Creative Soccer Culture

SoccerBible's Top 20 Boots of 2022

It’s that time of year again: Christmas is over, you’ve all eaten/drunk too much, and while you wait for aunt Mable to wake up after she passed out by the fire, you’ve got a bit of time to kill. Fear not, for we’ve got just the solution and it comes in the form of our annual round up of the best boots of the year.

Here with another tradition for this time of year, we’ve rounded up our top 20 boots of 2022. From the debut of a new generation of Mercurial that shook up the silo to plenty of signature style for the World Cup, as well as some striking re-releases and special editions, it’s been a tough year to thin out. But we’ve done our best to pick out our favourites, with offerings from Nike, adidas, PUMA, New Balance and Mizuno making up the final list. So grab another mince pie and mulled wine, put your feet up, and swoon over all the boots you wish had been in your stocking this year…

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20. PUMA Ultra 'First Mile'

Starting off with one that has sustainability at its heart, the 'First Mile' PUMA Ultra 1.3 was made entirely from recycled bottles diverted from landfill and oceans. Didn't hurt that the navy and gold tones looked very nice also...

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19. Nike Mercurial Superfly VIII 'Dream Speed 5'

The fifth instalment in the Dream Speed franchise dropped in February, and it was created to the exact specifications of Cristiano Ronaldo. One of the last looks for the old generation Mercurial.

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18. Mizuno Alpha

Mizuno's move into pure performance, and more specifically speed, came with the introduction of the all-new lightweight Alpha in November. And it's not just the fact that it's light that earns its place; there's plenty of other tech under the hood. Still early days for this one making a huge impact, but we're excited by the prospect and potential.

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17. adidas Predator Edge Swarovski .1 Low

OK, so for us the Predator Edge didn't quite hit the mark in the way that other Preds have in the past. But you can't fault the sheer bravado of sticking Swarovski crystals all over a pair of boots, can you? Doesn't get much more 'special edition' in our books.

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16. New Balance Furon v7 'First Edition Gold Pack'

Continuing a tradition of revealing a new generation in a stripped back aesthetic, New Balance launched the Furon v7 as part of the 'First Edition Gold' pack. Subtle tone-on-tone branding left attention on that shimmer of gold in the soleplate. Classy.

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15. Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Superfly IX 'CR7'

Cristiano Ronaldo may have had an odd end to the year, but his star power still warranted a signature edition for Qatar, and Nike duly obliged. Could possibly be his last ever signature style (though we've said that before!) but if it was then eye-catching look was a fitting way to sign off.

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14. PUMA Future Z 1.4 NJR 'Dream Chaser'

Another signature style for the World Cup came courtesy of PUMA, who presented Neymar with the Future Z 1.4 'Dream Chaser'. The design built off the regular 'Fearless Pack' look, introducing gold for their samba star.

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13. adidas X Speedform MS 'Prepare For Battle'

What feels like ages ago now, adidas gave Mo Salah his first ever signature edition boot, which arrived in the form of the X Speedform 'Prepare For Battle'. Both name and style riffed off the 2014 World Cup 'Battle Pack', and Salah wore them in AFCON, narrowly missing out on winning the trophy in them.

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12. Nike Zoom Air Mercurial Vapor XV 'Retro'

A nice little blast from the past arrived when Nike dressed out the current-gen Air Zoom Mercurial Vapor XV in the iconic stylings of the Air Zoom Mercurial VT, made famous on the feet of OG Ronaldo back in 2002. Never underestimate the power of nostalgia...

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11. Nike Tiempo Legend IX 'Made In Italy'

Taking it back to its spiritual home, Nike dropped the Tiempo Legend IX 'Made In Italy' back in October. Constructed from the most premium Algerian leather in Montebelluna, this was a classy offering already, but combine that with the fact it was inspired by Andrea Pirlo’s performances in the white and blue Air Tiempo Legend of 2006 and, well, need we say more?

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10. PUMA Ultra Ultimate

The Ultra Ultimate sort of snuck onto the scene as part of the 'Fastest Pack', with none of the individual fanfare that you'd normally expect from a next-gen release. But it brought with it a host of improvements that were worthy of the new name, and the throwback aesthetics that conjure images of the old evoSPEED range helped it earn its spot in the top 10.

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9. adidas X Speedflow + 'Showdown Pack'

In our humble opinion the 'Showdown Pack' X Speedflow is one of the most underrated boots of last year, and it was certainly the best look for the X Speedflow line, arriving as the last before it made way for the Speedportal. The combination of red, black and gold just works, and it looked sleek-as in the laceless '+' version.

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8. Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Vapor XV

We all knew it was coming, but Nike announced Zoom Air in the Mercurial in the most emphatic fashion, plastering the 'Air' callout right down the side of the boot, in place of a traditional Swoosh. Big and bold, just how we like it.

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7. adidas Predator Mania

An easy way for adidas to make this list year after year is to re-release an iconic Predator, and the fact they chucked out the Mania that Zidane wore to score that goal in the Champions League final 20 years ago, in only an SG soleplate, as the Frenchman wore... well, always gonna be on here, wasn't it.

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6. Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Superfly XV KM

As far as signature styles for the year go, this one is one of the best (not THE best, you'll have to keep scrolling for that). But it wasn't even rolled out for the World Cup, with Mbappê instead getting it ahead of the tournament in September and having to settle for a tweaked version of the 'Generation pack' Merc instead for Qatar. But this one was outstanding, arriving in a unique berry colourway, complete with Mbappé signoffs.

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5. New Balance x Stone Island Furon v7

A fixture in the terraces, Stone Island finally made their long-awaited entrance on to the pitch with the help of a collaboration with New Balance. FIFA regulations stopped Raheem Sterling from having that logo on his heel in Qatar, but we all knew. Big respect if you managed to grab a pair of these limited edition belters.

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4. adidas X Speedportal 'Leyenda'

The boot in which Lionel Messi finally secured his legendary status, the adidas X Speedportal 'Leyenda' lived up to its name.

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3. Nike Phantom Ultra Venom

A limited edition boot that paid tribute to past Hypervenom models, combining them with the Phantom to serve as a glimpse into the future of the silo? Oh go on then. Arriving as a successor to the Mercurial Vapor Flyknit Ultra, and presented in a "Black/Black Bright Citrus" colourway, following suit with the aforementioned Mercurial, the main calling card was the fact that it was once again constructed from Flyknit, with the lightweight layers combining with NikeSkin, while Flywire cables ensured a secure, locked-down fit. Proper all-rounder, this.

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2. adidas Predator Absolute

Do we really even need to justify either the adidas Predator Absolute's inclusion or position in this list? The boot that Zidane wore for his last dance in 2006, brought back ahead of the 2022 World Cup. Just look on and admire.

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1. Nike Mercurial Air Zoom SE

Heralding a new era for the Mercurial, Nike disrupted the market with the drop of the long-awaited Mercurial Air Zoom Ultra SE in March. A special edition drop whose key purpose was to tease what Nike had to come, and boy did it. The limited edition release was originally announced in February 2020 as a concept boot during Nike’s Innovation Summit in New York City, but then it dropped, and with just 1,000 pairs you'll be lucky to see them again.

Fancy a further trip down memory lane? Check out our top 20 list from last year.

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Daniel Jones

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