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.[poll id=”46″]
Hi Ethan, great article for me. It looks pretty neck and neck between Mizuno and Warrior. Warrior seem to have a few more high profile players wearing their boots but Mizuno seem to have alot more players moving over right now. The combination of the strong leather uppers from Mizuno shades it for me.
Ethan I have to disagree that Umbro's quality has dwindled, the Speciali 4 pro is one of the best current boots on the market…Yeah the company is having a hard time but the quality of their product is still very high.
Mizuno make better boots than all the other companies, I've worn them all apart from Warrior but Mizuno have consistently been producing high quality boots much longer than Warrior, I feel Warrior are trying too hard where Mizuno's quality products speak for themselves.
Lotto and Diadora I have found to be hit and miss, I feel if any brands quality has dwindled it is Diadora.
I think Brands like Cinquestelle and Ryal (And the Made in Japan) Mizuno are a step ahead of them all, instead of silly gimmicks and shed weight they highlight what is important….Comfort, Touch and build quality.
Also Under Armour boots seem to be getting better and better.
Great point about Umbro. It was one that I would have wanted to make myself (though you made it well). The Speciali and Geometra are both high quality boots, and the GT Pro was also a decent silo with some quality. I don't know much about the new GeoFlare. Unfortunately, they have slipped in the United States at least. Looking at major US online retailers, they barely have any Umbro boots in stock, and most of what they have is older silos that they are trying to get rid of at clearance prices. Hopefully they are having more success in Europe.
I don't think Mizuno can really be considered the fourth company in the US. They just do not have enough of a presence here yet. Hopefully that is changing, because based on reviews it seems they really have quality to offer. I would love for them to be able to compete with the top brands in the US, and look forward to that happening now that they have started selling boots here.
In my opinion, in terms of prominence I would have to say Diadora would be the fourth brand. The Maracana is an iconic silo, and at least in my experience, I tend to see players wearing various Diadora silos more commonly than any of the other "other" brands. I think their quality also tends to be good when working with K-leather, though I wonder if some of their boots are going against current market trends. With the exception of the DD-NA-GX (or whatever it's called), they have seemed to struggle with more modern boots (for example, the Cambrio, the Solano, etc.)
Love your input as always, Shyam. I tend to agree with you on all points here!
I've always been a Diadora fan – gotta go with them for #4. I think Warrior (owned by New Balance) and UnderArmour both have the resources to make a push.
What happened to Pele Sports ? Seemed like they had a good run going for a little while.
They are in a "holding phase" while some things are sorted out with their team in Europe.
It's tough to say really. Nike, Adidas, and Puma have everything, star power, performance, marketing, everything. Diadora and Lotto have been pretty consistent but they lack the marketing (from what I see, not sure about everyone else). Warrior have the star power with their boots but I've heard mixed reviews about their boots performance and comfort. Mizuno are the opposite. They have the right boots but most can only think of Honda and Hulk who wear them. But they only have two strong silos while morelias are in the shadows a little bit. and i don't know what happeend with the supersonic waves. but If they can get that star power way up there they can definitely start to compete. I've never worn diadoras or Lotto but i've heard mostly good things about performance and comfort. same with mizunos.
UMBRO has still got a place as it sponsors good tems like Everton and West Ham all of the others are pieces of crap