The “Oh no bby, what is you doing?” Award
Predator 19+ Mania ADV and Predator 19.1 Mania Adv
Released only the three days before the Mania remakes, these two limited edition Predators were not only expensive, but made little sense. They seemed to be made for a target audience that doesn’t exist and even now they still appear to available almost everywhere. It honestly made me seriously question if adidas was purposely trying to sabotage everyone’s nostalgia for the original Manias. The fact that they came so close to the excellent Predator remakes makes adidas’ decision to release these even more stupefying. A true head in the hands moment.
The Most Desirable Boot Award
Mizuno Morelia Neo II Beta
The regular Morelia Neo II has been out for some years now and is an excellent boot in its own right. The fact that Mizuno were able to take that successful formula and improve on it shows how Mizuno successfully try to constantly improve its products. The Morelia Neo II Beta is a fantastic pair of boots that feel incredible on feet and the introduction of woven materials as well as KaRVO only enhances the performance of the boots. It is still a boot I am trying to pick up at some point and it was so close to being my boot of the year. Since I didn’t get a chance to test it though, it wouldn’t feel right to do so. Still though, just based on trying it on and doing some small touches…what a boot.
The “Someone actually got paid to design this” Award
Puma Future 5.1
The designers of the Puma Future 5.1 looked as if to have been trying to win an award for ugliest boot. While the actual performance and feel of the boot means it seems like it is the best ever Future that boot has launched, the launch colourway is atrocious and the design itself makes me think of a slimmed down Ugg boot. It doesn’t look as bad in the low-cut variation and knowing Puma, there will be a blackout colourway at some point. However, it doesn’t make up for the fact that it disturbs me that someone got paid a lot of money to produce something that looks like an elementary school kid designed it.
Underrated Boot Award
This is kind of a spoiler since I haven’t finished my review of the Acros as of yet, but already it is my underrated boot of the year. It got released shortly before the Ultrezza, another fantastic boot Asics released this year, and around the same time as the DS Light X-Fly 4 which means that Acros got somewhat buried under the other boot launches from Asics. However, it’s a solid performer that I think didn’t get enough attention from almost anywhere. Asics took what worked with the previous DS Light X-Fly SL and improved the formula by adding the Acros Fit on the upper which helps provide a surprising amount of lockdown to the boot. The boot isn’t the best synthetic released this year, but its much better than many people might realise and worth a shot if you get a chance to get your hands on a pair.
Overrated Boot Award
Mercurial Vapor 13
Oh Nike. Someday you’ll figure out how to make a speed that performs and has some semblance of durability without destroying people’s feet. Certainly, it’s one of the best Vapors that has ever been made but Nike still feel the need to shoot themselves in the foot by seemingly skipping long-term testing. I can’t count how many photos I’ve seen of the boots coming apart. Even the AG-Pro model suffers from durability issues. Add that to the facts that there are still blister issues, in spite of people praising it as the most comfortable Vapor ever, as well as the price being astronomical leads me to think that these boots are overhyped and not criticized seriously enough.
The “Naked Capitalist Pandering” Award
Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Single’s Day Edition
It had to be this boot. Nike has been trying to grow in the Chinese market for years and by releasing a colourway of the Vapor specifically for Chinese Single’s Day, shows how naked that ambition is. I don’t have a problem with companies changing stuff or making products for other markets because diversity is good. The issue with this boot is that it’s so blatant what its made for, its unnerving. I’m sure Nike’s market research arm probably did a lot of testing before launching this but then it’s a bit much. Still, that’s late-stage capitalism for you.
The “What are we supposed to be designing?” Award
Nike Tiempo Legend 8
A truly confounding boot. By all measures the boot is a great performer and is like other Legend released before it, very popular. Still, based on reviews and testimonies from friends, it’s as if Nike forgot that they are supposed to be making a modern leather boot. Adding the Quad-Fit system that is found on the PhantomVSN to the Legend makes sense in terms of lockdown and (supposed) added performance but feels redundant since again, its already found on the PhantomVSN. It makes me think that not only does Nike not have a Scooby Doo (clue), that they don’t know how have to lockdown on a boot without resorting to knit or copying other brands (Quad-Fit tunnel and the Rebula 2 V1’s monosock construction is almost the same thing). Nike still seems so desperate to change the Legend to a full synthetic they’ve forgotten what a Legend is supposed to be.
Best Remake Award
Adidas Predator Mania
There could only be one, honestly. The Mania is rightly held is such high regard as one of the best Predators better and adidas launching a remake with a one-to-one upper is a guaranteed success. It fits like a Mania, feels like a Mania performs like the originals, with some arguments saying it’s even better than the originals. Like the Mizuno Wave Cup Legends from last year, it perfectly encapsulates what a remake should be. That is, updating the boot enough to perform in the modern game without losing the essence of the originals. There are a few things that could be better. The price point is ridiculous and unnecessary, as is the fact that they are so limited that they are perfect for re-sellers and people who try to flip boots, which is a bad thing. Despite this, the Mania remakes are the best remakes adidas have ever released and easily the best remakes of the year.
Worst Remake Award
Adidas X 506+ Tunit
Which makes this release that much worse. The Tunit was a much-maligned release that took the previous two models’ success and murdered it. This remake has little nostalgia factor and is easily one of the worst regarded F50 models that has ever been released. It’s almost insulting considering how many other F50 models are still highly sought after in the collector’s market and hold a lot of good memories in people’s minds and yet this was still remade. It befuddles me that adidas decided to remake these F50s ahead of pretty much every other one that was released. I can’t even think of one stand-out moment that happened with a player wearing these boots and in this colourway. What’s worse is that the remake seems to have barely improved on anything from the original. Gone is the whole point of the original release, the namesake Tunit system and in its place is a regular X soleplate and a barely improved upper which was disliked even in its original form. Hang your heads in shame adidas.
Pointless Boot Award
Puma Future 19.1
Sometimes I don’t where to begin with Puma. The have come up with an excellent, yet simple piece of tech in the NetFit system but then they attached it to a boot that is replaced almost every six months. This issue released a nadir this year when Puma launched the Future 19.1 at the beginning of the summer. It differed little from the previous generation aside from the upper changing slightly and what made it even worse is that is was replaced by the 5.1 within 5 months of release. As I had mentioned in another post previously, it speaks of a brand that has no confidence in their products. What’s worse is the fact that they released so many colourways of the 19.1 in that short span of time that they have created massive glut in the market. It is the absolute perfect example of the market being flooded with pointless products. Do better next year, Puma.
Boot of the Year
Mizuno Rebula 3 Made in Japan (MiJ)
It could only ever be these. The Rebula is the standout performer of the year. Mizuno took what the learned from the issues with the Rebula 2s and absolutely smashed it with the Rebula 3s. The soleplate is better because it’s more responsive and is surprisingly aggressive considering its all rounded stud layout. The leather the easily the best quality on the market and the CT Frame that is inserted into the leather works brilliantly without ever getting in the way. The boot is a genuine joy to play and never forces you to adjust while using it. It all feels so natural and the break-in time is ridiculously short. It works on almost every surface but the softest of pitches and the lockdown is one of the best in the business. It’s a boot that tells everyone that leather boots are here to stay, and Mizuno are the masters of leathercraft. Mizuno are once again the deserved emperor of leather boots and showed us that with the Rebula 3 MiJ, everyone else are pretenders to the throne. An easy pick and fully deserving of my Boot of the Year Award. Go read the review here if you haven’t!
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