The season is done. Many didn’t think it would be possible and others didn’t want it to happen but, thanks to the hard work of many, we were served piping hot Premier League action nearly every day for two months straight; is anyone else having withdrawal symptoms?
The return of football also brought with it a swathe of new football boots. From classic designs and traditional colours to laceless numbers and innovative thinking we saw brands release boot packs that were supposed to be donned at Euro 2020 but were instead showcased in front of empty stadiums.
Football boots from big tournaments have become iconic over the years and despite the fact the Euros were cancelled we wanted to know which boots you were really feeling. To find out, we put the question to 90min’s 960k followers on Instagram, pitting boots up against each other until there was only one left.
So which boots were involved? All the latest packs and releases from Adidas, Nike, Puma and New Balance were all selected and photographed by 90min’s very own Ben Haines and Hunter Godson. Any problems, talk to them...
To kick off the competition we needed to first whittle down some Adidas, Nike and PUMA boots. New Balance go straight into the semi-finals because they hosted the tournament (by which we mean they only released one new boot whereas Nike, Adidas and PUMA have multiple). Let's dive in.
Adidas Qualifying - Round 1
Copa 20.1 vs X19
Copa 20.1 = 4900 votes
X19 = 7390 votes
Winner = X19
First up, Adidas. The Copa taking on the vibrant X19 - who we think could be one to watch in the tournament. The X19 ran out clear winners and we said goodbye to the Copa early on. Never easy to take going out of a tournament early, is it lads?
Predator Mutator 20+ vs Nemeziz 19.2
Predator Mutator 20+ = 5153 votes
Nemeziz 19.2 = 4850 votes
Winner = Predator Mutator 20+
Next up was an early clash of titans. The popular Nemeziz taking on the iconic Predator. A heavyweight clash in the group stages is always welcome and, despite the vote being tight, the Predator came out on top. Inevitable? Perhaps. The Predator fanboys have arrived.
Puma Qualifying - Round 1
ONE 20.1 vs FUTURE 5.1
ONE 20.1 = 1856 votes
FUTURE 5.1 = 6580 votes
Winner = FUTURE 5.1
It was then time to turn our attention to the dark horses of the tournament. It’s always quite hard to gauge how people feel about PUMA boots as Nike and Adidas tend to dominate the market but the ONE & FUTURE boots have been popular of late and their recent offerings are as disruptive as anything.
There was a clear winner here, though. The FUTURE boot tearing through the ONE like England against Panama. Penalties galore, probably.
Nike Qualifying - Round One
Mercurial Vapor vs Tiempo Legend
Mercurial Vapor = 7077 votes
Tiempo Legend = 4157 votes
Winner = Mercurial Vapor
This one felt like a bit of a mismatch. The cool kids Mercurial up against arguably the most comfortable boot I’ve ever worn, the Tiempo. No mercy was received here for the ever-reliable Tiempo from the Mercurial Stans.
Phantom VNM vs Phantom VSN ii
Phantom VNM = 4213 voted
Phantom VSN ii = 5363 votes
Winner = Phantom VSN ii
It’s a battle of the Phantoms! The VNM vs the VSN. Similar vibes here to when any of the British teams come up against each other in a major tournament. Think England vs Wales at Euro 2016. Much like that game, this was tight, with the VSN running out winner, just. Sturridge at the death. Neville down the touchline. Scenes.
Adidas Qualifying - Round 2
Predator Mutator 20+ vs X19
Predator Mutator 20+ = 5032
X19 = 4835
Winner = Predator Mutator 20+
It was time for the final Adidas ‘qualifier’; both Adidas had multiple boots so required a second round of qualifying.
The fans (my) favourite X19 against the people’s champion, the Predator. It doesn’t come much closer than this. Just 198 votes separated these two by the end of 24-hour voting period. Extra-time and penalties were needed but the Predator comes out on top. A clutch play from arguably the most popular boot ever and it’s goodbye to the X19.
Nike Qualifying - Round 2
Mercurial Vapor vs Phantom VSN ii
Mercurial Vapor = 5359 votes
Phantom VSN ii = 3880 votes
Winner = Mercurial Vapor
The final Nike qualifier was a much more cut and dry. The gleaming Mercurial cruising past the Phantom VSN ii in what many thought would be a tight affair. There’s an air of invincibility about the Mercurial right now. A Liverpool-esque confidence that could see them go all the way. Could it be their year?
New Balance Tekela vs Nike Mercurial Vapor
New Balance Tekela = 2378 votes
Nike Mercurial Vapor = 5056 votes
Winner = Nike Mercurial Vapor
Enter New Balance, with their first ever laceless Tekela. The host nation taking on the bookies favourite. The early signs were good for the Tekela as it raced into an early lead but, as champions elect tend to do, the Mercurial clawed it back and then some. We’re sad to see the Tekela go but those Mercurials are bloody gorgeous. Think Spain 2010, think West Germany 1974, think Brazil 1970. These boots might go all the way.
Sidenote: the New Balance Tekela’s are incredibly comfortable and are slightly sturdier than other laceless boots. Definitely worth checking them out if you like your boots to protect your toes.
Adidas Predator Mutator 20+ vs Puma FUTURE 5.1
Adidas Predator Mutator 20+ = 9023 votes
Puma FUTURE 5.1 = 3373 votes
Winner = Adidas Predator Mutator 20+
Adidas v PUMA is a bitter rivalry that runs far beyond football boots. A sibling fallout 70 years ago created two of the world's biggest sporting brands – and now they face off in what is probably the biggest sporting clash since the 2019 Libertadores final. Unlike the Libertadores final however, there was no tear gas and the result was not even remotely close. A colossal mismatch between an up-and-coming contender and the boots worn by Becks, Zidane etc etc etc.
Nike Mercurial Vapor vs Adidas Predator Mutator 20+
Nike Mercurial Vapor = 7561 votes
Adidas Predator Mutator 20+ = 10,440 votes
Champion = Adidas Predator Mutator 20+
And then it was time for the final. No surprises as to the competitors. Two majestic boots with rich histories, but there could only be one winner.
In the end the Predator proved too strong for the Mercurial who, at one point, looked the clear favourite for the tournament.
The people have spoken, the adidas Predator was the most popular boot of Project Restart. Bring on the 2020/21 season; and more boots.