This year, personalized and custom boot releases were definitely the “IN” thing. With the addition of miadidas and NikeID, it seems like all companies are looking for new ways to promote their boots and take the spotlight in any way, shape or form they can. From the downright funky (Puma evoSPEED Camo) to the futuristic prototypes (Adidas adiZero 99), we have had a lot to keep our boot loving minds occupied throughout the year. In fact, there were well over 50 instances where a single boot garnered the attention of more than one media outlet at a time.
Here, we take a look at some of the best of the best personalized, custom boots that were produced on a limited quantity through 2013. We are skipping over your traditional large quantity marketed boots (like for example most Messi and Ronaldo releases) and keeping a focus on the boots that were either unreleased or offered in very small numbers for players to use. If there are any other boots you would have added to the list, don’t be afraid to let us know in the comment section below.
No. 10 – Becks Final Personalized Predator
Released in May – David Beckham’s Final Personalized Pair of Adidas Predator
For his final professional game, Adidas decided to treat David Beckham to a last pair of personalized boots. I can’t say I was a fan of the look, but this was a boot that embodies Becks and for that we show our full respect. Emboldened by the red, white & blue colors and the union flag of Great Britain, Beckham’s love for his country is the main inspiration for the design. Every aspect of the boot has David’s personal touch. As with all his boots the love for his family is ever present, featuring the initials of his wife Victoria and the names of his four children: Brooklyn; Romeo; Cruz and Harper. The boot also includes the shirts numbers from David’s playing career: 7, 23 and 32.
No. 9 – Wondolowski N7 Hypervenoms
Released in October – Chris Wondolowski Gets Custom Nike N7 Hypervenoms
This was one of those pairs of boots that really found a spot with a large following of Nike fans. When it comes to custom, one off designs, Nike got it absolutely spot on with this super significant pair of boots for Chris Wondolowski. Wondo was treated to his own pair as part of the Nike N7 initiative, which is committed to inspiring and enabling participation in sport for Native American and Aboriginal populations in North America. In my opinion, these are probably still the best looking Hypervenoms we have seen to date!
No. 8 – Nike Celebrate Ronaldo
Released in January – Nike Celebrate Ronaldo With Personalized CR Mercurial IX
When it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo, Nike gave us plenty of choices in 2013. No surprise there. But without a doubt, their top release came compliments of this limited edition CR Vapor IX. With only 100 pairs available worldwide, picking up a pair proved to be extremely tough. The boot featured a bold CR7 graphic and a series of numbers celebrating his many achievements on the lateral side of the boot. The numbers reflect CR’S record-breaking goals scored and achievements during the 2011/2012 season.
No. 7 – Abby Wambach “159” Vapor IX
Released in September 2013 – Abby Wambach Custom Nike Vapor IX “159 Goals” Edition
In order to celebrate Abby Wambach’s historic achievement of becoming the highest scorer in US Women’s history, Nike released this version for her to wear during the USWNT game versus Mexico. They were a personalized pair of Mercurial Vapor IX that Nike created just for Wambach, in recognition of her record breaking goal scoring at international level, which now stands at 163. We have called these the “159 Goal” edition, for obvious reasons!
No. 6 – Van Persie Transition to F50 adiZero
Released in August 2013: RVP Gets Custom F50 adiZero
It was a bold statement by Robin van Persie to choose the adiPower Predator over the Predator LZ last season, but that is exactly what he did when the Lethal Zones hit the market. We don’t see players sticking to an older model for much longer than a few weeks but RVP had a solid attachment with the adiPower. That probably had a lot to do with the boots transition from a Power boot to a Hybrid Control. This season, RVP finally made the change to a new boot, choosing the Adidas F50 adiZero. Scrap that, he changed to a modified version of the adiZero, with everything about the boot custom designed to his specifications. This includes a bladed soleplate and unique stitching across the front and side of the boot. Unlike other boots on this list, this boot was exclusive to RVP’s feet and no one else.
N0. 5 – Craig Bellamy Gets Welsh Skreamers
Released in February – Craig Bellamy Wears Custom-Made Warrior Skreamer
In an effort to build on the momentum of their Skreamer release, Warrior put Craig Bellamy in his own pair of personalized “Wales” boots. The addition of the welsh colors and a faded dragon created a pretty impressive look. Paying tribute to Bellamy’s Celtic roots, a Welsh dragon sits on the lateral side of the boot, while a distinct Triquetra symbol is imprinted on the medial side. Lines from the Welsh national anthem were also etched in gold across both soles. Fans were clamoring to get their hands on a pair, but Warrior kept this one exclusive to Bellamy and no pairs were released to retail.
No. 4 – Balotelli and Puma Makes Headlines
Released in December – Bootspotting: Balotelli Testing New Puma Silo?
In true Puma fashion, we were introduced to this camo “headline” design compliments of Mario Balotelli. The boot featured newsprint stories about Super Mario and included his famous “Why Always Me?” slogan. When he wore them first, we were left wondering what was going on, especially since his contract with Nike expired. Since, we have confirmed that these are in fact a pair of Puma evoPOWER that are being teased via the feet of the outspoken Italian striker.
No. 3 – Mr Dheo x Mario Balotelli
Released in April – Mario Balotelli Gets Custom Mr. Dheo Boots
International Graffiti artist, Mr. Dheo, created this custom pair of shoes for Mario Balotelli, and when he released details the internet nearly shut down! Rather than being a game boot, this pair of Miracle III boots were all about celebrating the player and his style and they were never worn. The detailing really compliments the AC Striker, with “BALO IS BACK” on the side of the boots, an Italian flag along the forefoot, his #45 on the heel and a Superman logo on the lateral side. As we have just found out, Super Mario has made the switch to Puma, so maybe it is time for a new Mr. Dheo design?
No. 2 – Adidas Team Up With Yohji Yamamoto
Released in October – Introducing the Yohji Yamamoto F50 adiZero
Adidas teamed up with Yohji Yamamoto, to create this incredibly complex design on the F50 adiZero. The Japanese fashion designer is definitely not afraid to create bold, unusual designs and this one created quite a stir. The front of the boot displays a pair of imperial lion-dogs who, in ancient times, guarded the emperors of Japan who used to live on sacred ground. This traditional design has been placed in the context of Japan’s modern sci-fi culture creating a spiritual connection between the past and the future. The result is an unexpected design that draws inspiration from the fashion world in order to make a bold statement on the football field.
Interestingly, there still seems to be plenty of these limited edition boots available on several top sites. You have to wonder if this is down to retailers handling of their sale (“sign up to win a chance to BUY a pair”….blaahhh) or are fans just not down with the crazy, over the top design?
No. 1 – Nike Vapor Gets an Anniversary Re-Release
Released in May – Nike Mercurial Vapor Reborn – Limited Edition XV Release
How long have fans been craving and screaming out for a rebirth of the original 1998 Mercurial Vapor? Well in May, Nike sort of listened by re-releasing the colorway design on the latest Vapor IX boot. Basically, Nike took the Vapor IX and gave it an old-school overhaul. With the original Mercurial Vapor, several different materials were pieced together to make the boot. But with this current version, the upper was completely one piece and the soleplate underwent the speed treatment. It had been 15 years since the original birth of the swoosh speed range, this this served as a sort of anniversary release with 1,998 pairs made available. Needless to say, the boots sold out in a matter of hours.