Emulate the stars with the most tech-filled football equipment on the market, says ShortList’s Ben Isaacs
How old were you when it dawned on you that you were unlikely to play football professionally? Perhaps you were 25. Maybe you still think you can make it. We’ve got bad news – most top players were signed when they were still in primary school. That doesn’t mean you can’t play to a high standard for your office team, in a pub league or just the regular kickabout with your mates. We want you to be your team’s star player and, while we can’t offer you a place at Barcelona’s La Masia academy, we can recommend the gear that will make you faster, beat any keeper/save any shot, recover more quickly, avoid injury and even keep your kit dry. Time to start your warm-up.
BEST NEW BOOT - ADIDAS NITROCHARGE 1.0
A boot designed specifically for those of you who consider yourself the ‘engine’ of your team. The German firm worked with the stat experts at Opta to research player movements and tailor the boot’s features to the needs of box-to-box players. Also, like all top-of-the range Adidas boots, these are compatible with the miCoach Speed_Cell so you can analyse your on-pitch movements on your computer or smartphone after the game. Not during, please.
Key tech: The spring-inspired Energypulse improves acceleration when sprinting.
Used by: Dani Alves
BEST VALUE BOOT - PUMA EVOSPEED 1.2
Perfect for those who rely on pace but don’t want to spend £150.
Key tech: Speed Track ‘spine’ on the outsole helps you turn quicker, with or without the ball.
Used by: Sergio Aguero
UNDER ARMOUR BLUR CARBON III
A great choice if you want your new boots to be lightweight.
Key tech: The 4D footbed moulds to your feet, giving you a snug fit.
Used by: Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Neymar requested a boot to help him move quickly in small spaces and shoot from any angle. Here it is.
Key tech: A mesh outer replicates the feeling of playing barefoot.
Used by: Wayne Rooney
Promises to improve your control of the ball while protecting your feet from burly defenders. Not a gamble.
Key tech: The ‘High Roller’ rotator zone helps you bend the ball.
Used by: Marouane Fellaini
BEST MATCH BALL - NIKE INCYTE PL
It’s claimed the outré orange and purple graphics don’t just look cool, they improve visibility during play.
Key tech: High-elasticity top layer lets you achieve a cleaner strike.
Used by: All Premier League clubs
One of the most exciting developments in football tech won’t be released until 2014, but it’s worth getting excited now about this revolutionary training aid. Using the iPhone app, you can train solo, take part in global challenges using Twitter and Facebook or work on bending free-kicks around a wall with your teammates, for example. Sadly, you can’t control the ball remotely to fool keepers.
Key tech: The ball’s sensors can tell how hard you’ve kicked it and where you placed your foot – then tell you what you did wrong. It’s the only way you’ll learn.
Used by: No one as yet, but it’s set to be a game-changer.
PUMA POWERCAT 1.12 PROTECT
Top keepers use modified gloves with this model as a popular base.
Key tech: ‘’Flextec’ prevents your fingers from being bent backward.
Used by: Gianluigi Buffon
UNDER ARMOUR HUSTLE BAG
Has a ventilated section for your boots and soft pocket for phone.
Key tech: The special UA Storm coating keeps everything dry.
Used by: Tottenham Hotspur
NIKE MERCURIAL BLADE
José Mourinho insists on carbon- fibre pads to keep his stars safe.
Key tech: Ultra-thin carbon fibre protects but weighs almost nothing.
Used by: Ronaldo
BEST SECRET WEAPON - TRUSOX MID-CALF CUSHION
Top players opt to cut the feet out of their team socks so they can wear Trusox in their boots instead. They use what’s left of the club-issued socks as leg sleeves and tape them to the Trusox to create the illusion of a single sock, while enhancing comfort and manoeuvrability. These have become a phenomenon in the Premier League – take a close look this weekend.
Key tech: Non-slip application keeps you locked into your boot.
Used by: Gareth Bale
Do you feel achy and stiff in the office on Monday because you played football on the weekend? Strap these to your legs after a match to accelerate recovery and reduce delayed on-set muscle soreness (DOMS). We were impressed.
Key tech: Neuromuscular electrostimulation sends electrical impulses through your legs, thus returning blood to the heart to speed up muscle recovery.
Used by: West Ham United
From £20, fireflyrecovery.com
Thanks to Kyle Elliot at footy-boots.com