The Top 5 of the Decade!
This list does not include remakes or updates to boot 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.
5. adidas Predator adiPower
The adiPowers were a boot that is looked back on more fondly and happily than they were received when they were initially released in 2011. Part of this is due to the fact that the Powerswerves were still an inline boot almost two years previously. A massive upgrade over the previous generation of Predators, the much-maligned Predator X, the adiPowers featured a Sprint Frame soleplate that was styled similarly to the one found on the F50 adiZeros and a Taurus (calf) leather upper. The also still managed to include a Predator element in the forefoot, thought it was much reduced in size versus previous models. In terms of performance though, this Predator could easily be used on today’s pitches with no issues to speak of. Even almost 9 years on from release, they feel quite modern in design and feel. It’s a shame they never sold as well as they should because I think this is part of the reason adidas changed so drastically with the release of the Predator LZs. Still, hindsight is 20/20 and like they always say, you never know what you’ll miss until it’s gone.
4. Mizuno Rebula 3 Made in Japan
My boot of the year for 2019, the Rebula 3 is one of the best leather boots I have ever played in. Some might be able to accuse me of recency bias, and they might have a point, but the Rebula 3 is that good. A surprisingly aggressive soleplate, ridiculously soft leather upper, fantastic lock-down makes for an overall solid performer. This isn’t even mentioning the quality of this boot, which is out of this world. Mizuno is one of those brands that continues to constantly push to outdo itself and has created the high point for the Rebula series. After a few missteps, Mizuno can rightly claim to have the best modern leather boot on the market right now and everyone else will do well to take notes. It will be interesting to see what Mizuno comes up with next for this series, because this is a high bar they have set for themselves. If history is any guide, Mizuno will surpass themselves once again. If you get a chance, get a pair of these boots.
3. adidas F50 adiZero Leather 2010
Not only one of the best boots of the decade, but also one of the most important ones as well. Adidas changed the entire industry when these boots released before the 2010 World Cup. Everybody else had to look at what adidas was doing because these boots were revolutionary. While the synthetic version was quite a boot in its own right, the leather ones were the way to go. Similar to the concurrent Predator X, the adiZeros had a Taurus leather upper that was soft from the get-go and even compared well to kangaroo leather boots that were on the market at the time. The Sprint Frame soleplate made the boots super light and so much so that when holding the box, it was like there wasn’t any boots inside. The boots felt like a joy to play in and the triangle soleplate provided a lot of grip without causing you to feel stuck in the ground. I remember being so happy the first time I played in them, because it was like nothing I had ever worn before. Still one of the standards for leather speed boots in my opinion.
2. Mizuno Wave Ignitus I
The first Ignitus is personally my favourite power boot of all time. Mizuno somehow managed to make a boot that felt solid, responsive and aggressive soleplate, great leather upper, an excellent touch on the ball and the excellent Bio Control panels which gave you a good amount of punch. The Ignitus did all of this while still being one of the most comfortable boots ever made. It even had carbon fibre in the forefoot to make the boot more responsive and Mizuno’s Wave system gave added comfort to the heel of the boot and released pressure on the bottom of your feet. The unique stud layout worked on almost every surface, and while some people had issues of softer ground, I never had any issues. It was a boot that was made for everyone, almost no matter what kind of player they were, or their play style. An excellent boot that continued to be brilliant even with the launch of the Wave Ignitus II, which was an upgrade in a lot of ways. But it’s the first model that holds the most special place in my heart. Incredibly, it sold out almost completely when it first released in Japan. It made me sad that the series went the way it did, because I feel that Mizuno could still make an excellent leather power boot if they kept the series going in the direction set down by the first two models. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout to the Ignitus II KH editions, which is one of the few times that a brand has actually given us a boot with the same specifications as the one the pros wore, in this case Keisuke Honda. To this day, I am still trying to track down new pairs for myself and I would recommend that if you get the chance, grab a pair of these.
1. Mizuno Morelia Neo II Made in Japan
The first Morelia Neo proved that Mizuno could take anything the big boys do and do it better. Releasing, the quality and the softness of the kangaroo leather, while being one of the lightest boots on the market allowed Mizuno to be a stand-out brand in the market. The Morelia Neo IIs made a lot of tweaks to the series without changing what people loved about the originals when they were released in 2015. Mizuno changed the material and the way the studs were constructed so that the boots would be more durable on AG pitches. They also changed the heel to allow it to absorb more pressure and also tweaked the lining in the heel to have a bit more cushioning. The leather was somehow made even softer from out of the box and even the Wave lacing system was changed slightly so that the boots can provide more lockdown. The was all done under the Japanese idea of “Kaizen” which was popularlised in the 1960’s in Japan, mostly by Toyota, “kaizen” refers to idea to continuously improve your products. This is one of the philosophies that guides Mizuno as well. The Morelia Neo II is not only one of the best speed boots ever made, its one of the best leather boots, period. It is one of the easiest boots to recommend to anyone and like I mentioned previously with the Ignitus, it works for pretty much everyone. More than worthy of being my top boot of the decade. I also need to mention the Morelia Neo II Beta, which seems to take the Morelia Neo formula model and make it that much which better, which is crazy to think about. It would have more than likely topped this list if I got a pair. It is very exciting to think about what’s coming next from the Morelia Neo series because of the Betas. But the regular Morelia Neo IIs are fantastic in their own right and stand above every other boot released this past decade in my opinion. A winner of the highest regard.
Honourable mentions: Nike CTR360 Maestri II, Puma Evopower 1.3, Puma King Finale SL, adidas X 17+ Purespeed and RetroStar Classic
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.
Photo Credit: Kishispo/Kemari87