A Call For More Sneaker-Inspired Football Boots

While we’ve seen footwear crossovers in other sports, for some reason, the concept hasn’t quite hit in the football universe yet. With Nike recently releasing an Air Max TN-inspired Mercurial, let’s hope the trend finally catches on. 

Nike recently released the Air Mercurial TN football boot, inspired by the historic Air Max Plus OG (more often lovingly called the Nike TN). These boots are a big step in terms of special editions. Let me explain.

nike mercurial tn

For years, brands have been releasing special edition boots. Oftentimes, on-field boots are inspired by either retro designs or the careers of the beautiful game’s brightest stars. Rarely are boots direct replicas of shoes that are steeped in history off of the pitch, although we have seen the reverse happen several times, with lifestyle versions of football boots being released on different occasions.

adidas has been on this wave for a while, as they typically release an off-pitch version of every retro Predator model in recent years.

puma future suede

Perhaps the most notable football boot to be inspired by a sneaker is PUMA’s 2018 FUTURE Suede pack. The limited edition collection was meant to be more of a collector’s item to be displayed in a shadowbox rather than worn on the pitch, but nevertheless it was still a breathtaking and original release that was among our favorites from the year.

Nike has also dipped its toes into this space before the Mercurial TN as well, releasing an Air-Jordan inspired Hypervenom 2 for Neymar back in 2016. However, it wasn’t a direct replica of an already existing model, instead having several design cues taken from the Air Jordan 5.

air jordan nike hypervenom

Other sports, like American football, baseball, and golf have received sport-specific models of basketball and lifestyle shoes, from Jordans to Yeezys. And while those sports typically don’t require footwear with the amount of technology and dedicated design as football does, we’re living in an era where just about anything is possible. If we can get AI renditions of Hank Hill singing Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” surely we can get football boots that bridge the gap between on-pitch performance and off-pitch style. Here are some crossovers that we’d love to see.

Nike Tiempo x Black Air Force 1

tiempo air force 1

The all-black Nike Air Force 1 has a particular reputation, especially if they are beat up and creased. The official footwear of hitting licks, the more worn the shoe is, the more unpredictable and aggressive you can expect its wearer to be.

The Nike Tiempo on the other hand, has become the boot of choice for midfielders and defenders who enjoy a nice crunching tackle more than a banger of a goal. It’s no coincidence it’s been seen on the feet Sergio Ramos over the years.

I can only imagine the fear that would course through me if I lined up against a defender wearing the all-black AF1 x Tiempos. I’d probably ask to be substituted or feign an injury out of pure cowardice.

While this would be a cool edition from a cultural standpoint, it could also be a solid option for a consistent release, as many footballers, particularly defenders, prefer an all-black boot.

Adidas Copa Pure II+ x Samba

adidas copa samba

The adidas Samba has had its renewed moment in the sun with countless high-end collaborations, verging on over-saturation. Whether it be Gucci or Wales Bonner, the coolest streetwear brands and influencers have been rocking the Samba over the past few years, and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So that begs the question, why isn’t Jude Bellingham wearing a Wales Bonner Samba football boot? He was in the promotional images, after all, and has been seen wearing Wales Bonner at multiple events.

Given that the Samba has roots in football, it would be a disservice to the football hipsters if adidas didn’t release a Samba for on-field use in addition to fit pics and overpriced coffee runs.

Nike Hypervenom 1 x Kobe V

neymar hypervenom kobe bruce lee

For this combo, I went a touch off-script and combined two of Nike’s greatest creations. The Kobe V is my all-time favorite basketball shoe, and it is currently one of the most widely worn shoes in the NBA. From a performance, comfort, and style perspective, it receives top marks, which makes complete sense to combine it with the OG Nike Hypervenom, as it is a football boot that was beloved for all the same reasons as the Kobe V.

From a marketing standpoint, there is also perfect synergy, as Kobe Bryant’s nickname was “The Black Mamba,” one of the world’s most deadliest snakes, and, well, I probably don’t need to tell you why that works so well with a boot called the Hypervenom.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 4 x Kobe IX

mercurial superfly 4 kobe 9

While high-top basketball shoes are far from being a recent innovation, the Mercurial Superfly 4 and the Kobe IX both innovated with their structure and material usage. The Kobe IX, designed after Bryant tore his Achilles, was inspired by a boxing shoe, with the purpose of the structure being built to support the Achilles and ankle while not entirely limiting its flexibility.

Released just months before the Kobe IX, the Mercurial Superfly 4 was part of a revolutionary football boot lineup from Nike. Alongside the Magista, the Mercurial SuperFly 4 was the first high-top football boot and forever changed the boot landscape.

While the high-cut nature of these football boots doesn’t actually provide any more structural stability compared to low-cut boots, they provide a more streamlined fit, which, in turn, feels more secure and connected throughout the entire shoe.

Many football boot nerds would still place a deadstock Superfly 4 at the top of their boot collection wishlist. This legend status makes these two boots a match made in heaven.

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