With a World Cup bang-slap in the middle of it, there was no way 2014 was going to be a quiet year for football boots, but I don’t think many would have anticipated the almost-unreal amount of releases and innovations that we ended up with.
2014 feels like a landmark year for boots in general, thanks to the abundance of packs, limited editions and signature models – whilst we’re almost certain the market has to reach saturation point somewhere along the line, for now we’re just enjoying being spoilt for choice.
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the football boots that made the last twelve months so much fun to watch.
PUMA evoPOWER – January
Stealing a march on the competition with an early January launch, the PUMA evoPOWER was exactly the boot that PUMA needed to bring out.
Technology-packed and approaching the game from a fresh angle, the evoPOWER was christened with a glitzy launch event by Thierry Henry, Marco Reus, Mario Balotelli and Cesc Fabregas in Barcelona.
Now regarded as one of the most comfortable football boots in the game and, indeed, one of the best-feeling synthetic uppers, PUMA gained some considerable goodwill with this release.
adidas Samba Primeknit – February
It might well be the case that the Samba Primeknit will go down as a footnote in boot history; a perhaps cynical attempt by adidas to beat Nike to the punch when it came to releasing a ‘knitted’ football boot.
But it may be for that reason for which this football boot will be fondly remembered. 2014 saw Nike and adidas clash horns like never before – with disruptive marketing from both sides defining the ongoing battle for supremacy between the two brands.
Not only that, but at only 150 pairs, the Samba Primeknit was one of the ‘hot ticket’ limited edition football boots for collectors, setting the tone for the rest of the year.
Nike Magista Obra – March
Whilst collared football boots might well feel part of the football boot landscape some nine months after the March launch of the Nike Magista, it cannot be undersold how much hype these boots drummed up on launch.
With leaks kept to a minimum and some smart teaser videos doing the rounds in the week ahead of launch, the Nike Magista generated more traffic on this site than any other football boot release.
Oh, and they notched the winning goal of the World Cup Final on the feet of Mario Gotze, too.
Nike Mercurial Superfly IV – April
It was a pretty gutsy move from Nike to release both of their Flyknit for football releases back-to-back, with a lot of concern that the two boots would ‘overlap’, thanks to their similar shape.
However, Nike’s messaging was – as usual – on point, and the return of the Superfly name was certainly highly-lauded.
Whilst perhaps lacking the initial ‘wow’ factor when compared the Magista, it would take some doing to deny the Superfly IV it’s place amongst the ‘boots of the year’.
Mizuno Basara – May
Having not updated the Morelia Neo in almost three years and with the Wave Ignitus already having received a drastic overhaul in 2013, Mizuno went with something completely new for the 2014 World Cup in the form of the Basara.
Setting itself apart from other lightweight football boots with it’s focus on savage acceleration and adaptable traction rather than being super lightweight, the Mizuno Basara found it’s feet quickly.
True, it’s time in the World Cup on the feet of Shinji Okazaki might have been short-lived, but it’s standout performance and smart features make it worth it’s place on the list.
Nike Hypervenom Phantom Sonha Durado – June
Nike put heavy stock in Neymar prior to the World Cup; a career-long Nike athlete, playing at a Nike-sponsored club and representing a Nike-clad Brazil at a Home World Cup – that was always going to be the case.
But as Neymar sparked Brazil into life through the group and early knock-out stages, few expected Nike to drop a mid-tournament signature model.
Equal parts outrageous design and marketing, it was another boot that reminded us to always expect the unexpected – even in the middle of a World Cup.
That’s all for now – join us tomorrow for Part 2 of the Boots that Defined 2014!