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 2018 get the send off that it deserves. While the opinion on 2018’s releases 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 2018

Andrew – 2018 was certainly not a year that was short on surprises, but there were only a few that truly stood out as something we truly weren’t prepared to handle. While whispers of a laceless adidas Copa had been on the wind for quite some time, it wasn’t until the boot actually started getting serious time on the feet of Dybala and the leaks really began to explode that it seemed like a real release. However, after testing, adidas has created a dynamite fourth silo for the three stripes. Which was the bigger surprise: that adidas released a laceless Copa, OR that it was actually one of the best boots of the year?

Tise – The Nike Mercurial GS 360 is my surprise of the year. Every year, we wait with bated breath to see whether Nike will launch a GS or not, or when the GS launch will come down. This shoe usually winds up giving major hints about what technology will come in future Vapors. The 2018 Greenspeed was an excellent, truly lightweight boot but somehow I didn’t expect it to be what it was. In an age of $300 boots, it cost almost half that. It was even more lightweight than I expected, and finally the single piece 360 wrap upper feels like a different kind of Flyknit (is it even Flyknit?).

Most Excited About the Next Version

Andrew – There are several boots that have me eagerly waiting to see the next iteration. The Under Armour Magnetico immediately springs to mind as it would be interesting to see how UA think they could improve the boot, the Mercurial Vapors seem to continue be more and more amazing with each successive release, Puma’s FUTURE feels like it’s due for a bigger update than what we’ve seen from the first to second version, and brands like New Balance, Umbro, and Mizuno have given us releases that are a few tweaks in either availability, production, or design that could propel them to new heights. I’d also add the adidas Predator 19 to this list, mainly because of how poor the newest update actually was, it now leaves me really anxious to see if the next version has all the updates I was wishing for in the 2019 release.

Tise – The next version of adidas Nemeziz should be a proper doozy. We’ve seen adidas totally redo the Copa – successfully if I may add. The Predator got a revamp even though the latest 19 was pretty indistinguishable from the 18. The X has also undergone some changes over its life cycle but a refreshed Nemeziz has not been sprung on the public yet. The Nemeziz 19+ should be a major hit.

Terrified About the Next Version

Andrew – This doesn’t mean that I hate the current version, it actually means that I’m scared about what the brand is going to do with a release that I love! Nike’s Tiempo VII and HyperVenom III are due for updates, and both are boots that never find themselves left at home when we head out for a day on the pitch. I’m unsure how they can bring about improvement with the two boots, so I am quite scared to see what happens.

 Tise – The Hypervenom. Lewandowski, Kane, Aubameyang, etc etc. The list of strikers and goalscorers who wear the Hypervenom is like a who’s who of great strikers. Yes, players can wear whatever boot they want to and excel as the margins between most boots are finer than we’d like to admit but the Hypervenom was a true striker’s boot and it has been well loved. It replaced the Total 90/T90 as that quintessential striker’s boot in the Nike lineup. The T90 was getting really stale and uninspiring by the time Nike pulled the plug on it. The Hypervenom is rumored to be getting a new look or totally going away for something else, that’s a scary thought.


Worst Colorway

Andrew – It would be simple to just take the 2017 choice and update it to the almost identical colorway on the newest Nemeziz, but the worst colorway has stood the test of time as it was launched way back at the very beginning of 2018. Released at the very beginning of January, adidas launched the “Lone Hunter” pack. It’s tough to pick the worst of the bunch from this pack, but the Nemeziz actually almost pulls off the look. However, the Predator and X 17 weren’t quite as lucky. The odd contrast of olive with orange stripes and designs just didn’t do the trick. Add in that there was almost no on-field support, and it’s not surprising that you can still find plenty of these boots online to pick up.

Tise – This is such a subjective category that I’m going to pass the buck on delving into. Over the years, colorways and entire silos have blossomed that I was ready to bet the farm they’d bomb. There’ve also been colorways that proved hugely awful despite looking like they’d be hits initially. It’s one thing looking good, it’s another thing actually selling.

Best Tech of 2018

Andrew – Puma stuck with tried and true tech with some updates, Nike stuck by FlyKnit and continued to showcase its abilities, and adidas made serious updates to almost all of their silos. Other brands outside the big three also took some risks, but the two biggest pieces of tech from 2018 come from the two biggest brands (and an often overlooked brand). The first is laceless leather, both from adidas and Umbro. While we’re yet to really see what the newest Medusae has on offer, the newest Copa is one of the best boots on the market. It’s tough to go wrong with quality leather options, but stripping away the laces could have gone seriously wrong. The second piece of tech is Nike’s quad-fit system on the Phantom VSN. It provides one of the best fits and best combinations with the FlyKnit boot that we’ve seen, and it will be interesting to see Nike utilize this system on future releases to even better effect.

 

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