I will discuss these separately to make it easy to decide.
ComfortThis is the most important point, as comfort will allow you to play to your maximum ability. There is no point in buying flashy, expensive boots if they hurt you when you use them. Comfort relies on three things:
- Material - real leather is always a better material for comfort than a synthetic material as leather will (after a while) mould its shape aroound your foot, giving it the exact correct shape needed for your foot. Boots like Adidas' Copa Mundial are made out of high-quality material and so offer a great level of comfort.
- Shape - Different companies tend to make their boots in different general shapes. You will have to pick your company according to your feet. Nike usually cater for longer, thinner feet (Mercurial Vapor boots illustrate this) whilst Umbro make wider boots (like the Elites).
- Size - It is vitally important that you pick the correct size. Have boots that are too big and you will lose feel and your control will worsen. Small boots will make your feet hurt. An exact size is always best, and if your feet are no longer growing, don't be too scared to splash out a little extra on custom boots if you can't find your size.
Purpose is how you will use the boots, and involves climate, style of play and position. The two main areas are:
- Weather - Boots usually come in two types of stud; moulded soft studs (also called Firm Ground or FG) and screw-in studs (Soft Ground or SG). You will also, on the rare occasion, the a hybrid of the two. As the names imply, moulded studs are suited for dry weather conditions while studs are used when it is wet. You should always have one pair of each, but you have to prioritise depending on your location. For example, in a rainy location like North England and Scotland, your are more likely to need your screw-ins rather than your moulds. This means you should look for quality boots first when it comes to studs. Obviously, if you lived in the South, moulded studs would be more appropriate.
- Position - Different position require different thing from their boots. Strikers need boots which allow a lot of control while being light. Midfielders need a stronger boot but still with a good level of control. Defenders will need a heavy-duty boot suitable for tackling and playing longer balls. Nike Mercurial Vapors are a good example of a striker's boot: light, but also quite fragile. Adidas Predators are good for midfielders, allowing tackles to be made whilst keeping a good level of control. Adidas Copa Mundials are excellent for defenders: heavy-duty and very durable.
This should be the least of your concern. This is just how the boot looks and how it represents you as a player. There are three main points of discussion:
- General Design - A good-looking pair of boots can lend an air of class, however you must make sure it doesn't sacrifice comfort or usability. In the end, the design of a boot is down to personal preference, but it souldn't have too much of a weight in your decision.
- Colour - Colour can be useful to match with your team's kit, for example, but having brightly-coloured boots can sometimes come off as arrogance, so make sure your boots aren't "too flashy for the occasion", if you will.
- Influence - Playing in the same boots as your favourite player is obviously going to be a strong selling point, but this can actually be a good thing. If you play a similar role as the player in question, then the boots might suit you as well. Just don't expect to play like them straight away ;P
That's the end of my guide, but I'd just like to add some recommendations here at the end. The best boots on the market today (in my opinion) are:
- Adidas Copa Mundial
- Nike Total 90 III
- Nike F50+
- Adidas Predator
- Nike Mercurial Vapor