While the “Boot-ies” awards are always some of our favorites to do here at The Instep, indoor gear did not really make the cut last year for a true competition. Why? Well, Nike’s FC247 pack owned every single type of short-sided surface as 2013 came to a close. With the now defunct Bomba Finale II, the always underrated Elastio Finale II, and the Nike Lunar Gato II, Nike seemed untouchable by anything available on the market. So, does Nike still rule the roost when it comes time to choose your next turf/indoor/street shoe? We take a look at this year’s edition of the “Boot-ies,” indoor edition.
The biggest news from the indoor world as 2014 comes to a close is that adidas has finally started to invest some quality and top-tier products into the short-sided market. With us right in the middle of testing the FreeFootball CrazyQuick, the upper is softening and being coupled with a phenomenal turf-style sole that is really showing promise. Combine that with adidas shifting their current “bread-winner” in the adidas Boost technology onto some of their shoes, and it genuinely feels like it will be hard to choose what shoe to snag for your non-FG escapades this year.
For playing in a gym, an indoor-court surface, or (with the new added option) turf, the world still revolves around the Elastico Finale (now, on the third version). While the II still holds a massively special place in my heart, the III combines new tech/old tech into an impressive package. A neoprene style ankle collar creates an impressive fit and the Nikeskin in the forefoot still provides impressive touch. It takes some breaking in for this boot to fit properly against the heel, but Nike have definitely stayed on top of the dog-pile in this area of the game. There will be fans of the II that cannot make the jump to the updated version, but Nike have successfully updated the Elastico and given the best indoor option available with it (and knocked ten dollars off the price-tag…a nice bonus).
The adidas CrazyQuick has definitely made itself a great option for anyone hoping for a thin upper, a nice level of comfort (quick break-in), and zero-possibility of slippage on court or turf. However, despite it being a great sign that adidas is starting to take the short-sided aspect of the game seriously, Nike still leads the race here.
For lifestyle wear/a shoe that can easily be worn with your everyday wear and also completely capable of jumping straight into a game of footy, the competition has gotten fairly fierce. The Nike Lunargato II has not gotten an update since the last “Boot-ies,” but it still looks great/has a high level of comfort/uses an upper that provides a great feel on the ball. For adidas, as we mentioned earlier, they have released the FreeFootball Boost with their Boost technology sitting underneath a quality leather shoe. If you are looking for something to pair with your work clothes/Sunday best, I would go with the current FreeFootball Boost. However, if you really want the shoe for its soccer playing quality, I would side with the Lunargato II.
I would not be doing my job if I did not also slip in a mention for Nike’s Lifestyle Tiempo that is currently on the market, but it is definitely more of a lifestyle release from the American giant than a contender for being an indoor shoe (especially with the old-school sole used in the shoe’s construction). It is also a possibility for big indoor fans to jump up into the next level of pricing and snag the SuperFly Elastico and take their game to an entirely different area! Keep an eye out for our reviews of every turf/indoor versions of the newest Elastico and the SuperFly Elastico in the coming weeks (spoiler alert: they’re pretty stinkin’ awesome).
So, there you have it! The indoor version of the “Boot-ies” here in 2014 has come and gone! The biggest positive as we step into 2015 is that it seems brands are not content to let Nike hold the crown, meaning more options and more competition in the future. Do you have a favorite indoor shoe from the last year? What is your indoor/turf shoe of choice?