Adidas has been busy of late, revealing the latest incarnations of both its Copa and Predator boot lines.
The new Adidas Copa Sense emerges like a cleansing ray of light, shimmering and rippling in a golden halo. The boot boasts a trio of brand new technological innovations — Sensepods, Touchpods and Softstuds — all of which are designed to deliver the optimum on-pitch feel for players.
Sensepods are incorporated into the sole to help eliminate negative space around the ankle and heel, thus maximising the contact area between foot and ball.
Meanwhile, Touchpods are in place around the sides of the boot to help absorb impact, and the Softstuds underneath have all been injected with a malleable material to help the studs contort slightly and thus aid ball control.
The wavy Copa Fusionskin upper also makes it look like you’ve just stepped in a puddle of pure molten gold, which is a nice touch. Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham are just two stars who will be slipping them on this season.
Touch of class.
Explore the new #COPA Sense, with all new sensepod and touchpad technologies to deliver an unrivaled touch on the ball.
— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) February 18, 2021
Released last month, the spiny Predator FREAK+ more than lives up to its name, with the futuristic laceless boot covered in “Demonskin” technology for ultimate control and odd angular contours.
Having debuted in a lively “solar yellow” colourway, the second iteration of the Predator FREAK+ is a much more gothic affair, with a stealthy blackout palette lending the boots even more of an unholy edge.
Welcome to the future.
Explore the new #Predator Freak, with revolutionary Demonskin technology for ultimate control.
— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) January 22, 2021
The third new offering from Adidas is an updated, limited edition of their classic Copa Mundial boot.
Based on the iconic 1982 boot, the new “Eternal Class” Mundials have been blacked out and given a fancy new silver-chrome soleplate to lend a sleek, modern aesthetic to a timeless design.
— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) January 13, 2021
Lovely stuff, though it’s difficult to make the Copa Mundial look anything other than utterly elegant.
The strangest designs around
Adidas’ hard work of late also saw it release the X Ghosted Peregrine Speed, inspired by the fastest animal around (the Peregrine Falcon), back in December 2020.
Introducing the new X Ghosted Peregrine Speed, inspired by the fastest animal on the 🌏.
— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) December 19, 2020
It certainly catches the eye… or should that be claw?
Here’s a few more examples of weird and wonderful football boot designs — most of which are so odd they never made it past the concept stage.
1. Tesla Boots
The creation of CGI artist Hussain Almossawi, who decided to explore what a football boot might look like were it designed and made by Elon Musk’s electronic vehicle pioneers, Tesla.
As well as a minimalist bandage-style upper, the fictional boot also features luminescent neon trim — making them perfect for night matches.
2. The P.I.G.
Former Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnston and his P.I.G (“Patented Interactive Grip”) boot design, inspired by the rubber dimples on a table tennis paddle. pic.twitter.com/syLwlAZUe5
— Who Ate All The Pies (@waatpies) February 18, 2021
After retiring from the professional game in the 1980s, former Liverpool midfielder and budding entrepreneur Craig Johnston turned his hand to revolutionising the football boot.
He first helped create the original Adidas Predator, which used small rubber fins on the toe of the boot to improve ball control and swerve.
Johnston’s next project was The P.I.G (“Patented Interactive Grip”), which was intended to be a detachable rubber sleeve that could be worn over the toe of any existing boot to maximise shot power, touch, etc.
Inspired by the rubber dimples on table tennis paddles, the P.I.G was rigorously tested (Germany and Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer was even roped in to help at one point) but alas the design never made it past the concept stage — due, at least in part, to how monstrously ugly it was.
3. Zygo Deztruct
Zygo Deztruct. Perfectas para jugar a LEGO. pic.twitter.com/ewglJL3eq4
— Locos x el futbol (@ElAbrazoDelGOL) October 13, 2015
Yet another attempt at creating the perfect grippy football boot was made by Australian brand Zygo, that decided to try covering its Deztruct model in little rubber suction cups.
The suction “pods” were supposed to release energy when they came into contact with the ball, but in reality only served to make it look like the boots were made entirely of Lego.
4. Serafino 4th Edge
— Serafino Boots (@Serafino4thedge) February 9, 2016
The 4th Edge is a football boot designed specifically to improve the accuracy and power of “toe poke” shots — i.e. the lesser-spotted technique of bluntly prodding a ball with the ends of your toes (think Ronaldinho vs. Chelsea in the Champions League in 2005).
Other than being exceptionally crude, the main issue with toe pokes is that they tend to hurt, which is where the 4th Edge comes in.
The Serafino is a fairly standard leather football boot, but with the addition of a blocky toe cap that supposedly improves the efficiency of shooting with both feet for players who aren’t overly concerned what they look like while doing it.
They may look like a prank, but we assure you that the Serafino 4th Edge is a real boot that is still on sale to this very day — they are even personally endorsed by former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.
5. The Sho’ot
Graham Taylor promoting the Sho’ot. Helps keep managers on their feet, in style. pic.twitter.com/n2pzHj9CZQ
— Square One Football (@squareoneftbl) October 15, 2017
The Sho’ot (pronounced “Shoe-oot”) was a hybrid football boot/brogue design produced to help stop managers slipping over on the touchline.
Essentially a smart leather shoe with studs underneath, the Sho’ot were promoted by the late Graham Taylor, lending the product an air of credibility from a former England boss.
However, it should also be noted that these “manager boots” were also released in conjunction with Football Manager 12 upon the game’s UK release in October 2011. We’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions.
6. Puma evoPOWER MB 9
Puma evoPOWER Balotelli ‘Mohawk’ (For kids) pic.twitter.com/aBTxzKPWvp
— footbaLLove 😷 (@footbaLLove) August 17, 2015
As far as we know, the evoPower MB 9 was the only football boot ever to come with its very own mohawk hairstyle.
Produced in kids sizes only back in 2015, the MB 9 was of course a limited edition boot designed to capitalise on Mario Balotelli’s rising infamy, complete with the controversial Italian striker’s “Why Always Me?” catchphrase and a facsimile of his strip of hair.