The Boot-ies over the last several years has always had an “Indoor Edition.” Normally, the entire post winds up being a long and roundabout way of talking about how Nike is still the best in the business for short-sided fans and how the other brands are struggling to keep up. However, in 2018, adidas has made serious inroads to the dominance of the Swoosh. With Puma falling a bit to the wayside for short-sided fans, it’s become quite a race between the two biggest brands in the game. Has Nike been able to hold off another adidas push, or has the German giant finally found their footing?

We’re going to take a look at the best you can find from adidas and the best you can get from Nike. Then, we’ll take a gander at what boot we’ve decided is the best short-sided option for you as we exit 2018.


Adidas has been really been hammering away within the short-sided game and it seems like they’re finally close to being Nike’s equal in the market space instead of picking up Nike’s scraps. The Predator 18 and 19 (although the name is the only real difference between the two) are incredible options for anybody that wants to pick up a tank to deal with their short-sided games. The boot is built a little heavier than most FG options, but it’s a boot that would be welcome for anybody that sees themselves as a defender or bullish midfielder whenever they’re playing short-sided.

The adidas X 18 is a boot that’s a ton of fun when you use it on turf or indoor. It’s got a light build that’s usually not present in short-sided options and a thin touch that helps make all the intricate twists and flicks you need to make space on a smaller pitch feel fantastic. The X 18+ has actually been one of my go-to boots the entire year whenever I’ve got a proper short-sided game going on. All of the adidas options offer great underfoot traction whether you’re playing on turf or inside a gym, and we’re always thankful that brands have departed from plastic studs on turf boots as it made them impossible to use on an indoor surface.

One thing to keep in mind with all the laceless adidas options is that short-sided play is always going to be quick cuts, stops, and turns. While the + models are all fun to use and extremely unique, there’s always going to be that little extra bit of lockdown and responsiveness from a boot with laces. Still, it’s not something that should scare you away or that will result in a rolled ankle every single time you walk out into a game, but we can’t wait for laceless boots to reach the same levels as an option with laces.


Nike has long ruled the roost of the short-sided world. Last year, we even proclaimed that the Tiempo was our preferred option whenever we had to step off of a firm ground surface. With 2018, you’ve gotten the introduction of the Phantom VSN and a few options from the Premier II to add to an impressive group of boots that you have from the American giant.

The Tiempo is still an absolute winner with comfort to help you avoid some of the major pitfalls of the short-sided game, and players looking to escape the Mundial Turf should definitely look to the Premier II as their newest boot (much lighter, cleaner feel on the ball than the Mundial). Nike also gave us a few Ronaldinho throwbacks this year, but they weren’t anything more than limited releases, so we won’t spend a ton of time suggesting them to you as we move forward (however, they were plush and fantastic).

The biggest issue with Nike’s current batch (it’s one of the first times I’ve been critical of their short-sided options – to be fair, in the past there have not really been many other viable options, so they always seemed like the best), is that they all feel a fair bit different to the beauties that we love on the FG options. The HyperVenom is a stiffer build on the turf version, the Phantom Vision doesn’t quite feel as glorious as the FG option, and the Mercurial boots are built in a way that takes away one of the their best qualities (light, streamlined, speed boots). We’ve loved our times in all of them, but the Mercurial is our favorite from these three. Like I said, it isn’t built to make you feel as fleet-footed as the FG options, but that’s the cost of playing on a harsher surface. You still get a great feel on the ball and a super-clean striking surface.

The Tiempo might still be our favorite from Nike, but the Mercurial is something that all short-sided tricksters would love to pull from their boot bag.


It’s finally time to say that the adidas options are actually just as worth your time as any other. The X, especially, is something that hasn’t left our bag whenever we head out to play on turf or inside a gym. The only thing in its way is that Nike still boasts the experience to continuously give us great boots to trot out on the turf.

In 2018, our favorite short-sided boots are still the imperious Tiempo VII Legend but the adidas X is only millimeters behind it. Both would be fantastic choices as you take your dominance out of the 11v11 and straight into the 5v5s.


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