-removable cleats
2. Adidas Predator Malice SG
In order to give you the widest kicking area possible, these shoes have been designed so as to make maximum use of the toe area. The laces lean off to the side, giving you a larger kicking sweet spot area you will surely appreciate. Additionally, the upper of these shoes is coated with a Non-Stop Grip layer which is comprised of thin dots that provide a better grip on the ball.
With a geometrically researched design, the four stud forefoot is optimally spaced to allow maximum grip on the ground, finding the perfect balance between lightweight and sturdy. The Speed Traxion system will allow you to get into position faster, and change directions smoothly with this specially designed outsole.
Cost and Value
These boots by Adidas rank high on this list when it comes to price. They will be the perfect choice for kickers who want a lightweight shoe with excellent traction and a wider than average kicking area. The Non Stop Grip layer, 10mm heel, and replaceable studs offer added value that you are sure to appreciate.
- Asymmetric Lacing
- Lightweight Synthetic Upper
- 10mm heel raise
- Speed TRAXION
- Non stop grip
- Sole is stiff
- Soft ground only
3. Canterbury Phoenix Club
The Thermoplastic Urethane (or TPU) midsole allows for increased flexibility and durability in the Canterbury Phoenix Club. This pair of boots will flex with your foot’s natural movements while you run, giving you a more comfortable stride and allowing you to more easily achieve higher speeds without sacrificing stability and traction. The back of the heel has an external heel counter which comes in especially handy when holding our position in a scrum.
Eight Stud Outsole
These boots feature six studs in the forefoot and two in the back, attached to a reinforced soleplate, with a screw in design. The replaceable aluminum studs will give you as much traction and stability as you need for any type of play (including both tackles and runs) and are perfect for soft, grassy pitches.
Cost and Value
This pair of rugby boots is an excellent choice if you are looking for some relatively inexpensive footwear. This is a great option for the beginning rugby player who isn't sure what position they want to play in, or for the more experienced enthusiast who needs a good pair of rugby boots at a low price. If you like the Phoenix but want a real Kangaroo leather upper, consider the Elite, which is a shoe from the same line, but made for the more advanced player.
- Eight stud outsole
- TPU midsole
- High quality upper
- Reinforced zones
- Affordable price
- Run large
- K-Leather upper is more pricey
4. ASICS Lethal Warno
Ten Millimeters doesn't sound like much, but you would be amazed at the difference it can make in terms of comfort. The higher heel of these boots will increase your performance, shifting your bodyweight towards the forefoot, and allowing you to gain speed much faster than other rugby boots. In addition, it this is a great feature which will help to minimize the stress on your lower body.
Even lighter than EVA foam, Solyte is a patented midsole technology designed for extra flexibility and durability. It has stronger shock absorption properties than EVA foam, which makes it perfect for use in a sport like rugby. Furthermore, the ASICS Lethal Warno features rearfoot GEL cushioning which lowers the level of shock your heel suffers when playing.
Cost and Value
These shoes are a little pricey, but not outlandishly so, seeing that they rank just about average compared to the other items on this list. The quality you get with these boots is excellent, and you can rest assured they will serve you well and for plenty of play time. If you're looking for a pair of boots for soft ground use, that will do fairly well for any position (although it will perform better for forwards), this is an excellent choice.
- Solyte Midsole
- Kangaroo Leather Vamp
- 6 Stud Forefoot
- GEL cushioning
- Run small
- Not suitable for all surfaces
5. Nike Tiempo Legend VI
Let’s face it, that no matter what kind of open field you play on, the weather can play a part in how hard you can drive, traction, even ball handling skills. The Tiempo Legend VI has a hypershield outer layer, to prevent water from creeping into the uppers, and helps maintain shape and cleat integrity over time. For the scrum or the backs, it provides the protection against the elements for no slip drives, and dropkicks.
Support and Cushion
Inside the Tiempo Legend VI is an EVA sockliner for added cushioning and support, which also has Poron inserts anatomically placed for comfort. A microfiier top cloth helps to minimize in shoe slippage, so you can push and drive the scrum to your hearts content, knowing you have the advantage. In addition, the TPU outsole and stud configuration give a transitional flex to maneuvering, great for wingers and full backs to fly down the field to score.
Cost and Value
One of the pricier options on our top ten list, it’s well worth the investment for those in search of a tough weather resistant, minimal slip cleat. Great for both scrum or backs, it keeps superb traction for running, or driving, even in messy wet weather. Solid purchase for those who found they love the sport and need an upgrade in footwear to reach their optimal performance levels!
Require Break In Period
6. Canterbury Stampede
These boots were engineered on Canterbury’s Powerlast sole which provides a wide fit - something that is difficult to find in rugby and soccer boots. In addition, the reinforced toe box will give you not just the additional room you require, but also increased forefoot strength you need to be on the top of your game. Even if you don't play Tight-5, it may be worth looking into these shoes if you have trouble finding rugby boots that fit your foot shape.
The eight stud design allows for greater traction and control of the field. You'll be able to go from zero to full speed faster without fear of slipping or sliding on the wet ground. What is more, the 8mm heel height will aid you in developing this speed, while also lowering lower limb fatigue and lessening the chance of injury.
Cost and Value
While high quality, these boots rank high on this list when it comes to price. If you're not a tight-5 player or don't specifically need a wider shoe it might be worth holding off until these are on sale, or choosing one of the other models on our list. But if you do play tight-5 and want to treat yourself to an amazing rugby boot, be sure to consider the Canterbury Stampede, either in the Club or Elite version.
- Eight studs outsole
- Screw in replaceable studs
- Synthetic body
- Reinforced toe box
- Only Elite version is real leather
7. Optimum Velocity
Lightweight and durable, the carbon fiber reinforcement in the heel will give your feet the extra protection and support they need while you play without weighing you down. In addition, the outsole is TPU injected which offers plenty of stability and flexibility, while still keeping up with the low weight of the boot.
3D Rubberized Strike Zone
The inside of these shoes features a 3D rubberized strike zone which was developed to give you more traction during impact. You'll get more precise control over your kicks, allowing for even greater accuracy than before. Also on the inside is a soft microfiber lining which maximizes comfort when paired with the perforated tongue which will allow for superior breathability.
Cost and Value
While these boots rank average when it comes to price, rugby boots by Optimum can be found for much less than their bigger, more popular competitors. They are very well made and represent a good investment for someone who wants to try out kicking or is a veteran kicker who is on a budget.
- Microfiber lining
- Carbon fiber heel
- 3D Rubberize Strike Zone
- TPU midsole
- Excellent price
- Don’t seem to be available in wide sizes
- Synthetic upper
8. Mizuno Morelia II
A graded Pebax sole plate rests at the base of the Morelia II, which not only provides an enhanced support and stabilitly, but allows for flexibility needed by wingers for quick maneuvering and dodging tackles. The plate helps with quick sprints by providing a firm base to press against for explosive power, and provides durability overall to the integrity of the cleat. Designed for firm ground, 13 PU studs line the sole in specific positions to better help alleviate pressure points.
Soft kangaroo leather creates the soft supple uppers of the Morelia II, giving it a great in shoe feel, but also making it quick functional in terms of ball handling. For soccer, this is ideal, but for rugby, kickers will appreciate the sense of touch more so than other positioned players. A tongue overlays lace up closure so you won’t’ be catching your cleats in knots!
Cost and Value
As one of the priciest options on our list, the Mizuno Morelia II is designed for advanced rugby players who enjoy a barefoot feel for grip and soft touch feel of kangaroo leather uppers. Perfectly positioned cleats alleviate pressure points during play, and the Pebax sole plate gives performance an upgrade in flexibility, durability, and stability. Well work the investment if you’re a long time rugby specialist!
Graded Pebax Sole
13 PU studs
Lace up Closure
9. Under Armour Force 3.0
The upper of these boots is made with Trivela microfibre which stretches two ways, giving you more mobility during your play, while still providing good support. It will mold to your feet, making you appreciate the customized level of comfort these boots provide. On the inside, you will experience moderate padding that adds to the overall experience of playing in these boots.
4D Foam Footbed
The footbed of these boots is also made to conform to the shape of your foot. It’s got Charged Cushioning which provides excellent shock absorption and energy return, making it easy to keep on running. You will also find that these boots feature an anti-slip material in the heel, which will lock your foot in the heel, providing you with a more secure wearing experience.
Cost and Value
These boots rank above average when it comes to price. Nonetheless, if you need a good pair of rugby boots for firm ground, they are an excellent choice. Originally designed for soccer players, these will be a good fit for backs and wingers, however, one of the downsides is that you won’t get too much use out of them on softer grounds.
- Flexible soleplate with TPU studs
- Flexible, secure upper
- Anti-slip heel
- Charged Cushioning and 4D foam footbed
- Moderate padding
- Better suited for narrow and regular feet
- Won’t do well on soft ground
10. Adidas FF80 Pro 2.0 SG
The stud configuration on these rugby boots is slightly different than other shoes, seeing that they feature an added stud at the toe which provides better stability and traction. In addition, the heel has a 5mm raise which puts the foot in a more dynamic position, favorable for scrummaging.
EVA Foam Liner
The inside of these boots features a pre-molded EVA foam liner, which is there to provide you with excellent cushioning and support, while the back of the boot has added anti-slip EVA inserts that will provide a more secure fit without these boots coming off your foot. The lining is made out of synthetic and textile, giving a good balance between comfort and breathability.
Cost and Value
One of the great things about these rugby boots is the price which is among the lowest on this list. This means that if you are just getting into the sport, or play as an amateur, you can get a professional grade boot (used at the 2015 Rugby World Cup) but at a price that won’t set you back too much.
- HybridTouch upper works great in all weather conditions
- 5x2 stud configuration
- Compatible with mi-Coach
- Forefoot weld for better lateral stability
- Pre-moulded EVA sockliner
- Only suitable for soft ground
- Newer models available
Finding the perfect rugby boot can seem to be an insurmountable challenge. Whether it’s the grip, the flexibility, or the price, there are just too many variables to take into account. Are you a kicker, a forward, tight five, or are you an all-rounder? Do you need a wider kicking area, or do you need a lighter shoe? Are your feet wide or narrow? Six, four, or eight studs? Aluminum or plastic? Synthetic upper body or kangaroo leather?
That’s even before you take into account whether or not the shoes are comfortable. Whether you can play an entire game in them without getting blisters. With all the factors and features you need to take into consideration before making your purchase, it can be easy to become paralyzed by indecision. Hopefully, our list of the top 15 available rugby boots on the market has helped you to come to a decision, or at the very least give you some information that can help you on your path to becoming a rugby champion.
If you are still unsure about which boots to get, or need just a little bit more help before making your decision, make sure to read out Criteria for Evaluation section where we break down the variables that come into play when making the best choice of rugby boots, as well as our Frequently Asked Questions section where we answer the most common questions users have.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Rugby Boots
The past couple of decades has have seen a huge increase in the availability of various types of rugby boots, with leading sportswear manufacturers jumping at the opportunity to offer their own product for rugby players to use. With this also came a much wider selection, the introduction of newer technology into the boots, as well as ranges of footwear specified for certain types of play, ensuring that every position in the game can have a pair of boots meeting their specific needs.
But what this expansion also managed is to make purchasing a pair of rugby boots a task that is quite difficult. Your choice is no longer based on the type of field and comfort levels but extends to stud number, positioning, profile height, flexibility and heel drop, etc. In this article, we compiled a list of the best rugby boots available for purchase at the moment, and this section will allow you a closer look at the criteria we used to evaluate these boots.
There are two types of playing surfaces that most rugby players will have to play on. While in an ideal world, one pair of boots would be suitable for both, unfortunately, this is not the case. The type of surface will determine not just the positioning and number of studs located on your boots, but also their length. A properly chosen boot can thus mean the difference between victory and loss, so it’s crucial to choose well.
- Soft Ground (SG) surfaces are more common, and these are natural grass surfaces that are either soft or very wet. These types of surfaces require a better gripping shoe in order to prevent you from sliding and slipping, and ultimately from injuring yourself. Traditional, metal screw in studs will generally do better on this type of surface, and the number of studs will differ based on the position you play. Forwards players will need more traction and should look at boots with six studs in the forefoot and two in the back. If you prefer a lightweight fit, you may want to look into hybrid boots which have some molded studs, or even boots with blades which give good traction without the risk of getting loose.
- Firm Ground (FG) surfaces require a better distribution of studs in order to relieve the stress your foot goes through by running on these harder surfaces. Traditionally, boots made for firm ground pitches will have more molded studs, made either out of plastic or rubber. These tend to perform better in allowing you to gain speed and to change direction more quickly.
Depending on what position you play in, your needs regarding rugby boots can vary differently. While the name of the game may be the same, the roles of different players require entirely different types of movement, which means that a Tight-5 player cannot successfully play in the same boots a kicker would use, and not see a decrease in performance.
- Tight-5 are the players in the very front of the game, usually referred to as fronts. These are the men who will have to push and shunt into the opposing team in order to get the opposition to fall back. These players need a strong, supportive and durable boot that not only provides ample protection from being trampled but also snugly fits around the ankle area preventing injury and overuse. In addition, these players will require a boot with really good grip, meaning that the ideal rugby boot will have either five or six studs, allowing them to gain secure footing on any type of surface.
- Loose Fronts – two Flankers and Number Eight are players who will both participate in the scrum but will also need to get into defense mode, changing from two very different types of play without missing a beat. This means that this type of player requires a boot that is both traction and grip oriented, but also lightweight enough to allow for maximum running speed. In addition, lateral support is important for these players in order to allow them to quickly change direction during high speed runs.
- Backs will generally look for more lightweight boots that allow them to attack with speed. Unfortunately, this will often sacrifice durability and protection, as well as grip seeing that boots made for these players will have a lower number of studs in order to keep weight down. Luckily, technological advancements are now allowing for better surface grip with a lightweight construction, so players in back positions may want to look into boots that have molded or plastic studs which offer grip but don’t bring the weight up.
- Kickers are the last type of player in rugby, and their number one job is to kick the ball as far and as accurately as possible. This requires an excellent, lightweight fit of the boot, as well as good traction on the supporting leg in order to gain more momentum. Boots made for this position will often have asymmetrical lacing systems in order to maximize the kicking surface, as well as rubber components on the upper that will allow better contact with the ball.
Like with any other sports equipment, you need your rugby boots to be of the highest possible quality in order to achieve better results. While skill and determination are key, a good pair of boots can really take your game to the next level. The quality of boots will most often depend on the materials used during construction, and more often than not, these will also influence the price of your gear.
The upper of your boots need to be made out of a protective material that will allow for a good fit, but that will also offer protection which is so important in a rough sport like rugby. Traditional boots were made of Kangaroo leather which is a great material, but it is also more expensive to produce. Synthetic alternatives will quite often be more lightweight and will give you just as much protection as the real deal.
The outsole of the shoes will hold the studs and is crucial in providing the best possible weight distribution as well as protection from the ground. Today, most makers will use synthetic materials such as TPU which allow the perfect mix of flexibility and stiffness, and which are great seeing that they are lightweight, slip resistant and long lasting.
The midsole is crucial in providing shock absorption, energy return, flexibility and cushioning, and is the place where shoe technology is most often improved. Most rugby shoes include a midsole that is there to provide strength, but some brands, like ASICS, will use this section in order to give the player a better running or movement experience.
Finally, there is the heel of the boot, which can serve two functions. On one hand, it is there to protect the player, namely their Achilles tendon, as this area is quite easy to damage should an unlucky blow happen. On the other hand, players who are required to gain great speed can benefit from a raised heel, which typically ranges from 5mm to 10mm, and is a great addition as it reduces lower limb fatigue and aids acceleration.
Comfort and Fit
Generally, not many makers will highlight the comfort features on their rugby boots, presuming that these hardcore athletes will be more goal-oriented. However, it is crucial that a pair of rugby boots fits you well and is not causing you any unnecessary pain. If you can find a pair that feels great, then you’ve hit the jackpot.
As a rule, rugby boots need to snugly hug your foot in order to allow you to perform at the highest level. While no loose spots should be present, it’s important to consider the socks you will be wearing during play. Some players prefer to wear two pairs of socks, which means that they may need a little bit of extra room when purchasing boots.
If your feet are wide, you will have a bit more trouble finding a suitable pair of footwear for this sport, as most boots are more suited for narrow and regular feet. Nonetheless, some sportswear manufacturers have picked up on this problem, and have designed shoes that feature a wider forefoot, allowing you to get the best possible performance, without sacrificing your feet.
One of the most important things to consider before purchasing a pair of boots is that it mustn’t rub or pinch your fee so that you feel pain or any discomfort. While sports footwear will break in after a few uses, you will need to do your best to avoid developing blisters or sore sports which may influence your game for the worse.
Another consideration when looking for your next pair of rugby boots or cleats is what kind of cleat you’ll be using, and if they cause you any discomfort or pain. Sometimes the number of cleats on the sole may cause uneven distribution of pressure points, which can be unique to players feet, and foot sensitivity. Most times, the more studs present can help alleviate pressure at one particular position on the foot. If you aren’t sure if you have pressure points to avoid, it’s best to try on a few pairs before you purchase in-store or online, especially if you plan to invest a good bit of money!
Price and Value
Finally, the determining factor when choosing your next pair of shoes to play rugby in might as well come down to price. Being manufactured by just a limited number of sportswear companies, and requiring a high quality of production makes rugby boots often very expensive. This means that before you make your decision, you need to determine your budget. While newer models may come in the trendiest colors and offer awesome technological advancements, you might find that a model from a year or two back might perform just as well for a third of the price.
Another thing you need to consider is how often and for how long you intend to use these boots. Professional players are required to be on the field every day, giving their max in order to achieve the best possible results. However, if you only intend on playing a couple of times a week, you may find that you can have a bit more leeway when it comes to choice.
Overall, it’s always best to opt for the highest quality boots, in order to get strong, supportive footwear that will last longer and that will properly protect you during the game. In addition, you may want to look into purchasing additional studs, as it is likely that you may lose or wear some of the originals out. Boots with replaceable studs are a great option as they ensure that you won’t have to replace the whole pair of boots should one stud come loose, which is not the case with molded models.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use soccer cleats to play rugby?
A: While some rugby players have been known to use soccer cleats, it’s important to know that this type of footwear does not provide the correct protection and traction type for all players. Soccer cleats are made for firm ground play, are lightweight, and have shorter studs. Kickers and backs may benefit from wearing this type of shoes. If you’re just starting out in the sport and would prefer to get a feel for it first before investing in a specific pair of rugby cleats, you can always purchase a base model rugby cleat, or try out a soccer cleat to decide which feels best for your style of play.
Q: How do I choose the right rugby boot?
A: Before making your choice, you first need to determine the type of ground you will be playing on, as well as your position in the game. Then you can go on and choose either a model more oriented towards forwards, backs or kickers, making sure you consider all features including traction, weight, support, heel height, and kicking area.
Q: How do I clean my boots?
A: It is advisable to clean your boots right after playing in them, as dirty boots should not be left in a bag for too long, or they may become permanently damaged. Remove any dirt from them with a damp cloth or a brush, then stuff them with a newspaper in order for them to retain their shape. Make sure to always unlace your boots before taking them off in order to prevent damaging the heel. And try not to walk in them on very hard surfaces such as concrete, as this will damage the studs and outsole.
Q: Are molded studs better than replaceable ones?
A: Although molded studs are more lightweight than traditional replaceable ones, there is not one definitive answer to this question. Whether this type of stud will work for you personally depends mostly on your playing position, as well as the type of surface you play on. If you’re playing on the softer ground, you may be more satisfied with the grip of screw-in studs, whilst firm ground play will most likely be less uncomfortable with more molded studs.
Q: What does SG and FG next to the boot model stand for?
A: These marks stand for the type of ground a pair of boots is intended for. SG stands for soft ground, and these types of boots will generally have longer studs and provide better traction on natural grassy surfaces that are often very wet and muddy. FG stands for firm ground, and these types of boots will provide better weight distribution throughout the foot.