The 20 best football boots of all time: Where to buy Ronaldo's iconic Mercurial Superfly series and more

Football's Best Boots GFXGOAL

There’s a lot that goes into a football boot design. There’s the materials, studs and laces, obviously, but nowadays there’s also the specific zones for control, shooting and accuracy, as well as different plates for speed or precision.

Then there’s the colours, whether you’re going for the all-time classic of black and white, or you want bright footwear to say something about the style of play.

But when football boot design is great, it becomes much more than the sum of its parts. Suddenly, a boot becomes fused to a player in the public imagination.

The boot is no longer its own thing, now it’s David Beckham standing over a free-kick, it's Lionel Messi leaving defenders in his wake or it's Thierry Henry ruling over Highbury.

With that in mind, here are 20 of the best boots of all time...

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  • David Beckham Predator ManiaGetty Images

    1Predator Mania

    The boot to end all boots, adidas’ Predator franchise is undoubtedly one of the most famous lines to ever launch, and has been updated, reworked and rejigged over the last 28 years.

    The boot reached its peak in 2002, though, with the launch of the Predator Mania.

    Already eight years old by this point, the Predator was a popular boot. The launch of the Mania sent it stratospheric, further refining the off-centre tongue and laces and the boots’ signature rubber control pads.

    Over the course of the year, to mark the 2002 World Cup, adidas launched the boots in a variety of “Champagne” colourways, but the headline grabber was always the black and red design.

    Nowadays, those Predator Manias are a symbol of early noughties football, worn by everyone from Steven Gerrard and David Beckham to Xavi and Zinedine Zidane. For a brief moment, the boots even crossed over and rugby’s very own Jonny Wilkinson laced up his pair.

    The relaunch of Predator Mania will be available to buy Sunday, 10 July from the Adidas website.

  • Luis Figo Nike Total 90 IIIGetty Images

    2Nike Total 90 III

    Nike’s Total 90 line only existed from 2000 until 2013, before it was replaced by the Hypervenom. But in that time, the line was home to one of the all-time great Premier League match balls and a series of now-iconic boots.

    One of the stand-out Total 90 releases arrived in 2002, with the T90 II, complete with an asymmetric construction and a colourful gradient stripe. That boot also starred in “The Secret Tournament” advert, directed by Terry Gilliam, soundtracked by Elvis and packed with the world’s best players.

    It was the next installment of the Total 90 that cemented it as a cultural force, though. Arriving in 2004, the T90 III didn’t feature a tongue, and was best known for its huge, circular 90 logo and the block colour on the instep.

    The boot was a hit, but more importantly, the astro version became a school disco classic.

  • adidas Copa MundialGetty Images

    3adidas Copa Mundial

    The adidas Copa Mundial is a classic at every level of the game. It made its debut in 1979 – although it was planned for the 1982 World Cup in Spain – and has always been popular for its black and white colours and no-frills design.

    Over the subsequent decades, adidas has returned to the Copa franchise to update the boot. New technologies, constructions and designs have been used to continually reinvent the line for new audiences.

    Throughout all of this, the Copa Mundial has remained one of the most popular boots ever released – and was the best seller for a long time.

    Even 43 years after it was launched, that black leather, serrated Three Stripes and subtle gold branding make up a football institution.

    Get the Copa Mundial boots from adidas for £130.00

  • Neymar Puma KingNeymar Jr.

    4PUMA King

    The PUMA King has been around for more than 50 years. Over five decades of trends and fads have come and gone, but the black boot with its white Formstripe has been a regular sight across them all.

    It’s the boot that Pele wore to top score at the 1970 World Cup, it was on Maradona’s feet for the “Goal of the Century,” Lothar Matthaus laced up a pair before winning the 1990 World Cup and, with it, the Ballon d’Or.

    After all of that history, the King faded from top level football for a while, before 2020’s deal with Neymar saw the iconic boot back at the front for a new generation. The Brazilian’s first release alongside PUMA saw him put his own spin on the boot, adding an interlocking logo to the signature Formstripe.

    Get the latest version of the PUMA King boots from Puma for £180.00

  • Toni Kroos bootsGetty Images

    5adidas Adipure 11pro

    The story about Toni Kroos and his beloved adidas Adipure 11pro boots is well known by now. Whereas other players have to change their boots whenever their sponsor asks, Kroos has kept true to the same silhouette for most of his career, even after adidas discontinued the model.

    Kroos has never really explained his affection for the Adipure 11pro – apart from saying how important it is to wear white boots – but he has worn the silhouette for all five of his Champions League wins and a few La Liga trophies.

    Over that time, Kroos’ relationship with the adidas Adipure 11pro has become one of world football’s most popular stories.

    Get a version of the adidas Adipure boots from Pro Direct Soccer for £200.00

  • Robert Lewandowski Nike Hypervenom Phantom IINike

    6Nike Hypervenom Phantom II

    As the successor to the Total 90 line, Nike’s Hypervenom always had big shoes to fill.

    The line was launched in 2013 with a pair designed for Neymar, before going on to feature on the feet of attacking players like Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe.

    Arguably the stand-out release from the Hypervenom franchise was the Phantom II, which made its debut in 2015. The new design had a focus on comfort, with a FlyKnit collar and a mix of mesh and NikeSkin across the upper.

    What the boot became most known for, though, was the colourway. With an upper and collar in “Wolf Grey,” the design highlighted the jagged orange section that ran across the sole and studs.

  • Mizuno MoreliaMizuno

    7Mizuno Morelia

    Japanese label Mizuno isn’t one of the biggest names in football anymore, but the Morelia silhouette will always have a place in many people’s hearts.

    It’s the boot of David Platt – the poster boy for the brand in the early ‘90s – and Gianfranco Zola, who wore Mizuno as he became a cult hero across Italy and England.

    Mizuno still makes the Morelia boots, and earlier this year launched an updated version with the Neo III β model. Although no matter how many times Mizuno revisits the silhouette, it’ll be that classic black and white colourway that people remember.

    Get the latest version of the Mizuno Morelia boots from Pro Direct Soccer for £55.00

  • Umbro SpecialiUmbro

    8Umbro Speciali

    Like the adidas Copa Mundial or the PUMA King, the Umbro Speciali is best known for its no-nonsense black and white colourway. The boot is an understated classic, with its oversized tongue and Double Diamond logo, and played a key role in the halcyon days of the 1990s Premier League.

    The Speciali is perhaps most associated with Alan Shearer, who went on to receive a special-edition pair when he broke Newcastle’s scoring records. The silhouette was also worn by Michael Owen in his early days, including that game against Argentina in 1998.

    Get the Umbro Speciali Pro boots from Umbro for £130.00

  • Nike TiempoGetty Images

    9Nike Tiempo

    The Nike Tiempo is one of the Swoosh’s longest running boot lines, having made its debut on the feet of Romario and Paolo Maldini at the 1994 World Cup.

    As well as being one of the oldest silhouettes, the Tiempo is also one of the simplest. Its leather upper complemented only by a huge Swoosh wrapped around the heel.

    Over the last 28 years, Nike has continuously updated and reworked the Tiempo with new design touches and innovations. A particular highlight was 2006’s Tiempo Legend – the boot of choice for Ronaldinho in his imperial years – but despite all of the changes, the Tiempo has remained a classic to the present day.

    Get the latest in the Nike Tiempo range from Nike for £204.95

  • Mizuno Wave Cup RivaldoMizuno

    10Mizuno Wave Cup

    The Mizuno Wave Cup is a boot associated with a particular place and time perhaps more so than any other on this list.

    Cast your mind back to the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and Brazil’s Rivaldo was at the peak of his powers. He scored in his first five matches, broke English hearts in the quarter-finals and linked up with Ronaldo and Ronaldinho to win the trophy.

    Anyway, throughout the tournament he wore the Mizuno Wave Cup. The silhouette became intimately tied to the genius on show, eventually leading to Mizuno launching the Wave Cup Legend in 2018, still celebrating the great man’s influence 15 years after Brazil had won the Penta Campeāo.

    Get the Mizuno Wave Ignitus Japan from Pro Direct Soccer for £275.00

  • Ronaldo Nike Mercurial VaporGetty Images

    11Nike Mercurial Vapor

    Nike’s Mercurial line has played host to some of the brand’s best boots over the years. Things started particularly strongly with Ronaldo’s blue, yellow and silver pair during Brazil’s run to the 1998 World Cup final.

    Four years later, Nike repeated the trick with the Mercurial Vapor. Ronaldo once again wore the boots – although this time he went one better and won the World Cup – and the design itself wasn’t bad.

    As well as a focus on the lightweight construction, the Mercurial Vapor was also given a particularly memorable “Chrome/Volt” colorway, complete with massive Nike branding.

    Get the Nike Mercurial Vapor 14 Elite from Nike for £224.95

  • adidas F50+adidas

    12adidas F50+

    The second installment of adidas’ F50 line took the silhouette in a new direction. Whereas the first release – in time for Euro 2004 – was a relatively minimal design, the subsequent F50+ was given a different approach.

    The stand-out feature of the boot was its exoskeleton, running across the entirety of the upper. This design gave the boot a checkerboard effect that could be seen on the feet of mid ‘00s footballing icons including Jermain Defoe, Djibril Cisse and Ashley Cole.

    Arguably the best loved design saw a black and blue gradient colourway across the silhouette.

  • Cesc Fabregas Nike CTR360 MaestriGetty Images

    13Nike CTR360 Maestri

    Fittingly, as it was crafted for midfield maestros and playmakers, the Nike CTR360 Maestri was officially unveiled by Cesc Fabregas in 2009.

    Most of the design elements had been crafted to help these players, with asymmetrical lacing to increase ball contact, a pass pad for distribution and even an all-new synthetic leather to improve first touch.

    The CTR360 Maestri line only existed for five years – before it was replaced by the Magista – but in that time Nike had released three versions, with wearers including Andres Iniesta and Jack Wilshere, who wore a pair in his career-defining game against Barcelona. We’ll always have the memories…

  • adidas

    14adidas Supernova

    The adidas Supernova is almost just a second vote for the Predator Mania. It was released by the label to capitalise on the buzz around that boot, and acted as an entry level version without any of the bells and whistles.

    Despite that, it was still a classic in its own right, not least because of the black upper complemented with either silver or gold details.

    While it didn’t have the same functionality as the Predator Mania, it did have the same tongue, which was always one of the Predator’s best features anyway.

  • Hummel BallGetty Images

    15Hummel “Ball”

    Whereas football boots nowadays can come in almost any colour, the early ‘70s were a different time.

    At the start of the 1970 Charity Shield, England and Everton midfielder Alan Ball laced up his Hummel footwear, stepped on to the pitch, and became the first player to wear white football boots in a professional match.

    Ironically, the boots themselves weren’t made by Hummel. Due to production issues, the Danish brand had to spray paint a pair of adidas boots to get the desired effect. Once all that was sorted, the boots flew off the shelves and the next fifty years of new colours, patterns and innovations began.

  • Puma V1.06Puma

    16PUMA v1.06

    PUMA designed the v1.06 as its lightest ever boot and so it was fittingly worn by speed merchants and tricky wingers in the mid ‘00s.

    The most popular colourway – as worn by Robert Pires and Samuel Eto’o – featured a bright red upper with black details and PUMA’s classic formstripe in white.

    Ten years after the boot was launched, PUMA returned to the silhouette and recreated it completely with its signature side lacing system and all the original lightweight tech.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Nike Mercurial Superfly CR7Getty Images

    17Nike Mercurial Superfly CR7

    In 2015, Nike announced a new seven part series of boots in honour of Cristiano Ronaldo. Over the coming seasons, they worked with the Ballon d’Or winner to create a string of Mercurial Superfly releases inspired by his journey to the top of the game.

    The first installment in the CR7 series – and arguably the best – was the Mercurial Superfly CR7 Chapter One: Savage Beauty. The boot took its name and design from Ronaldo’s roots in Madeira, with a lava-inspired graphic print to reference the island’s volcanic make up.

    Future releases focused on other elements of Ronaldo’s life and career, including a boot inspired by his decision to leave home aged 12 (2016’s “Natural Diamond”), another in honour of his goalscoring record (2017’s “Cut to Brilliance”) and another to mark his captaincy of Portugal (the “Born Leader” from 2018).

    Get the Nike Mercurial Superfly 6 Pro CR7 from Stock X for £314.00

  • Lotto StadioLotto

    18Lotto Stadio

    The last time Lotto was a major player in the boot industry was largely thanks to one player.

    Andriy Shevchenko had worn the Stadio, complete with its folded over tongue and neon green logo, as he slotted 24 Serie A goals across the 2000-01 season.

    Before Shevchenko, Lotto had been worn by Clarence Seedorf, Paul Gascoigne and Davor Suker, but it was the Ukrainian striker who dragged the brand into the new millennium. A year after his barnstorming season, he was given his first signature boot from Lotto, but it was the Stadio that helped propel him.

    Shevchenko’s relationship with Lotto wouldn’t last. In the end, he parted ways with the brand over his Sheva 7 Extreme signature shoe which was injuring his tendons and putting his involvement at the 2006 World Cup in doubt.

    Get the Lotto Stadio 300 III from Pro Direct Soccer for £70.00

  • Reebok Sprintfit ProBC Boots

    19Reebok Sprintfit Pro

    Some of Thierry Henry’s adverts for Nike may have become known around the world, but the 'va va voom' forward was also on the books of Reebok.

    In the mid 2000s, Henry signed up with Reebok and sported the brand’s Sprintfit Pro throughout his dying days at Arsenal and his first season at Barcelona.

    Aesthetically, the shadow of the Predator hangs over the Sprintfit Pro, with its large tongue and elastic strap. Henry was best known for wearing the white and blue, finished with Reebok’s vector logo in black.

  • adidas CopaUnisport

    20adidas Copa

    For reasons listed above, adidas’ Copa Mundial is one of the most important and recognisable football boots ever released. The Copa line has come a long way since that classic, best shown by last year’s Copa Sense release and its futuristic design.

    The silhouette is packed with new innovations called things like FUSIONSKIN and TOUCH PODS, all of which are designed to improve the wearer’s first touch. The futuristic design carried on from just the tech as well, with a black wavy upper sitting atop a gold sole unit. A modern classic.

    Get the adidas Copa Sense.3 from adidas for £66.00