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Laceless Football Boots

Dean Ariola

The concept of a laceless football boot was made into a reality when Lotto released the Zhero Gravity in 2006. However, ten years later, adidas started their current dominance in the laceless market with the launch of their Ace 16+ Purecontrol and today, all the top end (+) models of their present silos, namely the Predator, X and Copa are all laceless. Other brands like Umbro and New Balance have produced their laceless boots with the Medusae 3, the first leather laceless boot, and the knitted Tekela (NB’s first laceless soccer cleat), but the adidas silos still top the current laceless list.

What You’ll Find On This Page:

Why Wear a Boot Without Laces?

A laceless boot is made to provide a cleaner surface which gives off two primary benefits; one, this cleaner striking surface extends the striking area to the top space of the boot for a better contact with the ball for passing and shooting. Secondly, the removal of laces tends to also reduce the bulk of the boot, allowing the wearer to have a more connected feel to the ball. The trend of creating a laceless boot, to a certain extent, may have been indirectly caused by society’s inclination towards convenience.

The idea of having less effort in wearing your boots by the removal of laces is understandably attractive especially to younger generations who are very immersed in a plug and play system. Another trend that coincides with the development of a laceless boot is the use of stretchy elastic knit material on the upper which to a certain extent already gives the boot a particular degree of lockdown.

Best Laceless Boots

Since the release of the ACE 16+ Purecontrol, laceless football boots have been the bread-and-butter of adidas, making the flagship + models with a laceless construction. The brand’s current lineup has a significant degree of variety, with the Predator Accuracy+ going for a synthetic Hybridtouch upper filled with grippy rubber blocks and a high-cut collar, the X Speedportal+ offering a thin and translucent synthetic upper called Speedskin 2.0 and a  responsive soleplate with carbon fibre inserts, and, lastly, the Copa Pure+ showing the laceless closure in a leather-knit fusioned upper.

However, a great percentage of football boot wearers still go with laced boots and no other than Karim Benzema and Mohamed Salah have gone on to wear the laced .1 versions of the X. Much of the lockdown of a laceless boot is coming from the structural reinforcement of the upper, and as such there tends to be some amount of foot slippage and movement even if you have a near perfect fit. Apart from that, nowadays a soft and flexible upper is preferred because of the comfort it brings.

So when wearing a laceless boot that has a soft upper, it can feel like your toes are in a car without the seat belt strapped and as it stops your toes crash into the front of the boot. In addition as you lift your foot to run, the heel slips and your foot comes out of the boot slightly, like wearing an ill fitting pair of slippers. To counteract this, a laceless boot has a narrow opening and a tighter midfoot, both of which understandably is designed to lock the foot down but also make it harder to put on a laceless boot in the first place especially if one is on the wider range of foot width.

New Balance Laceless Boots

Adidas do not face competition from Nike and Puma (as far as the Elite-level boots are concerned), but that does not stop New Balance to provide their own laceless offering. The Tekela V4+ is a knit-based with a nylon outsole. The midfoot hold is decent and the upper has enough comfort. We reckon that adidas boots just gives something extra to make them standout. Nonetheless, it’s still a good pair of laceless football boots overall and is nice enough to be an option or alternative.

Laceless Puma Future Z 1.2 and 1.3 Special Editions!

As you can see above, Puma did have special launches for the Future Z, one for the 1.2 and another for 1.3, that applied a laceless closure. While perhaps a reaction to players taking out the laces of the regular Future Zs, one can also wonder if this is the brand’s way of testing the waters in the laceless territory. For now, though, adidas remains the dominant player in this particular type of boots.

Kids Laceless Boots

The Kids-specific Predator Accuracy+ and X Speedportal+ do provide a sized-down version of the Hybridtouch w/ grip blocks and Speedskin 2.0, respectively. They are slightly more padded to provide more comfort and security to the feet of younger players. The outsoles are single layers of TPU instead of the adult Predator’s actual Facetframe and the senior X’s snappy Carbitex Speedframe.

Nike Laceless Boots

Nike Jr. Superfly 9 Pro

Nike Jr. Vapor 15 Academy

While Nike don’t have a competing silo to the top-end laceless silos, the brand caused quite a surprise with the release of the current-gen Kids Mercurials. For the first time-ever, not just in Nike Jr. but in Nike Football as a whole, Nike offers a laceless Superfly 9/Vapor 15. It executed the laceless closure of the Mercurial boots with crisscrossing bands in lieu of lacess. The Superfly 9 Pro is the most premium offering, followed by Academy-level Vapor 15. Whether they spill-over to adults Mercs remain to be seen.

Nike Phantom GT Academy Flyease

At least in the budget-friendly Academy level, Nike offers what it calls ‘Flyease’ to its control boot. Its a laceless setup but not exactly to the mould of the ‘plug and play’ construct that we normally associate with the laceless football boots. In the Nike Phantom GT Flyease, you still have a set of strings on the off-centred lacing area, but the difference is the strings are attached to a velcro strap that you wrap around the fold-down heel. So it’s laceless in the sense that you don’t tie up the strings (though you still get that lace-like tightening sensation when you pull and wrap the velcro strap). The wrapping closure also helps to put some structure and lockdown around the heel, considering the cushiony build of the fold-down heel that makes the boot more accessible especially to athletes with special needs.

Affordable Laceless Boot Options

The Three Stripes brand does have cheaper laceless boots that are visually based on the high-end models. To cut corners, adidas uses less premium materials and build execution. For instance, the Predator Edge.3 replaces the rubber ribs of the Zoneskin technology with a sticky print called Control Zone. The X Speedportal.3 has a coated textile upper to loosely replicate the Speedskin 2.0. It’s important to note that the common observation among football boot reviewers is that .3 laceless takedowns suffer from a shallow heel, thus negatively affecting the fit overall.

Regular Puma Laceless Releases

Like Nike, Puma does not have a laceless version in its top-end boots (except again for some one-off Future Z releases). But the Wild Cat borrowed some from the adi playbook and created laced and laceless takedown Match models for the Ultra and Future. Now you have something to look forward to in terms of budget-friendly laceless option that is not adidas.


Dean Ariola

Dean has worked Chief writer at the Black & Orange team since 2020, he has an indepth knowledge of all the soccer shoes from the big brands, you have him to thank for all the updates to our Boot Secrets guide and he is first on the scene with all the new releases for you!