HE'S FULLY STOCKED..
AND HE'S GOT A WHOLE LOTTA SOLE
Article as appeared in "It's Called FUTBOL, Volume 2 Issue 2, April 2002.
Ok, people, let's be serious now [and I know that may be difficult after seeing these pictures]. We're talking about purchasing soccer shoes here, your most important piece of futbol equipment. Norm Tsolakis, your friendly, neighbourhood JMT Metrosport soccer shoe guru, is here to give you the straight goods on what to buy for the upcoming outdoor season. It doesn't matter at what level you play, from the mini-soccer beginner to the seasoned professional, Norm's got the information you need, right here, right now. Please read before you purchase.
Norm on comfort:
Comfort is the most important consideration in buying new soccer shoes. If it's not comfortable in the store, it won't be comfortable when you play. Soccer shoes are your most important piece of equipment. You're going to be running for an hour and a half. If you're not comfortable, you're in trouble.
Remember that just because a shoe is expensive, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a better fit for comfort. Your foot width is another important factor that affects comfort. Having a high instep can also influence your choice of shoe.
Norm on shoes for house leaguers:
Look for something with a rubber bottom as opposed to polyurethane. Most kid's shoes have a rubber bottom. It softens the impact on the feet.
The sole being stritched to the upper part of the shoe offers reinforcement for those with wide feet who stretch out their shoes. Look for the stitching to go around the toe of the shoe. The less expensive shoes just have glue and rivets.
Norm on shoes for the competitive player:
If you're playing a lot, you should have a leather shoe. Leather breathes better in hot weather. It will also shape to your foot for comfort. If you perspire a lot in a shoe that isn't leather, it could lead to blisters. This could be important when you're playing in tournaments in the hot summer weather.
Don't choose a sole based solely on looks. Teenagers will buy something flashy and not necessarily worry about the comfort of the shoe.
Norm on wet weather:
The six-studded screw-in is a secondary shoe to a moulded pair. It's used only for extra traction when the field is very soft. We only recommend it for the competitive players. House league players may not play in rainy conditions. We haven't had much rain the last couple summers, and so there hasn't been a big need for it. Even the manufacturers are not offering as much in six-studs as they have in the past.
If you're playing in wet conditions, water will be retained in leather shoes, weighing you down. There are synthetic shoes that repel the water. We also carry a product that acts to waterproof the shoe and puts oils back into leather.
Norm on arch supports and orthopedics:
Manufacturers don't put a lot of arch support in soccer shoes compared to regular shoes or cross-trainers. They feel the grass is enough of a shock absorber. Indoor shoes have a little more arch support because they are for playing on a hard surface.
If you need to wear orthopedics, you should look at a shoe where you can actually pull out the insole. There are brands where the insole is not glued into the shoe. Pull out the insole and put in the orthopedic. If you put the orthopedic on top of the insole, it will raise your heel a few millimetres and push your foot forward. You want your foot to be stable in the heel of the shoe. A stable heel reduces the chance of suffering knee injuries.
Norm on sole:
More companies are switching to a bladed sole as opposed to the traditional rounded stud. Studies show that these shoes will give you increased traction because the studs are elongated. When you change direction, because of the circular design of the studs and where they are placed on the shoe, they cut through the grass easier and reduce your chances of twisting a knee or ankle.
Norm on shoe durability:
Parents of house league players like to try to get two years out of a shoe for their children. They want their kids to grow into their shoes so that the shoes will last for more than one season. The problem with a shoe that is too big is that the brain knows where the end of the toe is. It does not know where the end of the shoe is. If you have a shoe that too big, you're going to stub your foot when you're kicking.
We are sympathetic to the parents who are suting up their child for the first time. We try to give their kids a little more room in their shoe. But for the serious older player, when they get into the leathers, they should have their toes right near the front of the shoe, because the shoe will stretch and conform to their foot.
We have some parents coming in February to buy shoes, but the house league season doesn't start until the end of May. We recommend they wait until mid-April to buy a shoe because their child may undergo a growth spurt in the few months before the season begins.
Norm on shoes fashion and trends:
Colour is coming back, but not with the great range that was once offered. Blues, reds, and silvers are the three prominent colours. If you buy one of those, you'd better be a good player because everyone on the field will be looking at you and your bright neon shoes.
Companies are using fabrics to make the shoe lighter but with greater heel support. Next season we will see man-made materials that are lighter than leather but with the same qualities. The top players in the world will be wearing these shoes. Presently, kangaroo leather is the best we have to offer.
Norm on technology:
Companies are putting some tack on the outside of the shoe, so when players go to curve the ball, they can put more spin on the ball. The ball actually sticks to the shoe. You don't have to take as much power off your shot to still have the ball spin.
Off-centre lacing is now being used with many high-end shoes. It allows you to have as much kicking surface as possible on the shoe without the ball hitting the laces. The companies are putting the lace holes off to the outside of the shoe instead of straight down the middle.