For players, parents and coaches it is important to understand what role soccer boot construction plays, both in causing and preventing injury.
Soccer boots are constructed with a flat footbed to accommodate their studs. This results in a lack of arch support that allows for excessive foot pronation and offers little to no cushioning to absorb shock. Excessive foot pronation and repetitive shock can lead to heel pain, Sever’s disease, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
In addition, most soccer boots are constructed without a midsole – the foam cushioning material between the upper and the tread of a running shoe. The midsole of a running shoe not only provides shock absorption, but also elevates the heel. It is recognised that a lack of cushioning and heel elevation can contribute to hamstring and Achilles tendon injuries, commonly seen in soccer players.
Some soccer boot companies now design boots that incorporate a wedged, running shoe-style midsole. Recent research by an Australian podiatrist found this design placed less strain on leg muscles than the traditional low profile boot design. It found that a 10mm heel raise altered the angle of the hip, knee and ankle, and together with improved shock absorption helped to prevent injury and improve performance.
The podiatrists at Foot Health Clinic, Samford, include specialists in children’s injuries and can offer advice on soccer boot selection for your child.