Christmas has just passed, the New Year is upon us and we can put 2013 behind us and look forward to 2014. But hang on a second, 2013 was an absolutely monumental year for football boots, does it not deserve our undivided attention to at least recap the best of what we have seen this year? But of course we should! And we thought a nice little way to do that is with the first annual Instep ‘Boot-ies’ awards! Over the next week or so, we take a look at what Andrew and I thought were the best boots of the year, starting today with the best colourways of the year. With so many colourways that were so easy on the eye this year, what were the three colourways that stood out to me in the first ‘boot-ies’ awards?
1. Nike Mercurial Vapor IX CR Galaxy – Dark Obsidian/Metallic Silver
We know that Nike always love to make things a little different when it comes to the CR range of football boots, just look at the leopard-inspired ‘Safari’ colourway and the bright White/Orange/Yellow CR Vapor we saw in April this year. But to us, it always seems that, bar one or two colourways, the CR Vapor was always different just for the sake of being bright in an ‘in your face’ kind of way in an effort to push the boundaries. Any one boot company can come along and have an arms race to see who can produce different boots just to have the brightest boots on the market, but it is truly genius when you bring a bold new design concept to a football boot that stands out on the pitch, but still looks alluring and understating.
Enter the Galaxy CR7 Vapor. Admittedly, there is a slight shock when you see it for the first time (who expects to see the stars printed on your football boots?). But on the pitch, you know you are looking at a very unique football boot, yet somehow it is not so different such that you look at it and go ‘that is too weird, I would never wear that’. This is why Nike must be applauded for the balance they have been able to find with the CR Galaxy, the Galaxy captures attention without screaming out for it (the complete opposite of the next Messi F50…).
2. Puma King Lux – Black/Black/Team Gold
Sometimes, I hate limited edition boots. You know why? Because they are sometimes so gorgeous they make my heart goes that little bit faster, make me say ‘oh wow’, I start smiling a little and, well, my next action can be summed up by this. Puma are the kings of the limited edition football boot, just look at the hype they created with the Puma evoPOWER ‘Stampa’ release. But not every release hits the headlines of the world. In fact, this is one release that not a single professional footballer wore, but when you own boots like these, it would be impossible to have the courage to wear them on the pitch. In fact, they are more likely to be left in their box, and admired from time to time.
Granted, I love a blackout football boot, but with blackout boots coming on a pretty regular basis these days, the Puma King Lux has that x-factor that makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd. Whether it be the supple kangaroo leather upper, the sharp gold detailing on the midfoot or the shiny black and gold heel counter, everything on the Puma King Lux works. Puma got a lot of stick for dropping K-Leather on the latest Puma King, but they are bringing back a classic from the archives with the Puma King Lux, a beautiful colourway that does not get the attention it deserves.
3. Nike CTR360 Maestri III – Current Blue/Black/Volt
Deciding my two favourite colourways of the year was pretty easy, it was difficult to work out who to serve out the last remaining place to. In the end, the blue Nike CTR360 Maestri III released in the summer just about took the cake. When it comes to the CTR360 Maestri III, Nike have continually stuck with the same two block colour design, and just varying the colours as they go. It is a cautious approach that they have taken all these years, but to me, it never produced a colourway that made me go ‘wow’.
Which is what I like about the different route Nike have taken with the CTR360 Maestri III. Nike are now experimenting with a single base colour, and while the shade of the base colour may change from the upper to the midfoot, I am a big fan of the more flowing look of the new Maestri. But it is the eighth colourway dropped on the CTR360 that is the one that took my attention. Nike have not really played with light blue when it comes to the CTR360 Maestri range, but their first venture to it has seen a boot produced that has a refreshing summer twist, whilst still having a classy look about it. Well played Nike, well played.
The White/Red Messi F50 adiZero is how a two block colourway should be done. No splitting the boot down the midfoot, but rather a straight line that runs vertically down the boot that clearly divides the white and the red. Then you have the awesome pink shine that is given off when the boot is held up to the light. Very, very nice.
Credit also needs to go to the two latest colourways released by the folks at Warrior. I thought all they could do were these bold, pushy colourways just so you could look at a boot and go ‘yeah, has to be a Warrior boot, no other boot would have colours like that…’ Boy was I wrong, the White/Silver/Yellow Gambler Pro has the class I did not expect to see from Warrior, and hopefully we will see it continue.
That is my vote for the best colourways of the year, and now my colleague Andrew will present his ‘Boot-ies’ awards.
As we enter into 2014 and brace ourselves for the equipment onslaught that always lands alongside a World Cup year, it is now time for those of us here at the Instep to take one last longing look back at 2013 before we move on for good. Coupled with some huge releases, player brand switches, big transfers, crazy colorways, and countless other events in the boot world, this edition of the “Boot-ies” will be my personal view on the best colorway releases in the boot world this year. So, which boot had a paint job deserving of being a member of the first edition of the “Boot-ies?” Let’s take a look!
In third place comes a colorway that flew a bit under the radar and a colorway that will rarely get any time out on the world’s biggest stages. A colorway released in late November, it mixes classy elements with a slightly irregular boot. In third, the White/Silver/Yellow Warrior Gambler.
Combining a brilliant white and yellow combo that uses the yellow as a perfect accent to the blinding white, the real clincher for this boot comes in the white/silver checkered pattern running across the back half of the boot. Although we have yet to test the Gambler here at the Instep, this colorway would be a welcome addition to my feet any day of the week. Perhaps we will see what some of the Warrior releases have to offer in 2014!
In second place comes a colorway that will probably be seen as the first step in a major change towards boots embracing more than a two/three color tone category. When other boots start slapping colorways on their boots with intricate designs on the upper and designs that look more like a painting than just some blocks of paint, this boot will probably be seen as the origin of all of that. In second, the Galaxy colorway of the newest CR7 custom Vapor IX.
Although I originally thought it looked cheesy, the galaxy colorway looks great in hand and the dark blue/black of the color help it shift from cheesy to classy. Couple that with the fact that the upcoming year and a few glimpses of future colorways for other boots show that other companies might be embracing the “print” upper instead of classic two tone uppers, and the Galaxy edition of the Vapor IX might be as big a change in the boot industry as a new boot design.
In first comes a complete collection released by Nike and a collection that I enjoyed so thoroughly that I could not choose just one boot from the set. Launched in early September, Nike decided that the hi-vis palette that they slap on their annual winter match ball should be thrown onto their boots…and the Hi-Vis collection was born!
Sure, I might be breaking the rules of the “Boot-ies” for this one, but I was quick to snag all of the hi-vis collection and they are all still some of my favorite boots. The insanely bright HyperVenom, Tiempo, and CTR all stand out on the pitch and have large doses of my favorite Nike color: “volt.” The Vapor went a slightly different route in the collection, with a very royal purple upper with “volt” accents instead of being blindingly bright. Still, the entire collection looks great and the Venom and CTR would have been my first and second picks for this competition anyway…moral of the story: I’M ADDICTED TO VOLT!
Honorable Mentions: The white/volt AdiPure 11Pro SL
The black/grey/green Warrior Skreamer
Every reflective boot released by every brand
Keep an eye out for the “Boot-ies” as we take on our favorite boot of 2013 in the second part of our end-of-year awards. One thing is for sure, there were a TON of great releases in 2013 and 2014 promises to be even better. I love the equipment world!
What was your favourite colourway of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.