A wingers greatest asset is often their pace, enough to get the ball past the defender to deliver the crucial cross or get the shot away before the keeper can react. For many wingers acceleration is an important aspect of their game, so many wide-men will opt for a lightweight, speed boot. We take a look at some of the best for the position.
What You’ll Find On This Page:
Wingers Eight Best Boots
Speed merchants Kylian Mbappe and Jadon Sancho, together with the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo all wear this Mercurial and you’ll often see them flying down the wing. The Mercurial is Nike’s speed boot and designed as such, packing it with a thin and translucent Vaporposite+ upper and a bouncy Air Zoom outsole for a smooth transition between your strides.
Raphinha and Angel di Maria are some of the wingers that prefer the lightweight and responsive feel of the X Crazyfast. As they need to dribble and barrel down with high speed at the same time, they both choose to have a secure the fit and lockdown plus a responsive tooling.
Now with a dual density Speedplate outsole, the Ultra Ultimate rivals the adidas speed boot in boosting one’s acceleration. Packed with a skin-tight fit once the laces are tied down, the Ultra does give the ultimate performance benefit. Just ask the likes of Kingsley Coman and Kyle Walker.
Sadio Mane’s boot of choice presents itself as a top-end choice for a knit-based speed boot. Bukayo Saka and Harvey Elliot also wear them and are known for their flowing runs. The Furon is also outfitted on the bottom with a nylon outsole that falls on the stiffer side of the spectrum. Chevron blades easily penetrates the ground to keep you steady during your linear propulsion.
5. Mizuno Alpha
The Japanese boot maker finally enters the mainstream with its synthetic Mizuno Alpha, and it does not disappoint. You wouldn’t think that the upper has five layers given how thin and how well it moulds around your foot. The Zeroglide mesh on the tongue and insole, in conjuction with the frame inserts, helps lock your foot in place. It also helps that the Mizuno Alpha is also competitive on the weight front as it is indeed one of the lightest today.
The Nike Phantom GX has a cosy fit with its wide last and Gripknit upper, leaving wing players like Phil Foden and Andrew Robertson to move freely down the flank as they please. The sticky upper has a waxy on-hand sensation in order for the wearer to have a bit of a grip, which you need for dribbling and delivery.
7. Under Armour Clone Magnetico
A boot on this list that is underrated is the Clone Magnetico from UA (worn by Trent Alexander-Arnold). Moving naturally with the feet is the best description for this boot, with its mesh-based synthetic Clone upper moulding well around your foot shape and having less structure for comfort. The outsole has the flexibility on the right spot and the long and narrow conicals give more traction than what you might expect.
Lacks the dynamic fit collar of the Superfly, but has the same synthetic Vaporposite+ upper, responsive and anatomic Aertorak soleplate, and Flyknit tongue for a fast-feeling Nike boot. These are a super popular players boot and if you opt against the collar, the Air Zoom is still in these Mercurials.
Modern Plays for Wing Players
From positioning to skills, much more is now demanded from the modern winger.
Operating in the flanks and providing width to the attack is always going to be the bread and butter of a winger. But from simply staying near the sidelines and staying in midfield (most especially in a 4-4-2), today’s winger is usually positioned further up the field on the inside, forming a front three with the striker and another winger in the now common 4-3-3 formation.
With the rise of advanced pressing and fluid positioning philosophies, a winger today is expected to not just overlap with the striker but also with the fullback. And as the fullback is now tasked to move forward (not just be a centre back positioned on the flanks in essence) and create overlapping runs, the winger is at times inverted (positioned on his weaker side) so that he can provide scoring opportunities (either assists or goals themselves) as he cuts inside to his stronger foot.
While he may not necessarily be the best in tackling, a winger is now being asked to track back and provide at the very least a defensive presence to prevent their defensive end of the flanks from being overloaded by the opposition and be at a numerical disadvantage to them. In essence, then, a winger should have at least a respectable amount of defensive skills to at least provide enough cover for the team’s defensive organization.
However, given that the winger is still the one to stretch the opposition’s line certain attributes are a must. A winger presently is still required to have off the charts pace as he would be doing a lot of running for the team. He is expected to have a great first touch whenever the ball is played long to them. He must be able to dribble his way out of the defence considering that he could either drift inside or continue driving out wide. If he continues outside he should be able to deliver the accurate cross to the box, but if he does otherwise and cuts into his stronger foot, he should be able to be clinical with his finishing, with curving the ball being a plus if there is a need to do so. And given that being able to interchange positions is favoured by today’s top managers, a winger should be ready to lead the line whenever the situation calls for it.