Is there a “best kicking shoe”?
Recently, one of my campers from last year wrote to me to ask this very question. I had to stop and think for a bit, because it’s been awhile time since I actually laced-up a kicking shoe.
When I’m coaching, I’m usually in a simple pair of Adidas sneakers. Amazing how I can still kick, though.
And know that this lesson is primarily, but not exclusively, for soccer style kickers and punters.
So I looked into my big bag of footballs and found the most recent pair of kicking shoes that I wore on for a real game. Sure enough, it was what I remembered, Adidas Copa Mundials. And, I’m happy to report that they still make this shoe, after so many years… and it’s understandable why.
Super soft leather (kangaroo, if I recall) with a molded sole cleat that’s great on turf and on grass. As far as I’m concerned, it is the best kicking and punting shoe… and a good football shoe, too.
BUT AM I TO BE BELIEVED?
Ultimately, the answer for you is more involved that taking my word for it. You should first know this: the best kicking shoe in the world, hands-down, is your own bare foot. If the idea is to hit the sweet spot of the ball on the hardest part of your foot, then striking your actual foot wold be best.
I met and kicked with Tony Franklin. one of the last barefoot kickers in the NFL, when he was a college counselor at my father’s camp. However, most of us aren’t “man enough” to do this over and over, so we accept the fact that we need a shoe. Not to mention, many of you play another position other than kicker or punter.
There’s actually an NFL films on barefoot kicking > CLICK HERE
I digress again… my apologies.
Ultimately, what you are looking for is a shoe that fit’s snugly to your foot, without being uncomfortable. You want to be able to be a football player, an athlete who is not worried about the shoes on his feet. You simply want to know that they’ll help you get the most out of the kicking (and football) skills you have.
Find a good kicking shape (slightly pointy). form fitting, proper sole and cleats (make sure they’re to your state high school standard) that aren’t too long and give your ankle the freedom to lock into your best kicking or punting position.
So let’s look a closer look at just some of the candidates…
Adidas Copa Mundial | $150+
It just feels good on your foot, and works as well on today’s new turf as it does on grass. I was an option QB and they served me well. They also provided the confidence to get the ball through the posts and down the field on punts. The only drawback may be the tongue. I simply wrapped it around the tongue and bottom of the shoe and tied it on the outside of my foot. Some guys I know simply cut it off near their ankle. The extra “padding” didn’t seem to affect me at all — and maybe I was a wimp.
Nike Premier | $100+
This is Nike’s best answer to the Adidas Copa Mundial — and apparently at a better price. It has very soft leather like the Copa, and a molded sole and great for kicking — and for playing, too — and has a tongue, too. What’s more, it was worn by the kicker who beat me out at Green Bay (Al Del Greco). So apparently it worked for him! Maybe the Copa isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be!
Nike Tiempo | $130+
This is probably Nike’s best kicking shoe. I do not recommend it if you play another position other than kicker or punter. It’s not that it wouldn’t work, but it feels like it doesn’t support your ankle as well. For kickers, you may want to check it out. It’s shape is built for kicking… but I’ve never been a big fan of Nike for this type of shoe. Just personal preference — which is how you should look at it, too. Don’t let someone else’s endorsement sway you too much. If you like it — go for it!
Adidas Adizero RS7 | $200+
This is a rugby shoe. It looks awesome, but you can see how long those cleats are… You don’t want this. The linebacker in you would love it on grass, but the kicker in you might end up hitting some duck hooks when your cleats catch the ground. All soccer-type shoes are not equal.
Adidas World Cup | $150+
This is a great kicking shoe, but it has the wrong number of cleats for most state high school associations. They are also removable, which is great on grass, but dangerous on turf. I do not recommend getting this kind of shoe. Just want you to be aware of the distinctions. Don’t just get any soccer shoe!
Adidas Mundial Team | $100+
I wanted you to recognize this when searching through dozens of shoes that all look very similar. This is s turf shoe with a very similar name. It is NOT the same as the Copa Mundial. It’s a good all-purpose football shoe, but it is not a great kicking shoe. For the super advanced (kicker only) you may wish to consider buying this shoe for just your plant foot on turf (only). It’s very grippy and gives you plenty of support.
Straight-on Shoe | $150+
Know that the price for ONE shoe is $150. Shown here is a Spot-Bilt straight on shoe. The only place I know who will sell you one is through prokicker.com. They sell a Strider shoe that’s a good boot. They have nothing to do with my camp, nor pay me anything. Just trying to help you find a shoe if you’re a stright-on kicker. If you are, this shoe will most assuredly help you.
• Try on a bunch of shoes. Find the one(s) that feel best on your feet to the attributes mentioned above.
• Some kickers fill the bathtub and step inside for awhile, then walk around your driveway till they’re mostly dry to “form fit” the shoe to your foot. It typically shrinks just a bit… kind of like putting a baseball in a mit and wrapping it.
• Don’t be afraid to oil your shoe leather from time-to-time.
• Does your coach want you to wear a white or black shoe? Maybe showing up in lime green isn’t to his team’s standard. Personally, I could care less once the ball goes through the post!
• In that’s the case, you can always get some shoe polish and turn your new shoes Johnny Unitas black.
• Start paying attention to what your favorite kicker wears — on both feet. There might just be a reason.
Lastly, know that the selection of your shoes will not make your All-State, but having a pair that you can count on is one less worry to hold on to. Trusting cleats to work the way you want them too, and not “fighting the shoe” are a big part in keeping your kicking game at its best.
Although this is a video on straight on kickers from the past… soccer-style barefoot kicker Tony Franklin (Texas A&M) shows up at the 49 second mark to belt a 65 yarder off a tee!
So call me a liar? This is me in my college days on picture day. Those aren’t Adidas Copa Mundial shoes. Coach must have wanted everyone in white. They’re Adidas, but I have no idea what kind. Maybe you know? Maybe they still make them? Good luck!
I’m not getting paid to endorse any shoe over another, but I have been a lifelong fan of Adidas shoes… so if they would like to sign Mike Farley’s Kickers Camp to a big endorsement deal, “my people will gladly talk to their people.” 🙂