Inside the soccer equipment universe , there’s a constant flow of brands trying to borrow, perfect, and outclass each other within the same type of creations. A few years ago, when knitted materials splashed onto the scene, it was only a matter of time before everyone had eventually waded into the pool and began racing towards the deep end of knitted perfection. Then, in almost exactly the same way, brands started to attach an extra bit of material around the ankle to give their products a collar. One after another, it quickly became the norm to give your newest product a collar, to the point where we’re almost surprised when a new silo appears on the scene sans collar.
However, one of the biggest tenets of the last several few years at one of the biggest brands has yet to truly catch on with the rest of the marketplace: adidas and laceless boots. As we start to head onto the downward slope of 2018, it seems like the laceless direction is not one that the German giants are going to abandon quickly. However, if there’s so much attention on the lack of laces from the three stripes, then that must mean that there’s a market trend that has caused them to focus on this realm. If that’s the case, then how come we have yet to see Nike, Puma, and others start to follow suit?
While the initial thought on this was simply that nobody thought that there was a significant desire in the marketplace for this style of boot, the simple fact that adidas is sticking by the formula shows that there are plenty of players looking for a boot that seems to boast a 1-to-1 fit without laces. We’ve seen adidas change course before with the beginning of the adidas “revolution” several years ago, and there’s little reason to think that adidas (with a bevy of laced options already on their roster) wouldn’t quickly pull the laceless plug if they weren’t seeing their investments returned.
The idea that is now presenting itself is that most brands probably have some shared interest in being able to design and provide a quality laceless boot, but they just haven’t decided that they have something that’s market ready with the laceless tech. The laceless adidas options, having tested them all here at The Instep, are all impressive, but we’ve noted with each release that the lockdown isn’t as good as a boot with laces. For all the flash and enjoyment of all the 18+ boots, each one can’t boast elite levels of lockdown. Perhaps other brands are still waiting until they can find the hidden blend of materials to somehow give the qualities that laces tend to provide, while still giving us a laceless boot.
Another option is that adidas hasn’t really given much room for other brands to thrive without fans making quick judgements about other brands copying adidas. The build of the laceless X, laceless Nemeziz, and laceless Predator all have fairly different builds, but Nike or Puma dropping a laceless option means that they’d have to find a unique style that is capable of boasting a tech that seems to be almost adidas property, at this point. Think about it: the Puma FUTURE would look just like a Nemeziz without its fun lacing system giving it a very unique look. The Nike Phantom Vision would look a lot like an X if you took away the second layer where the laces are hidden (and the collar).
The speculation could certainly build on why other brands don’t see a need for wading into the laceless waters. It’s always felt like something Puma would want to add to their track record of left-field releases, and Nike has never shied away from trying to go head-to-head with whatever adidas thinks they can throw down. However, the ability to predict what can and will happen within the footy world is a difficult game. There is still plenty of time to eventually see everyone battling it out to see which brands can give the best laceless experience. Adidas might have a head start, but that’s never stopped one of these brands before. We once said the future of boots is knitted, and there was a time where the future of boots was just synthetic materials. Is there one more twist in the tale where the future of boots is devoid of laces? Let’s watch and see.