Useful or useless
For the longest time, one of the deciding factors when it came to buying a boot was the weight. This became even more prevalent from the 2000s to the early 2010s. I cannot even count the amount of times in my previous job that I would have a customer refuse to try on a boot if they felt it was too heavy. This is one of the reasons that speed boots have been so popular for some time now, since they always have tended to be quite light. However, many boots these days tend to be on the lighter side, which makes me wonder whether weight even matters anymore.
Of course, no-one wants a boot that feels heavy or clunky. The modern design around many boots often prevents this feeling from happening. At the same time, its interesting to see people call full leather boots clunky or heavy, even if they are lighter than their synthetic counterparts. It is because of a subconscious idea that leather boots can’t be lighter than synthetics because of the perception around some leather boots being old-fashioned and therefore heavier.
Many boot otakus are aware that this isn’t true, but at the same time, it can be hard to shake this misconception. There’s a simple reason for this, and it is because the brands themselves that have been driving this point for around the past 20 years. The brands were the ones who made the obsession with weight seem like such an important thing. This idea peaked through the release of the first F50 adiZero before the 2010 World Cup. There were certainly boots that were lighter that released after the fact and the idea that weight was paramount didn’t disappear overnight, but it slowly changed through time.
This was first obvious because the successors to the original adiZero gradually began picking up more weight as time went on. At first, people were upset that new versions of the adiZero were not as light as the original, but after a couple of new releases, it didn’t seem to be as much of an issue. The boots were light enough as it was. What slowly replaced this was the idea that performance was the king, rather than being the lightest. This was partly because at the time Nike and Puma couldn’t compete with boots being so light, so they switched their focus from talking about weight to talking about performance.
The thing is, I would argue that weight wasn’t that important all along. Many of the most popular releases of the past 20 years weren’t often the lightest boots in their category. The Predator is an obvious example of this. I think people tend to forget that even the CTR 360s Maestris were almost the same weight that Predators were. Even boots like the Vapor IIIs and IVs weren’t the lightest speed boots at the time, in spite of what Nike may have said.
We all got sold this idea that weight was the important thing when in fact in never mattered in the first place. It was all done to sell us product that might not fit us. What brands and customers gradually came to realise, consciously or not, is that boots can only be so light before they start effecting things like performance and structural integrity. A great example of this is the Predator series. The adiPower Predator that was released in 2011 was a great boot and quite light but compare that to the fact that only 3 years later the Predator Instinct was one of the heaviest of the “modern” boots on the market. Performance and durability were in the ascendancy.
Which brings us to today. Many boots on the market these days sit around the same weight range, around 250 grams and under. There are a few exceptions to this, but the average weight of boots available all sit around the same weight class. To re-iterate my earlier point, I’m not sure any of this matters because in my opinion, when a boot fits right, it subconsciously feels lighter. I had mentioned in another article that I had several customers who described the Predator Instinct described as “light” to them, and that came mostly down to how well the boots fit their feet.
Many of the companies on the market tend to focus more on performance and fit than they did in the past. It is telling that performance still tends to be thing that is talked about the most, because like the obsession with weight previously, it is something to distract people from the thing that is the most important when wearing a boot, the fit. Now, this may sound cynical, but I’d argue that the reason that companies have talked about weight and performance more than the fit itself over the past 20 years, is because they want to sell these boots to everyone that they can, even if the boots don’t fit them. Which, by the way, is an issue for more people than one might realise. Like issues I had with customers previously when it came to boots not being light enough is it became an issue that the boots weren’t packed with enough tech to be considered.
It makes me wonder if fit will become the most talked about thing when comes to boots without having to mention performance or weight.
What are ya’ll’s thoughts? As usual let me know in the comments and please make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!