Be stylish and sensible on the five-a-side pitch

An increasing number of men and women are taking up five-a-side football as a way of improving their health and fitness in an enjoyable and rewarding way.

However, to ensure that that you get the best out of the experience it is important to have the right equipment.

First of all, suitable footwear is essential. That old pair of running shoes you have in the bottom of the wardrobe may be comfortable, but football involves plenty of twists and turns and changes of direction at speed, so you need something that will provide you with some stability and support or you risk serious injury.

Modern football-specific trainers from the likes of Adidas, Nike and Puma use synthetic materials for breathability, but are thick and robust enough to protect the foot – to a degree – from impact injuries and from ankle sprains caused by a lack of stability.

However, brightly-coloured modern trainers are not to everyone’s tastes, and some prefer the classic look. If this is the case, the Adidas Samba Super is a good option. Originally designed for football, this leather trainer has gone on to become a classic fashion item but still retains the robust leather composition and strong heel cup that made it a football favourite. The Samba Super is available from most good retailers, including Scotts.

When it comes to clothing, you want modern, breathable synthetic fabrics. The latest sports-specific clothing is designed to remain light even when drenched in sweat, as the material wicks away moisture from the body and helps it evaporate. Traditional cotton t-shirts and tracksuits do not do this, which is why they can feel wet and heavy after a workout. Even in the depths of a British winter you can sweat while playing football – especially if you’re not particularly fit!

As for styles, stick to loose-fitting clothing which allows you to move freely, but favour shorts over a full-length tracksuit which you could tread on and trip. Nike and Adidas have plenty of options for you here, with the latter also having just released the latest replica sports kit for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Colour choices are your own, but try and stick to single-block colours with your t-shirt – it’ll make it easier for your teammates to spot you!