The COPA series is the epitome of adidas footballing cool. The under-the-radar hero with nothing to prove and stories to tell. Now rejuvenated as a modern-classic we talk to adidas Senior Product Manager, Gaetan Saint-Andre, who gives us the lowdown on the new-generation boot.

Gaetan, the Copa is one of the longest serving adidas boot series. Does that make it extra precious to work on?

Working on any adidas football boot is always special. They are all precious with their own character, DNA, history and performance benefits. But, the Copa is without doubt one of the most legendary football boots and is close to many players’ hearts, including mine. The Copa, along with the Predator, are two of the most iconic adidas football boots. It’s been an amazing journey for the team to both revolutionize the Predator and rejuvenate the Copa for SS18.


How do you look back on the history of the Copa series?

The Copa is one of our icons and we’re really proud of its history. It’s been around for decades and legendary footballers have created some iconic moments in them over the years. Many football boots have come and gone, whereas the Copa has stood the test of time, and in my opinion this speaks for itself. Football has progressed and evolved over time and so we wanted to ensure Copa remained relevant in today’s football environment. Authenticity to progression was the start point in achieving this, taking the classic elements and DNA of what made Copa so special and mixing this with modern day innovations to ensure it remains relevant now and in the future.

How would you describe the current role of the Copa?

The Copa 18 is built to be a modern day classic. We have engineered the Copa 18 on three key principles; the first one is premium comfort, the second is luxury fit, and the third is the unique leather touch. It’s built for the ‘modern purist’ consumer looking for leather touch with the latest technologies. Our aim with any new innovation or technology is to improve athlete’s performance. We can’t wait for players and consumers to experience our new Copa.

Why don't adidas' contracted players wear the Copa 18.1?

We already have three on-field silos – Predator, Nemeziz, and X – players for us act as the catalyst in which to reinforce our progressive and innovative stories. Copa is a classic, even if it’s a modern-classic, it’s still a classic. Copa is a grass-roots icon and it has a strong affiliation with both the young and the older traditional players. Its character and DNA hasn’t changed for decades and we believe that the Copa will remain as the go to boot for the modern purist.


Is there still a big demand for traditional boots?

Yes absolutely, the Copa Mundial, Kaiser, and World Cup are still in high demand. These are part of our classic range, which is aimed at the real traditionalist, our no nonsense old school grassroots footballer. We absolutely love this consumer and the classics range. They will continue to play an important role in our football strategy, and keeping them allows us to be more progressive with the Copa 18.

Therefore we built the Copa 18 for the ‘modern purist’, someone who is looking for something new and different. These consumers want leather, comfort, and class, all the key ingredients in our classics range. However they are looking for the latest and greatest in performance innovations that offer a newer and improved variation of function and fit. Therefore we have combined leather craftsmanship with new adidas football innovations. This gives the Copa 18 a unique twist and separates it from previous Copa’s. We will also come with more disruptive colorways, which again is more appealing to our modern day consumer.

Talk us through some of the key technologies on the Copa 18.1...

We have two main updates in terms of technologies; the first one is the sock construction where we’ve merged the upper and the tongue into one-piece for a more seamless sock like fit and improved foot lockdown. The second innovation is the new upper x-cage. The x-cage provides the premium K-leather upper with internal support without adding layers. This removes the need for stitching lines on the vamp which both improves comfort; allowing the leather to mold more naturally to your foot, and it also brings your foot closer to the ball, giving players a cleaner touch.


What was the testing phase like for the Copa 18.1?

Like any other performance product we produce at adidas we have a long and thorough testing procedure. In football we also do extra testing to make sure we cover all football related testing environments. We check every little detailing on the boot, and test all the individual materials and all the different prototypes we make during the creation process. This allows us to create best in class boots for our end consumer.

With the Copa we worked rigorously alongside players from all over Europe, United States, Asia; testing the fit, traction, feel and abrasion of the boot. We tested the Copa 18 in different environments and on different surfaces, as well as across different levels of football from local to pro players. We have an obsession here at adidas to always produce “the best for the athlete” and continue to follow the Adi Dassler standard “test, test and test again”.

So many new innovations are available to adidas right now. Was it ever tempting to make a laceless or Primeknit Copa?

We are certainly capable of bringing these technologies to our football boots. We have an amazing team of creative individuals, who constantly strive to deliver something new and innovative.  However we don't want to alienate our consumer, and we only innovate when it’s necessary for the shoe and the consumer. We want to stay true to the Copa’s DNA and take our consumers on an epic journey with us. Therefore when the time comes to innovate further and make drastic changes then we will do so. Currently we believe that the Copa is a modern classic and it doesn’t make sense to create a totally different look. It’s all about finding the right balance between authenticity and progression.


How much do you think the perception of a heritage boot has changed in the last 5-10 years?

Perception is based on the consumer, and over time consumers change, generations of people have different views, morals, outlook, taste’s etc. It is really fascinating and here at adidas we always strive to keep our finger on the pulse. It’s not just all about the product but the world in which consumers live in. As we all know our current 'world' is ever changing and people are faced with different challenges to the past generation. We believe however that our modern purist football consumers haven’t changed so much and still looks to the Copa to provide them with a premium leather football boot which radiates class. However of course this is always subject to possible change... we will see what the future brings.

We are confident we have the right blend of Heritage boots, from the real classics like the Copa Mundial, Kaiser and World cup (100% authentic) to the new Copa 18 a mix of authenticity & progression.

What does the future of the Copa series look like?

Now that would be telling! We are going to keep our cards close to our chest. However, what I can say is I think you’ll be surprised to see the future of Copa. We will continue on our amazing journey and we will possibly take the consumer into new realms. We have already started working on the next-generation and all I can say is that we’re confident that you’ll like it!

Pick up the adidas COPA 18.1 from