The best rugby boots are essential to maintaining grip on the field. However, finding the right pair isn't so straightforward because needs tend to change depending on your position.
Fortunately, we've put together a list of our top picks based on price, reviews, and any unique features that make these boots stand out from the crowd, whether you're a first-time buyer or a veteran of the sport.
What exactly makes a pair of rugby boots stand out? Well, for us, rugby boots need to be both lightweight and durable to withstand the immense amount of contact in the sport.
They also need to provide enough grip to help you generate power and speed as you break defensive lines or battle to win scrums which, in many ways, makes them not too dissimilar to some of the best football cleats.
With that in mind, if you're searching for a pair of boots built for forwards, like these adidas Kakaris Z.1s, or something built for backs, like these adidas Predator Malice Controls, then our list should be of service.
We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding rugby boots to help you figure out exactly which set is right for you and your role on the pitch. So, without further delay, let's get into it...
Best rugby boots
- adidas Adizero RS15
- Canterbury Phoenix Raze
- adidas Kakari Z.1
- adidas Predator Malice Control
- Nike Tiempo Legend 10 Elite
1. adidas Adizero RS15
Best rugby boots overall
Ground: Soft Ground
We're starting off with the adidas Adizero RS15s which are, without a doubt, up there as some of the best rugby boots on the market.
Designed for rapid responses and agility on the field, these boots are specifically tailored for soft ground performance. The lightweight synthetic forefoot ensures swift movements, while the rigid stability wings, ripstop fabric in the rearfoot, and foam Sensepods in the heel keep you securely locked in during sprints.
For precision and accuracy, the boots boast asymmetrical lacing and 3D-printed elements to enhance your kicking abilities. Underneath, the Speedframe outsole provides exceptional traction, helping you make quick turns and cuts with confidence.
Moreover, adidas takes pride in sustainability by incorporating at least 50% recycled content in the construction of these boots, contributing to their efforts to combat plastic waste and promote environmental responsibility. So, taking all this into account, we feel it's easy to see why they're our first entry.
2. Canterbury Phoenix Raze
Best budget rugby boots
Ground: Soft Ground
If you're after something a little cheaper though, then we feel it's hard to look past these Phoenix Raze boots which have been made by one of the biggest names in rugby - Canterbury.
Rather than focusing on forwards or backs, Canterbury states the Raze boots offer immense comfort and stability regardless of your position on the field, especially with their heavily cushioned collars with locked-in toebeds.
The boots also feature 9mm heel-to-toe raises which are designed to reduce strain on your legs and ankles and help provide stability around your feet for maximum power and drive on the pitch.
All in all, if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive set of boots from one of the biggest names in the sport, then we'd recommend checking out these Canterbury cleats.
3. adidas Kakari Z.1
Best rugby boots for forwards
Ground: Soft Ground
Back to adidas, but this time a set of boots engineered to help you dominate the forward line in the adidas Kakaris Z.1. They're an excellent choice for powerful, driving play thanks to the lightweight ripstop upper, meaning they weigh just 390g, and their eight studs underneath providing the grip.
They also feature a unique internal support system that helps them deliver power as well as stability in a scrum and during any breakdowns in play. With a midsole drop of 11mm too, these things are truly engineered to drive you forward.
If you're not sold, then the fact that England's 6ft 5" powerhouse Maro Itoje has worn these boots in the past suggests to us that the adidas Kakaris are an excellent pick for forwards.
4. adidas Predator Malice Control
Best rugby boots for backs
Ground: Soft Ground
The adidas Predator Malice Controls are designed for playmaking backs looking to create chances out of nothing and beat defensive lines.
Their lightweight uppers combined with their SPRINTFRAME outsoles mean the boots should help you sprint through gaps with ease and go on to score under the posts.
The boots also feature an asymmetric lacing system which, adidas states, increases the sweet spot in the centre of these boots for more control over your kick.
On the whole, we feel there's a lot to like about these adidas boots if you're a back, hence their inclusion in our list.
5. Nike Tiempo Legend 10 Elite
Best rugby boots for kicking
Ground: Firm Ground
It may come as no surprise we're including the Nike Tiempo Legend 10 Elites as our favourite rugby boots for kicking considering they're some of the best football boots around right now.
They're incredibly lightweight and durable, which should give an almost barefoot-like feel when it comes to striking a conversion or finding touch after a breakdown in play.
Made from FlyTouch Plus leather, which Nike describes as softer than natural leather, the boots also conform to the shape of your foot to improve comfort. Adding to this is the Flyknit around the ankle, helping maintain lightness as well as delivering a secure locked-in feel.
Although a premium option, and perhaps designed more with football in mind, we still feel these Nike boots are well worth considering for the rugby season if you're a kicker.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A number of questions usually arise when searching for the right pair of rugby boots. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most frequently asked queries right here.
What boots can be worn for rugby?
You have the freedom to choose the boots you prefer for rugby as long as they adhere to Regulation 12 from the World Rugby Specifications.
According to the rules, there are certain criteria that your studs must meet. They should not exceed 21mm in length, should have no sharp edges, be at least 10mm in diameter at the end, possess a smooth and rounded finish with a radius of at least 1mm, and be made of a material that maintains these characteristics throughout the game.
Blades, on the other hand, are a bit more subjective, and their suitability may depend on the referee's judgment. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to use blades that are approximately 10mm in diameter and have no sharp edges.
What's the difference between rugby and football boots?
Generally speaking, rugby and football boots are almost identical, with each type often being acceptable to use for the opposing sport.
However, there are a few subtle differences to note when it comes to specialist rugby boots. For instance, they're generally wider than football boots as you don't need to kick the ball as often, particularly as a forward.
A larger boot should give you a little extra power and support as well, which usually comes in handy during scrums, rucks, and mauls where leg drive is essential to overcome your opposition.
Finally, the heel on specialist rugby boots can sometimes be raised compared to football boots. The thinking behind this is, again, to help you deliver more power during a breakdown of play.
How much should you spend on rugby boots?
The answer to this question is not definitive and can vary based on your budget and level of commitment to the sport.
Generally, rugby boots are available at different price points depending on their construction and any advanced technologies incorporated to enhance performance.
For instance, Nike offers a range of boots with their top-tier models being labelled as "Elite". They also offer a "Pro" version of these boots, which are typically priced around half of the Elite boots. The Pro boots may utilise alternative materials like synthetic instead of kangaroo leather.
In essence, it's possible to find the same pair of rugby boots at multiple price points, allowing you to choose a price that aligns with your budget, while still obtaining the design you prefer.
How many studs should rugby boots have?
Rugby boots typically have between eight and 15 studs, depending on the player's position and personal preference. Backs often prefer boots with fewer studs (eight to 10) as they prioritise speed and agility, while forwards generally opt for boots with more studs (12 to 15) to provide greater traction and stability in scrums and rucks.
It's also worth noting that some boots have removable studs, which can be changed based on the playing conditions or the player's needs.
How do you clean and maintain rugby boots?
To clean and maintain your rugby boots, it's important to remove excess dirt almost immediately. After each game or practice session, use a brush or a soft cloth to remove any mud, grass, or debris from the boots. Pay attention to the grooves and crevices where dirt can accumulate.
After that, take a damp cloth and wipe the boots to remove any remaining dirt. Avoid using excessive water or submerging the boots, as this can damage them.
Then, allow the boots to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Stuff them with newspaper or a boot tree to help maintain their shape and absorb moisture.
Finally, store your clean and dry rugby boots in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving them in a damp or humid environment, as this can lead to mould or mildew growth.
Remember, different materials may require specific care. Leather boots, for example, may need occasional polishing or treatment with leather conditioner. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for the best care practices.
Do rugby boots require a break-in period?
When you first get a new pair of rugby boots, they might feel slightly stiff and uncomfortable. This is because the materials used in the boots need time to mould and adapt to the shape of your feet.
Therefore, you may find your boots in a "break-in" period. To get your boots ready for a game, we'd recommend you wear them for shorter periods during practice sessions or training rather than during important matches. This gradual wearing allows the boots to become more flexible and comfortable, reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort. You could also wear them around the house for short stints to loosen the materials even further.
As you continue to wear them, the boots will gradually become better suited to your feet, providing a better fit and improved overall performance on the field.