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The greatest football boots of all time - ranked

Mitchell Wilks
Jun 8, 2021, 6:15 PM GMT+1
Your dad's favourite pair of boots - the Copa Mundial
Your dad's favourite pair of boots - the Copa Mundial / Power Sport Images/Getty Images
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In an ever growing culture of fashion in football, what you're wearing on your feet has always been one of the most hotly discussed components of the game.

Let's face it - nobody wants to wear the worst football boots, no matter what level you're playing at. And while often players wear boots based on how lucrative the contract is, they have to enjoy the sensation and the feel that boot provides for it to be a happy marriage.

The sportswear industry's big players have continued to innovate and revolutionise the boot game for decades, making for plenty of iconic silos and colourways worn by our favourites. 90min has whittled it down to the top 30 greatest pairs of all time.

30. adidas Predator Freak.1 (2021)

TOPSHOT-FBL-EURO-2020-FRA-TRAINING
Pogba wears the preds / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Questionable name, but adidas finally managed to make the closest thing to a modern Predator as possible in 2021 with the Freak.1 low.

None of that high-top lark, get the low cuts and start smashing balls with the knitted upper and grip elements.

29. adidas F50 adizero (2015)

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez wore the final F50 / David Ramos/Getty Images

The final F50 before being retired in place of the adidas X, the 2015 adizero was a fine football boot.

A touch heavier than previous models, it featured a snakeskin-like upper and a unique three stud set-up at the heel instead of four. Comfortable, lightweight and padded, just a shame it wasn't around longer.

28. Nike CTR360 Maestri I (2009)

Cesc Fabregas, Luis Aguiar
Boots reserved for top midfielders only / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The ultimate pair of boots for the player who thought they could pass a ball in their sleep.

All your favourite midfielders wore the first generation of the CTR360, including a prime Cesc Fabregas. Comfy leather, grippy elements and a number of incredible colours, including the silver and orange 2010 World Cup pack. Class.

27. adidas 11Pro (2012)

Toni Kroos
Kroos is still wearing 11Pros in 2021 / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

A boot that lived briefly in the shadow of its predecessor, the 11Pro was a no nonsense leather option for the classiest of players.

The midfielder that doesn't have to tell you they're any good. That's why Toni Kroos has worn them despite them not being sold since the mid-2010s.

26. adidas X 19.1 (2019)

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale wears the X, when bothered about playing football... / Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Despite a bumpy few years and a bit of an identity crisis after replacing the iconic F50, the adidas X silo hit full stride with the 19.1 model.

A thin synthetic upper, lightweight and laces. This was the perfect combination towards putting adidas back around the top level when it comes to making speed boots.

25. adidas Predator Instinct (2014)

Oscar
The final Predator before its hiatus debuted at the 2014 World Cup / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The last Predator before they were hooked for the adidas Ace in 2015, the Predator Instinct was a solid, modern take on the silo release in summer 2014 ahead of the World Cup.

No tongue or heavy leather, sure, but the instinct still had the necessary rubber elements on the boot and combined that with lightweight materials and some mean colourways before it was swiftly shelved. Seriously underrated.

24. Puma Future Z 1.1 (2021)

Paris Saint-Germain v Olympique Lyon - Ligue 1
Neymar now reps Puma / Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Puma aren't the first to finally get the hang of the knitted, sock-like boot style, but they're the ones persisting currently and it's paid off.

The Future Z combines synthetic areas with a knitted middle section for flexibility, topped off with a bonkers lacing set-up which you'd hope stays tight. They're good enough for Neymar to switch to the brand, meaning they must be pretty decent. Definitely not the money involved. Not at all.

23. Mizuno Morelia Neo 3 Beta (2020)

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres switched to Mizuno at the end of his career / Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

When it comes to wanting the best in modern leather football boots, Japanese brand Mizuno are the underdog go-to guys.

The Morelia Neo 3 Beta uses their leather and combines it with knitted elements for a blend of modern and traditional styles. They slip under the radar despite creating some incredible boots.

22. Lotto Zhero Gravity (2006)

Luca Toni, Fabio Cannavaro
Luca Toni apparently aided the development of the Zhero Gravity / Ben Radford/Getty Images

Back in the old days of the 2006 World Cup, Lotto were innovating the football boot game long before adidas tried to.

They launched the Zhero Gravity, a laceless slip-on boot with a thin synthetic all the way round. Of course it didn't stick, but it was the catalyst for opening the forbidden door of boots without laces.

21. adidas ACE 16+ (2016)

Paul Pogba
That lack of laces will never become normal / Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Ten years on from Lotto setting the trend, adidas launched their first football boot without laces.

A year after the ACE silo replaced the Predator, it had been made laceless. A knitted upper and slip on, high-top design made for better lock in in what felt revolutionary and genuinely wearable on pitch for the pros.

20. adidas Predator (1994)

John Collins of Celtic
John Collins was the first man to wear the OG Predator in 1994 / Getty Images/Getty Images

Time hasn't been kind to it, but the original Predator was iconic in bringing football boot culture to life in the 90s.

Boots were dull, until the Predator arrived. Obscene rubber fins worked all the way around the boot, which was complete with a rather large tongue. It was the kick up the backside the boot scene needed and set the trend for the next decade or so.

19. adidas Predator Accelerator (1998)

Zinedine Zidane
The flying Frenchman / Simon M Bruty/Getty Images

Launched in line with the 1998 World Cup, the Predator had grown up a bit and become a bit more reserved, but was by no means boring.

Donned by Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and David Trezeguet, the accelerator looked immense with a more efficient tongue, three large white stripes and more focused rubber striking zone.

18. Nike CTR360 Maestri III (2012)

Andres Iniesta
A boot for the very best / Sports Illustrated China/Getty Images

Having become a bit of a cult hero thanks to technically savvy and rather elegant midfielders wearing it, the final iteration of the CTR360 was a hit.

The Maestri III was said to have one of the best uppers to play in and was refined from the previous two versions, appearing lighter yet more efficient to play in. Underappreciated and ahead of its time.

17. Nike Total 90 III (2004)

Real Madrid's Portuguese Luis Figo (abov
That huge 90 logo was immense / JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

You can see it in your head, a young Wayne Rooney walloping a football into orbit in a long sleeved shirt and those iconic, early Total 90s.

They looked like nothing else. The big Total 90 logo on the back was ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the off-centre lacing system for maximum welly into your shots. Grab these in turf version and you've got a shoe fit for every imaginable occasion.

16. adidas Copa 19+ (2019)

Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala opts for the laceless Copa / Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

The general consensus is why get rid of laces if they're only going to compromise your play? That fits for plenty of boots.

Not the adidas Copa, though. The German brand has managed to create a full leather upper, uninterrupted by laces and locked in by a knitted low ankle. It's the modern day 'I'm a top midfielder but I don't need to tell you' option for Sunday League.

15. Nike Mercurial Vapor XI (2017)

Chris Smalling, Eden Hazard
The Vapors were the option for Eden Hazard in 2017 / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

After everyone went a little bit crazy following the hype of higher ankle boots and making everything knitted, Nike pulled things back down to earth in style.

The Mercurial Vapor XI was no nonsense and, for that, absolutely brilliant. A seriously thin upper, a lightweight sole and the modern approach of a one-piece design that got rid of an annoying tongue that moved around. Incredible in the shadow of knitted options.

14. Nike Tiempo 10R (2006)

Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho didn't need any of this lightweight boots nonsense / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

The Nike Tiempo has always been a solid boot for every level from Sunday league to the elite, but it will never be as cool as it was when Ronaldinho was mocking the entire industry while wearing them.

The Brazilian icon wore the leather boots notably at Barcelona and famously wore them in the first YouTube video to hit a million views, depicting him juggling a ball and hitting the crossbar in the boots. His special edition Tiempo line is genuinely different gravy. Unbelievable.

13. Nike Hypervenom Phantom (2013)

Neymar
A young Neymar stars for Brazil in Hypervenoms / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Replacing the T90 seemed a rather impossible job, but Nike's offering in its place was an instant hit.

The honeycomb, mesh-like upper of the original Hypervenom was a dream to play in and provided grip while also feeling supremely lightweight. The orange and black launch colour was mean, and Neymar's signature gold pair looked even better. Come up against these on a Sunday and you know you're in for a long morning.

12. Nike Mercurial (1998)

A close-up of Ronaldo's boots
One of a kind / Ben Radford/Getty Images

That image of Ronaldo with his boots dangling around his neck. Iconic.

Before a time of stupidly thin boots and absurd colours, Nike's original Mercurial boot was the perfect blend of tradition and technology. It also looked like perfection as R9 danced around defenders and rifled balls home in them.

11. adidas Predator Powerswerve (2007)

David Beckham
David Beckham had custom Preds on the go / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The last true Predators.

Huge tongue, massive rubber striking zones, leather all around and a mean soleplate that had technology to shift more weight into your shot. Countless incredible colourways were made as Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Dimitar Berbatov and more put them on the big stage.

10. adidas adiPURE (2007)

Kaka
That's one hell of a pair of boots / Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

A boot for the traditionalists, the adiPURE snuck under the radar somewhat, but was again the dream boot for the Rolls Royce of Sunday League players.

Kaka ripped apart defences across Europe while wearing the all leather silo, adding a subtle touch of class to his obscene Brazilian flair. One for the traditionalists.

9. Puma King (1968)

Diego Maradona of Argentina
A young Diego Maradona wearing Puma King's / Getty Images/Getty Images

When a boot that came out in the 1960s is still heralded and deemed fit for purpose in the 21st century, it's fair to say they're doing something right.

The Puma King ticks all the boxes, because it has so little to do right. It's basic and that's the beauty of it. Sure, we've had updated versions and tweaks over the years, but the OG model remains a leather boot, moulded studs and a flap over tongue. It doesn't need to wow you, because you already love it.

8. Nike Magista Obra (2014)

Nike Unveils New Magista Boots
The Magista was like nothing else / Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Asking your dad for a pair of these in 2014 would've seen you going to football with bare feet and clip around the ear.

Yes, because they were extremely expensive, but also because they just weren't football boots. The Nike Magista Obra broke all the rules upon launch in 2014. A knitted sock with studs on, who'd have thought it would've gripped and revolutionised the football boot game like it did? Endlessly influential.

7. Nike Tiempo Legend (2005)

Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez wearing Tiempos at the 2006 World Cup / Simon M Bruty/Getty Images

Introduced to the world in 2005, the Nike Tiempo offered players comfort and an alternative to the harsh rubber of power boots, or the barefoot feel of synthetics.

Proper, lightweight leather, a modern sole and a sleek tongue. The Tiempo was a modern classic and reserved for the game's sauciest of players. Also paved the way for Ronaldinho's exclusive line and, later, Francesco Totti's own pair. Perfection.

6. Nike Mercurial Vapor 1 (2002)

Thierry Henry, Marco Materazzi
Thierry Henry wearing Mercurial against Inter / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

While the original Mercurial was a hit, it needed an upgrade with the turn of the millennium.

Completely sacking off the leather and making the boot feel as light and barefoot as possible was rather rash for the time, but it influenced the market for years and years to come. The Mercurial Vapor 1 was the first of its kind and set about a craze for the lightest boot humanly possible. Also looked proper cool.

5. Nike T90 Laser II (2008)

Manchester United Training Session and Press Conference
Wazza there, taking it easy. Boss isn't around. Have a breather, admire the new wheels. / Gallo Images/Getty Images

More rubber on this boot than there is burned on a Formula 1 racing track.

When you think of peak T90s, you think of these. A boot made in every colour under the sun, recognised by its one of a kind striking grid and off-centre lacing system.

4. adidas Copa Mundial (1979)

Swindon Town v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One
Football boot heritage / Alex Burstow/Getty Images

It's the same blueprint as the Puma King and they might have been a touch later to the party, but the Copa Mundial is just infinitely better. And way cooler.

This boot is the pinnacle in 'I'm the best player on this team and I'm going to pass the ball through you like you aren't there'. Don't even try pressing or marking someone wearing these; they'll send you to the shops looking for humble pie. The god of leather football boots.

3. adidas F50 adizero (2010)

Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi
Messi training in chameleon F50s / Chris McGrath/Getty Images

With the start of the decade ushering in a boom for lightweight boots, the end of the decade saw some of its best efforts born.

The first F50 adizero was striking. Lionel Messi taking names and ankles in a ridiculously lightweight boot that came in a variety of standout colours, complete with a slick synthetic upper. Just don't expect defenders to treat you kindly in them.

2. Nike Mercurial Vapor IV (2008)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo's boots looked as lethal as him / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

You think of speed boots, you think of these.

The F50 vs Mercurial battle around the late 2000s was incredible. Messi in the F50s, Cristiano Ronaldo in the Mercurial with a seriously unique lace cover, carbon fibre sole and striking design that looked as fast as it felt. A nightmare to get on and off, but an unworldly pair of boots. Bring them back.

1. adidas Predator Mania (2002)

Foot : World Cup 2002 / Preview
Zizou wearing the Predator Mania in its classic colourway / Tim de Waele/Getty Images

No tricks, no surprises, no nonsense to top the list. A fitting way to describe the adidas Predator Mania, too.

Introduced ahead of the 2002 World Cup, the Mania debuted in a stunning royal blue colourway and immediately gripped football culture enthusiasts and boot nerds. The metal blades, the tongue, the leather, all crafted perfectly to allow Zidane, Beckham, Raul and many others ball out at the top. Predators - and perhaps football boots - peaked here.

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