Originally written by David Fleenor.
Purchasing the boot type is a key decision depending on field conditions and your position. Firm Ground boots are meant for firm to moderately forgiving fields. Firm ground cleats are perhaps the most commonly used type of boot as they can be used on a wide variety of field types and conditions. While best suited for firm surfaces, they are serviceable on hard and even mildly soft fields if the studs are long enough.
They generally have between 10-14 studs on the outsole. The increased number of studs/pressure points and less rigid plastic/rubber materials make FG boots significantly more comfortable on firm fields than typically longer studded soft ground boots. They also tend to grip better than soft ground boots as the longer studs of SG cleats can’t always penetrate firmer fields effectively. This can even cause a skating effect on the field increasing slippage despite the long studs.
Firm ground boots are perfect for all positions if you play in drier parts of the country with very firm fields. Loose forwards and backs might still prefer them even if they play on relatively soft (but not wet) fields. This outsole is particularly good for summer sevens. If you can only own one type of boot this is usually the one to opt for unless you live in a very wet part of the country.
Since Bladed studs are thinner and more pointed you have a better grip compared to round studs. This means they can cut into the ground more. This makes them more conducive to lateral movement that require a hard plant, but also makes them less suited for twisting and pivoting since they grip more and release less than rounded studs that don’t cut into the field as deeply or sharply.
PLAYERS THAT LIKE TO CUT, JUKE & STEP
Conical studs can offer quicker release and pivoting since they are not cutting into the ground quite as effectively as bladed studs and have a more rounded shape. This same advantage makes them less able to grip and poorer at making hard lateral moves or side steps
PLAYERS LOOKING FOR MAXIMUM SPEED & COMFORT
MIXED STUD DESIGN
Given the advantages and disadvantages of blades vs. round studs, many boots simply incorporate both. Typically, firm ground boots that feature both conical and bladed studs will have 4 bladed studs under the heel and rounded studs on the forefoot for easier pivoting. This gives you more of the upside of both cleat types and minimizes their downsides.
PLAYERS LOOKING FOR AN ALL PURPOSE FIRM GROUND BOOT
FIT & SIZING
For rugby boots, the aim is for a snug fit.
Rugby boots should fit as close to the end of the foot as possible without touching the toes for performance and comfort.
A 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch gap is ideal.
Women’s sizing is smaller by a size to a size-and-a-half. For example, if you wear a women’s size 8, you would wear a men’s 6.5. Youth or junior sizes are simply smaller men’s sizes (sizes 1-6).
Also be sure to pay attention to which country or regions standard the boot is sized in.
At World Rugby Shop we list American sizes but have conversion charts for reference.
ADULT FOOTWEAR CONVERSION CHART
CHILD FOOTWEAR CONVERSION CHART