The humble rugby forward is a unique beast. Rugby is said to be a sport for any shape and size. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the forward pack. The Front Row consisting of hookers and props can be ginormous men or women with wide feet to match, think up to 130kg plus. The Second Rows are some of the tallest people around, often 6"6' and upwards! With hight like that second rows usually have long, wide feet as well. Then there are the back rows, massive athletic athletes. The likes of Billy Vunipola, 6"2" and 130kg. Doing all sorts of grunt work on the pitch but having to combine their sheer size with speed and agility. With this level of diversity in the pack, a forwards boot has to be able to cope with many demands. It's a balancing act of support, stability and maximal grip all whilst trying to remain light in weight.
Historically forwards boots consisted of a high cut ankle and a hard toe for added protection. However, as the game has become more dynamic so have the boots. Hard toes are long gone these days and only a small amount of boots still have a built-up ankle, however, these tend to be more of an elastic sock these days.
In terms of outsole the front five, that is props, hookers and second rows will usually play with 8 screw-studs on each boot. This almost always consists of a 6 x 2 configuration. That is 6 studs covering the forefoot, a gap where the foot arch is, and then 2 studs at the rear. This is because the majority of pushing takes place from the forefoot so this is where the most amount of traction is required. Think, scrums, rucks and mauls. Players will be in a dynamic, low position pushing off their toes.
In the back row, players will often opt for 6 studs on each boot in a 4 x 2 configuration. This saves on weight but offers less traction. This is because back-rows need to trade off some of the traction for decreased weight. This, in turn, will help them cover ground more quickly around the rugby pitch.
It is worth noting that studs can be changed in and out on most models. This is so that the amount of grip required can be increased in particularly wet and soft conditions. For instance, we stock aluminium rugby studs up to 21mm long, these are ideal for muddy pitches in the depth of winter. However will be quite painful on the feet in summer on harder pitches, then a 15mm or 18mm long stud is preferred. These studs can also be purchased individually as studs can sometimes fall out from time to time.
The uppers of forwards boots also tend to be made of thicker and more durable leathers and synthetic materials. This is so that the boot offers the foot more support for all these pushing endeavours, but also to ensure the boots is up to the task in terms of durability.
At rugbystuff.com we stock a full range of rugby boots from some of the biggest sports brands, including Adidas, Canterbury, Gilbert and Mizuno. When you spend £50 we'll deliver them for free to any UK address. Or if you need them quickly we offer 'next day' and 'Saturday' delivery options. All taken care of by the reliable Royal Mail.