New football season, new football boots.
At this early stage, the Premier League has a predictable air to it, with Huddersfield on top, same as every year. And if you're finding your 10-year-old Umbros from JD Sports are making you look slow and unwieldy – heaven forbid – we have the solution: the best football boots to buy in what the footie world likes to call '2017-18'.
We've got the pick of the studs whether you're a midfield general, tricky winger, 'fox in the box' striker or artisanal back-line clogger. We don't have anything for goalies, however, because they are all 'mad'.
What is the best football boot?
That is near impossible to answer, due to the endless varieties of playing style and playing conditions out there in kicky-ball-o-land.
However, for its versatility, its classic look, and its very British favouring of stolid and traditional qualities over ultra-modern, ultra-lightweight design, we are rather partial to the Nike Tiempo Legend VI.
How to shop for footie boots
The options here range from solid, mid-range boots to wild flights of footwear tech fancy. Don't forget to carefully choose between the various options that most of them offer with, for instance, variants for hard and soft ground.
You should also probably be realistic about your skills. Having a boot that's super-light and offers next to no protection is not a great idea if you're not as fleet of foot as you once were. On the other hand, having a super-flash set of boots can give you added confidence and a better first touch, if you're not completely hopeless in the first place.
You will find a wide variety of prices for some of the boots below, due to a quirk of how our retail partners work. Particularly at large online shops like Amazon, stocks of last year's version of all the major boots remain on sale – and sometimes from years before that, too.
We'll let you into a little secret: in most cases, last year's version of any given boot only differs from this year's in terms of colourways and a few design and tech tweaks.
1. Nike Tiempo Legend
Quality build with classic design
Like any great team, the folks working on Nike’s Tiempo Legend range has spent the summer break striving to improve, with the headline summer signing being Nike’s FlyKnit technology.
Added around the heel and mid-foot, it offers greater flexibility and targeted support, while helping the boot maintain its shape.
The Tiempo Legend 7 also includes a new Nike Hyperstability plate, which is designed for multidirectional movements. This shaves 60 grams off the boot, which is 22% lighter overall. Another new addition is Fit-Mesh tech in the toebox which helps prevent the boot’s premium kangaroo leather from overstretching.
Nike Football Designer Vianney de Montgolfier explains: “Fit-Mesh is woven to act like a Chinese finger trap. The more pressure you apply, the tighter it holds. It is a floating lining attached to the raised bite-line of the boot, not the leather. It helps contain your foot so the leather doesn’t have to.”
2. Adidas NEMEZIZ 17+ 360 AGILITY
Best boots for more skillfull players
Is your game all about riding tackles, explosive bursts of speed and those quick shifts that leave defenders in knots? Then this is the boot for you.
As worn by Leo Messi and Roberto Firmino, the Nemeziz features a host of bespoke technologies designed for the most agile players in the game.
Inspired by the way boxers tape their hands to offer protection and support, this boot offers an AgilityBandage, fitted with TorsionTapes designed to lock down the foot and also features a dual lock collar that supports the ankle when making those quick turns.
Adidas says the lightweight construction is aided by the TorsionRibs that enable lightning fast push-off support.
There’s also a brand new Ocean Storm colourway in striking navy blue and turquoise.
3. Adidas Ace 16+ Primeknit
An alternative to the laceless Purecontrol
The biggest boot news of 2017, this fresh colourway for the performance-driven Primeknit offers an alternative to its laceless cousin, the Purecontrol.
They've got a knitted upper and a sock-like collar, with white Adidas stripes that fade upwards into 'Solar Slime' green. Even more important than the colour scheme, they offer incredible lightness but also solid support, for a first touch better than either Lionel Messi or his accountants.
4. Puma EvoSPEED SL II Tricks
A super lightweight boot
My eyes!! Promoted under the tagline 'Play Loud', Puma's tournament representatives still pack some genuine innovation under the gaudy colours.
They've got increased flexibility, a laser-cut frame for support during sharp turns and a super lightweight nylon outsole. But they don't come in black.
5. Nike Hypervenom Phantom II
Will feel like you're wearing nothing at all
Built for firm, natural surfaces and designed for the modern striker, the Hypervenom II offers maximum agility and a barefoot-like touch. Flywire cables combined with the Tech Craft sock-like collar wrap the foot to create a supportive locked-down feel.
NikeSkin technology makes it easier to feel and control the ball while the Dynamic Fit collar enhances touch and control in the high ball-contact areas. There is a shortened lace area to allow for a larger strike zone and purer contact with the ball. And the split-toe plate and agility traction pattern deliver a quick response to help you find space when the defenders close in.
6. Adidas X Euro 2016
A hybrid shoe that'll give you speed and power
In a hurry? The glove-like Techfit technology of the silver Adidas X Euro 2016 moulds straight onto your foot, so there'll be no blisters this summer.
This boot was a mainstay for Adidas-sponsored players at the European Championships in France, and is crammed full of the latest build innovations, most notably a completely redesigned sole plate featuring studs configured specifically for acceleration.
7. Nike Mercurial Superfly V
Nike's showcase boot
Nike's showpiece boot for its pedigree players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial, this is the ultimate speed silo.
If speed is - or was - your strength, then you'll feel right at home in these ergonomically engineered slippers. They've been designed for touch, fit and traction, but you'll need to pack the rest, we're afraid.
8. New Balance Furon Pro
Super light-weight shoes
Worn by speedy wingers Jesus Navas and Adnan Januzaj, the New Balance Furon is engineered for when you need to put the afterburners on. Made from New Balance's lightweight Fantom Fit upper construction, the boot fuses a lightweight mesh upper with an ultra-thin supportive synthetic layer in the mid-foot area for more stability.
A stiffened sole plate gives increased energy return and unparalleled acceleration, while ultra directional studs further boost straight-line speed. Then when your pacey winger does get to the box or byline ahead of schedule, the boot's Burrito Tongue gives him a large sweet spot from which to take aim with.
9. Puma evoPOWER 1.2
Super flexible and great for movement
The next-gen Puma evoPOWER is re-engineered with several new technologies to further liberate your natural shooting power. Working as a spine, the Gradual Stability Frame allows an anatomically engineered Pebax outsole to bend in harmony with the soft one-way stretchable microfibre AdapLite upper in similar fashion to a barefoot kicking motion.
While the non-stretchable external EverFit Cage is strategically placed mid-foot to maintain support without restricting the flexibility of the foot. A transparent 3D GripTex print is added to the upper for enhanced ball control in all conditions, with AccuFoam underneath to ensure an even pressure distribution and create a clean kicking surface for increased accuracy.
10. Lotto Zhero Gravity VII 200
From the people who brought you the first ever laceless boot
Having broken ground with the first ever boots to feature a fully laceless design back in 2002, the Zhero Gravity VII represent a complete design overhaul as the first in the series to feature regular laces – making it work better with different foot shapes.
The new upper is made from a single-piece Kurim foot shell to ensure power and 360-degree ball control while the introduction of an elevated foot support and a shock-off heel insert work to quell force of impact. In addition, Lotto's new Puntoflex system is included in the forefoot to provide better elastic return when running, helping you use power and energy efficiently.
11. Adidas Messi 15.1
Signature shoes from Messi
Lionel Messi might be out of this world but his new signature shoe is very much down to earth. Keeping the wearer grounded is the messiFRAME construction technology that features a locked in fit and exposed cage in the heel for maximum traction.
Having worked with Messi on the design, its no surprise that the boot really comes alive when you take it on your own approximation of one of the little magician's jinking runs. This is down to a dynamic stud configuration, including a centre stud to support explosive speed in any direction, and a super-soft leather-like X-ray surface for that silky first touch – and every touch thereafter.
Now half their original price, too.