Christmas is now done and dusted and attentions turn towards the new year. Before we head into 2019 we're taking our annual look back to select our top 20 boots of 2018. Thanks in part to the World Cup there's been some absolute belters released this year, and whittling them down has been no easy task. Tin hat firmly on. Happy New Year.

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20: Mizuno Wave Cup Legend

Bringing a whole heap of early millennium nostalgia to the front of the list, we're kicking things off with the Mizuno Wave Cup Legend. A faithful recreation of the boot that Brazilian playmaker and all round don, Rivaldo wore at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. A worthy inclusion to get things going.


19: Nike Mercurial Superfly CR7 Chapter 6 "Edição Especial” 

The "Edição Especial", which translates to Special Edition, was exactly that. With only 155 pairs produced, they featured a rare alternate colourway of Ronaldo's Chapter 6 boot. It was released to celebrate the fact that in 154 games for his country at the time of dropping, Ronaldo had netted more goals than any European player in history. He wore one pair in Portugal's Last 16 defeat against Uruguay, leaving the remaining 154 pairs available as one of the most restricted and desired releases of 2018. 


18: Nike EA Sports x PhantomVSN

If we're being totally honest, the 2017 Nike EA Sports cross over was a bit underwhelming, hence the reason it didn't even make the 2017 top 20. So it's a welcome return to form for this collaboration in its third iteration, with the PhantomVSN getting the digital treatment this year. The links with the gaming world were stronger than the previous year, with an upper that related to console controllers.

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17: PUMA Future 2.1 "Glory Pack"

PUMA' have added some serious strength to their squad in 2018, and with designs like this it's easy to see why. The final boot drop of 2018 was well worth the wait as the brand released one of the most stunning colourways of the year. PUMA should charge an admission free just to look at the "Glory Pack" edition of the Future 2.1.


16: adidas World Cup Glitch Skins

Dropping in the midst of the World Cup, adidas gave three of their stars signature Glitch skins to wear, with each skin designed to reflect the characteristics and personalities of the players. But it was Man City's marauding French left back, Benjamin Mendy, who received the standout offering. ‘The Shark’, as it was titled, featured a dramatic graphic design of a shark’s open mouth on the skin.

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15: Nike Hypervenom III "Gold"

Following on from his World Cup heroics for England, Nike rewarded Harry Kane with a special pair of Hypervenoms, complete with gold paint job. But it was the little details that caught our eye with this release; the St Georges Cross on the heel, the Three Lions on the instep, the "Lane, Lion, Leader" messaging on the insole. All nice touches in what was a fitting tribute to the 2018 World Cup's Golden Boot Winner.

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14: Nike Mercurial Heritage Collection

Paying tribute to 20 years of the Mercurial, the Nike Heritage Collection took the Mercurial aesthetics from each previous World Cup, from 2014 all the way back to 1998, and mirrored them onto the new-gen Mercurial. The pick of the bunch had to be the '98 R9 though; taking that original colourway and throwing it all over the new-generation Mercurial Superfly and Vapor was a sure-fire way to deliver fire.


13: Nike BHM Mercurial Vapor XI

Launching with a message as strong as its design, the Black History Month Mercurial Vapor dropped in January to celebrate Black athletes and their achievements within sport. The upper featured different coloured line graphics on a black canvas to represent the roots of the different communities coming together. The word 'EQUALITY' was plastered on the sock-liner of the boot, and the design was finished off with shimmering gold Swooshes, and a matching BHM logo on the heel. Nice.

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12: Nike Tiempo Legend VII 10R

How's the Tiempo Legend VII 10R not in the top 10? Still a debate that rages on in the office this, but when you see the class ahead, it goes someway to explaining it. Perhaps the point that it's the second re-release of the timeless classic that was the 2005 original marks it down somewhat, but the gold detailing along with the R10 branding still make this 1000 boot release a thing of beauty. 


11: Nike 20th Anniversary "What the Mercurial?"

Whilst the first edition of the "What the Mercurial?" from 2016 paid tribute to the aesthetic colourways of previous Mercurial designs, the 2018 drop went deeper by exploring the materials of Mercurial dating back to 1998. Cramming 20 years of Mercurial into one boot, this year's "What the Mercurial?" was released in limited numbers – 1998 to be precise – adding yet another level of desirability to the monochromatic masterpiece.


10: Nike Mercurial Vapor XII "Touch of Gold"

The "Touch of Gold" was a stunning boot that was presented to Luka Modric to celebrate his Ballon d'Or triumph. Almost entirely silver, the eponymous touch of gold outlines the iridescent Swoosh that ran down each side of the boot. The finishing touch was a fingerprint design that covered the whole boot and that also appeared in a small panel on the heel.


9: adidas Predator Accelerator "Electricity"

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of the most heralded Predator boots of all time, the limited edition "Electricity" just shades the OG "Black/White/Red" launch colourway. This was as close to reissue perfection as you're going to get. The exact same upper from the original with its k-leather touch and rubber fins, it was even colour matched from the 1999 edition too. Just take our money adidas, take it all.


8: adidas X 18+"Energy Mode"

Throwing down some serious F50 vibes, this was the first time that the X went laceless, joining the already string-free Predator and Nemeziz. Arriving just in time for the World Cup as part of the "Energy Mode" pack, it featured a minimal and lightweight construction wrapped up in a striking blue and yellow combo for some seriously strong innovative style.


7: Nike Mercurial Superfly GS 360

With 2018 pairs released globally the 2018 Mercurial Superfly 360 Green Speed took the concept of the 2012 OG, worn by Neymar at the Olympics, and brought it into the modern day, this time on the feet of Neymar's PSG team mate, Kylian Mbappe. The boots and their packaging were once again made from 100% recycled materials and each pair was individually numbered on the heel. Message aside, they're visually stunning.


6: Nike Kim Jones x Mercurial Superfly 360

Nike's 2018 collaboration game kicked off with this stunner. Having spent a large amount of his time in Kenya and Botswana growing up, Louis Vuitton Artistic Director Kim Jones took inspiration from the animal kingdom, and combining the fast nature of the Mercurial with the aesthetic of the fastest mammal on the planet made a lot of sense for him.

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5. Nike Mercurial Vapor XII PSG x Jordan

Collabs don't come much bigger than the cross-sport, cross-brand crossover that was the PSG x Jordan collection. Bringing the worlds of football, basketball and lifestyle even closer together it gave us the Mercurial Vapor, wrapped in Jordan logos on a black upper which was created to reflect under the floodlights, along with chrome red soleplates. A landmark moment.


4: adidas Predator 18+ "Spectral Mode"

The second adidas pack of the 2018/19 season was headlined by the most statement colourway of the year on the Predator 18+. The "Spectral Mode" collection saw all adidas Predator players slip into the pink Predator from September to December – a colourway that took confidence and ability to pull them off. There was a time when pink was a novelty, but this drop looked comfortably at home on the grass.


3: Nike OFF-WHITE x Mercurial Vapor XII 

Nike's second big move of the year to bring high-fashion closer to their on-pitch aesthetic saw a collaboration with Virgil Abloh. The boots featured a vibrant orange upper with OFF-WHITE branding, text and circular graphics throughout that represented the optimal place to strike the ball. OFF-WHITE's signature industrial-style labelling featured in the form of “KNIT” and "LOGO" on the lateral side of each, as well as Nike's own "LIMITED EDITION" labelling featuring beneath the tongue. Easily the most hyped boot of 2018, and an exclusive colourway would have seen it bag top spot.


2: adidas COPA 19+

Revolution, evolution, call it whatever you want, but the COPA 19+ was huge. With the more recent modern takes on the COPA falling flat with no on-pitch representation, the COPA 19 had to do something spectacular, it had to be something spectacular. And the Three Stripes nailed it. With Paulo Dybala facing up the launch, it arrived on a wave of mystique, that delivered on so many levels. Biggest and fastest grower of 2018, for sure.


1: Nike PhantomVSN "Gold"

Nike's newest silo exploded on to the scene looking all flash and new, with three impressive colourways available. But then they went and dropped this limited edition take on us in August. The PhantomVSN Gold hit that sweet spot of innovation, new generation and limited edition. That ticks all the boxes for us. Take a bow.

So there you have it, rate and slate accordingly. Wanna see how it compares with the 2017 list? This way please.