The recent re-imagining by Nike of the original Mercurial R9 (albeit as a colorway of the Vapor IX’s) got me feeling a bit nostalgic about some boots from the last 10 or so years that I’d love to see either re-released or re-worked somehow. After searching through my memory banks, and a bit of internet browsing, I’ve come up with a list the boots that captured my interest on release, and would probably do so again if they were released back on the market.
#1 – Adidas Predator Precision
The boots that David Beckham scored ‘THAT’ goal (v. Greece) in; and my all time favorite boot. If I was making decisions about bringing a boot back, I’d bring this one back in a heart beat! Aesthetically in silver it’s very pretty and wouldn’t look out of place on the market today. Performance wise they were fantastic and the predator element covering the entire front of the boot gave certain shots an air of unpredictability for a goalkeeper; although they could definitely do with a tiny bit of weight shedding I remember them being somewhere in the vicinity of the mid 10 ounce range.
I have a pair in silver in the SG layout (stud layout pictured above) that I purchased in 2001 before finding out SG studs are frowned on/illegal in Canadian amateur leagues (something about insurance), but still manage to make an appearance if I consider the pitch to be ‘slick’.
#2 – Nike Air Zoom Total 90 II
Adidas has released the Nitrocharge 1.0 for the player who is described as “The Engine”; however, they weren’t the first company to cater to the player who went full out for the total ninety, in my opinion. Before it became a power boot the Total 90 salvo was originally designed to appeal to the box to box midfielder. Tech-wise the Total 90 II was pretty tech savvy for the early nineties, being one of the first boots to feature off center lacing for an enhanced striking area and the Air Zoom technology, which some Nike Factory Store employee friends at the time explained to me “resulted in less stress on your joints while stopping, starting, sprinting and turning over the course of a match.”
Aesthetically, the simple but modern design suits these boots to the ground, and they fall high on the list of my favorite boot designs, so much so that I have been known to offer to buy pairs off of players sporting them in leagues I play in; so far no takers.
#3 – Adidas F50i TUNIT
I’m sure Jim will be happy I’m including this one! Aesthetically, it was okay, certainly not a patch on the Predator Precision or the Air Zoom Total 90 II’s. However, the TUNIT series was incredible for its versatility, it was like having three pairs of boots in one, because, depending on the model you bought, you actually DID get three pairs of boots. Designed with the tinkerer, stylist and speed merchant in mind, ultimate flexibility and customization was the model. Want a new upper? No problem.
Boots feel a little too heavy? There’s a feather light chassis for that. Want to experiment with a mixed stud layout? Adidas could definitely help you with that. For the principles of ultimate customization alone, the TUNIT was a fantastic boot with a great philosophy.
[See: Adidas F50i TUNiT Review]
#4 – Nike Mercurial Vapor R9 (Limited Edition)
Four years after the Air Mercurial showed the world that it was possible to shed weight off a pair of football boots, Nike went back to the design shed to figure out if it was possible to shed more weight off a boot while not affecting performance. What they came up with gave birth to a group of amateur players with such a fervent passion to one silo of boot that they have a nickname “The Vaporheads”. Only 4600 of this dynamite colorway of the original Mercurial Vapor offering were released to the public and they sold quickly. Looking at them it’s hard not to see why, the Chrome/Lime colorway is absolutely majestic, with the chrome shimmering beautifully in the light.
Technology wise the boot was a marvel, debuting the new ‘Nike Skin’ a lightweight synthetic said to be stronger than K-Leather (although in my opinion no synthetic can replace the touch of K-Leather), and the glass soleplate offering lightweight and strength. The original Vapor line still looks outstanding today 11 years after their release and I’d love to see Nike re-release a pair of boots like these without cheapening them by trying to make them all 2013.
This brings me to the end of reminiscing about four fantastic boots which I think would still be both stellar style wise and performance wise on the market today. Sometimes designers try to think too far into the future when it comes to designs and specs for football boots, when they might have better success if they take a quick look back to where they’ve come from.
Disagree with a choice? Have a boot which you would love to see back on the market? Drop a line below and have your say.