What an interesting year 2009 has been in the soccer cleat/football boot world. We have seen some crazy new releases, some cleats that were pulled off the market, and a move back to a more traditional look. As we move into 2010, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to look back and share my personal thoughts on the more important points with you. Enjoy!
adiPURE III released for $129.99
The official SoccerCleats101 cleat of the year, was released in December for an incredible $129.99. The latest release was a simple upgrade on the adiPURE II, adidas choosing not to make too many changes. But lets be honest, why change a pretty perfect cleat? When other releases are reaching the $300 mark, the adiPURE offers comfort and durability at an amazingly affordable price ($130).
Vapor Superfly = $350
This was something that really bothered me. At a hefty $350, you expect the best cleat on the market. And at that price, Nike should have tested these cleats to the ends of the earth in development. Yet, we found out a week before their release that Nike were pulling them back off the market for ‘safety reasons’. And we saw the pics of Superfly’s tearing on soccer pitches across Europe. Thank you Nike, but how did you not find this issue in testing? Makes me think that they didn’t fully test them in game situations before releasing them to pro players. At least Nike got them back on the market before the start of the 09/10 season.
Free Boot Bags with new orders
I have found that this season above any other, companies are choosing to add a free boot bag when you buy a new pair of cleats. Adidas and Nike have been very consistent with this, but the ultimate has been Puma, who have added some pretty cool extras. The Puma King Italia XL, in particular, included an awesome leather boot bag and cleaning kit. There are some companies who have failed to pick up on the trend (Lotto, Diadora, Under Armour) but expect this trend to pick up in 2010.
New Companies Enter the Fray
Under Armour and Concave to be exact. With large financial backing, both companies have released cleats that are unique to the market. Under Armour have released two pairs that received positive attention on release. But their follow up colors have been anything but successful. One word comes to mind; hideous! After such a positive start, UA should have worked on keeping it simple and kept the positive attention coming. Concave’s release has garnered mixed attention. The cleat has a front cover plate that is designed to protect and provide additional power on shots. We tested the Concave PT+, and although they do protect and add addition power, there is still some work to be done in order for these to crack a niche spot in the market.
The End of Nomis
Although we never reviewed any Nomis cleats, we were told that they were making a move on the US market in February of 2010. But, alas, it is not to be as the company closed it doors in mid December due to insufficient funding. Simon Skirrow, Nomis founder, was part of the original Adidas Predator release team, and felt like he had an idea that would crack the market. Again, in my opinion, this was a case of a company releasing a rather disappointing looking boot off the bat, instead of first establishing itself with simple releases.
Color, Color Everywhere!
Oh yes, there were some interesting colors released this year. And I think every company got in on the action. Our winner of the ‘ugliest cleat of the year’ comes compliments of Under Armour. Not a fan of the yellow there guys! In the second half of the year we saw the bigger companies move back to black. Nike in particular, released several all black versions of their cleats. Lotto and Adidas also went back to a more traditional look. Not a bad idea in my opinion and I am hoping the trend continues in 2010. My advice: unless you are in a position to be able to lose financially on a funky colored cleat, stick with something original!
Soccercleats101.com Reviews Featured on Eurosport
So, this one is more personal than the rest of my points. SoccerCleats101 started in late 2008 as a concept, a side project to keep my mind active on all things soccer. Since that time, it has continued to grow, with September being a pretty cool time. It was then that we began sharing my reviews with soccer.com for their website! Good times.
One other thing I discovered this year is that reviewing cleats is not an easy process. It becomes very time consuming (just ask my wife!) Each full review takes anywhere up to a month to complete, and I end up playing in a lot of pick up games and getting up at 6am just to get exactly what I need to finish reviews. Another thing I have noted is how important it is to have a box of band aids handy! At any one stage, I could be testing 3-4 different pairs of cleats, and this can cause unwanted blisters and cuts. But the journey continues, and I am extremely happy to be doing what I am doing! After all is said and done, I hope that sharing these reviews helps at least one my readers find the right cleat!