Intro: best footie boots - it's all kicking off
The 2015-16 football/soccer season is now well underway, and predictably Crystal Palace, er, Leicester and, um, Swansea are leading the way. That can't be right, surely? We'll come back and edit that in a few weeks' time.
If you're a player as well as a fan, you've no doubt strapped on your boots and are tucking into 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 artisan 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.
Want to get in shape for a long season? Pound the pavements with our roundup of the best running shoes.
Warrior Skreamer II
Made of microfibers to give players an incredibly lightweight experience, the new softer and more supple S-Lite upper reduces weight and provides the Skreamer II with a glove-like fit for improved touch and more responsive control. Its major innovation is a ‘4D Arrowbed Insole’ that stimulates blood circulation inside the foot, helping you to maintain playing at your peak.
Price: £130 | Warrior | Worn by: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City & Belgium), Maroune Fellaini (Manchester United & Belgium), Kolo Toure (Liverpool & Ivory Coast)
Adidas Predator LZ
Built with the same SprintFrame chassis and SprintSkin upper as the ever-popular AdiZero F50 boot, the latest Preds take things a step further with the 'Lethal Zones' concept. Not unlike Mizuno's Wave Ignitus 3, different geometric rubber patterns around different areas of the boot give you extra power and control in the necessary areas and in all weather conditions.
Price: £160 | adidas.co.uk | Worn by: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal and Germany), Angel di Maria (Real Madrid and Argentina), Kaka (A.C. Milan and Brazil)
Concave Quantum 1
Made from kangaroo leather and microfibre, the Quantum should be soft and comfortable, whilst retaining the foot-moulding properties of the leather. The shape of the lace covering is concave, which supposedly cups the ball as you strike it, giving you a much larger sweet spot and a whole load more power.
Price: £125 | concave.com
Joma Super Copa
This is the lightest boot ever made by Spanish boot-makers, to celebrate the history of the Spanish Super Copa. The upper is made of superlight 'Fibratec' micro-fibre, making this is a real contender to other speed boots like the Mercurial Vapor and Mizuno's Morelia Neo. Joma boots are still hand-made in Spain, and well respected despite being rarely seen on the pitch.
Price: £65 | joma-sport.com
Mizuno Morelia Neo
Most speed boots these days abandon leather for synthetics like micro-fibre. The Morelia Neo does no such thing, so if you're after a leather speed boot, you may have come to the right place. This is traditionally stitched and looks like you're average football boot, except that it weighs a meagre 170 grams. A thing of beauty.
Price: £130 | mizuno.eu
Mizuno Wave Ignitus 3
Mizuno's Wave Ignitus boots have a reputation for being innovative, and the eagerly anticipated third installment is 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. And they're lighter and more supportive than ever too - what's not to love about that?
Price: £130 | mizuno.eu | Worn by: Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow and Japan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton and Japan)
Pele Sports Titan K-Leather Trinity 3E
Increasing performance whilst training foot muscles during a game, the kangaroo leather boots use the latest tanning technology to add ultimate protection and promote a glove-like fit. Solid State Lubrication (SSL) delivers increased levels of moisture movement and breathability while a military grade water repellent treatment will keep feet drier and warmer for longer which will be handy when the winter fixtures come around.
Price: £195 | www.pele-sports.com | Worn by: Christian Fuchs (Schalke 04 and Austria) | Buy Pele Sports Titan K-Leather Trinity 3E football boots
Puma PowerCat 1.12FG
Housing Puma’s new 3D Power ShootingTechnology DUO, the PowerCats comprises thermoplastic material used in two degrees of hardness: high-density areas that are super-responsive and low-density ones that offer high rebound properties. As a result, energy isn’t absorbed upon ball impact but instead increases kicking power, helping proud Englishmen smack penalties deep into row Z.
Pantofola D’Oro Lazzarini
The chosen footwear for former Premier League stars Paolo Di Canio and Jurgen Klinsmann as well as a young Fabio Capello back in his playing days, the ‘golden slippers’ are made from calf leather to deliver ultimate comfort and flexibility. Crafted in exactly the same way as they were way back in 1986 when the business started up in Ascoli, Italy, they might not be packed with cutting-edge tech, but you are guaranteed to stroll onto the pitch looking like a millionaire footballer. Minus the pay cheque of course...
Price: £119 | Pantofoladoro.com | Previously worn by: Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur and England) Jonathan Walters (Stoke City and Republic of Ireland) and worn by Paddy Madden (Yeovil Town and Republic of Ireland) | Buy Pantofola D’Oro Lazzarini football boots