Over the years, we have seen some major innovations in football boots—from Nike’s FootballX series to Adidas’ Cage & Court collection, it’s evident we have come a long way since Adidas released the original Samba in the 1950s. And with more companies jostling for a piece of the soccer market, as well as targeting street football and futsal arenas, it’s certain we will continue to see more advancements in form, fit, design, and aesthetics.
We surveyed some of the most game-changing innovations in boot technology from over the past decade to see the inspired evolution of football footwear. Check out the designs that have pushed the shoe game to new heights and are enabling ballers to perform at ever-increasing levels.
FLYWIRE: Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II CR
FlyWire consists of strands made from Vectran, which is thinner than human hair yet stronger than steel. These strands are placed in strategic areas to provide support that is virtually weightless.
Released in 2010, the Mercurial Superfly II was the second boot constructed with FlyWire. What made it more revolutionary than its predecessor was its colorway. The unique safari print was Cristiano Ronaldo’s first signature cleat after seven years of being signed to the swoosh. Nike included the safari colorway on the indoor model of the Superfly II as well for extra style points.
MICOACH: Adidas F50 Adizero MiCoach
In case anyone thought the F50 Adizeros weren’t technologically advanced already, Adidas introduced the F50 Adizero MiCoach in 2011. The MiCoach technology records your movements while playing by using a chip implanted in the shoe’s sole, similar to the Nike+ feature on running shoes.
The chip, called the Speed Cell, records data and sends it to the MiCoach website, where you can compare your stats with other MiCoach users and even pros. The boot itself comes in a flashy red and neon colorway that stands out from the crowd.
BUILT FOR TRICKS: Joma Super Regate
Popular Spanish brand Joma is well-known for their quality flats, but the Super Regate was different in the sense that it was created with tricks in mind (freestylers rejoice). With rubber inserts on the instep, the Super Regate offers superior control and a softer touch than its other model, the Top Flex, which is built for speed. The Super Regates also feature a light and flexible design thanks to flex grooves in the sole.
NIKE ID: Boot Customization
What better way to express yourself on the pitch than with some custom kicks. NikeID was originally launched in 1999 and the process was remastered in 2005. It has since expanded from customizing lifestyle shoes to giving users the ability to personalize just about every Nike model available.
NIKESKIN: Nike Hypervenom
Aside from the ridiculously showy orange and black colorway, the Nike Hypervenoms, introduced in 2013, features innovative NikeSkin technology. The honeycomb design was made from an ultra-thin polyurethane film over mesh to create a barefoot feel, while still protecting the foot. These brash boots were marketed by then-emerging superstar Neymar Jr.
The Hypervenom line continues to use NikeSkin technology, and the Hypervenom 3 is set to release on Jan. 30.
Adidas introduced CrazyLight in 2014 as a groundbreaking technology that made their boots even lighter than they were. The tech was debuted by Gareth Bale, and was used on boots from the F50s to even the power-focused Predators.
In 2015, Adidas introduced the lightest soccer boot ever, the F50 Adizero Crazy Light 99 Grams. Only 299 pairs were released to the public, making these among the most coveted with boot fanatics.
NEONLITE: Puma NeonLite 2.0
While Adidas released the Crazylight 99g as a traditional soccer cleat, Puma holds the crown for lightest futsal boot on the market. An upper made of mesh and synthetic makes the NeonLite boots light yet sturdy, and the mesh allows for added breathability.
As its name suggests, the NeonLite is built to stand out, coming in six bright colorways that are, if nothing else, eye catching.
ADIDAS BOOST: Adidas Copa Tango/Ace Tango
Introduced in 2012, Adidas’ Boost cushioning was originally featured on running shoes. However, thanks to popular releases like the Ultra Boost and Yeezys and the rapid growth of the athleisure trend, Boost cushioning expanded to basketball shoes and football boots. The cushioning technology that returns energy back to the foot more efficiently than standard cushioning is featured on Adidas’ recent Copa Tango and Ace Tango models.
DYNAMIC FIT COLLAR: Nike Magista X Proximo/Mercurial Superfly X Proximo
Once again, Nike turned the boot world upside down with its release of the Magista and Mercurial Superfly in 2014. These boots represented the emergence of the mid-cut boot, which was unlike anything else in the market. The Dynamic Fit Collar, made with Nike’s FlyKnit technology, provides a tighter fit and adds support without sacrificing weight.
Technology aside, these were breathtaking boots with an incredibly unique and innovative design. The line was met with a lot of fanfare and continues to succeed today.
TECHFIT: Adidas X
Featured on one of its premier boots, the TechFit provides the ultimate glove-like fit. Originally used in workout apparel such as compression shirts and shorts, TechFit eventually became a staple in footwear. With an incredibly malleable upper, TechFit allows a player to wear these cleats straight out of the box and jump into a game.
What’s your favorite football boot feature? Let us know in the comments below!