JayC (@nosajpersonlah) picks out his favourite budget turf models for the 5-sided player.
Having suffered a knee injury in my younger days, I’ve always been very particular about using the right footwear on the right surface. Due to the intensity of sharp turns and quick movements, long FG studs on artificial turf are a strict no-no unless I’ve taken extra precautions such as reducing the length of my studs for lesser cling.
Turf shoe variations provide extra cushioning and significantly shorter studs for comfort on shallow artificial pitches. This also means that they’re slightly heavier at about 300g and the grip you get is adequate though not nearly as aggressive as an FG or AG stud pattern.
Honestly, I’ve always encouraged friends who play 5-aside games to invest in a pair of turf shoes. Turf is a horribly abrasive surface especially for FG boots, so spare them from damage and use a pair of turf shoes instead. Here are 4 of my favourite budget-friendly models you can don for your weekend games.
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adidas Predator 19.3 TF
Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of the knit revolution are the take-down models. Gone are the days where you’d get horribly plasticky synthetic boots. The Predator 19.3 TF uses a plush and soft mesh material along with a slightly grippy texture on the upper. The result is a comfortable boot that feels much more premium than the price would suggest.
It also comes with a Sockfit construction which actually has a legitimate use in 5-aside futsal – keeping out those pesky black rubber crumbs from getting into the boot. Like big brother Predator, it is a comfortable, all rounded boot that does everything reasonably well.
adidas Nemeziz 19.3 TF
In my review of the Nemeziz 19.1, I commented at how bottom-heavy the boot felt, thanks to the chunkier soleplate getting paired up with the paper thin upper. Surprisingly, this bottom-heavy feeling has been replicated onto the Nemeziz 19.3 TF. It has got the thinnest upper among all shoes on this list, but the chunky sole gives it a very Jekyll and Hyde feeling. Depending on how you like em, the sole does feel solid and extra stable, a plus if you’re on the heavier side.
It’s also got that ‘bacon strip’ collar, which does too good a job of locking you in. You definitely will need some time getting used to wearing it. Once you get it on though, it’s an entirely different feeling. The boot really locks you in, and after breaking it in, the soleplate feels much more natural and playable although you will feel every toe-poke thanks to the thin upper.
Nike PhantomVSN Pro AG-Pro
For those of you who feel that the turf boots don’t offer enough traction, the Nike AG-Pro boots are a great choice. The studs are slightly shorter than regular FG studs but still provide the required grip for most artificial pitches. They’re also rounded which helps with manoeuvrability in a fast 5-a-side game.
The Nike PhantomVSN Pro has a very similar construction to big brother PhantomVSN Elite – even sharing that grippy triangle mid-foot. You get the Ghost Lace system which covers your laces for a cleaner touch. The upper isn’t Flyknit, but instead is made out of a mesh-upper and Nike skin, which honestly doesn’t feel that much worse than the Phantom VSN Elite. I do miss the grippy upper from the Elites, but for this price, it’s still a very good boot.
My main concern, like the Nemeziz 19.3 TF, is that the one-piece upper construction makes it really difficult to put the boot on. The boots also fit fairly tight at first, so don’t be alarmed. Give it some time and it’ll soften up around your foot.
adidas Copa 19.3 TF
When it comes to takedown models, I usually recommend getting those with leather uppers. This is because you always know what you get with leather, even the lower quality ones. Leather will always soften up and provide a natural, slightly padded touch. This is why the adidas Copa 19.3 is my number 1 budget turf shoe on this list. It’s also the only turf shoe here that doesn’t have a collar so if you’re old school, this one is right up your alley.
The calfskin leather provides a nice padded touch, and is tough enough to withstand the rigours of 5-aside football. The thickness also ensures a nice amount of protection from getting stepped on and provides some respite with toe-pokes. The boot is comfortable out of the box and continues to feel even better over time as the leather forefoot continues to mould and shape to your feet. The only ‘negative’ I have is that the burrito tongue takes some time to break-in, but all that took was a short warm-up session and the boots were perfect.