Tuesday , February 27 2024

10 Soccer Cleats That Changed The Game Forever!

Ozil with Blackout Laceless Boots

What are the boots that have changed the boot market the most? We are treated to dozens of new boot releases and silos every year, with some making a much more significant impact that others. So, here we decided to delve into the past and pull out the 10 most influential boot releases that changed the game forever!

Lotto Zhero Gravity

No. 10 – Lotto Zhero Gravity

Released: 2006
Significance: The first laceless boot.

You will find another laceless boot later in this list, but that particular boot proved to be far more playable that the Lotto Zhero Gravity. Still, Lotto deserve some praise for their forward thinking. On release, the Lotto Zhero Gravity left players gasping, wondering what they were looking at. How could a boot have no laces yet stay on your feet? Other brands have since taken on these questions, and answered them with classy, high performing adaptations.

Mizuno Wave Ignite

No. 9 – Mizuno Wave Ignite

Released: 2009
Significance: Delivered amazing no-spins shots

Talk about a release that caused “quite a spin” on their release, excuse the cheesy pun! Keisuke Honda was the player responsible for the rapid rise of the Mizuno Wave Ignite after his spectacular free kicks and performances at the 2010 World Cup. One of the more appealing aspects of this release is the side Mukaiten Panels that is designed to deliver a shot from the instep that produces no spin.

No. 8 – adidas F50i TUNiT

Released: 2009
Significance: One boot that allowed players to interchange studs.

As the modern game evolves and surfaces improve, players are left with the challenge of having a collection of boots to suit all surfaces. The F50i TUNiT challenged that, with adidas releasing an innovative interchangeable soleplate. In other words, at any moment you could switch the studs to suit the pitch you were playing on. Unfortunately, the boots were bulky and the time it took to change out the studs was almost not worth it. But, they set a statement and provided players with a unique image of how brands were looking to evolve!


No. 7 – adidas Ace 16+ PureControl

Released: 2016
Significance: The birth of true laceless boots.

The Ace16+ proved to be the first, fully functional, laceless boot released to market. Lotto were the brand to release the first ever laceless boot, but the Ace16+ PURECONTROL and its laceless upper performed at a way better level. You could actually wear them comfortably for a full 90 minutes! The laces on the ACE 16+ were replaced with three key points of stability to lock the foot into the boot. A TPU cage locked over the iconic three stripes to secure the mid foot, and was further anchored by a knitted upper and an internal knitted TECHFIT locking system.

evoSPEED SL Safety Yellow Review

No. 6 – Puma evoSPEED SL

Released: 2015
Significance: World’s lightest game boot!

Weighing in at 103grams or 3.6oz, the Puma evoSPEED SL was an absolute revelation when they were released in 2015. OK, so they might have come with a 10 game warning (after that they fall apart) and provided very little protection across your feet, but these were the most advanced lightweight boots ever seen! No one even knew boots could get this light. As Puma put it: “A non-compromise lightweight proposition, this product is about speed, not endurance. But the moments it creates will last forever.”

adidas Copa Mundial Original

No. 5 – adidas Copa Mundial

Released: 1979
Significance: Copa Mundial is born!

We couldn’t create this list without including one of the most iconic boots to ever hit the market! As boot sales go, the Copa Mundial still sits in the top 10 of all silos, 41 years after their were originally released. I’m not sure anyone could see that coming when they were released, but looking back what a journey there were set to take! The most iconic k-leather boot ever released.

T90 Laser Releases

No. 4 – Nike T90 Laser

Released: 2000
Significance: Nike’s first true power boot.

What many consider to the true power boot, the T90 Laser still has a huge following of fans that crave their performance. Known as the boots for ultimate accuracy and powerful shooting, the unique precision rings on the upper shield was designed to control ball spin and optimize a solid shot.

Adidas X15.1 bethedifference

No. 3 – adidas X and Ace

Released: 2015
Significance: adidas retire and replace their line-up.

Back in 2015, the Predator, adiPure, Nitrocharge and f50 silos were retired and the X and ACE were born. adidas spent a lot of time evaluating the risky decision, ultimately deciding that they needed a fresh new approach. Fans didn’t quite see it the same way. And if you look at those original X and ACE releases, they don’t resemble anything currently available on the market. In fact, the failure of the new releases led to the re-release of the Predator and a Copa that has the flavor of an adiPure release. Short term, it got a lot of attention. Long term, it wasn’t a good look for adidas.

Vapor R9 Chrome

No. 2 – Nike Mercurial Vapor R9

Released: 2002
Significance: First ever 7oz boot from Nike.

In 2002, Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima debuted the silver chrome, black and volt Mercurial Vapor R9 – Nike’s first ever sub-200 gram boot. Ronaldo (R9) was playing some of his best soccer and graced the pitches of South Korea/Japan in his flashy pair of chrome Mercurial Vapor R9, winning the Golden Shoe during that tournament as the top scorer with eight goals. When it comes to a boot that set a statement, created an undisputable repuation with a player, and left players wanting to experience them firsthand, the Vapor R9 is the absolute leader.

Adidas Predator 1994

No. 1 – adidas Predator

Released: 1994
Significance: The first ever Predator boot.

Let’s be honest, performance wise the original Predator was not a great boot. They were clunky and the tech still needed plenty of refining. But, there is no other boot that shook the world quite like these did. They set an immediate statement, and transformed adidas into an unparalleled brand. By adding rubber elements to the upper of the cleat for improved power and swerve, adidas had created something that had never been seen before. Anyone with a pair of these in their collection has the “elite” of the “elite”, the best of the best!

Anything you agree or disagree with on this list? If you had to choose one other stand-out boot to include, what would it be and why?

About Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

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  1. I feel the Nike Hypervenom’s from 2013 were a huge success and largely influenced the skin used on soccer boots today

  2. Interesting

  3. I still remember the Lotto Zhero

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