The collar shoe was introduced 8 years ago for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (see picture above), and has been extremely popularized by professional soccer players ever since. What does that mean? That means a lot more people want to have this type of shoe, since it is what their favorite soccer players are wearing. But there is one problem: there aren’t that many people that seem to know what the purpose of the collar even is. The main questions asked are the following: What is its purpose? Is it an additional support for the ankle? Is it better than a traditional shoe (with a tongue)?
First of all, the collar of the shoe replaces the traditional tongue (see photo above). In other words, it is fabric that binds the stiffer part of the shoe (usually synthetic or leather uppers). In some cases, this fabric wraps around your foot, which provides a slight compression that can’t be found in a traditional shoe.
Some models only have the knitted material come up to the ankle, whilst other models have that material end above the ankle (which is why most people call it a "sock"). Now, does it provide additional ankle support? NO. In fact, the collar is there for two reasons, the first being to provide a sense of compression around the ankle. The second reason people buy this shoe is aesthetic appeal. That being said, it doesn't make the shoe better than shoes that don’t have collars or that have traditional shoes (with a tongue), and it's simply a matter of preference or taste.
Generally speaking, people with wider feet tend to find these models a little less comfortable and more difficult to put on. That being said, some models are accessible for narrow or wide feet and can be excellent options, depending on the quality of the shoe. The only thing we can say for sure is that you should not buy these shoes just because you are looking for additional ankle support. If you are indeed looking for additional ankle support, you should consider the following options:
1. Getting taped up by physio or buying kinesiology tape and doing it yourself.
2. Getting an ankle sleeve or strap: this allows you to keep compression on your ankle and reduces the risk of previous injuries from happening again.
3. Getting an ankle brace: although they are more bulky, the chances of injuring your ankle are extremely low when opting for this option.
It is worth noting that collar shoes will be more difficult to put on and will be less comfortable initially if you have an ankle sleeve, strap or brace. Also, if you choose to go with options 2 or 3, we suggest you bring your ankle support with you when you’re looking to buy new shoes, since braces can make your shoes feel tighter. By doing so, you can choose the best model for your feet while still being able to wear your brace and protecting your ankle.