The best football boots 2021: for all skills and budgets
Weekend kickabouts back on the horizon? These are your best boot options.
Plenty of us have gone on a fitness kick (excuse the pun) over the course of the last year or two, whether through joining a gym or taking up tennis, boxing or another sport. But nothing beats a proper game of Sunday morning football down the park, complete with your best football boots.
And while lockdown has done its best to scupper these plans, we are all gagging to get back on the pitch. While your fitness may need a bit of help, some shiny new football boots will definitely help to make sure that you are completely on your A game if and when football starts up again.
Update: We've been keeping our football boot 'want list' ticking over despite the current lack of gameplay and it's safe to say Adidas' Copa Sense+ Firm Ground boots are reigning supreme. So much so, we've added them to our ShortList. Not only do these boots resemble a work of art worthy of any gallery but Adidas' innovative 'Sensepods', 'Touchpods' and 'Softstuds' elevate this pair to god-like status.
Designed with performance in mind (despite their deceptively good looking appearance), the team of brain boxes over at Adidas analysed players contact with the ball in order to calculate the areas of the feet most likely to create contact and harbour the potential for increased control. Thus, 'Sensepods' were born, eliminating the negative space usually found around the ankle area. 'Softstuds' also make an appearance, new studs injected with an even softer material in order to absorb more impact. As for 'Touchpods', these make an appearance on both the medial and lateral side of the foot. The 2021 season's ultimate must-haves? We think so.
The only thing stopping some people from getting back into the game (apart from the obvious right now) is not knowing where to start when it comes to buying new boots. Things have moved on since we played 11-a-side at school, and figuring out the best option can be a minefield.
We’ve tried to cut through some of the confusion, providing you with a guide to some of the best boots to turn you into a Sunday morning Scholes or a marshes Maradona.
Vote for your favourite pair, and let us know if we've missed a classic below. and if you want more buying advice to make sure you get the best football boots for you, we've added our picks of boots for whatever type of player you are, as well as what the pro footballers are wearing, below.
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The best football boots 2021
1. Nike Mercurial Superfly VI Pro AG-PRO
Not every kickabout is on proper grass, but most manufacturers have kept an eye on the rise of artificial pitches and designed new boots with different surfaces in mind. This Nike design has been perfected for artificial turf, with an outsole plate which the company says provides “explosive acceleration on the pitch”. If you’re an athletic type looking to use your bursts of pace to steal a march on opponents, this could be the one for you.
2. Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite FG
Where Adidas has the Predator, Nike has the Mercurial. The first iteration of the boots made its debut in the iconic ‘The Cage’ World Cup ad in 2002, and recent versions are worn by the likes of 2018 World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé and his Paris Saint-Germain strike partner Neymar. The Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite FG adds a Nike Aerotrak zone to the forefoot, couple this with a slightly stiffer chassis and wearing these will turn your foot into a proverbial traction engine
3. adidas Copa 20.1
The Copa is designed with your first touch in mind, according to Adidas, so if you fancy yourself as the Xavi of your Sunday league team this looks a solid bet. It’s part of the company’s range of laceless boots, making for what has been described as a “smooth-as-silk ball contact”. Essentially, when your first touch sends the ball straight out of play, you’ll have nothing to blame besides your own lack of talent. The tech on board here is impressive, including the Fusionskin upper blends for comfort, TPU inlays cushion helps with your running and the leather outer means that hitting the ball is smooth. It feels like you are wearing a sock, too, which is great given you may be wearing them for 90 minutes or more.
4. Predator Mutator 20.1
The original Predator boots were first released in 1994, and Adidas last year revamped some of its designs for the 25th anniversary. After 25 years, the boot is still boss with the Predator Mutator 20.1 range offering a low-profile, stable platform for your foot, with a Demonskin outer that will have you swerving the ball into the net in no time. Pogba's a fan and with a design that means the upper and outsole of the boot are pretty much one, with the textile upper hugging your foot as youplay, we would have to agree.
5. Puma Footballer 20.1
Puma’s evoKNIT technology is on board here, and it makes for a boot that adjusts ergonomically to your foot to ensure you’re not worried about an uncomfortable fit and can instead focus on the important matter of doing what you want with the football. Whether you’re an ambitious player with your sights set on running the game or just looking to get through an entire game without embarrassing yourself, this kind of focus will always be handy.
6. Puma One 19.1 evoKNIT
Black boots aren’t solely the preserve of Proper Football Men angry at today’s elite getting fancy haircuts or celebrating with elaborate handshakes. This boot has a “sock-like feel”, according to Puma, while giving you the goods to sprint away from opponents before they can leave a nasty softener on your ankle inside the first five minutes of the game. One for intimidating centre-backs and pacy wingers alike.
7. Pantofola d’Oro Superleggera Royal LC
Nothing screams retro and classy quite like the blue of the Italian national kit, and Pantofola d’Oro captures the glory of the 2006 World Cup winners in this design, complete with the tricolore stripe down the middle. You can put these on and feel just like Fabio Grosso as he sends the winning penalty into the corner of Fabien Barthez’s net to send thousands of fans at the Olympiastadion into ecstasy.
8. Adidas Copa Sense+ Firm Ground
Adidas' Copa Sense+ Firm Ground boots are designed with performance in mind (despite their deceptively good looking appearance), ensuring increased ball control and supreme shock absorbency. This laceless offering blends a K-leather upper with stretchy adidas Primeknit to ensure a firm fit. The boots also boast 'Sensepod' technology around the heel that aims to eliminate the negative space around the achilles and ankle, alongside 'Softstuds' - newly designed studs injected with an even softer material to absorb greater impact. The boots also feature 'Touchpods' on both the medial and lateral sides of the foot, elevating your gameplay to that of a Premier League champion (well, hopefully).
9. New Balance Furon v6 Pro FG
There are two types of player who wear boots like this: the best player on the pitch, who can live up to the sleek design and demonstrate that they’re simply better than you, or the manager’s son who can screw up while wearing them and still never lose his place in the team. It’s somewhere between a football boot and a pair of running spikes, perfect for leaving defenders trailing in your wake. These New Balance Furon v6 Pro FG are fantastic, offering a Fit Weave stretch for upper comfort, as well as multi-directional studs and a lightweight nylon chassis. New Balance is calling these boots its most advanced yet.
10. Mizuno Morelia Neo 3 Beta Japan
It’s important to mark yourself out as the flash git on the field, and these boots are perfect for that. These will guarantee kicks to your ankles and shins to make sure you know you’ve been in a game, while the boots themselves – handmade in Japan – will help you nail that first touch and L2+triangle through-ball as soon as you manage to evade your marker.
11. Umbro Medusae 3 Elite
Umbro’s first ever laceless boot, the Medusae 3 values comfort and grip. The manufacturer pays particular attention to maximising the “strike zone”, with a design inspired by the retro Speciali boot. One for the goalscorers out there, by which we mean those of you capable of blasting one into the top corner from 25 yards, not those who will wind up your teammates by goalhanging for 90 minutes.
The best football boots professional footballers wear
Wearing these boots won’t make you a pro footballer but sometimes it is nice to spend a bit of money and get the football boots the professionals are wearing. Below are our five picks and where you can buy variations of them.
What football boots does Anthony Martial wear?
The Man Utd striker opted for a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapor boots for the strange 2019/2020 season, a season where he got his first ever professional hat trick. But it’s very likely that he will be wearing the top secret Puma Ultra 1.1 boots next season, as he’s been spotted wearing a pair.
What football boots does Lionel Messi wear?
Messi is famous for wearing the Adidas Nemeziz Messi 19.1 boots when kicking a ball around. The upper part of the boots utilises a sports taping-inspired 360° Bandage System, which means that no matter how many shifts and turns he does, the boot doesn’t fail him. They are lightweight, too, helping not hindering his speed. While you can get your own pair - they are actually pretty cheap - for obvious reasons Messi usually gets boots that are exclusive to him.
What football boots does Cristiano Ronaldo wear?
Christiano Ronaldo has been spotted in a pair of Nike Mercurial Superfly VII Elite CR7 Safari boots, which were only released in June 2020. Known for their explosive speed and traction, they have been given Ronaldo’s seal of approval and there’s a whole section on Nike’s site for Ronaldo garb.
What football boots does Paul Pogba wear?
Pogba has a deal with Adidas so it’s pretty obvious that he would be wearing its garb and it’s the Adidas Predator Mutator 20+ boots that he has a fondness for. There’s a whole section of Paul Pogba shoes on the site - so if you are a fan of the rather controversial Man Utd player, you have a decent choice of boot available.
What football boots does Kevin De Bruyne wear?
One of the very best in the Premier League, Kevin De Bruyne is partial to a pair of Nike Phantom GT Elite DF Phantom GT boots when he is playing the ol’ soccer ball. There are a number of new variants of these classy boots available on the Nike store right now, ranging from those that are decent on artificial grass to firm ground boots.
Best football boots for wide feet: what to look for
Our choice here, if you are looking for the best football boots for wide feet is the adidas Predator 20.1 Low. While many went off the brand after its heyday in the 90s, there’s been a huge resurgence in Predator wear and for good reason. These boots have the width you are looking for around the toes and the Demonskin upper of the boots really is a joy to use, sticking to the ball like glue. Don’t go for laceless if you have wide feet, but these really are a stunning pair of boots.
- Buy the adidas Predator 20.1 Low now
Best football boots for defenders: what to look for
If you are looking for the best football boots for defenders, then you are looking for a pair of boots that are really light so you can quickly run after that git of a midfielder that’s been eluding you all game. Because of this, we’d recommend the Puma One 20.1. These aren’t just for defenders, as they are an all-rounder boot. But they’re light with enough flex to make sure you won’t be nutmegged at the first opportunity. The outer foot is nice and stiff, so a shield for those hard kicks, while the ankle area is one of the most comfortable, thanks to the bloody brilliant knit Puma has added to the Puma One 20.1.
- Buy the Puma One 20.1 now.
Best football boots for strikers: what to look for
If you want the best football boot for strikers, then what you are after is something that offers a decent amount of power when you kick a ball, but is light enough to make sure you can get those runs into the box. For us, it’s the Umbro Medusa 3 Elite. Umbro is renowned for its football boots being light, but there is a mix of high-class leather and mesh on board to give your ball a decent strike. Couple this with a mixture of plastic and aluminum studs and you have all the firepower you need to stay on your feet and reach the top corner… unless you are in the box, that is and can feel a defender’s shin pad around your ankle.
- Buy the Umbro Medusa 3 Elite now.
Best football boots for speed: what to look for
Look, you are going to have enough fuel in the tank to make those runs yourself but if you are after the best football boots for speed, then we would have to recommend the Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite FG. And this is the reason (sorry, but we have to talk a bit about boot tech here). Nike has something called the Aerowtrac zone to the forefoot of the boot and has mixed this with slightly stiffer chassis. The reason is that this helps supercharge traction so once you start that run, the boots power you along. Inside there is an insole that uses NikeGrip technology. This provides maximum interior traction (there’s that word again) and a nice bit of cushion, so when you are sprinting, your feet feel like they are in the spa getting all of the treatments.
- Buy the Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite FG now.