For all the flack 2016 got, it was pretty solid year for soccer boots. From wildly progressive tech, to the re-imagining of classics, from the super-limited, to milestone/commemorative cleats that resemble pieces of art more than athletic wear, soccer boots are reaching new levels of culture never seen before. More than ever the beautiful game is blending with outside forces and worlds which naturally, reflect in the products.
Unlike an off-pitch streetwear kit, or soccer inspired sneaker, the soccer boot still needs to perform on the pitch. All the more reason to praise a quality design and aesthetic within the confines of function. It is what that in mind that we take a look at our favorite boots of 2016.
1. Nike Mercurial Superfly “Vitorias”
Created for Cristiano Ronaldo, The Nike Mercurial Superfly “Vitorias” was a commemorative masterpiece. The gorgeous boots honored CR7’s stellar year in which he captured a fourth Ballon d’Or, third UCL title and his first European title with Portugal. The boots apply look like a trophy but maintain the quality and lightweight tech the silo was built upon. The boots are dressed in a pristine pure platinum upper and light blue tint that fades from heel to toe. The metallic gold plated sole-plate is a nod to the trophies Ronaldo has accumulated and the words “Vitorias” (Portuguese for victory) grace the sole cup with a number for 777 pairs that were created.
2. adidas Ace 16 + Purecontrol custom “Viper Pack”
The Ace 16 + Purecontrol was already a game changer boasting a laceless tech fit design, primeknit upper and Purecut collar. But these custom “Viper Pack” boots created for Paul Pogba to rock in the Manchester derby, were next level. Evoking the venom and power of the French starlet’s game, these bad-boys featured a menacing grey/black snake skin upper with minimal red accents on the collar and heel tabs, that latter laced with the words “Pogback.”
3. Puma King “Made in Italy”
There’s very few silos that can be mentioned in the pantheon of eternal soccer boots with the Puma King. In 2016 the classic silo received an elegant resurrection worthy of it’s 48 year history. Tasking Italian shoe makers to fashion the boot, the quality of the Puma King “Made in Italy” is obvious and second to none. Boasting high-grade leather, intricate hand-stitching on a timeless silhouette, the Puma King “Made in Italy” evoked nostalgia and craftsmanship rarely seen in modern times.
4. Nike Tiempo Legend “Pirlo”
The Tiempo is Nike Soccer’s foundation in which it built its empire. Of all the greats that have worn the silo in its various iterations, you could argue that Andrea Pirlo encompasses the subtle quality of the boot more than anyone. Created in the latest Tiempo silo, the “Pirlo” was a fitting nod to the Italian maestro and his wine making roots. The trade mark k-leather upper is dipped in a deep burgundy similar to that of a Merlot, while the sole inserts are dressed in cork and feature Pirlo’s elegant logo. Four gold stars sit on the heel counter and plate, one for each of Italy’s World Cup titles. The boots even come in wine box made of wood and stuffed with shavings for protection.
5. Nike Mercurial Superfly “EA Sports”
In honor of EA Sports Fifa’s 20 year history, the Mercurial Superfly “EA Sports” were a jaw-dropping and colorful, limited release. Bright hues of orange, pink, and green were built into 16-bit digital print that faded into an a crisp HD design, a stellar nod to the progression in graphics of the games timeline. A wild iridescent, metallic covered the sole-plate while an EA Sports logo and numbering out of 1500 detailed the heel counter. An equally stunning silver, iridescent foil and digital embossing covered the shoe box which the shoes came in.
6. Neymar X Jordan Hypervenom II
A milestone, the Neymar X Jordan Hypervenom II marked Jordan Brand’s first foot-steps into the beautiful game. There’s little argument that Neymar is a perfect poster boy for the historic boots, but so too is the Hypervenom silo. The mustang fighter jet markings seen on the Jordan 5’s are a classic trademark and dress perfectly on the boot. The cement print evokes classic Jordan4 DNA as does the black and grey colorway. A Jumpman logo graces the heel cup and and embroidered number 23 sits on the right while Neymars number 10 sits on the left.
7. adidas Glitch
The glitch makes this list because it is arguably the biggest game changer of the year. Less a boot and more a concept, the Glitch was fashioned with unparalleled customization in mind. Players could change the entire make up of their boots on the fly via unique, interchangeable skins and an inner boot. Adding further progressive context, the boots/skins were not release via standard retailers or online vessels but rather an app. Access to the app is only available through word of mouth from hand selected soccer athletes chosen by adidas.
8. Puma evoTouch “Derby Fever” Santi Carzorla Edition
Not to be outdone by the big two in soccer brands, Puma joined the commemorative soiree withe their “Derby Fever” releases. Two separate iterations were created for Puma athletes Antoine Griezman and Santi Carzorla leading up to their respect Derby clashes, we favored theblatter to make the list. Dropping in a an Arsenal inspired colorway, with a commemorative nod to the North London Derby on the toe box and unique “Derby Fever” logo on the lateral side of the boots, the evoTouch proved a worthy canvas. As expected the tech remained featuring a buttery K-leather with evoKnit sock for unmatched touch.
9. New Balance Visaro “Signal Edition”
Inspired by the coloration of the poisonous dart frog, the Visaro “Signal Edition” showed some shocking endeavor from New Balance. The royal blue and black frog-skin print was a bold, refreshing and entirely unique aesthetic. As with all of the boots on this list the Visaro “Signal Edition” maintained the tech that makes it what many consider to be New Balance’s best Silo, albeit in limited quantities.
10. Copa 17 “Crowning Glory”
The re-imagining of one of the greatest soccer boots of all time was a massive undertaking. Luckily adidas succeeded in the execution by resurrecting the heart and structure of the beloved Copa Mundial. The Copa 17 employed modern tech with a flexible neoprene tongue along with a classic, k-leather upper, reinforced heel cup and sole-plate for an unrivaled touch in durability. While it was only the 2nd colorway for the Copa, the “Crowning Glory” was a gorgeous touch that paid homage to the great players that have donned the legendary boot over the decades.
11. Nike Magista II “Floodlights Pack”
After a two year run the Magista received an innovative upgrade fitting of the revolutionary silo. Taking inspiration from the pruning of hands, an evolutionary trait that allows humans to grip under wet conditions. The Magista II was a work in sensory amplification. Made of varying peaks fashioned from flyknit, the higher peaks are strategically placed in high touch zones, which are also marked by different coloration. The “Floodlights” Magista II features a vibrantly rich aqua with a volt swoosh and accents that had us salivating.