There was a time when football boots were just football boots. You would buy a pair, put them on, kick a ball around, score some goals and then take them off. Not anymore – the football boot business is now a billion-pound industry with numerous options from the professional level right the way down to grassroots and youth football. So, how exactly do you know which are the best kids’ football boots?
The scope of choice can be both a blessing and a curse. So many boots on the market mean that there is something for every budget, pitch surface and type of player. The flip side is that making the right choice – especially when it comes to picking the best kids’ football boots – can be overwhelming.
Young players can be swayed by the star power behind a certain brand or boot. If you grew up playing football in the 90s, then you will know exactly what we are talking about here. Who didn’t want a pair of iconic Adidas Predators because David Beckham wore them? Was there a better boot to have for scoring goals than the R9’s worn by Brazilian Ronaldo?
There is much more to selecting a football boot, however than what the current best players in the world wear. Practical aspects like protecting a child’s feet have to be taken into account, alongside where they play the majority of their football. Playing on grass through a muddy winter requires a different kind of boot than on an artificial pitch or harder ground caused by a bone-dry summer.
To help you get started, we have picked out some recommendations for the best football boots for kids based on different budgets, uses and practicality. These will give you an idea of the options available and what you should consider when buying children’s football boots – alongside what Kylian Mbappe or Lucy Bronze wear.
THE CLASSIC BOOT OF WORLD CUP WINNERS - ADIDAS COPA SENSE
No football boot manufacturer in the world crafts a product quite like Adidas. Every little design feature of Adidas boots is included to improve performance, which is why some of the most successful players in world football opt for the famous three stripes on their boots.
Whilst Beckham made the Predator brand famous, it is Copas that are considered an Adidas classic. They have been around in one form or another since the German manufacturer first turned their hands to football boots. Numerous World Cup winners have worn Copa Mundials from Diego Maradona to Franz Beckenbauer to Zinedine Zidane.
In 2022, you will see Copa Senses on the likes of Manuel Neuer, David de Gea, Jude Bellingham and Ilkay Gundogan. Laceless football boots are available in this style too; this version is worn by Paulo Dybala and Joao Felix. The child’s version comes without laces, enabling kids to take them on and off quickly and easily. It also eliminates the possibility of laces becoming undone mid-football.
That Copa Senses are worn by players in every position on the pitch tells you they are a superb all-around boot. They come with a little extra leather bulk built up over the top of the boot for greater control, power and precision.
This also helps protect the feet of young players, an important consideration when their bodies and bones are still growing and developing. Starting at a very reasonable cost of £50 given their quality, they are arguably the best kids’ football boot on the market today.
BUY ENGLISH FOR THE BEST ON A BUDGET - UMBRO VELOCITA 5 LEAGUE
One of the biggest problems with kids’ football boots is the rate at which children’s feet grow. Whereas you can be confident of getting your money’s worth when spending £190 on a pair of New Balance Furon boots like Raheem Sterling wears for a teenager, expensive purchases can be unusable within a few months when it comes to younger children.
English manufacturer Umbro is the best big brand for recognising this, producing a quality boot at a ridiculously affordable price – the Umbro Velocita 5 League, which can be picked up for less than £20. Suddenly, a growth spurt turning a child from N’Golo Kante into Peter Crouch is far less of an issue.
Velocitas have a close-fitting feel that enables players to achieve maximum speed in all directions. A dip where the Achilles is and extra padding offer comfort and protection and there is a wider lace area than many modern boots come with – perfect for kids to master the old-school art of striking a ball using their laces for greater power and precision.
KIPSTA IS THE KING FOR BEGINNERS ON HARD PITCHES – KIPSTA 100 FG
What if you have a child who is about to play football for the first time? You do not know if they will enjoy the sport and so are reluctant to fork out too much on a pair of football boots for a game they may decide is not for them within a couple of weeks. What are the best kids' football boots recommendations for absolute beginners?
Kipsta have you covered with their 100 FG boots. Specifically designed for children starting at a once-a-week football club, they cost even less than Umbro Velocita 5 Leagues. Just £9.99 will get you a pair, meaning that you do not lose much in the unlikely event your child decides football is not for them.
Not only are they good for beginners, but they are a decent hard ground boot in their own right. A simple red and black design may not be the flashy look that appeals to a lot of kids, but firm moulded studs, boots that are easy to get on and off and straightforward to maintain make these a worthy consideration for anyone not wanting to break the bank on footwear for an occasional player on hard surfaces.
FROM MESSI TO SALAH AND GOOD ON EVERY GROUND – ADIDAS X SPEEDFLOW MG
The Copas might be a classic, but the preferred Adidas choice of modern-day goal scorers would appear to be the X Speedflow range. As far as brand ambassadors go, Lionel Messi and Mo Salah are not bad.
This is the point where our best kids’ football boot recommendations begin to become more specialised. The major selling point of Adidas X Speedflows is the MG tagged onto the end of their name, meaning multi ground.
These kids’ boots are designed to handle whatever terrain is thrown at them. They are as good on firm pitches as they are soft. That makes them ideal for kids who play on grass all year round; be it harder surfaces in the summer and sodden, muddy pitches in the winter.
Messi and Salah do not pick Speedflows for mud or hardness as they are turning out on pristine carpets treated to just the right amount of water every week. Their decision to go with this boot is to do with its fit.
Speedflow lives up to its name by being designed with a sole for rapid acceleration, a stabilising fit for better control when dribbling at pace and a large tongue for better contact with the ball when taking quick snapshots.
No wonder Messi and Salah are so effective at running with the ball and finding the back of the opposition’s net. Your child could start doing similar in their Speedflows from £45.
SEE OFF THE SOFT GROUND WITH THE PEERLESS PREDATORS – ADIDAS PREDATOR EDGE SG
You cannot write an article about best football boot recommendations and not mention Adidas Predators. It would be a crime.
In terms of kids’ football boots, Predators provide the best soft ground option. Predator Edge SGs come with longer studs, offering better traction on saturated pitches or those which are muddy underneath. In rain-soaked England, players sporting capable soft ground boots can have a real edge, especially in the depths of winter.
The newest generation of Predators has moved away from the Beckham-era with their famous ridges designed to help curl the ball. In 2022, Predators are more textured and designed for dribbling and shorter passing – a reflection of the changes in playing style that has seen shortened passes and quick, slick moves replace the sort of 70-yard rakes DB7 was so good at.
Modern-day wearers of Predators and adult boots include Paul Pogba, David Alaba and Toni Duggan. These are a serious piece of footwear and that is reflected in the price, being the most expensive on our list of the best kids’ football boots at £60.
AWESOME ON ASTROTURF INSPIRED BY MEGAN RAPINOE – NIKE MERCURIAL VAPOR TF
Kids who play some or all of their football on astroturf require specialist boots for the semi-springy surface. Nike tends to lead the way with their selection of TF boots – standing for turf – with the Mercurial Vapor at the head of the queue.
The grass versions of Mercurial Vapors are worn by Cristiano Ronaldo and Megan Rapinoe. Nike has taken the aspects that helped those two to their respective Ballon d’Or triumphs and combined them with aspects required to enhance performance on artificial surfaces.
A textured pattern allows better control when dribbling with the ball. All unnecessary layers are removed from the top of the boot, giving it a clean look and making it lightweight and comfortable.
In terms of astroturf speciality, rubber soles with extremely short studs provide bounce and improve reactions on synthetic pitches. This bounce also offers protection to the feet and legs from the impact on the harder surface.
Mercurial Vapors come in a range of colours, from unmissable volt with a crimson Nike swoosh to stylish black with gold and silver. Rapinoe even had her cool pink version made to celebrate her crowning as the best player in the world in 2019, but unfortunately for the rest of us, Nike never put that design on sale. These lightweight boots can be purchased for £35 depending on the colour.
34, 4G, 5G – WHATEVER THE ARTIFICIAL GRASS - PUMA KIDS FUTURE Z 3.1
Whilst specialist astroturf boots have been around for many years now, there remains a gap in the market for footwear designed for next-generation 3G, 4G and 5G artificial pitches. Most manufacturers simply recommend their multi ground boots for use on fake grass.
Puma has taken a different approach, being a rare company trying to fill the said gap by designing a boot specifically for artificial grass. With the government promising to commit £50 million to develop 185 new artificial pitches across the country to capitalise on the wave of enthusiasm created by Euro 2020 and the Women's Euro 2022, a lot more children look set to find themselves playing on the surface in the future.
As We Make Footballers expands into new territories and areas, we are expecting to take advantage of this growth and improvement of facilities by utilising artificial grass pitches. 5G is the future – which is presumably why Puma named their specialist boot the Kids Future Z 3.1. They come with a hollow stud configuration, giving them greater grip, balance and control on artificial grass.
Aside from the unique studs designed for 5G, Kids Futures have everything that makes Puma boots so attractive. They are agility focussed and adapt to suit individual foot shapes and movements – so much so that Puma managed to snare Neymar from Nike in 2020 to join an impressive roster of technically-gifted players who wear the brand, such as Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Dzsenifer Marozsán.
Kids Futures are available from £35 upwards. If your child spends most of their time training and playing games on artificial grass, then these can be the boots to help them make the most of the surface.
SEEK SOLES POPULAR IN SPAIN FOR INDOOR FOOTBALL – NIKE TIEMPO LEGEND 9 CLUB IC
Pep Guardiola and his Barcelona team revolutionised football with the birth of Tika Taka, a style of play that not only swept the Catalonian giants to success but also delivered two European Championships and one World Cup for a Spain side who dominated international football like no other nation ever has.
And what did some of the best individuals playing in the best footballing country in the world wear whilst being so unbearable? Nike Tiempos. Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Ronaldinho and stretching across to Italy, Andrea Pirlo were all some of the finest players in the world in their heyday, helped no doubt by their choice of footwear.
Tiempos are designed for close control, quick passing and keeping possession. It is little wonder then that they make for a fantastic indoor football boot, where all those attributes are necessary as the game is played in smaller spaces.
The indoor version of Tiempos comes with a non-marking sole designed to provide grip and traction on what might be a glossy, slippery surface. They are available for £38.
Indoor football not only allows the sport to take place even in the worst weather that mother nature can throw at England, but it also focuses on different skills compared to playing outside.
This is why leading football academies such as We Make Footballers mix indoor football with outdoor football, for a broader education. If your child finds themselves playing indoors, then specialist boots like Nike Tiempo ICs will help them make the most of the unique challenges posed.
WANTING THE BEST FOR WIDER FEET – NIKE TIEMPO LEGEND ACADEMY JUNIOR FG
Comfort is key when it comes to selecting the best football boots for your child. Lots of manufacturers focus on fits that mould around feet but sometimes these can end up being restrictive and tight – especially for kids who have wider feet.
This is a more common problem than you might think with football boots. Lots of children will buy a pair and end up with their feet hurting after playing for a prolonged period because their boots are too narrow.
Another reason to like the Nike Tiempo range beyond what it offers indoors is that their outdoors Legend Academy Junior FG boot takes wider feet into account, and at the same reasonable price as the 9 Club IC version of £38.
Designed more like a set of trainers than a football boot, when the laces are pulled tight there is no noticeable squeezing of the foot. They come with a good amount of arch support and a padded ankle. Whilst the purpose of this ankle is to protect on firm ground, it also ups the comfort level for kids with wider feet.
CHOOSING THE BEST KIDS’ FOOTBALL BOOT
The boots we have listed will hopefully give you some idea of the different types available across a range of budgets. Ultimately, the decision of which football boots are best for your child should come down to the frequency and surfaces they play on and the type of footwear they find most comfortable.
As with most things in life, every child is different and so there is no right or wrong answer. Whatever boots your child ends up wearing, our We Make Footballers Academies are the perfect places to put them into use at weekly training sessions run by FA Qualified coaches with the emphasis on fun and improving each player.
To find your local academy and book a first free session, please visit the We Make Footballers website.