Have you ever noticed the amount of boot options we currently have in the US and how many new releases hit the market each week? When I started blogging, there were only a few boots I would have to write about each month but now there seems to be a new boot released daily and to be quite frank I find it difficult at time to keep up!
If you follow SC101, you get all the details on new releases but not insights into what the real deal with these companies is. So, a few weeks back I shared my thoughts on specific companies with our email subscribers and it got a fantastic response. As a result, here is a slightly more expanded version with details on where each company currently sits and what the future holds for each.
When you decide to release a new range, there are several ways to do it. You can take the steady approach and work your way in, or you can go gun-ho and really look to make a lasting impression. Warrior Sports has taken the latter approach and they have done it in spectacular fashion. Not only have they kicked things off with two great but very opposite releases, they have also made some fantastic player signings. Marrouane Felliani, in particular, looks like the perfect player to promote the Skreamer and given his status in the EPL, he is a player that will gain plenty of attention for the brand. As is there most recent signing – Man City captain Vincent Kompany.
The Future: As far as things go, it seems like Warrior has the brightest future and if they continue on the same path, could be a top 5 player in the next 2 years.
->> Latest Warrior Sports news
If you are looking for a company pushing technology boundaries, Pele Sports are the top player. Their Trinity 3E has been responsible for a rapid increase in company sales and I anticipate more interesting releases to follow. Where they really excel is in their clothing and indoor range. I love me some Pele Sports apparel and they have actually kitted out my club team (Doxa Italia FC). Their PR work is also highly regarded and they are the most responsive company out there. Where they fail is in their ability to attract top level players and we are yet to see an influencial EPL star take to their boots.
The Future: The World is their Oyster, as the saying goes! If Pele Sports spends and continues to promote they have opportunities to become a big player. But at the current rate, they will continue to sit outside the big 5.
Take a look at Under Armour’s latest release (the Spine Blur) and you can see that the company is headed in the right direction. All of their releases to date have been comfortable and high performing – but each has lacked that killer X-factor. To be honest, I have never been convinced that they are a company with complete focus on the soccer market. But the recent acquisition of Spurs and the fact they now have Assou-Ekotto wearing their boots shows they at least have some intent.
The Future: Already a renowned player in the US sports market, this is a company with more ability than the rest listed and I expect to see them continue to grow.
Currently the quietest company on the list, but the one with the most storied history and obviously a brand name. When I think of Diadora, I think comfort and a boot that sits like a slipper on your feet. Recently, I was introduced to their 2013 line and I have to say there is definite promise. If you follow our Facebook page you might have spotted the sneak peak image we posted a few weeks back – and if the initial reaction is anything to go by, there could be a renaissance of sorts for the Diadora brand!
The Future: They are going to be hanging around a while longer and I am excited to see player reaction to the 2013 line when it is officially released.
Oh man, how things started to look promising for the English brand when Nike took over. But we all know that there was an ulterior motive in that one, and even though the company has been sold to another brand the future now looks bleak! Losing the English and Man City jersey sponsorship deals is a big blow. Then again, the name has a lot of power and there is a new Geometra hitting the market as I type!
The Future: Umbro – hang in there! If we see more releases with similar performance to the original Geometra, there is hope. Plus, think of the possibilities if they were to reduce the overall weight of the boot….just saying!
Have we seen the best of Asics yet, or are they a company that is willing to spring some surprises along the way? In terms of running shoes, they are an international leader yet their soccer shoes have held a pretty bland flavor to date. And then there was the 8MM heel design that never really caught the attention of the US market. Rumor has it that they currently own an 3% share in the US soccer market, which seems extremely high considering what we have seen to date.
The Future: Asics needs to update the style of their boots and quick. Visually we haven’t seen anything with real pop and until we do, performance is not a factor.
There are several companies I have left out (including the big 3) but the above listed are the ones with most relevancy on the market right now. As you can tell, there is a lot of exciting releases planned for 2013 and only time will really tell what hits and what flops.
What are your thoughts on the above companies and who (if any) do you see breaking out as a top level company this year?
Hi Bryan, when are you gonna post a MV IX review?
Real soon – finished testing today, so I hope to finalize things this weekend!
I've been asics's man for several years, hope they could catch up
Asics has some nice looking offerings but I haven’t bought into the raised heel thing. It may or may not work for me but what I’m not willing to do is waste time and money figuring it out. I only play three nights a week so I need something I know will work and that doesn’t take much time to get used to.
Actually they've been popular for a while in Australia and are used by many pro players in various codes not just soccer. The raised heel is actually recommned by sports doctors there. They are also very popular in Italy and worn by quite a few players in Seria A. The problem isn't whether or not the HG10 works or not, It's that Asics don't spend the marketing $$$ dollars in football to pay players to wear their football boots. The fact is Most of the boots the big 3 make are absolutely rubbish compared to the smaller brands. But they have the marketing $$$ to make players wear them and wow young kids into thinking they will play just as well as their hero's in the flashy coloured synthetic crap boots. It's all about the $$$ nothing else. I recommend to you to try a pair of Asics. What you might find is that you'll love them and never look back at any other boot from the big 3 again.
All I know is the best coaches in the world recommend all youth players wear full leather boots, conical studs and in Fergies case BLACK. They've got to know something that we don't because they manages championship winning teams year in year out. Once you've learnt your craft sure you can play in pretty much anything the big 3 will pay you to wear. But until you reach that elite level, I suggest trying some of the more quality products out there, rather than flashy synthetics.
Just remember one thing a donkey will always be a donkey no matter how you dress it. Football boots don't maketh the player, the player maketh the boots.
That’s great and all but you missed my point. Probably my fault for not going into detail. Shoes with a heel gradient don’t generally work for me: running shoes, casual shoes, etc. I’m not going to take a chance on something like that at full price when I can get a pair I know will work for me or won’t take long to get used to. I don’t have multiple spare hours to jog and kick around trying to get used to a pair of boots before taking them into a game. Bryan even said they take quite awhile to get familiar with.
You do make a good point here. It's interesting how minimalist and barefoot running and doing away with heel gradient became popular for runners, yet I keep hearing about doctors recommending football boots with heels on them.
At the end of the day, 10mm is never going to make that much difference unless you're running long long distances (actual running, not running while playing football).
And I don’t wear synthetics. Never have and never will. I’m not sure why you assumed…. I wear Copas and King Finale’s at the moment.
Just to chime in….
In the case of the technology, sports doctors do recommend the heel gradient, but soccer has been played since the late 1800's without its inclusion in footwear. In a sense, Asics are solving a problem that really doesn't need to be fixed.
Agreed that k-leather boots offer the best quality, although the reason Fergie and others factor that in is because they are the boots they wore while playing and they haven't worn newer boots. Nike's Kanga-Lite is top notch and has the added waterproof benefits.
I disagree about asics!
Look at the X-fly both synthetic and leather! Those are incredible boots that are better quality than the likes of Nike and adidas is putting out right now.
I'm also going to disagree about Asics here. They don't need any visual updates. They don't need to boast about technology. They have been most consistent over the years in terms of comfort, which to me, all things considered trumps all other factors.
Only thing they lack compared to the likes of Nike and Adidas is that they spend less money on marketing and handing out sponsorship deals.