Sven has named his preliminary England squad for the World Cup 2006. There are a few surprises in there, Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing even Sol Campbell. Most of the tabloid papers in the UK are headlining with Sven taking a gamble. I think “Football Boots Give England a Blister” is a more apt headline.
Both of our leading strikers, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen are huge doubts as they struggle to come back to fitness from metatarsal injuries. My previous posts, ban bladed boots and football boots to blame, have highlighted that football boots could be to blame for the injuries.
I spoke to Greg Lever-O’Keefe, Creative Director at Prior2Lever, the company who seem to be doing most to provide football boots that really are developed for the individual player.
Greg is in agreement that more research is needed in understanding what happens when football boots interact with finely kept playing surfaces. He also believes that professional players need to be better educated about their football boot selection.
When asked his advice Greg said “When running, footballer’s body weight can be multiplied by up to 5 times, with the feet bearing the majority of this stress. Often, professional players choose to wear football boots, one or two sizes too small for their feet, so they can feel the ball. This is an old tradition passed down through generations, with the right advice, players could get the same feel with the right sized football boot”.
Greg also highlighted “Another consideration which is often overlooked is the sock. It should be considered with the football boot and designed to be a layering system to protect, help wick moisture and improve the fit. Some football boot manufacturers contain the shank (the stability provided to the midfoot), in the in-sock and not the outsole. If a player wears their football boots a size or two too small, they may remove the in-sock or replace it with their own, potentially negating the purpose of the in-sock support”.
These points emphasise the need for some serious evaluation of football boots amongst professional players. It also begs the question, are some of footballers injuries a result of greed? By that I mean is it really necessary to wear football boots that are affordable to the public? The only reason they decide to wear football boots that are mass manufactured and available for just over £100 is because of the sponsorship money they receive in return for wearing the football boots.
As an example, Wayne Rooney helps develop a football boot which costs £120. Surely his foot would be better protected in a football boot that has been designed specifically for his foot using the most up to date technology, perhaps even improving his performances on the pitch? He doesn’t because he receives millions of pounds from his sponsor for wearing the mass manufactured boot. What a loss to England’s chances of World Cup victory.