I have suspected for a while that I have not been wearing the right size football boots. I’ve had the classic sign of ‘Black Toenail Death’ in both feet. There has never been any pain involved with this but clearly it can’t be too healthy, particularly when the toenail just falls off due to a new one growing underneath it! It has always felt a bit like a scene from ‘The Fly’.
When I went to try on my boots from last season the tightness was particularly noticeable. Perhaps the lay-off in more flexible shoes has been a factor here? Feeling around the toe box confirmed my suspicions, and I could feel the shoes pushing down on my toes without doing this too. Besides, I’m a bit more sensitive to this sort of thing at the moment due to my ongoing achilles tendonitis issues, which interestingly can be caused / exasperated by, you guessed it, shoes that don’t fit properly!
It is also important to leave a bit of extra space as your feet will swell with exercise.
A shopping trip was required…
Mizuno Wave Inspire 8
I popped along to Alton Sports. First up, I had my running gait video-analysed to see how that looked. I last had this done a couple of years ago, and the results were the same: I very obviously over-pronate. It’s quite scary looking at the slow-motion video as it made me think my ankles were going to snap off at some points!
It was then a case of picking out some shoes, and I went with the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8. Predictably, I did need a whole size higher than I had previously been wearing. They are very comfortable and a treadmill session felt very good. Certainly any achilles discomfort was minimal to zero. The whole twisting inwards motion of over-pronation is a real killer for me, and perhaps is showing another contribution as to why this happened in the first place: If I deliberately go completely the other way, i.e. only use the outside of my foot for a bit, there is no achilles discomfort at all. That’s a strong link I will be keeping an eye on!
Adidas Copa Mundial
These boots are a real classic. The leather makes them incredibly comfortable and I’ve used them for some time. However, they were the primary cause of my beloved black toenails. I’ve also gone up a size and they feel a lot better now. Plus, mmm, shiny new leather!
These are the ones I will use when turf shoes just can’t cut it. Oh, talking of which…
Adidas Team Mundial
Essentially, the Copa Mundials but designed for astroturf. The reality is, however, that they are suitable for most firm ground, which certainly covers football pitches at this time of year. As with the other shoes mentioned here, I needed to go up to size 12, and I was previously a size 11.
What about the Minimalism?
I’m a big fan of minimalist running: It got me over a knee injury. However, I need to do whatever I can now to get my form in good order, and achilles well supported, as part of my continued refereeing and rehabilitation. This was really the reason of getting, dare I say it, a more ‘traditional’ running shoe. The replacement football boots needed to be done anyway for the sizing reasons! I also considered trail shoes for refereeing but struggled to find any that were an appropriate colour. That’s a tricky one.
It is possible that I will require orthotics to aid with support when in my football boots, but that’s a pretty open question at the moment: My follow-up with my consultant is this week. Fingers crossed!