With only a few short weeks left before all of the football gear brands start to show their hands for the World Cup, the anticipation is palpable here at Instep HQ. We have already discussed what types of colors the brands will probably roll out on their boots and what the general opinion of the commemorative Vapor series has been in our WC Waiting Room series, but we are starting to hear that this summer will be a stage for the major brands to release another large group of special release boots!
Although I was completely honest in admitting that my earlier tirade against limited release boots might be because some of those limited release boots have not been placed in my hands, it does not change the reaction to the rumors that the World Cup will see more special/limited boots hitting the market.
While a few of these are still in the “rumor” stage, the first boot we will discuss actually has a launch date on the Nike.com website. Ronaldo will be getting a Ballon D’Or commemorative Vapor. If the Nike.com website is accurate, that Vapor will actually be a Vapor IX! Considering that the X is on the near horizon, the only market for a boot like that would be collectors. While I will avoid going on and on about how “boots should be used and not merely looked at”, a boot that would only appeal to collectors will hurt Ronaldo fans a bit as they would probably love to have the boot made in memory of this massive accomplishment for the Portuguese captain.
For Messi, adidas will probably be lining up another special edition. For a player that has already shifted player-specific colors once and started wearing the ultra-limited F50 “370” for the last few matches, another boot for Messi during the World Cup will feel a bit excessive. However, there is no way that adidas star man will be found in the same boot as the other adidas contracted players. Considering Messi did not bring home the Ballon D’Or this season, we wonder if the boot will have any nods toward the major award or if it will draw its inspiration from elsewhere. With that, adidas will have the World Cup pack and the Messi-specific boots out at the same time…overload and a major drain on the wallet.
There are also rumors that Neymar might see a player-specific HyperVenom, and the simple fact that there are already three more player-special boots rumored for this World Cup than the ’10 WC means that there might be more. Puma might be thinking about slapping something special on Balotelli’s or Fabregas’ boots, and any smaller brand hoping to attract a new customer’s eyes will consider giving their contracted players the special treatment.
Whether these boots will be limited or not remains to be seen, but as rumors about Nike’s WC boots costing over $300 for some of the models start to circulate, the price-tag for anyone hoping to bring in a large portion of the World Cup’s boots seems to grow ever-larger. Once again, brands are pushing the typical consumer farther and farther away as any player on a budget is pushed closer to the mid or low-tier releases in order to wear something that looks like what the players wear. However, with the pageantry of the World Cup, any product attached to the tournament will sell…guaranteed.