We’ve found ourselves back in the thick of the Boot-ies, our end-of-year commemorations, and as usual there are always a few categories that don’t find themselves within the Boot of the Year or the Colorway of the Year. For that, we have our miscellaneous awards, and some fun selections to help 2017 get the send off that it deserves. While the opinion on 2017 seems to be overwhelmingly positive, it’s easy to say that the boot game is at a point that is unparalleled. It’s time for the odds and ends of the boot world: Boot-ies Miscellaneous.
The Surprise of 2017
If the return of the Predator wasn’t the worst kept secret of 2017, it would be a shoe-in for this award. However, seeing as we’d seen this move coming down the pipe since the Predator was “retired,” the surprise of 2017 has to be brands “accidentally” letting us see behind the curtain on some of their “premier properties.” Nike finally gave us an exact copy of a FlyKnit collared boot in the HyperVenom Phantom 3, and let us see whether we truly preferred mid-cut collars or if we just enjoyed them because of the boots that they were used on. Adidas has also let us see that, despite having incredible laceless options, that the addition of laces only improves their boots. From the Nemeziz to the new Predator, the .1 versions just have a little something extra (and a much lower price tag). We aren’t sure this is what Nike/adidas were thinking when they launched these boots, and it has been quite a surprise.
Most Excited About the Next Version
As with last year’s decision, this section has also come down to a tie (albeit, a very unconventional one).
The winner is simply Nike’s current line-up. After seeing what Nike is doing with the FlyKnit tongues on the Tiempo and HyperVenom, factoring in the incredible set-up of the Mercurial Ultra, and the love we have for nearly every boot in the Nike household…we just can’t wait to see where they all go from here. The Tiempo VII is the best version of the Legend to date, the Phantom is a show-stopper, the Magista is incredible, and the SuperFly/Vapor haven’t stopped improving since their inception. Nike’s next boots, if they can continue to improve, could see them jump back to the top of the footy pile.
We also would like to mention that we can’t wait to see Umbro’s next Accuro, the next adidas Nemeziz, and the future Puma ONE. Also, for purely “they simply have to get better” purposes, we also are anxious to see the next Under Armour Spotlight, and New Balance Visaro.
While this choice won’t be as simple as last year’s (UA’s Tutti Frutti design), there were no shortage of colorways that seemed to baffle the mind…both in terms of application, and how multi-million dollar companies let their designers sneak these colorways through! While the launch New Balance Furon 3, HyperVenom Phantom launch colorway, and an adidas KITH design that defied explanation, it was the adidas X Pure Stealth that takes the cake for us. Mixed in among some truly intriguing X colorways, adidas decided that dark furniture leather brown was a great color for a speed boot. Plus, you sprinkle some gaudy gold on the soleplate, and perhaps nobody will notice the fact that they’ve made a boot out of your granddad’s Lazy-Boy chair. It feels lazy, it looks ugly, and it’s a sad day to see the three stripes walk away with this one.
The Best Tech of 2017
Last year saw Nike’s Anti-Clog technology walk away with the title, but this year we’re turning our gaze to the synthetics from adidas. While the 2017 X 17+ (and 17.1) are a bit of a disappointment, the new Predator and Nemeziz contribute two of the best synthetic uppers that we’ve ever seen on the market. It was tough to turn away the NETFIT used on the Puma FUTURE, and Nike’s FlyKnit tongue has us drooling over the Swoosh of the future, but we had to go with a brand making strides in the world of boot synthetics (plus, Flyknit has been out for a while, it’s just the placement/usage from Nike that’s new).