The soccer boot world has been largely dominated by the actions of three “dominant” companies. The big three- Nike, Adidas, and Puma are the boots that you see on almost all pro players. Even in grade school leagues, kids wear the big cat logo, the swoosh, or the three stripes. But that doesn’t mean there are other brands. Outside of the big three, we continuously see brands like Warrior or Mizuno signing players and releasing boots that reach/exceed the high standards set other companies. But which brand has the most impact on the boot market?
For a long time, it was Umbro. The Diamond brand held many star players, and was a widely recognized company. However, we have seen the quality of their boots start to dwindle after Nike’s recent move to sell them to the Iconix Brand Group. So is Umbro still top dog outside of the big three? Or have other brands taken it’s place?
Take a look at these four brands that could replace Umbro’s spot as “fourth” in the boot world!
Founded in Italy, Diadora is a brand that doesn’t have the biggest group of sponsored players. However, that doesn’t stop them from producing some quality gear. With a wide variety of boots to choose from, they are all quite unique. From simple premium leather boots such as the Diadora Italica K Pro MG 14 to the interchangeable Diadora Cambio PU, their boots suit a wide variety of players. Considering they can compete with the lightweight boot market with the Diadora DD-NA GLX 14 weighing in at 6.4 ounces, they have to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, although their some of their boots are on the same level as those of the big three, the writers of SC101 have found performance in others to vary. For example, the Diadora Cambio Pu was found to be painful and lacking of support. In addition, other boots such as the Brasil Classic were a little unsatisfactory when compared to other boots that were of similar build. Their inability to produce consistent quality is keeping them from being a true threat in the boot market. However, once Diadora finds true consistency all across the board, watch out!
A brand that is also founded in Italy, Lotto has been a consistent force in the boot market. And with a group of talented players such as Christian Maggio, Morgan De Sanctis, Federico Balzaretti, and Giuseppe Rossi to name a few, they can be taken more seriously. Boot wise, Lotto really lights it up! Literally. The Solista TX is a reflective speed boot that although may lack control, definitely is a conversation starter. Now on a more serious note, aside from the interesting fit and feel of the laceless Lotto Zhero Gravity, Lotto has produced some real competitive boots. Boots such as the Stadio Primato and the Stadio Potenza are true classy heritage boots. Unfortunately, it seems as if they just haven’t been able to break into the hot speed boot market, and until they do so I just can’t see them being a real force.
The emerging star of the boot world that seems to be doing everything right. They have come out firing after their first release of the Warrior Skreamer. Making some initial big signings that put them on the map such as Fellaini and Kompany, they followed up with two more boots. The lightweight Superheat and the control-centric Gambler are both well designed boots that are unique to many other designs. The company is not only partnered with some top-notch players, they are also associated with some top-notch teams. They are the makers of both Liverpool and Sevilla’s kits. And with Liverpool being the current 2nd place team in the Premier League, that is a big accomplishment. I feel that if the ambitious lacrosse brand can continue making smart signings and producing quality boots, they will rise to stardom, perhaps even to the level of the big three.
Although they were a brand that was only available to the European market, Mizuno has been taking large strides to open up their availability. Those in the United States were pleasantly surprised to hear of Mizuno’s announcement that boots would be available. We at SC101 did what we could to influence the Japanese Brand to venture out because we felt that their high quality boots would be a big hit in our market. Regarded very highly by some of the writers here, the Morelia Neo “Made in Japan” offers unmatched fit and feel. They also offer the Morelia Neo and Wave Ignitus III, which are the boots worn by Hulk and Keisuke Honda respectively. Both Mizuno and Warrior are making big strides and I don’t think the question is if they will become top competitors with the big three, I think it is when.
So what do you think about these “outsider” brands? Are they headed in the right direction? And which brands did we not mention that deserved a spot on the list? Perhaps Under Armour, Asics, Pele Sports or even smaller brands such as Ryal? Vote and then let us know why in the comments below.