The modern football boot often claims to suit specific playing types and specific player positions. Fast strikers, exceptional wingers, midfield dynamos, all seem to have a wealth of football boots structured and advertised for those positions. But, what about defenders?

Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris and Bobby Charlton 1973. Chopper Harris is regarded as one of the toughest defenders of all time, an ideal candidate for our defenders football boot.

We’ve already seen the success that companies have enjoyed by associating player styles to specific boots; Air Legend II’s and Fabregas, Predator PowerSwerve’s and Gerrard, the list goes on. Could coupling the endorsement of a world-class centreback with a completely new pair of football boots designed specifically for his job on the pitch be another smash success?

Currently, three options from three manufacturers offer a glimpse of what a defender-oriented boot could offer, but none of these strive purely to be the choice of the back-line athlete.

Nike sponsored Fabio Cannavaro; Cannavaro opts for a set of Total 90 Laser II’s, a versatile and popular all-around choice, though their image is namely power and attacking due to the play of their best-known user, Wayne Rooney.

Fabio Cannavaro Total 90 Laser II

Cannavaro’s Total 90 Laser II

Umbro’s talismanic endorsee John Terry has been wearing the SX Valor II, but are these boots really aimed at back-line players? Haven’t they lost a little credibility after the 2008 Champions League slip?

Lastly, there are the Puma v-Konstrukt III, worn and advertised by Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic. While these are certainly the closest I’ve come to seeing a “pro-defender” model, with their emphasis on protection of the foot and safer ball control via a ‘glove-like fit’, in my eyes these also fail to set themselves apart as a premium must-buy for back-line types.

Innovating for Defenders

There is room for improvement. Defender oriented football boots would need to feature some innovations purely directed towards the backline player, and strive harder to be the first choice of the last line of defence. I came up with a concept that aims to do this:

Firstly, this boot would feature a bright, distinctly coloured heel to help linesmen better detect an offside. Contrasting with the pitch and the rest of the player’s football boot, this addition would make for an easier sightline for linesmen making that tricky call. Sounds gimmicky? It would be a hit with defenders looking for anything that might give them a slight edge and get that offside call.

Secondly, such a boot would be relatively heavier than others on the market, making it better for “hoofing” balls out of the danger area and avoiding disastrous soft-touches that result in own-goals, or clear breaks for opposition strikers. Additionally the heel counter would be stiff to enhance the durability of the boot and keep the feet of the player safe during all those firm tackles and scrambles in the box. These attributes would make for a heftier football boot that could be marketed as tough, reliable, and gritty. Just like an ideal defender.

Nemanja Vidic Puma v-Konstrukt III

The football boot of choice of Nemanja Vidic, the Puma v-Konstrukt III

Thirdly, I’d suggest the new boots would be built with ‘shot shield’ technology and off-centre lacing to help eliminate the possibility of a miss-touch or a loose boot at the worst possible time. These minor details may seem trivial, but in front of net, no chances can be taken.

Lastly, a proper name would be required to emphasise this imaginary football boot’s lofty aim to be the #1 choice of defenders worldwide.

Fellow Footy Boots contributor Andy suggested one I rather liked – the Row Z’s – nicely capturing the defensive mindset of the boot.

Defenders football boots

Stick it in the stands son!

My personal choice was something much less creative – the Zero – a name purely with strategic marketing in mind, my imagination already having filmed the commercial: “Zero Chances. Zero Goals. Zero Regrets. Zero.”

Regardless of how the imagination runs away with such an idea, this seems to be an area on the pitch where players have yet to been offered a boot to call their own. What would you name such a creation? Or better yet, what would you include in your defender-based design? Let us know by using the comments section below.

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  1. I like your football boot concept Justin, but the best player wearing Total 90 Laser II’s, is not Wayne Rooney, is Iniesta from Barcelona.

  2. says: Aussie Lad

    Well after seeing Gibbs slip over for the second time in a crucial situation, you would have to suggest that these boots have The best traction, no matter the weight.

  3. says: Kyle

    I love the idea of a Brightly-coloured heel counter – it’s more than just a gimmick, that’s the sort of idea that could become industry standard!

    It surprises me that noone’s thought of any tricks like this on the sleeves of Football Shirts or on the trims of the Shorts & Socks!

    Excellent article, Jason – I look forward to reading many more from you!

  4. says: Roman

    Blaming the Gibbs slip on his boots is stupid. That can happen wearing any boots. It was just a mistake, plain and simple.

  5. says: martincillo

    i agree with roman. that happen to the best english defender, john terry.
    about the new defender boot, a coloured heel :S sound weird, and who said that a defender dont need a light boot to stop the fastest striker.

  6. says: George

    i like the idea of the bright color heel. i would definitly by a pair of defender boots if they were lik what you suggusted.

    great article

  7. says: Zizou wannabe

    Well, sounds like a plan except its not always easy to market a defender right? He doesnt necessarily play in the “sexiest” position, unless he’s an overlapping left/right back.

    But definitely the brands seem to prefer 1 particular model… Nike and Total 90s, adidas and Predators. Puma and v-Konstrukt…

    I seem to remember somewhere that Nike is launching another new model. Maybe that’s targeted at defenders like Rio, Poyul, Sergio Ramos, Gallas, etc. Can someone verify?

    Final word – bring back the chunky boots of Ron Chopper Harris!

  8. says: rbarsenal

    IF the Concave PT boots were tweeked a little bit (adding in the changes listed in the article) they could be a prime example of a defenseman’s boot.

  9. says: v

    I don’t really know about this, reading the article I just kept thinking of defenders who in lack of a better term just “defend”..

    I mean think of players like Alves, Bosingwa, Clichy, Sagna, Evra, and more..just some off the top of my head..

    Sure, I also know a lot of defenders who just may where this type of boot..but is it really going to make that much of a difference?

    Do vapors make the slow fast? and do lasers make the inconsistent consistent?

    I doubt this is really going to help, but it is something to think about.

  10. says: Devin

    I’m gona say they need light boots. If Torres gets past them, and they have these heavy boots on, they have no chance.

    And as far as Iniesta being better than Rooney, well we’ll just see whose better in the Champions League Final now won’t we?

  11. says: keeps

    The brightly coloured heel counter might be a good idea, but the offside law is according to the body of the 2nd last defending player, not a limb.

  12. says: Bro

    This has got to be the stupidest article I have ever read. A boot is a boot…you make it seem as the boot plays the game instead of the actual player.

  13. says: AM

    This has to be a joke – probably the stupidest idea I have EVER heard in my life.

    I agree in principal with the concept but making it heavier to ‘hoof’ balls out is ridiculous.

  14. says: chubby

    “AM said: Comment 13 May, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

    making it heavier to ‘hoof’ balls out is ridiculous.”

    –> you could say that to adidas predator lad… LOL

    Well… in my honest opinion, this article is a blunder.

    yes i do understand the author’s point of view. huge brands are exploiting too much fast wingers and powerful forwards to advertise their products.

    but let me ask the question back at ya: if u’re nike, who would u put on ur website to promote ur newest T90? rooney or robinson?

    modern football are mostly about attacking. kids grew up wanting to be like david beckham or wayne rooney. very seldom i hear kids that wanting to be like carragher or campbell -although those guys are extremely good at their positions.

    1. says: brazil 0501

      ver interesting, totally agreed but has anybody also noticed he perfectly described the PUMA v-Konstrukt III but with his concept???

      1. says: Michael

        u would b right except the PUMA v-Konstrukt III doesnt have a bright colored heel or a defending name. But i have seen it advertised as a boot especially for defenders in a Eurosport mag.

  15. says: dy

    I don’t think heavier boots would help, especially if you are left back or right back. Sometimes, you need to chase after loose balls, through passes, or sprinting attackers poised to put the ball in the net. If you need to get there before the attacker does, wearing heavier boots than him won’t help.

  16. says: Maurice

    there was an interesting side bar in the series the guardians doing about foot balling sins about how the program for the famous England Hungary match about how the Hungarians where wearing these light weight boots with the British players having boots that where 2 pounds heavier.

  17. says: TOTAL 90 AIR ZOOM

    I used to own a pair of Total 90 Air Zoom 2 and they were one of the best shoes I have had although I would rather buy an Adidas boot I had these given to me from a friend who used to play soccer and these shoes had lasted me for about 5 years. I was playing center back and also sweeper or libero, like some call it, They were a bit heavier but they had a really nice stud configuation that made it seem like a light boot. It also was very durable. I never had to worry about needing a new pair because this boot gave me every thing I needed while others were wasting about a hundred dollors on shoes I was able to use it for better things so I hope they could make those again and make a few changes and it would be perfect for any position but based for a defender. I know have a pair of Vapor V only because I wanted to see what all the hype was about and know I wish I didn’t buy it but I also am glad that I bought it because the shoe is so light but I also have dirt in my shoe at the end of the game. Although they let me take away that some strikers are hoping to get so there are good and bad things about getting the vapors but only recomend for those that have the money and are willing to spend it. Athough I still believe that the Air Zooms were the best pair of booslts I have had he pleasure to wear. Hope this help some defenders out there.

  18. says: goalkeeper

    hey, what about goalkeepers. we dont really have our own type of boot either. we need one that is durable simi-heavy, and is easy to lofy balls with both power and accuracy. it also has to have semi goood touch and a flat, wide kicking surface so that it reduces “shanks” when dealing with the backpass, and even for the punts of the less experienced keepers. just my little imput.

  19. says: Ricardo

    i think that the best shoes for defenders is the t90 laser….i play last man on y team and i have used predators and lasers and other boots such as vapors an f50 abd i think the best are t90s along with predators

  20. says: jimbob

    ulsport or what ever there called made the keepers boot a few years back!!
    pumas v kon boot is a good one already on the market for the defender. but i would say you dont want anything to heavy or to flimsy so i would have to say a classic boot is always gonna be a winner, the adidas world cup umbro specali puma king nike tempo nomis glove lotto stadia most of the kelme and joma range the list goes on and on. when most of the above came out there were not many broken mettertarsels why? coz the boot was simple strong and well made. with an added bonus £80 is now cheap for a top boot.
    like the idea of the heal counter but never gonna work!! you would have to get all the brands involved and so on.
    but good thinking at least

  21. says: chamory

    i think you can use any boot for any position its how the player likes using the boot.

    also i wish that makes would stop changing the models of the boots so often ive tred almost every boot and my favourite i found was adipure 1 and naw they have brought out a new model its hard to find thous boots and i ve got adipure 2 and ther just not the same as the first ones i think they should keep the model of boot for atleast a seaon and just bring out lots of colour ways

  22. says: fifinho

    to those people who have argued that defenders may need speed to catch up with strikers etc. well if you know how to play in defence properly then you’ll know that speed isn’t important and if you read the game well enough and communicate/work well with your team mates then you won’t need “speed” boots.

    for me the most important thing as a defender is simply having a nice solid boot that offers good protection for your foot as well as comfort. (i believe the comfort thing should be for ALL boots however but that’s just me)

  23. says: Donk

    I agree about the protection, I currently wear a pair of Nike R10’s. They are strong and very durable…however not as easily ‘broken in’ as any of my other boots…the Nike T90 lasers are terrible boots in my opinion, the old school total 90’s were much better! I’m still trying to find the perfect boot as I’m lucky enough to play anywhere across the back line I need all aspects stated in the article and in some of he comments but protection is a must for ANY boot aimed at defenders, which is why I’ll never buy vapours, world cups, and some newer predator models! Thanks for the article!

  24. says: Chaperz

    Shutup Rooney is well off form so hes about a billionth in the charts best player wearing them is either Keane From Spurs Or Iniesta,, BcFc Are The Best … ¬–O–~ <—-Some one holding a gun lololol

  25. says: Craigjohnston1990

    fifinho i appreciate that good team defending will mean that a centre back does not require pace but over 90 minutes there will always be the need for a defender to make ground off an opposition break so speed is still essential!

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