THE FOOTBALL BOOT COLOURWAY CONUNDRUM

It’s a huge part of football boot manufacturing – colourways. And yet, on a number of occasions recently, we’ve seen some very experienced brands get it wrong.

The most obvious of these was the debut model of the PUMA v1.10. Given that it was a new boot and a follow up to the very successful and mightily popular v1.08, it was important for the German brand to get this spot on. They didn’t. The original Yellow / Red colourway caused an almighty amount of discussion and hardly surprisingly really. I mean, who wants to go and play football with boots that look like two jars of Colman’s mustard stuck on your feet?

puma v1.10 yellow / black / chilli red

Annoyingly for PUMA, they had produced a good football boot. It stacked up very well in the Footy Boots V1.10 test and now that they’ve come out with a classy K-Leather version and some more acceptable colourways, football boot fans seem to have been swayed as to its importance. Who knows, perhaps PUMA should have conducted some market research with Footy Boots readers?

puma v1.10 k leather white / black / red

Why? Because first impressions count. Putting it in to a human context, if you go to a night club and get introduced to a young lady and are told that she’s single, interestedฤนห‡'ย  financially secure and lives in her own place, you’d be interested wouldn’t you? But probably less so if she looks like a bag of spanners. For women too it’s the same. A single guy with a good job, flashy car and great prospects isn’t quite so appealing if he resembles the ugly brother of Frankenstein’s monster.

football boots frankenstein's monster

Hey, how you doin’?

Of course, performance is massively important too. But if you are wearing a pair of boots that your team mates think (not to mention the opposition) look comical, then the pressure on you to produce the goods on the pitch intensifies. And when pressure is applied; performance can often go out of the window.

There is in fact a mathematical equation for this: B + NPB = X-1 (B for Bendtner, NPB for Nike Pink Boots and X-1 for oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!)


There have certainly been some thought provoking comments on Footy Boots since we featured the new V1.10 K-Leather and also the V1.10 synthetic version in Black / White / Red.

Fifinho said “ain’tt it funny how everyone hated the first colourway for the v1.10 but now all the Ronaldo fan boys and Vapor addicts are obsessed with wearing their heroes new favourite Vapor colourway: bright yellow.”

He’s got a point. However, I have a slightly different take on it. Close up, I don’t like the v1.10 in Yellow / Red. But from a distance, I think it looks OK. The Superfly with their sleek and carefully crafted design in Yellow / Black / Gold look stunning when you take them out of the box. But I feel they lose their impact somewhat when you view them from the stands.

superfly yellow black gold colourway

Splinter 09 commented “much better…. now v1.10 looks like a next gen football boot” while Shiv added “I have to admit, I’m loving this boot more and more.. this is a boot… spot on puma.”

Away from the v1.10 there have also been some other examples of colourways perhaps not quite hitting the spot. Nike’s Total 90 Laser III in Electric Green was another ‘tooth dryer’ when it was first revealed but a great result in the Footy Boots T90 Laser III test followed by a T90 Laser III colourway over the Festive period seems to have put minds to rest. Umbro has got it right with all their versions of the revised Speciali which begs the question, what were they doing with the Red and the Blue SX Valor II, particularly when the Black / Neon Yellow version is a cracker.

umbro speciali white red

In life, looks count. That’s why the Mum’s and Dad’s dropping off their kids at school turn up in their flash sports cars and chunky 4 x 4’s. It’s to look good. It’s certainly not for the 20 miles to the gallon they are getting on the school run or when nipping down to Tesco’s (or Waitrose for the posh people).

It’s the same with boots. Looks are important. You can have all the bells and whistles you want on a pair of football boots and a performance to die for. But, if the colourway puts people off, then the performance factor is diluted as, I would argue, less people will try them.

I’m not saying let’s make all boots black. That would be just so boring. But perhaps there is a level to which brands should limit themselves to. Hey, I’d love to look like Ronaldo (that’s what ‘er indoors says anyway) but I’d much rather play like him. Performance wins over looks for me everytime.


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21 Comments

  • I do sometimes wonder whether the initial boot colourways are just to gain attention for the model.

    There is no doubt about it that the yellow red V1.10 colourway stinks.

    Adidas seem to get it right though. They generally lead with the best colourways and then release alternatives over time.

    Maybe someone from Puma can explain to Footy Boots?

  • ^^^ but then how come the Vapor IV worked so well ?? the orange peel/ midnight black

    iv got a pair iv red/gold vapour IV nd every time i wear dem people like dem but when i wear the Blue/white Vapor II not so much ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

    colour is a BIG factor

    if nike brought out all the best selling vapor IV colours in superfly wit the flywire (AND HIKED DOWN THE PRICES) i think it would be a BIG sell out

  • I feel like Nike gets away with bright colors because they normally pair them with white or black. The bright yellow, cactus, orange peel, and pink boots were all stand out colors for boots, but the colors Nike put with it were either black or white. Puma tried pairing a bright yellow with red and it looked like too much. It’s not necessarily a brand loyalty thing either because most of us that have seen the new Vapor VI colorway hate it (I do and I haven’t worn anything but vapors since the III…Although I do own CTR360’s I haven’t really had the chance to wear) Nike missed with the new purple colorway because they paired it with an orange and navy. If it was just solely put with a black or white, they would probably be a lot more pleasing. I think boot companies just need to realize that if you’re going for a bright color, use only one of them per boot.

  • here is my graphic designer point of view on colorways:

    the vapor line did well with flashy colorways because in all honesty the demographic for that boot is of a younger age. true, many people of different ages wear them, but from spending a lot of time on soccer boot sites like this, it is the kids that seem to be most attracted to off the wall colorways. why? kids like to be flashy, to stand out, and are attracted to bright colors (just go into a toy store, look around at the packaging…then go to upscale clothing store and notice the difference).

    Nike came out with pink, neon green, and bright yellow boots to attract that specific market.

    working alongside a huge corporate marketing team where i work and knowing how their minds work, i know for a fact the youth market is a huge factor in boot colorway decisions. kids have a lot more expendable income for high priced bright colored boots, whether its from mom and dad or earning money on their own but not having to pay rent, bills, food, car, gas, etc.

    HOWEVER…you know which vapor colorways have been the most sought after? the more traditional ones…like the Euro vapors (black/brown w/ white…true, bright blue studs, but those arn’t seen when standing in the boots) and the london niketown-only k leather vapors, which were either black and white or white and black.

    if you ask me, yes, the bright crazy colors shock people into noticing a boot, and attract the attention of bright color loving kids. If you look at the new vapor 6, that ridiculous purple and orange colorway looks straight out of a kid’s anime show.

    HOWEVER, there are tried and true colorways that always look good and classy, because those colorways are subconsciously ingrained into our brains as attractive. you notice how many boots have some sort of combination of WHITE, BLACK, and/or RED? any of these 3 colors will always look good together.

    the new CTRs, those umbros, both the black/red and white/red pumas, pretty much all predators, torres’ laser 2s, etc. are all boots that have been deemed attractive because they utilize these 3 colors…or even just two of them.

    and what misterbroom says is spot on: bright colors can be used in a classy way by pairing them with very neutral colors, black and white being the most neutral. so with the most universally attractive colorway, (any combo of black,white,red), red acts as the bright or highlight color (duh)…but just substitute red for another color with personality (yellow, gold, orange, blue, green, whatever) chances are its going to look good.

    looking at the length of this post, it is obvious my morning coffee is kicking in lol

  • Im a fan of the way adidas release their boots. Its much better bringing out a boot with 1 understated colourway that will always look good but not really take your breath away. And at the same time bring out a little brighter version of the boot.

    Then bring in the stupid colour boots for when people are just plain bored with their current boots but they dont fancy any of the new models out (if there is any)

    As for the vapor IV being so successfull straight away i think Ronaldo had a massive part to play in that. Wasnt it his first game in them when he scored that freekick against portsmouth?

  • I 100% agree with Andy-great article by the way…the boots looks must be decent, so that the player feels comfortable-i’m down for colourways like pink and citron-however, when you have people taking the mick, your performance can feel affected and the colourway is the only thing that shines…you need a good colourway, good performance, comfort and confidence.

  • ooowwch! couldn’t agree more to the article! i’m the kind of player who really took looks as consideration.
    make me wear nike pink boots, nike electric green (or any other boots that i personally consider ugly) and i’ll spend half of my time worrying if the audience are laughing at me than focusing on my game. i’ll stop dribbling for every giggles i heard. looks counts!

    @Duberry: right on. most of the times adidas does release their best original colorway first (ex: the black-white-red preds) then alternatives follows.

    @ill-d: then you should keep those morning coffee. good comment there mate!

  • ill-d’s post is fantastic. +1

    Hey MisterBroom, mind passing over your CTR360’s if you aren’t wearing them? J/K ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For me I think it reveals a little bit how superficial the current society can sometimes be. Most opinions are based on looks, not only in the boot colourway world but even in the examples given above about a girl or a car.

    If a girl is rather plain but has the most amazing personality and attitude I will take a look, and I would drive a car that looked like scrap metal on the outside but has a luxurious and comfy interior and an amazing engine and build and costs $1000. Most people are not like this; they would ignore the amazing girl because she is not beautiful and they would not drive the amazing car just because it looks like it came from the junkyard.

    Of course looks/outside appearance are important but by no means should they be the benchmark to judge anything with. After all, outside appearances only please your eyes. The boost to your confidence will soon dissolve if you find the performance to be unsatisfactory. As I said earlier, much better an ugly thing that performs well (because it will win you over with performance) than a beautiful thing that wins you over from the start but will later disappoint you with atrocious performance. It is normal and understandable to make your initial opinion based on looks because that is all you have to go on with, but then you should maintain an open mind about the item and be prepared to change your opinion if some other evidence about it comes to light.

    I can give an example of the adidas f30.9 indoor boots I got. They look amazing but they provide no advantage over my sneakers and are a bit less comfortable to boot. My sneakers are as ugly as sin but they perform. For me the CTR 360 is not beautiful but I am going to splash the cash on them because their performance CANNOT be questioned.

    “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is an oft repeated proverb but no one seems to absorb the message. Let me leave you with this saying: The road to hell is wide and paved with gold, but the road to heaven is narrow, winding and treacherous. Guess where judging by appearances will lead you…….

  • I think it would be nice if EVERY boot by every manufacturer could be released in an all-black or mostly black colorway for the traditionalists among us. I can’t count the number of boots I’ve passed on due to the ridiculous flamboyance of the colorways.

  • Copas all the way!!!!!!! haha

    i actually am getting the new v1.10 black/red color way.
    recently ive noticed black cleats are starting to be in. They give a clean and sleek look. They’re fresh and forgiving. Wear them with Some half cut tube socks with your club socks(shows the cleats shape and makes the black stand out a lot!!!) and they look well mad!

  • “outside appearances only please your eyes”. as true as it sounds, i guess most people now are too greedy they wanted to please both they feet as well as their eyes my friend ๐Ÿ˜›

    i go to the gym and hire a personal trainer recently. my new trainer asked me “do you just wanna loose some weight and stay healthy, or you wanna build some muscle and those six pack abdomen AND stay healthy?”
    hell yeah i want those killer abs i say.

    if the inside is good anyways, i choose to look good outside as well.

    i’m totally agreed with kuuku’s point there: no point of having good looking shoes if they perform like crap. see, i TOTALLY ADORE the looks of white-champions league F50i. but when i try them on, they’re too narrow for my wide feet. i won’t be able to perform in those babies. so i don’t buy em -no matter how i love the looks.

    don’t buy shoes ONLY because it looks good, but buy em because you’ll also play good in it.

    not everything beautiful is ugly inside.
    not every road that is wide and paved with gold are leading to hell.
    there are many good books out there with also a good cover.

    see, like what kuuku says about cars. luxurious and comfy interior and an amazing engine ‘usually’ comes in a ferarri, rather than in some junkyard car.

    this is not the matrix’s “red pill or blue pill”, there’s always a win-win solution with another model/another colorways.

    christiano ronaldo play like himself and looked like himself. david beckham does too. there are thousand of players out there who plays good while looks good.

    so why couldn’t we? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I agree with you channo, looks and performance should ideally come together in the perfect package. What I’m exploring, however, is which is more important….looks or performance? I’m also pointing out that too many people have their priorities wrong. Outside looks are not an indicator of what is inside….but many people think it is.

    “It looks so good that it must be good!”
    “This car is sleek and red so it must totally great!”
    “What nice pictures on this cover, this must be the best book in the world!”
    “Wow this road is so nice and comfortable, it must lead to an awesome place!”

    You get my point?

    All I’m saying is that too many people have looking good as the priority for anything. This is a wrong attitude. Looks should come SECOND to suitability, quality and performance. For some people, looks are not just the first consideration, they are the ONLY consideration!

    That’s all. Of course it is good to look good. If something is out there to satisfy you in every way of course you must go for it. I could easily just spend the normal amount of money to buy the ctr 360, but I am spending extra to customize them and make sure the look of them is pleasing to me because the original look is not that great for me.

    What is boils down to is: if it came to a choice between something good and ugly or something bad and beautiful many would choose the bad and beautiful. Is this not true? You know it is. A few people are ready to look deeper including you and this is good. But not enough people. I’m just trying to point out that looks should not be the first/only consideration. That’s all.

    You want an example? There are many but one good one is he apple i-pod. There are many devices just as good or even better while being cheaper. But everyone wants an i-pod because they are quite superficial when choosing. The ipod looks good and everybody touts it so they buy like sheep.

    Another good and relevant example? THE DEMIS OF NOMIS. Professionals might buy their boots but the normal consumer, judging only by looks, does not buy Nomis. The conscientious consumer will buy based on the undoubtable quality, but for the rest, it’s not ‘good-looking’ enough. You get what I’m saying? It is that attitude of: “oh it’s ugly so I hate it and it must be crap”, that got Nomis out of business and destroyed a promising, enterprising and innovative new boot company with a quality product. If their boots had been better looking who knows if they might still be in business?

  • I think that boot colours are allways down to a personal preferance, weather you are a old school classic or a flashy neon colour. I can understand how people may get added confident by wearing flashy boots and may try stuff that they would not have previously attempted. Then there is the issue of weight the flashy boots also tend to be the light weight ones. This puts defenders off then straight away as they do not offer enough protection to the foot, sure they are light but you dont see a defender running with the ball at his feet no! so as long as the player feels comfortable in there boots it shouldnt matter what colour they are.

  • owwch, i still feels bad about nomis. i haven’t had the chance to get my hands on one of their shoes. but i see they had great products & vision. and i don’t think that their product looked that bad, probably people didn’t buy nomis because they just got out-named by huge companies that practically own the football market such as nike & adidas.

    anyway… i see, so the problem is when it finally comes down to the choice of looks vs performance, many people tends to make the shallow decision… couldn’t get any truer than that.

    aside from that fact though, for me personally, if either one of the categories fails to impress me, there’s a big chance that i just won’t make the choice.
    again, this is not the matrix’s red pill vs blue pill. if u didn’t like either adidas nor nike, there’s always umbro, puma, reebok, and so on to choose for.

    laser 3 performs wonder according to tests; it looks ugly to my taste = i don’t buy it.
    F50i looks amazing; it didn’t fit well to my feet = i don’t buy it.

    however insignificant role that ‘looks’ had when compared to ‘performance’ to your game on the pitch, it is still a value afterall. and a value is a value; it worth every thought and every penny.

    back to topic though, read kuuku’s comment kids. think about your flashy shoes again: do they perform as flashy as their colors?

  • i agree color does matter somewhat!!!at the begging of my season it was august i got the red and white laser iis and that was a terrible decision cuse the were way too wide but i had to get the vapors cuse ihave such a narrow foot i hated the color though so i choose performance over color but i do like my cleat to look good so i didnt mind the vapors too much because many people liked them.
    but i got noticed more for my playing in them and thats what counts
    so to any1 considering buying new cleats first find which cleat is good for you and the most comftroable and has the best fit THEN choose the color becuase most cleats you should find a color that you like
    and by the way im 14 soo not all youth’s like flashy boots

  • I actually like the yellow puma’s and the nike. The Umbro’s are ok but stitching macking them look average otherwise everything is good, if not great

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