This list does not include remakes or updates to boots that released before the decade began. So boots like the Wave Cup Legend and the Morelia don’t qualify for this list, same for the recent Mania remakes. If they did, the Wave Cup Legend and Morelia MiJ would be number 1 and 2, respectively.
The past ten years have probably been the most consequential decade in the history of football boots. We have seen many technologies be released, implemented, copied and killed off more times than we have realise. In the past decade we have also witnessed boots go from pieces of equipment to collector’s items and the rise of boot collectors, influencers and reviewers have changed the market completely. Since we are at the tail end of the decade, I figured I would make a list of my top 10 boots of the decade.
10. Nike Mercurial Vapor X
Although many people would probably expect the Mercurial Vapor 8 or 9 to make this list, the best Mercurial this past decade, while noting I haven’t tested the Vapor 13, is the Mercurial Vapor X. The Vapor X was a solid performer and was the high point of the synthetic Vapors that Nike has released. The upper was supple for a synthetic and had a nice, slightly rough texturing to upper that allowed you to have a good touch, no matter the conditions. The soleplate seems simple but works on almost every surface, though admittedly the studs were a bit short to be used on very soft pitches. The fit was good as well, providing that your foot wasn’t on the wider side. It’s also one of the durable Vapors Nike have launched. A great speed boot.
9. Asics DS Light X-Fly
Following the release of the Mizuno Morelia Neo, Asics sought to strike back against their domestic rivals with the launch of the DS Light X-Fly in 2013. Featuring a similar concept to the Neos, the X-Flys had a thicker leather than the Neos and a thicker heel liner. The boot was a big success for Asics with the X-Flys continuing even to today. The original models had an excellent fit with almost no break in time to speak of. The leather was very plush, and the boots were solid performers. Interestingly, in Japan the X-Flys were made in Japan but for the international release they were made in Vietnam. They weren’t the most responsive of boots, but they were so comfortable that it almost didn’t matter. They were also durable enough to the point that I have a teammate rocking a pair of the originals 6 years on. A seriously underrated pair of boots and worthy of being on this list.
8. adidas F50 adiZero 2014
Technically released towards the end of 2013 with the Samba pack, this version of the F50 seemed to go back towards the spirit of the original adiZeros. This F50 had a mixture of Hybridtouch in the forefoot with the heel being made of Speedfoil. It stands out in many people’s minds of one of the best F50s of all time and for good reason. The Hybridtouch upper was pliable was very easy to break in as well as having just a little bit of texture to provide a bit of grip on the ball. The performance of the boot was excellent, and the soleplate is one of my favourites that adidas has produced. It worked excellently on firm and artificial ground with no issues to speak of. I never felt any dragging while playing on AG in these. Add that to fact that they even came in a leather variation, which was my preference, and you have one of the best speed boots ever made.
7. adidas adiPure IV SL 2014
In 2014, adidas launched the fourth generation of the adiPure series. An excellent boot in its own right, it got blown away when adidas launched the first ever superlight version of the adiPure the following month. The adiPure SL took the soleplate from the previous few generations of the F50 adiZeros and combined that to a very soft kangaroo leather upper to make a brilliant pair of football boots. The upper was ridiculously soft from the first time you wore them and seemed to mold to your foot almost instantly. A stronger heel counter, along with the laces gave you a surprisingly locked-in sensation that one would normally expect from a pair of speed boots, rather than a boot with an all leather upper. It is one of the most premium boots that any of the big three have ever produced. Another great thing about the boots was the in spite of the fact that they had a very soft upper, I never encountered any durability problems with mine. A boot that I would love to get a hold of once again.
6. Nike Hypervenom Phantom I
The original Hypervenom Phantom was a boot that set itself apart from everything else on the market. When the boot released in 2013, it set a new standard for boots with synthetic uppers. The upper was a little stiff to begin with but became super soft after only a few wears. Featuring an upper that was slightly waxy to the touch, the feel on the ball was excellent and surprising since it had a barefoot sensation without feeling there was nothing to the upper at all. The thing that is stopping this boot from being higher is the fact the upper tended to overstretch over time and for an agility boot, I never felt properly locked in. Many of these problems were solved with the “running change” with the Phantom 2.5s, they never felt as good as the original Phantoms. It’s a boot that Nike would do well to revisit at some point, or at very least bring back that excellent NikeSkin upper.
What are your top 10 boots of the decade? Let me know and let me know what you think about my picks. Please share this with your friends and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned for part 2!