11 best football boots 2018

From Sunday league artisan to semi-pro master of the dribble, these are the best soccer boots for you to buy

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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 VII

THE classic design gets a Flyknit makeover

Reasons to buy
+Comfortable+Great heritage look+Flyknit makes it lighter than ever
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most flamboyant boots

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.”

Now you know.

2. Adidas NEMEZIZ 17+ 360 AGILITY

Best boots for more skillfull players

Reasons to buy
+Gives agile players greater flexibility+Attractive new Ocean Storm colourway
Reasons to avoid
-Premier League pricing

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. 

4) Nike Mercurial Superfly V Neymar Jr

An homage to a modern great

Reasons to buy
+Perfect for fast players+Less expensive than Neymar himself
Reasons to avoid
-Still fairly expensive

If you’re modelling your game after a particular player, Neymar Jr, the world's current most expensive, isn’t a bad choice. 

Nike has released a new personalised edition of the Mercurial Superfly boot, clad in the Brazilian national colours (amplified to vibrant 'Blue Orbit' and 'Volt'), while mapping his personal and career landmarks in a visual constellation.

Carefully etched into the boot design, you’ll see the date of his first Brazil goal, his Olympic gold medal, birthdates of family members, dotted maps of Barcelona and Brazil, as well as the five stars to honour Brazil’s World Cup wins. Remarkably, it’s still relatively subtle for a modern football boot design.

Naturally, the Mercurial Vapor boots are designed for players who rely on speed, delivering “explosive traction and a secure fit,” with precision placed suds to enable fast starts and stops. 

4) Pantofola D’Oro Lazzarini

Best for the old school footballing fashionista

Reasons to buy
+Unique throwback look+Quality materials
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Not so keen on the look of ultra-contemporary footie boots like the Superfly V? With this handcrafted Italian leather boot, you could grace the San Siro and strut the catwalks of Milan after the game. 

As well as suavity, the old-school design offers a fold-over tongue (held in place by a leather strap), which is designed to lessen ball contact with the laces. The all-black, premium 'K leather' used is also a magnificent throwback.

History lesson: The boot is named after the company’s founder Emidio Lazzarino, with the family legacy of shoemaking dating back to 1886. Over the years the leather has been sported by legends including Cruyff, Puskas, Klinsmann, Mancini and much beloved 'eccentric', Paolo Di Canio.

5) Adidas X17

Great boots for strikers

Reasons to buy
+Hidden laces = greater surface area+Clean contact in all weather
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

After including the boots of Messi and Neymar, it’s only fair we include the third member of Barcelona’s MSN trifecta; ol’ chompers himself, Luis Suarez. The former Liverpool man will be sporting the Adidas Ocean Storm X17, which uses a PureCut inner sock system to hide the laces beneath an upper layer.

Adidas is also including a Non Stop Grip finish system that uses 3D dots to help prevent the ball from embarrassingly slicing off your foot in wet conditions. There’s also Sprintframe tech on board, enabling fast changes of direction for agile players. 

If you’re keeping score at home, Gareth Bale will also be wearing these boots – in the Ocean Storm colourway – in 2017-18. 

6. Adidas Ace 16+ Primeknit

An alternative to the laceless Purecontrol

Reasons to buy
+Good fit for mid-to-wide feet+Good range of colours
Reasons to avoid
-High tops begin to smell quite funky

The biggest boot news of early 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.

7. Nike Hypervenom 3 TechCraft

For the fox in the box

Reasons to buy
+Designed for Deft touches and lethal finishes+TechCraft edition features enhanced materials
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

“This is a finisher’s boot,” explains Max Blau, VP of Nike Football Footwear. “Every component of this boot was built for goals.”

The third edition of the boot has a redesigned strike zone with multi-layered Poron foam pods that have been built into a new FlyKnit upper construction. These pods are ‘rate dependent’ according to Nike, so will respond to deftly to soft touches. However, when you need to put your foot through it, the boot transforms into a springboard that’ll leave goalkeepers glued to the spot.

It’s available with a dual collar and is Nike’s first low-cut boot with FlyKnit technology. It also includes a Hyper-Reactive plate, which offers a more flexible forefoot that retains contact with the ground while the heel is lifted. This is designed for those sharp cuts before you pull the trigger.

If you opt for the Tech Craft version you’ll also get a boot constructed from embossed Alegria leather offering Nike All Conditions Control (ACC).

8. New Balance Furon 3.0

A striking choice from resurgent NB

Reasons to buy
+The best Furon boot yet+Perfect for speedy strikers
Reasons to avoid
-'Eye-catching' colour choice

The speed-focused Furon boot continues to mature and the third-generation, features a host of new tech. ‘The strikers’ boot’ promises blazing acceleration thanks to the new Revlite Directional Traction Insert. There’s also a new, engineered lightweight mesh upper designed to improve striking accuracy.

New Balance has only been back in the football boot market for around three years, but it’s already managed to get Jesus wearing the Furon boots for the 2017/2018 season. The Manchester City winger Jesus Navas, of course. Who did you think we meant?

If you favour control over speed, but still have a hankering for some New Balance boots, check out the Visaro range, as worn by Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey.

9. Adidas Ace 17+ Purecontrol

This one’s for the players

Reasons to buy
+Secure fit+Great control and feel
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

This boot is perfect for all you midfield playmakers out there, with assist machines like Ozil, Mata, Pogba and Dele Alli all sporting the Ace 17+ Purecontrol. 

Now available in the new Ocean Storm colourway, they feature a Primeknit Upper – great if you don’t have time to break boots in – and a Purecut sock system to ensure the foot is locked in place. Naturally, the boots also incorporate the Adidas Boost sole technology, which promises unrivalled energy return. 

If you’re playing on different surfaces, there are also the Street and Cage editions to accompany the studded Stadium boot.

10. Adidas Messi 15.1

Signature shoes from Messi

Reasons to buy
+Budget friendly+Very comfortable

Lionel Messi might be out of this world but his signature shoe from last year was 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.

Most importantly, these are now under half their original price, yet remain a cracking boot.

11. Stylo Matchmakers Heirship Seventeen

Kicking it old school

Reasons to buy
+Classic black for the traditionalists+All weather ball control
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

In the firm’s heyday, Matchmakers clothed the magic feet of George Best and Kevin Keegan. Now it's making a comeback with the new Heirship Seventeen boot. 

Constructed from a lightweight super soft Japanese super microfiber upper, they’re fitted with a 3D texture that’s designed to enable better ball control, whether it’s an August Saturday at the Emirates or a rainy Tuesday night in Burnley. The firm says its ‘Oxcited’ insole tech will condense impact while keeping everything nice and ventilated on the inside. 

The boots are far from cheap, but the company promises “you’re stepping into years of expertise and thousands of hours of powerful, expert research into sport science.” Also they’re black, the way football boots should be.

12. Puma EvoSPEED SL II Tricks

A super lightweight boot

Reasons to buy
+Very light
Reasons to avoid
-Very bright in colour-Needs more grip on the right of the forefoot

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. There are some more muted colour choices than the one shown here, but they definitely don't come in black.

As a slightly older boot, these are available very cheaply now, compared to at launch, making them a bit of a steal.