Best footie boots - it's all kicking off
Players will soon be hanging up their boots from the Euro football tournament. This popular festival of cagey footie and extreme violence is nearly over, and amazingly, England didn't win. Gosh, what a shocker. Wales did alright, though.
Never mind that, anyway: the 2016-2017 soccer season is nearly upon us.
If you're a player as well as a fan, you've no doubt been five-a-siding on plastic pitches all summer, and are now prepping for some good, early-season mud baths.
But if you're finding your 10-year-old Umbros from JD Sports are making you look slow and unwieldy, we have the solution: the best football boots to buy in 2015, 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, because they're all 'mad'.
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.
If you want our very best buying tip, delve further down this list for older boots from more obscure brands. Pele's Titan 3 boots originally went for about £200 a few years back but can now be had for around £60. And they're made by Pele!
And now, Brian, the boots…
Nike Tiempo Legend VI
The Tiempo has existed in one form or another since 1985 and is for every player who favours comfort over frills. Quality and classic design, geared around control and comfort, are the timeless hallmarks here.
Nevertheless there are a couple of interesting tweaks to this iteration of the classic Nike Tiempo Legend, with the vacuum-pressed quilting and microfibre midfoot cage still capable of turning many an more 'mature' head.
£160 | Buy Nike Tiempo Legend VI
Adidas Ace 16+ Primeknit
Originally unveiled in January and the biggest boot news of the year so far, 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 solour scheme, they offer incredible lightness but also solid support, for a first touch better than either Lionel Messi or his accountants.
£115 | Buy Adidas Ace 16+ Primeknit
Puma EvoSPEED SL II Tricks
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.
From £100 | Buy Puma EvoSPEED SL II Tricks
Nike Hypervenom Phantom II
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.
From £170 | Buy Nike Hypervenom Phantom II
Adidas X Euro 2016
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.
£160 | Buy Adidas X Euro 2016
Joma Super Copa Speed
Joma doesn’t have the financial clout of its competitors, but the Spanish bootmaker is carving a decent niche as producers of understated quality.
The ultralight uppers on these have a textured, golf ball-esque finish and there’s much to be said for the tidy tongue. They’re a snug fit and soft on the wallet, too.
Adidas Porsche Limited Edition
There are just 1,500 of these kangaroo leather boots available, so if it’s individuality you’re after, this is your auction.
Black kangaroo leather with bronze trim - that’s called keeping it simple. The back story - that the design echos the Adidas Copa Mundial and the Porsche 911, and features a soft touch for an easy touch, but 'with the same metallic finish as a supercar' - is less straightforward.
Either way, nice booties.
Nike Mercurial Superfly V
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.
Pantofola d’Oro la Gazetta
There’s a strong trend for fashionable boot collaborations, but this is the first time a newspaper’s been involved.
Italy’s iconic La Gazzeta dello Sport has joined forces with Pantofola d'Oro to adorn boots with headlines from historic footballing moments. They’ve kicked off with AC Milan, with Juventus, Italy and Inter skins added over time.
New Balance Furon Pro
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.
From £110 | Buy New Balance Furon
Puma evoPOWER 1.2
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.
From £40 | Buy Puma evoPOWER 1.2
Lotto Zhero Gravity VII 200
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.
Adidas Messi 15.1
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.
£80 | Buy Adidas Messi 15.1
Puma evoSPEED SL
Weighing in at only 103 grams, the new Puma evoSPEED Superlight is Puma’s lightest football boot ever. With an ultra-thin textile upper that provides an almost barefoot touch on the ball, the boot is so specialised and delicate that it is designed for use on real grass and in fair weather only and in theory will give you just 10 games before it needs replacing.
Speed is the name of the game as the brand’s laser-cut SPEEDFRAME system harnesses the foot in key areas when accelerating and turning under heavy pressure, and the soleplate features a mixture of conical and bladed studs for instant traction and acceleration.
On the plus side, this is now about a third of its original RRP, if you shop around.
From £60 | Buy Puma evoSPEED SL
Mizuno Wave Ignitus 3
Mizuno's Wave Ignitus boots have a reputation for being innovative, and last year's eagerly anticipated third installment was no different.
Three different panels on the instep perform different functions: Mukaiten (‘non-spin’) creates an unpredictable flight pattern for the ball, and is designed to throw the keeper off; Tatekaiten (‘top-spin’) creates vicious amounts of dip; and Yokokaiten (‘side-spin’) gives players more controlled curl. They're lighter and more supportive than ever.