What a year 2015 has been in the boot world! From exquisite designs to funky technology and everything in between, there hasn’t been a week where we’ve been left exposed to boredom. We’ve had new brands enter the market and seen the end of some classic silos.
Rather than just running down a “best” and “worst” boot of the year, we’ve put together an extensive list of the biggest and most talked about stories with plenty of commentary that will enlighten you on what we liked and didn’t like through 2015. Enjoy!
Neymar’s Hypervenom, or Not Hypervenom
A boot that has encountered some troubles of late is the Nike Hypervenom. Since the introduction of the second series, players seemed to have moved away from the playmaker boot. Case in point, Neymar. It seems like the crafty Brazilian is in need of something just a little different and he has recently been wearing some custom Vapors, which are designed to look like Hypervenom. At one stage he even favored some Hyper Pink Vapors. Could he be making a permanent switch?
Even though they are without a feature player, the Hypervenom has made a resurgence from other quarters of late. Jamie Vardy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski are just a few names that highlight the impact of the boots.
Umbro Introduce The Speed Focused “Velocita”
A brand more renowned for traditional style designs, Umbro took to speed this year as they reinvigorated their brand. The 5.8oz acceleration machine is intended to “bring some glory to your game” as you twist and turn away from defenders, leaving them in your wake as you bound forward and strike a flame laden ball into the upper V.
Beginning of “Messi Day”, 10/10
Going forward, adidas want 10/10 to be known as “Messi Day”, an annual date for the release of a super limited edition boot for Lionel Messi with just 100 pairs produced worldwide. The release marks the start of a new tradition of collector’s edition Messi boot launches, which will drop every October 10th. 89 of the 100 pairs will go on sale for one day only on October 10th, ten pairs of the Messi 10/10will be sent to the players recently named as the members of the adidas Backed by Messi campaign and the final pair will of course go to the man himself.
The First Ever Heat Activated Boot Released!
This final, limited edition installment of the Nike Hypervenom Phantom is labelled the Hypervenom Phantom Transform. Released in May, it features a heat activated upper that starts out with a more traditional looking shade of color. But, as you play and the game gets faster, a burnt layer of red glow starts to force its way onto the upper. Basically the more you play with intensity, the clearer the effect comes through!
Puma Continue Their Camo Quest
More camo style designs this year from Puma as they look to introduce and offer sneak peaks of new silhouettes without giving away the finite details. From the evoPOWER 1.2 to the evoSPEED SL, there were plenty of eye dazzling designs to entertain. This year was highlighted by the evoSPEED SL version that actually featured a 3D print graphic, with the pattern offering the most dynamic design on any boot we have seen to date!
Goodbye Warrior, Hello New Balance
The long awaited arrival of New Balance football commenced in July, as the American brand took over from Warrior. There is a huge difference between the marketing and construction of the boots now on offer, with NB taken a much more subtle approach. Gone is the crazy tech talk, with terms like “Glory Hole” and “High Roller Zone” being retired. Instead, NB has focused on simpler designs that establish a bond between more expected norms and player performance. That is the theory anyway. Unfortunately, fan feedback has been very mixed, with a lot of negative comments. The Furon earns worst release of the year honors! Here is hoping the next generation brings a better reaction.
Ronaldo Wins Ballon d’Or, Gets Rare Gold Superfly
Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned Worlds Best Player in January, and in quick response Nike introduced us to this killer pair of custom boots. The Mercurial CR7 Rare Gold was designed specifically for Ronaldo and were given to him after he was awarded his third Ballon d’Or. Gold was added as a tribute to Ronaldo’s work ethic. And for the first time in Nike history, micro-diamonds have been applied by hand to the CR7 logo of the boot. Definitely a design befitting the World’s ‘best’!
The CR7 Story Told Through Boots
Nike continued to celebrate their star man through 2015 with some nifty customized designs. There was the CR7 324K Gold and Quinhentos, as well as the beginning of Ronaldo’s life story told through boots, beginning with Savage Beauty. Given his incredible career to date, it only makes perfect sense that Nike would relive and chronicle the life of Cristiano Ronaldo. To do it through his boots adds an extra dynamic and a pure canvas to really capture what he is all about. Nike is chronicling Ronaldo’s past through a new series of seven Mercurial Superfly CR7 boots, unveiled one at a time over the next several seasons. Watch out for more to come in 2016.
adidas launched an entirely new type of boot especially for the small sided game with TKRZ! The ACE 16+ TKRZ is the first high performance shoe designed specifically for elite street style players. This is the shoe to master the tricks needed to boss the cage, and the shoe to invent new skills for others to copy. Visually, they are a jungle of design elements, with a revolutionary TKRZ CTRL/FRAME outsole and TKRZ SKIN upper that offers a truer touch and purer ball connection. There is an air of unpredictability about this, and that makes sense considering their core focus!
Mercurial Superfly BHM
What a release these boots were, for more than one reason. Not only are they one of the most spectacular boots of the year, but they also offer a more meaningful significance. The intent of the Mercurial Superfly BHM is to celebrate Black History Month. They are the type of boot that players will spend time looking at up close trying to understand what they represent, an ideal opportunity to highlight the need for universal acceptance within our culture. FC Schalke o4 midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was the soccer player and inspirational figure who wore them.
The adidas 99g Becomes Reality
It was a boot that adidas showcased over a year ago, and in 2015 they made it a reality by releasing 299 pairs. Just to put things into perspective, the 99g equals 3.5oz! We are talking super lightweight. Furthermore, the adizero 99g is the first product released under the umbrella of the adidas Soccer “Limited Collection”. Of course a release this light creates questions about durability and protection. Well, the eye-catching cleat, rigorously tested for tear strength and abrasions, falls within adidas’ adizero speed range and is aimed at enhancing player performance with raw speed and agility, while ensuring players are protected in an increasingly fast and competitive game.
Puma Go SUPER lightweight
Many will wonder why the Puma evoSPEED SL jumps ahead of the adidas 99g on this list. The answer why is simple; Puma released these boots with a warning that they were only intended to last more than 10 games. When fans saw the warning label, it became a feature headline that drew a lot of attention. Weight wise, they dropped in at an incredible 3.5oz. But for those that want something slightly more durable, there was also an SL leather version released. They weighed in at 5.5oz and didn’t come with the same warning.
I’m going to lay it out here, my choice for boot of the year goes to the Adidas Ace15+ Primeknit. Who would have thought that a boot made of Knit material would top a best of boots list! But performance wise, the Primeknit series has easily justified its position at the top of the 2015 list. They really are pure quality and about as comfortable a boot as you will ever wear. On feet, there is such a natural bliss about wearing the Primeknit material as it gently hugs your foot, creating a secure blanketed fit without being overbearing. Both the ACE15+ Primeknit and X15+ Primeknit employ a 3D vacuum skin that offers unbelievable grip and protects the upper in all weather conditions, without limiting the comfort and fit of the boot.
Adidas Drop Their Entire Line-up
Who could have envisioned Adidas disbanding their entire line-up of boots (minus the Gloro) for a new set of silos? The retirement of the Predator F50, 11Pro and Nitrocharge sent shock-waves right through the market this year, and there was an air of disbelief about the decision. From the very beginning (aka 3 years ago), adidas knew that the game was changing and they made the landmark decision to be a part of that change. That was the ambition and it is something they put extreme thought into. Through conversation with physios, managers and players at the elite level they discovered that the game was evolving and they needed to adapt. They still felt that certain aspects of the four silos (Predator, F50, Nitrocharge and 11Pro) were relevant but they wanted to take the key attributes of performance to the next level. With that, two player visions were put into action; X(ultimate agility) and Ace (playmaker). Added to that, a signature Messi boot has been released and there is the Gloro for those that want a more traditional option. What an extremely bold move for adidas that many thought would “break the brand”, yet they somehow survived 2015!! I always knew they would, as they are the leading sports brand in the world.