Style

Fancy football boots rated by a grizzled old pro and an astroturf whizz

Terry Butcher, no-nonsense former pro, and youth coach Naz Deen give their verdicts on the new-fangled kicks set to light up the World Cup

Fancy football boots rated by a grizzled old pro and an astroturf whizz 1

Adidas X 18+

Terry Butcher: “Nope, not for me. Where are the laces? Are they even on there? They look like Austin Powers’ slip-ons. They’re so thin it’s no wonder there are more metatarsal injuries. Sometimes, players want to make a statement: ‘I’m different, look at me.’ It’s all about socks over knees, flash boots, hairstyles, tattoos and earrings.”

Naz Deen: “Ideal for the weeknight Zinedine Zidanes. The narrow shape will give a player maximum kinaesthetic sense between foot and ball, plus they look like the most comfortable pair of boots ever made.”

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Umbro Medusae II Elite

TB: “That colour isn’t right – it’s peach. At Italia ’90, you’d have been slaughtered in the dressing room for wearing these – or anything else that wasn’t all-black. But at least these don’t have all the fancy panelling and decoration – they have more of a traditional cut with the laces and tongue. The Dutch could wear these nicely, I suppose.”

ND: “These are fitted with various-shaped studs, making them best suited to the Claude Makélélés of the beautiful five-a-side game: the unsung heroes doing all the team’s dirty work. They’re quite a garish colour though, to be fair.”

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New Balance Furon 4.0 Pro FG

TB: “There are so many studs – they’re like spikes for sprinters, moulded to the boot. We’d only have six sharp, metal ones to get us through the turf. But I’d wear these. They go nicely with the England kit and there’s nothing flash. Then again, playing in these in Stockholm in 1989 wouldn’t have looked great, being covered in blood.”

ND: “A nice, classic design, yet the fact that they’re made by New Balance means they stand out from the Nike and Adidas-wearing hordes. Lace these up, and you’ll look like an Olympic ice-skater as you glide past the opposition.”

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Puma Future 18.1

TB: “These are space-age. That shiny gauze texture, the transparent sole and studs – you’d think they were made by Nasa, not Puma. You couldn’t imagine ever getting these muddy. We used to have a cobbler to repair our match boots – you’d only have two pairs a season. Now, just the slightest snag and they’re thrown away.”

ND: “You need to be good to wear these because I can guarantee that opponents in clumpy black boots will be trying to foul you at every turn. Better suited to the fast, slick 3G game than a Hackney Marshes mud bath.”

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Adidas Cold Blooded Nemeziz 17.3

TB: “These would’ve been better in Stockholm. But they’re horrendous. Only Paul Gascoigne and John Barnes could’ve gotten away with these. They’re so light, but that’s today’s game: it’s less crunching tackles, more quick runs and turns. The black studs are nice, the shape is nice, the red though, is just too much – they’re like two dollops of strawberry ice cream.”

ND: “I see bright boots like these all the time on astroturf. They’re great for teenage football and perfectly suited to five-a-side – the flashier form of the game. You’d probably get kicked for wearing these in the adult leagues, though.”

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Nike Magista Obra II

TB: “Mostly almost black, so mostly OK. I don’t like that thing over the ankle, though – it doesn’t look right. The best boots I ever wore were Nike – I took a pair of Tiempos out to Italia ’90. Me, Ian Rush, and John Aldridge did the adverts. I held the boots by the laces and it was like a pendulum swinging in front of my face.”

ND: “Designed with flair players in mind – ankle-socks are on trend and super-comfortable for astroturf. They’re made from Flyknit, too. It’s the way it’s going: extra-light means extra-explosiveness.”

(Photography: Paul Farrell)