Ever since the first Premiership stars strolled out onto the pitch with their names and numbers stitched onto their football boots, having a pair of football boots that sets you apart has become a massive draw.
From the San Siro to Hackney Marshes, thousands of footballers are willing to pay a little bit more to have something that makes the pieces of synthetic super-material/crafted cow-hide on your feet into something a little less production-line and a little more unique chic has reached lucrative new levels. Adidas’ MiAdidas and Nike’s NikeiD services have allowed even the most unspectacular players to own a football boot that’s completely unique to them.
One off Nike football boots designed by fans for Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott
So, with the general public being just a few mouse-clicks away from creating the most appealing football boot to their tastes, how does a designer set our tongues wagging?
Make some football boots that money simply can’t buy!
For the special occasions and special players, designers can’t help but pull out the stops and offer something special:
Going back to the most recent World Cup final, after scoring possibly the most audacious penalty ever seen in a final, Zizou’s gold boots became the talking point of the next hour of football. Whilst they were eventually overshadowed by what was on his head (Marco Materazzi’s abdomen) Zinedine Zidane’s all gold Predator Absolute+‘s and the captain’s armband were the ultimate send off for a national hero and an international icon.
In a similar vein, Adidas crafted some Golden Predator Powerswerve’s for their eternal poster-boy; David Beckham.
Designed to commemorate his 100th appearance in an England shirt, only 2 pairs of this striking colourway were made, one for field use and the other pair presumably going into some David Beckham Museum, sponsored by Adidas.
Never ones to be outdone, Nike have given American posterboy Clint Dempsey his own custom colourway MV SL’s, to compliment it’s new ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ initiative; a bold campaign that not only aims to get Americans to pay attention to the fact that they have a national footy team, but to get the rest of the world to take their team seriously – no mean feat considering that as the face of ‘serious’ American soccer, they’ve chosen Dempsey, who doubles as a rapper. ‘Nuff said.
(In all seriousness, I think Dempsey’s become a great player in his time at Fulham, and a fantastic representative of the progress the US National Team has made recently)
If ever there was a player who deserved their own football boot, Ryan Giggs would be pretty high on the shortlist. Clearly a man with strong commitment, Reebok-Sponsored Giggs must’ve shot down plenty of offers from other brands every time his endorsement with the Bolton based manufacturers came up for discussion. His fidelity was rewarded on the night of the Champions League Final 2008 via the Reebok Sprintfit Lite Pro II with a colour scheme deigned to match his Manchester United kit and a gold embroidery to celebrate his historic 759th appearance in the Red Devil’s strip, officially making him the most capped player in the club’s history.
This is obviously just a brief collection of some of my most memorable, and favourite one-off football boots, if there’s any you feel deserve a mention, leave me a comment below as I’d love to do a follow-up article and put the spotlight on some of your favourites.
Like-wise are there any players you’d love to see saluted with some custom cleats?
Multi-coloured Mercurial’s for Craig Bellamy – to match whatever colour shirt he ends up playing in next season?
Michael Owen with an NHS-blue Umbro X-Boots for going a month without injuries?
Cristiano Ronaldo hooked up with some Vapor SL Flippers for going a season without diving?