Welcome to the 4th annual Boot-ies, where your trusty staff here at The Instep highlight our favorites from the past year’s boot releases. Throughout the captivating action on the field during the 2016 Euros, Leicester City’s impossible Premier League title, and Real Madrid’s record 11th European Cup, we have been treated to gorgeous designs on the players’ feet. Nike, adidas, Puma, Under Armour and more have pulled out all the stops to create the most beautifully colored cleats possible. Now is the time we honor 2016’s best boot colorways. Let’s get to it!
Hunter York: Under Armour Spotlight – Desert Camo
If it was a top 4, then this would easily be my 4th pick for the colorway of the year. I love when brands add a daring colorway to a boot and go away from the same ol’ same ol’ we see on every boot. I always think that nothing beats a pair of pure white or blackout boots, but a desert camo colorway? That is pretty awesome. The daring look is a boot to rock if you love standing out. Unless you’re in the desert, then you’d blend in.
Andrew McCole: Mizuno Morelia Neo – Everything
That’s right…every single colorway this year for the Morelia Neo has been a winner. From January 1st to today, the Neo has continued to be a boot that boasts incredible intrigue while still being an amazing boot to wear. How dare you Mizuno…how dare you…
Nike Tech Craft – Black and Silver
There’s a reason that this whole group of Nike Tech Craft boots was on my Christmas wish-list the day they launched. The colorway is phenomenal and adding some nice pieces to keep a blackout from feeling like it’s something that we’ve already seen before, means this was a drool-inducing pack from the word “go.”
Way back in March, Nike gave us the perfect complement for the warming spring weather. Each member of the Radiant Reveal Pack featured a white upper with bright pops of color, but none of the others were as immaculately designed as the Superfly. With a thin white film spread over an array of bright pink, orange, and yellow, it has a certain ethereal quality that made it the ideal spring release.
Nike Tiempo Pirlo
So lovely it will make you want to drive out to the nearest winery, the Nike Tiempo Pirlo oozed vintage class and sophistication. It’s ultimately very simple; just color your boot with a shade of dark red wine and voila, you have a winner. However, it’s the cork-inspired design of the insole and the thematic tie-in with Andrea Pirlo’s wine-loving persona that made this one so striking.
York: adidas X 16 PureChaos – Stellar Pack
A nearly all-white upper complimented by black and gold accents will always be considered for the top 3 colorways of the year. The clean white upper is perfectly accompanied by gold accents that give the player wearing the boot the mental edge of their opponent with the flair on their feet.
McCole: Concave – Black/Gold
Sometimes gold can be really overpowering on a set of boots (looking at you Space Craft Pack), but Concave used it perfectly with this collection of boots. Concave is really gaining some ground going into 2017, and it helps by constantly releasing packs that make the boots look great and help calm fears about the shooting element. By keeping the gold limited to flashes on the studs, the Concave logo, and a few other small smatterings, it helps these boots pop while still looking incredibly classy.
Wendt: adidas Messi 16 Pureagility – Mercury Pack
Adidas chromed out with this summer’s Mercury Pack, which introduced the world to the X 16 Purechaos and Messi 16 Pureagility. It was the latter that caught my eye in earnest due to its silver and blue beauty. The notes of blue across the chrome upper are subtle, while the color detail on the Techfit further enhances the design. It doesn’t hurt that this goes pretty well with Messi’s Argentina jersey.
York: adidas ACE 16 PureControl – Viper Pack
A snakeskin boot? Not quite, but the scaly look on the upper gives off the illusion that the player wearing them is capable of striking with venom at any given moment. The boots that were designed for Paul Pogba are for the player who wants to be seen on any pitch, any day. This colorway may not be for everyone, but for this writer, it is the perfect colorway to compliment such a revolutionary boot.
McCole: adidas ACE and X – Red Limit
The only thing that keeps this from being an absolute winner is how long it took adidas to realize that their fans will drool as soon as they use red/black/white as the predominant colors on boots. The ACE could be sold as a Predator in this colorway, and nobody would even ask questions. The X has a perfect fade between the red and black, and it is the best adidas X colorway that’s been released for the 16 (not bad considering how good some of the colorways have been). The Dark Space Pack held that spot for the first few months, but the blacked out X kinda feels boring. Adidas needs to give us these colors once a year, every year…take note…
Wendt: Nike Magista Obra II – Dark Lightning Pack
I can’t remember a boot that has looked more effortless. The Dark Lightning Pack shrouds your favorite Nike cleats in black with neat little distinctive color designs, but it’s the Magista Obra II from the pack that grabbed my attention. The Dynamic Fit Collar is draped in a gorgeous dark blue, as is the outsole. The upper employs the heat map look to great effect with shades of blue that burst through the surrounding black. It all comes together to create a supremely confident and relaxed look.
York: Nike Heritage Superfly ID
This one is kind of a cop out since it was not a general release, but who could turn down the opportunity to design a modern day Superfly into a classic masterpiece? The easily recognizable silver, blue, and white colorway that the Brazilian Ronaldo wore back in the 1998 World Cup made its comeback onto the feet of promising young players around the globe and Nike let the rest of us in on the action with the short lived NikeID option to personalize the colorway.
McCole: TIE: Nike Elite Pack and Carli Lloyd “Leave Your Legacy” SuperFly
So, I tried to refrain from signature boots on this list, but the Nike Carli Lloyd Mercurial Superfly might be the best signature model to ever hit the airwaves. Sadly, it was incredibly limited, meaning that it ties the Elite Pack instead of winning outright. The amount of nods to Lloyd’s recent accomplishments while still looking classy and gorgeous was incredible, and it would have quickly found a fan-base if it was given a general launch. The Elite Pack took one of my favorite colors (volt), and was able to make it look understated and brilliant. From the Tiempo to the HyperVenom, every boot looked amazing on the pitch and in your hands. Add in that Nike made them general release AND made them feel limited by only giving some players access helped propel these to my favorite colorways of the year.
Wendt: adidas ACE 16 Purecontrol – Stellar Pack
Adidas had a phenomenal year in boot design. The Purechaos and Pureagility were massive upgrades over their predecessors, but it was the ACE silo that owned adidas’ 2016, with the laceless ACE 16 Purecontrol kicking off the year and the ACE 17 Purecontrol finishing it. The ACE’s impressive tech innovation was only illuminated by its brilliant colorways. Topping my list is the exquisite adidas Purecontrol from the Stellar Pack. A white upper is interrupted by gold flecks coming from the outsole below and Techfit collar above, while the black three stripes contrasts perfectly. It’s timeless, it’s classic, and it would probably be my favorite from almost any year.