Football boots are an essential part of any player’s kit. As such, football players select their boots carefully, searching for boots that can help maximize their performance. To appeal to these consumers, football boot brands often market their boots by highlighting improved performance.
For instance, football boots with additional upper padding are advertised to improve shooting performance. In a recent study, Dr. Katrine Okhom Kryger and colleagues investigated this claim by assessing the impact of added upper padding on shooting accuracy and velocity.
Nine university-level football players were recruited to participate in the study. They were each instructed to wear two types of prototype football boots. The prototype boots were designed in the same way, with just one key diffference: one boot had no padding and one boot had 8 mm of Poron memory foam padding. Players participated in two shooting sessions that were each 2 hours long. The shooting protocol was carefully designed to minimize the influence of factors besides the inclusion or exclusion of upper padding. In each session, players were instructed to take 40 shots in a free-kick situation. 20 shots focused on shooting accuracy and 20 shots focused on shooting velocity.
The researchers found that shot velocity was not affected by added padding. The velocity showed “no significant difference” between padded and non-padded boots for both accuracy-focused and velocity-focused shots. On the other hand, added padding did negatively affect the accuracy of shots. Shots performed with the padded boot led to greater vertical offsets. This caused more shots to go over the crossbar, resulting in fewer shots providing a goal-scoring opportunity. This effect was observed for both accuracy-focused and velocity-focused shots.
However, these findings may need further validation, as the authors of the study identified several limitations. First, the experiment protocol did not give sufficient time for participants to adapt to the new prototype football boots. Performance can be affected when players are not adapted to their football boots. In addition, only one football boot design with upper padding was evaluated. Therefore, the study’s findings may not be applicable to the numerous football boot designs that are available.
Hopefully, with further research, we can better understand how football boot designs impact players’ dribbling, passing, and shooting performance.
Image was obtained from Pixabay/StockSnap