Some of us are simply from a different era. “Stop changing our game!” we yell, as fleeting VAR / Super League abominations come and (hopefully) go. We’re one with a beautiful game that as wide-eyed youths, we fell completely and utterly in love with. So much so, we’re still lacing up our boots on a weekend and clinging on to our fizzling careers (and knees), once driven by unbridled dreams of pulling on the Three Lions’ shirt at Wembley. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Players of our age, we’ll only opt for retro football boots, and there’s a chance we’ll only be happy if they’re as black as the night. Them’s the rules. It would appear, the young bucks in today’s game don’t care too much for simplicity. They’re all about flash and pizzazz, who’s got the brightest and lairiest football boots?
Well, let’s leave them to their luminous pink Nike Mercurial Superflys, shall we? We’re here to discuss one thing, and one thing only: old school quality football boots that you can still actually get hold of. Pull on your retro 90s shirts, because we’re going in…
Adidas Copa Mundial
It would be ridiculous of us to begin with anything other than the absolute don of old schoolery. Designed for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, this masterpiece has been worn by names that regularly swirl around “the greatest ever XI” chat in pubs across the globe. Zidane, Cruyff, Maradona, Beckenbauer – they all slipped their magical feet into the soft leathery goodness of adidas’ Copa Mundial.
Yes, it came in a white version too. And, yes, it’s been modernised with the smooth laceless Copa silo, but the black and white edition has stood the test of time like no other boot. A durable and beautiful product of the highest order, and still available for a reason: it’s downright incredible. Whether it’s the local Powerleague or strolling about the Sunday league park for you, the Copa Mundial will always deliver the goods.
Puma King Top
OK, so Puma tried reinventing this one a bit and stuck a nimble-toed Neymar in them to show that they were hip, and for the kids. It didn’t really go to plan, as he slipped into the Future Z model a few weeks later. That doesn’t mean that you and I can’t get hold of an absolutely classic creation though, the Puma King Top. After all, Pelé was crowned ‘Player of the Tournament’ at World Cup ‘70 in his pair, but it’s our turn now. Sunday league cup run pending.
The supple leathers and Puma Form Stripe are iconic on the King, and who’d have guessed it? Legends such as Cruyff and Maradona (again) dropped shoulders and snapped oppositions’ ankles in them. Even Lothar Matthäus, the stout German defensive midfielder bossed parks with the help of the Puma King Top. Ah, memories.
It’s 1996, The Lightning Seeds are pumping out of our hi-fis, Wembley is bathed in sunshine and we’re facing Holland in a must-win, third and final Euro group game. Enter: Alan Shearer and his Umbro Specialis. The two goals that Shearer pummelled home that day were a drop in the ocean of goals he spanked home during an illustrious goal-scoring career with Blackburn, Newcastle and England. All helped by this legendary boot silo from the Manchester-based manufacturer.
A cracking Mark Hughes volley in the 1994 FA Cup final, a mind-bending Roberto Carlos free-kick at Le Tournoi, an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer toe-pecker in injury time of the ‘99 Champions League final. The Speciali is aptly named, having been at the epicentre of some incredible footballing moments throughout history. The good news is that you can still grab a pair of these legends today, perfect for attempting that Carlos free-kick every Sunday morning.
Nike Premier II
Little bit of a curveball this one, not being a “retro” boot as such. The Nike Premier II is more of a modern twist on a classic silhouette, taking its lead from the Nike Tiempo. The Premier is somewhat of an affordable premium option (typically less than £90) vs. the Tiempo, and it’s so good that even Héctor Bellerín has chosen to wear them in the Premier League for Arsenal.
Nike have played with colourways on this model in recent times, reintroducing the classic gold and burgundy Ronaldinho ‘R10’ colourway of 2007. And who doesn’t love a bit of the Samba King himself? Right now, you can bag yourself a beautifully crafted pair of black Nike Premier II for less than £90. Maybe even burgundy? Go on, we won’t judge you for the amount of flip-flaps you’ll try.
Mizuno Morelia II MIJ
Somewhat of an underrated brand, wearers of Mizuno boots have always been vocal in their praise for this model’s comfort and quality. The Morelia’s have been around since 1985 (originally named ‘Runbird’), and the Made In Japan editions have had an impressive raft of players donning them, including Patrick Kluivert, Aldair, Rivaldo, Keisuke Honda and true Champ Man hero, Pablo Aimar. Some list.
Nowadays, you can grab a pair of the slightly updated Morelia II MIJ but, beware, the price tag for the elite level is fairly hefty. The sleeker Morelia Neo MIJ is a less heritage option, for those who think they’ve still got any remnant of pace in the tank. Either way, you’re going to be living in a world of buttery smooth touches with the help of the exquisite Morelia.
Bonus: Adidas Predator Remakes
We couldn’t leave without mentioning the boot that changed the game, the adidas Predator. And not the slinky laceless numbers that Paul Pogba is prancing around in. We’re only interested in talking about proper Predators here. Arguably the greatest action film of the ‘80s, easily the best football boot of the ‘90s and ‘00s.
Every now and then, adidas decides to remake one of these beautiful specimens. They’ve revived the ‘02 Mania, the ‘00 Precision, even the ‘95 Rapier. Right now, it’s the turn of the ‘98 Accelerator, landing with a blackout option retailing at £300. And yes, you read that correctly. There’s only one way to pretend to be David Beckham, that’s to do your hair, stick on some old school Preds and dislocate your knee by wrapping it around a free-kick. Go on, you know you want to.
This post was written by our friends at FOOTY.COM, the home of football price comparison. Head over there to find the best deals on ALL these retro boots!