The days of plain black football boots are a distant memory. Like any attire, fashion inevitably becomes stale over time and a new trend emerges to take its place. Footwear is no longer simply a means of covering and protecting one’s feet during a game of football, top players now use what they wear on their feet to push their own personal brand.
Boot manufactures understand that footballers want to be seen and perhaps even instantly recognisable just by their footwear. With this in mind, companies are now producing designs that include all-fluorescent color schemes, striking patterns and unorthodox features to ensure you remember Lionel Messi wears Adidas and Cristiano Ronaldo is an Nike athlete.
Technology has also played a significant hand in influencing the appearance of modern football boots. For example, designers build featherweight boots to tailor for the quickest players in world football and often match the boldness of the wearer with strikingly colorful patterns. It seems absurd, but just like car manufacturers, this is all about embodying a statement of intent within the appearance of a product. This logic has led to some bizarre designs.
Another trap boot manufactures often fall into is the temptation to blend the vintage style of classic boots with a touch of modern flair. The timeless charm of all-black boots is often best left untouched, but some designers can’t resist including a splash of electric pink in an attempt to achieve the best of both worlds. It’s safe to say, this often gives rise to hideous results.
Everybody has different tastes when it comes to football boots, but there are some designs that make you wonder why anyone would allow themselves to wear them in public.
Here are the top 20 worst football boots ever.
20 Nike Mercurial Superfly Hyper Pink
If there’s one boot series which turns the classic all-black style on its head, it’s the Nike Mercurial Superfly range. One of the American manufacturer’s most outlandish designs is the Hyper Pink colorway, occasionally worn by Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal among others. The aforementioned trio of world class footballers might get away with wearing them, but the boots’ vile radiancy is sure to attract copious snarky comments from opponents and teammates alike for any Sunday league wannabe.
19 Adidas Gloro 15.2 Flash Green/White/Core Black
Harking back to the classic, elegant original Adidas black and white boots of years gone by, who could possibly think giving such an iconic style an electric green makeover would be a good idea? The Adidas Gloro is a bold attempt to reinvent an old school design with a fluorescent modern touch and it’s safe to say, the result isn’t easy on the eye. Some things just aren’t meant to be tampered with.
18 Adidas adiPure Brown/White
The Adidas adiPure series is another range of designs seeking to modernize the vintage touch of yesteryear without sacrificing the aesthetic foundations of the German brand. This extensive boots collection includes a handful of disastrous efforts alongside an array of gorgeous color schemes. It’s difficult to perceive what Adidas was going for with its chocolate Brown/White edition of the adiPure, but luckily other versions have proved significantly more popular among both amateur and professional players.
17 Nike Mario Balotelli Custom Design
Plenty of top level footballers design a pair of boots tailored towards their individual playing style. Others might do it to enhance their brand, and when Portuguese street artist known as Mr. Dheo drew up a custom design inspired by Mario Balotelli, the result was always going to be bizarre. The end product featured a striking camouflage colorway to match the Italian striker’s custom Range Rover, along with the words ‘Balo is back’ printed in all-caps on the outstep. Unfortunately, Balotelli never got an opportunity to wear these on the pitch.
16 Joma Super Copa Speed Black/Coral
The Joma Super Copa Speed Black/Coral is the Spanish manufacturers footwear of choice for football sprinters, which perhaps explains why it’s dubiously reminiscent of something Adidas might produce for its speed series. Although the black and red design isn’t particularly ugly compared to others featured in this list, it’s difficult to escape the feeling it looks like a poor man’s version of F50 or Crazyquicks.
15 Hummel 6.2 Concept Gold/White
A touch of gold is usually an acceptable element of a football boot design. Complete coverage, however, is a sure-fire way to churn a few stomachs. Although the ever-charismatic Ronaldinho once wore similar Nike footwear, it’s difficult to imagine a modern player with any sense of style donning a pair of these all-gold shockers. Thankfully, Hummel no longer produces the 6.2 Concept and has since replaced it with more conservative styles.
14 Nike Hypervenom Phantom II Blue Lagoon/White/Volt/Black
It’s becoming increasingly hard to distinguish between the multi-colored sneakers an eight-year-old might wear and a top-flight footballer’s boot of choice. The Nike Hypervenom Phantom II Blue Lagoon boot looks like it’s been wrapped up in the pages of a comic book. The unisex design was released as part of the 2015 Women’s World Cup pack and it’s barely surprising the boots have been an uncommon sight on professional pitches since the tournament concluded.
13 Under Armour Speedform Hybrid Emerald Lake
Under Armour is trying to find its way in the highly competitive market of sports footwear production alongside Nike, Adidas, Puma and the like. Unfortunately, the American company will have to go back to the drawing board if the Speedform Hybrid Emerald Lake is among its proudest efforts. The emerald green, one-piece design resembles some kind of lightweight diving boot – hardly a good look for dribbling around a football pitch.
12 Pantofola d’Oro Lazzarini WC14 PU Brazil
Released by Pantofola d’Oro as part of a special edition series for the 2014 World Cup, it’s a shame the design for the host nation was one of the most disappointing. There’s nothing wrong with vintage charm, but the yellow Lazzarini Brazil boots are so old school they could be mistaken for an elderly lady’s loafers with studs on the bottom. Ensuring luxurious comfort is difficult to achieve without sacrificing all style.
11 Puma evoSPEED 3.2 Azalea Pink/Black
Whether one likes classic style or modern snazziness, Puma has a huge range of boots to choose from. The evoSPEED Azalea Pink edition is certainly skewed towards the latter preference and perhaps even pushes the boundaries in terms of striking color schemes. Some outrageous skill and quick wit would be required to get away with wearing these fluorescent beauties.
10 Pantofola d’Oro Lazzarini Camo Combi
As with any item of clothing, camouflage is a tricky colorway to apply to a pair of football boots. Pantofola d’Oro has attempted to include the daring pattern in its Lazzarini series and the result is unlikely to convince anyone to snap up a pair of these for the new season. Professional players go for some quirky boots nowadays, but even the most eccentric of individuals would probably think twice about sporting these in front of millions.
9 Puma evoSPEED 1.2 Camo Pink/White
It would take a brave Sunday league footballer to don a pair of these wild pink and white dotted boots. Puma is no stranger to producing experimental designs, but this effort is on a whole new level. Owning the flashiest boots at the club is a one-way ticket to copping an earful from teammates, so it’s terrifying to imagine the kind of abuse these slippers would invite. If it’s any consolation, the evoSPEED design is also made in more modest colors, such as black and red.
8 Adidas Samba Primeknit
Adidas is always seeking to stretch the limits of football boot technology. Even though the German manufacturer has pioneered countless innovations in recent history, many people are still trying to get their head around its latest release, the Samba Primekit. They are the world’s first knitted football boots, supposedly a second-skin feel while retaining the durability of their conventional counterparts. Sounds intriguing, but oddly the boots are only available in a rainbow pattern.
7 Concave Halo+ Black/Green
Concave isn’t the first brand that springs to mind when one ponders which pair of boots to wear for the upcoming season. The Halo+ Black/Green design is a prime example of why many neglect to wear these atrocious looking boots on the pitch for all to see. For what it’s worth, it features a large sweet spot to enable a cleaner strike of the ball – but the icky green and black color scheme is overpoweringly disgusting.
6 Pantofola d’Oro Sirio Palermo Combi Black/Pink
Another Pantofola d’Oro misfire, the Sirio Palermo Combi Black/Pink design is the perfect pair of boots for any punk-style footballers out there. Although the Italian manufacturer has certainly reinvented the wheel in terms of blending classic aesthetic with modern features, it has got it wrong with this effort. Remove the pink strips from these all-black boots and they would ooze class.
5 Puma evoSPEED Camo 3D
The Puma evoSPEED Camo 3D edition boots are quite possibly the most aesthetically pointless footwear you will ever come across. They feature a truly unique three-dimensional pattern to ensure the person wearing them will draw attention regardless of their footballing ability. Puma even includes a set of 3D glasses with every pair to allow maximum appreciation of the striking design. It’s a shame the referee probably wouldn’t let you on the pitch wearing non-prescription eyewear, but at least you can pass them around your teammates in the dressing room before kick-off – maybe.
4 Adidas adizero Yamamoto Limited Edition
Fluorescent colors and strangely complicated patterns are one thing, but covering a pair of football boots with the graphic of a raging lion is a whole different story. The Adidas adizero Yamamoto boots are the product of a collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, who included the animal in his design as a representation of victory and protecting others on the field of play. Remember, Adidas, players spend most of their time on a football pitch, not a catwalk.
3 Puma Emmanuel Frimpong Custom Design
Another creation by the Portuguese street artist known as Mr. Dheo, this Puma custom design was made for Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong. The tweaked evoSpeed boots feature the colors of the Ghanian’s home country with large text printed on the side that reads: “Frimpong is DENCH.” As they’re only a concept design, Frimpong won’t be wearing these boots in a match, but given his quirky nature, would it really be surprising if he pulled them for a Premier League match?
2 Fila Rainbow Boots
Fila is a fading power in the football boots world, but there’s one product that will always stick in the memory of football fans. The now South Korean company once released a pair of all-rainbow boots and unsurprisingly, the horrific design failed to take off. Although few would want to be caught dead sporting tie dye footwear in public, at least your teammates would have no trouble picking you out from across the pitch.
1 Kelme Swarovski Boots
Despite all the outrageous designs featured in this article, the Kelme Swarovski is a class above everything else for one simple reason: these boots are laced with crystals. Nothing can truly justify the preposterous notion of someone trudging around a muddy pitch wearing these £350 cleats. Even if Cristiano Ronaldo partnered up with Swarovski and donned these on the world stage, surely even his most ardent supporters would think twice before following in his crystal laced footsteps.