Creative Soccer Culture

SoccerBible's Top 20 Boots Of 2021

Despite Covid continually blighting our attempts to return to normality, 2021 has actually been ridiculously good for new boot releases, serving up a smorgasbord of next generation upgrades alongside special editions and retro-infused classics returning for a second stint. Here we do our best to pick out the Top 20.

It’s been a tough year for brands to contend with, what with factory closures and supply chain issues. But thankfully that hasn’t stopped some absolutely superb releases from heading our way this year, with adidas, in particular, catching a lot of attention for the regular raids of their extensive archive. Those retro vibes have been joined by some signature edition style for several of the top athletes in the game, upgrades that constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible in boot design, and some special edition colourways that catch the right balance, as the brands battle it out to be the best. And we've tried to pick out just 20 from the year. Well, we did our best, so here goes…

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20. adidas adizero Prime X Speedflow

Paying homage to the world of speed, specifically in the running world, adidas revealed the adizero Prime X Speedflow, an exclusive new colourway inspired by the groundbreaking running shoe of the same name. The X Speedflow was the perfect canvas for the crossing of these two worlds, captured with this special edition colourway.

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19. adidas Stella McCartney x Pogba Predator Freak

Couldn't really not have the first-ever vegan boot on the list, could we? The outlandish design may not be everyone's cuppa, but for what the boot represents, it deserves its spot.

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18. New Balance 'First Edition' Tekela v3

New Balance introduced the next generation of its underrated Tekela silo by stripping away any branding, leaving a stealthy and special first edition. Nice way of drawing attention to the boot itself and not the brand, and a novel approach we'd happily see more of.


17. Nike Mercurial Superfly CR7 'Spark Positivity'

Any CR7 signature is always going to get a look in for a best boots list, and the 'Spark Positivity', with its outrageous lightning bolt aesthetics, is certainly no exception. Ronaldo through and through, this.

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16. adidas X Speedflow Messi 'El Retorno'

Where one goes, the other follows. The adidas X Speedflow 'El Retorno' marked Messi's departure from the Nemeziz line and his return to adidas's speed franchise, all wrapped up in a look that nodded to the F30 boot he wore for that goal against Getafe in the Copa Del Rey in 2007.

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15. Nike 1971

Marked down only because of the fact that this is not a boot you'd ever want to play in, the 1971 saw Nike going right back to the beginning, faithfully recreating the first-ever item to carry the Swoosh, back when the brand was Blue Ribbon Sports. A mantlepiece boot if ever there were one.

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14. adidas F50 X Ghosted Prime

An F50 rerelease was always going to have to feature. The 'UCL Pack' saw it paired with a rerelease of the Predator Pulse that has only missed out because of later releases, of which you'll see more in due time...

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13. PUMA King Dassler

Absolute classic, this. Pristine white K-leather upper, that fold-over tongue, those stitch lines in the vamp, all to honour the legacy of the brand’s creator. With only 100 pairs released, this was limited edition luxury.


12. adidas COPA Sense 'Superlative'

Technically part of the 'Superlative Pack', adidas launched the wavy next generation COPA Sense later to ensure it got all of the attention that it rightly deserved. Arriving in a traditional and silky black upper with a popping gold soleplate, the COPA Sense boasted three key upgrades to enhance feel and touch for players: SensePods, TouchPods and SoftStuds. Plus it looks super-sleek, which never hurts.

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11. Nike Mercurial Superfly VII 'Mbappe Chosen 2'

Nike's first moves of the new year saw the Swoosh bringing together two of its biggest star athletes in Kylian Mbappe and LeBron James. The 'Chosen 2' Mercurial Superfly VII came complete with combined branding from both stars, as well as that extra special double Swoosh. Crossing cultures for some big moves that kicked off the year.

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10. PUMA Super Tech Future Z

PUMA took focus on the standout features of its current roster, elevating their key innovations for what was the Super Tech pack. And that's where we got the first laceless Future Z, a revolutionary tweak to the existing silo, pushing the boundaries of what the boot could be.

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9. adidas EQT Predator Freak

Celebrating 30 years of EQT in style, adidas paid homage to the iconic OG colourway, combining it with its most iconic franchise; that’s the best technology of adidas Football today in the Predator Freak, wrapped up in the colours that represent one of adidas’s most defining gear shifts. Bringing back some retro vibes on a current silo for a top ten finish.

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8. Mizuno Morelia Ultra Light MIJ "Gold"

Mizuno boots really are under-appreciated gems. And if one boot highlighted this fact, it was the Morelia Ultra Light MIJ "Gold". The Japanese brand took their iconic Morelia silo, gave it an ultra light rework, and then, to top all that off, they wrapped it in a luxurious gold paint job. Classy just doesn’t do this justice…

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7. Nike Mercurial 'Safari'

Bringing some special edition flow to what was the latest Mercurial models, Nike launched the Superfly 8 and Vapor 14 ‘Safari’, updating the iconic print for a modern look, and what a way to do it. 

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6. Nike Phantom GT x Skepta

The first in a line of special colourways for the Nike Phantom GT, this one saw rapper Skepta putting his own unique stamp on the design for his first official foray into the world of football. It also marked the the first time that Nike have collaborated with a music artist on a performance football boot, doing so in some style. That chrome soleplate, right?

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5. adidas 'Legends Pack' adiPure

Overshadowed only by the fact that it dropped alongside the Predator Pulse re-release in the 'Legends Pack', the adipure came back into our lives with that sumptuous leather once again just making us want to wear these around the house like a pair of slippers. Comfort captured in a single image of a boot.

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4. Nike Mercurial Superfly 8 'Mbappe Flames'

Mbappé's second signature look on the list came with flame graphics leaping up the side, representing the Frenchman's searing pace. Not often you get a purple boot, but this just ticks all the right boxes for us: brave, bold and brilliant.

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3. adidas 'Legends Pack' Predator Pulse

Not much in the world of boots more appealing than a throwback Predator. Could have just as easily had the UCL Pack Predator Pulse, but we opted for the 'Legends Pack', simply for the combination of black with gold. Just so damn good.

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2. Nike Mercurial 'Dragonfly'

Launching the next generation of Mercurial in some style, Nike dropped the 'Dragonfly' on us way back in January. The psychedelic “White/Metallic Silver/Dark Raisin” colourway, that’s inspired by a computer motherboard, featured a specially numbered design that called out each of the boot’s seven key components. Helluva way to introduce all the upgrades...

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1. adidas 'Eternal Class' Predator Accelerator

Take a seat and admire this monochrome masterpiece. The Accelerator is quite simply one of the most iconic Predator silhouettes of all time, and silhouette is the most apt word in that sentence as adidas opened the archives once more for a delicacy in the dark, switching off the lights on the clean white of the first instalment of the 'Eternal Class' pack. Doesn't get much better than this.

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Daniel Jones

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