Has there been a more flavorful year in the world of soccer footwear then 2012? We don't think so. As soccer continues to grow in the US, more and more boots are hitting the market and making their mark. Whether it's brand giants Nike and adidas, or the newcomers to the sport like Warrior and Under Armour, the choices for players is only getting better. These are the releases that made an impact this year, take a look through The Best Soccer Cleats of 2012.
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No. 10 – Warrior Skreamer
As Worn By: Jonas Gutierrez and Marouane Fellaini
Warrior just hit the market with their debut release in November, but already they have caused quite a buzz. Their initial release, the Skreamer, is definitely full flavored and features a fish scale looking design on the forefoot. But this hasn’t taken any attention away from lightweight 7.4oz power boot.
No. 9 – Under Armour Hydrastrike II
As Worn By: Bobby Zamora and Michael Dawson
This is the one boot on the list that surprised and stole the hearts of many. Not many players wear the Under Armour brand, but they are a company that has proven their reputation with some stellar releases. This release features a fantastic fit right across the forefoot and Under Armour has developed a H2Oi water repelling technology that provides great touch and control on the ball in all water conditions.
No. 8 – adidas adiPure 11Pro
As Worn By: Bastian Schweinsteiger and Santi Cazorla
Definitely not the best adiPure release we have seen to date, but there are still plenty of positives about the 11Pro. For example, Adidas dropped the weight, increased the durability and kept the price tag at a pretty stable point. There were also changes to the soleplate, with this version of the SprintFrame featuring a new Flexzone (improves flexibility and enhances lateral movement) and PlusFlex (outsole is split below the toes for higher energy efficiency through movements).
No. 7 – Puma King
As Worn By: Yaya Toure and Mikel Arteta
We are yet to see the new Puma King hit stores, but what they are doing on the pitch has already impressed. Yaya Toure, in particular, has highlighted the performance benefits of the newly renovated heritage boot. On this version, Puma has a soft, premium leather upper, touchCELL technology and a bold yellow colorway.
No. 6 – Nike CTR360 Maestri III
As Worn By: Andres Iniesta and Carlos Tevez
On release, there was tremendous buzz about the third incarnation of the CTR360 Maestri – but for some reason it has completely died down over the past few months. In fact, it is now one of the quieter boots on the market. One thing is clearly evident about this boot and that is the changing dynamics Nike has put them through. A newly redesigned pass and control zone has been added to a fresh stud configuration, while the Kanga-Lite upper has also seen some change – ACC added to increase its potential performance.
No. 5 – Puma evoSPEED 1
As Worn By: Sergio Aguero and Mario Gomez
You just have to look at the players currently wearing the evoSPEED to understand what they are all about. Aguero, Gomez, Falcao – all forwards with pace who like to score goals! As a true fan of these boots, the direction that Puma has taken the range is a good one. There are several aspects of this boot that are great, but what stands out most is the simplicity - there is no added technology, no carbon fiber in the soleplate and no funky stud configuration. It is simply designed to be a functioning boot that serves a no-nonsense purpose.
No. 4 – adidas F50 adiZero
As Worn By: Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale
Based on popularity, these boots would easily sit top of the pile, especially with 90 goal Lionel Messi wearing them enigmatically. This latest installment has been redesigned with a stronger, more aerodynamic construction and a new textured upper that improves control. Some people refer to them as the IV, but we see them as the III and they are probably the best to date. At 5.8oz, they are designed for quick acceleration and the feet of Lionel Messi. SprintFrame, SprintWeb, SprintSkin….there is a lot of fast action on this one.
No. 3 – Nike GS (Green Speed)
Released: July + November
As Worn By: Neymar and Eden Hazard
Was there a more talked about release of 2012? We don’t think so, and the fact that the initial release in July sold out in less than four hours shows people wanted what they had to offer. According to Nike, these are the most eco-friendly and lightest boots they ever released, with the boot being composed primarily of renewable materials. The follow-up released in November also created quite a stir, but sales have been slightly slower. The limited edition nature of the July release might be one of the primary drivers behind the sales, and for that reason we want to see more of the Green Speed!
No. 2 – Nike Vapor VIII
As Worn By: Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovich
The Vapor range continues to be one of the highest sellers on the market and is worn by the largest percentage of top level players on the market. And at 6.5oz, this is the lightest Vapor released to date. You get a thin Teijin Microfiber upper that has an extremely unique suede feel. Nike has also twisted things by creating a 2-Blade heel design that turns them into a true speed boot – acceleration through that first step is the key here. In terms of visuals, Nike seems to have got it right on this one by using a more basic approach – single color uppers. The one exception to date has been the exclusive Cristiano Ronaldo release, designed to accompany the CR7 collection.
No. 1 – adidas Predator LZ
As Worn By: Edin Dzeko and Steven Gerrard
Simply based on performance, there is not a better boot on the market right now than the Adidas Predator LZ. The entire package comes together and produces the most balanced boot you will find. They are comfortable, durable, lightweight and feature five lethal zones to accommodate players in any position right across the pitch. The 5 Lethal Zones are designed to improve ball handling, control and feel through a 90 minute game. The one significant note about these boots is that Adidas has dramatically shifted the range away from Power and into a hybrid control boot. The added technology and ideal weight (8.0oz) give it a certain aura of sophistication that makes them truly appealing.