When we look at most popular boots, we are talking about both best selling, but also most worn by football players on pitch. Nike, adidas, Puma, and other brands boast a variety of football boot silos, but the most popular in terms of sales and the number of pros wearing them on the pitch are undoubtedly the Nike Mercurial line and the adidas X speed boots.
The Mercurial goes back over twenty years in football. The silo has evolved over time and comes in a variety of price points & quality, constantly modernising in build to live up to its name as a fantastic speed boot that you find in both the Superfly and Vapor models now.
Best Selling Boots
adidas for its part has been closing the gap with its X speed boots. Technically introduced in 2015, the adidas X began to gain recognition in 2020 with the release of the X Ghosted. The X speed boots now rivals the iconic Mercurials in fit and build, and perhaps even edging it out in some respect. Following the Mercs and the Xs is another iconic silo in the form of the adidas Predator. You will immediately recognise a Predator boot with its external ball control elements attached to the upper, as has been the case since the model’s inception in 1994.
Top 10 Popular Football Boots
These are the top sellers across the market at the current time and those trending with players on pitch in 2023:
The Nike Mercurial is the perennial number one boot and for good reasons. The boot is the most worn year in and year out as it is light, has a barefoot sensation for the ball touch, fits snugly (though recent generations are trending towards being more forgiving), and forms closely around the shape of your foot. Nike further improves the Mercurial today with the incorporation of the Zoom Air technology on the sole that gives a comfortable bounce in every step, making you feel faster on the pitch.
Most professionals prefer the low-cut Vapor, though the brand’s biggest names like CR7 and Kylian Mbappe headline the collared Superfly. The sheer number of star power contributes to the Mercurial’s popularity as the fans tend to wear the same boot as their Mercurial heroes.
2. adidas X
Adidas is flexing its innovative genius by making thin synthetics relevant again with its expertly-crafted X. With the F50 adiZero acting as its spiritual predecessor, the X appeals to a lot of players that got mesmerised by the classic adidas speed boot silo. The greatest thing about the X today is its Speedframe, a soleplate with functional carbon fibre inserts, providing an insane amount of snapback in each step.
Being that adidas is the dominant player in laceless boots, the current X is the best execution of a laceless speed boot to date. But for those who prefer the security of the lockdown through laces, they can actually have the X with laces. Even Lionel Messi himself still likes to wear the boot with laces, as in the case of Mo Salah, Julian Alvarez and Angel di Maria. Son Heung-Min likes to wear the laceless variant.
If the Mercurial is edging out the X on the speed boot battle, the Predator is ahead of the Phantom in the control boot category. Nonetheless, the Phantom still attracts a significant following from star players with varying roles. You have Harry Kane, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Rodri, and Andrew Robertson all wearing Nike’s control boot. The Phantom GX upper has a great grippy feel to it, making the GX a good boot for dribbling, passing, control and crossing.
In relation to the Mercurial, the Phantom goes the opposite way by offering a Flyknit upper and a relaxed fit. The upper material still moulds around your foot shape closely, but not as snug as how the synthetic from Nike’s speed boot does. The GX also offers a low-cut model and a high-cut DF variant.
Nike’s longest-serving silo continue to be relevant today as it offers one of the nicest execution of synthetic leather build in a football boot. The present Tiempo Legend 10 uses a thinner plastic for its soleplate to make it the lightest Tiempo to date.
The Tiempo is a mainstay among defensive third players that include Virgil Van Dijk and Frenkie de Jong. But you can also see the Nike synthetic leather boot higher up the pitch on the likes of Jamal Musiala.
Nothing grips the ball like a pair of the adidas Predator. Through its upper’s rubber elements, the Predator just have that additional split-second stick to the ball that allows it to control the swerve and spin. And in the hands of technical players like Paul Pogba and Jude Bellingham, that extra control might just lead to game-changing moments.
Just like the adidas X, the top-end Predator Edge has both laceless and laced variant. The thing with the laced variant though is that it has a collared and non-collared types similar to the options you see with the Nike Mercurial and Phantom lines.
Puma may be a distant third to the Nike Mercurial and adidas X, but its Ultra speed boot is up there with those two in terms of meeting, and perhaps even exceeding, expectations from a top-end speed boot. What’s more, the Ultra is competitively priced, costing just a shade under £200, whereas the other two comes in with more or less additional £50. As a top-notch speed boot, the fit reminds everyone of the classic Mercurial lines of the past and the synthetic ULTRAWEAVE upper requires very minimal break-in time to be comfortable around the foot. The dual-density SPEEDPLATE outsole incorporates an overlay structure on the base plate to add an aggressive snapback.
Because it is such a high-performing boot, even back players are having a go at it. Just think of Antony and Cody Gakpo wearing the Puma Ultra alongside Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, and Kingsley Coman.
Thanks to Neymar, the Future Ultimate is part of the discussion about top football boots today. Its width and textile upper allows for a cozy fit, which is then secured. The richness of the upper material adds that elegant dampened sensation when the player has the ball on his foot.
Like the Ultra, the Future is more affordable and has a women-specific option. The biggest draw for wearing a pair of the Future Z is that it is a unique football boot focused on comfort and lockdown first and foremost.
8. adidas Copa
adidas’ genius also shows in their modern Copa. It gives you the best of knit and leather through its Fusionskin upper. Despite the difference in material, Fusionskin has that consistent feel throughout and makes the transition of the K-leather forefoot to the knitted midfoot appear seamless, internally and externally. With the laced version, the Copa utilises a denser textile midfoot that helps in improving the responsiveness of the boot.
The Torsionframe tooling has a solid feel to the base plate, which is good for getting a sense of stability and balance. Paulo Dybala, Ilkay Gundogan, and David de Gea are some recognised names wearing the Copa Sense boots.
Synthetic. Narrow-shaped. Tight-fitting. These are the common traits you will find in the leading speed boots. New Balance exploits the gap in the market with its Furon silo that essentially gives you a choice to have a knitted, sufficiently widened pair of speed boots. Speaking of width, New Balance boots do offer official ‘Wide’ options for its silos.
New Balance and the Furon is a bit underrated but nonetheless is starting to gain ground. It helps the case that Sadio Mane continues to be the face of the Furon and now has the likes of Raheem Sterling and Harvey Elliott to help promote the boot.
New Balance’s first laceless silo has a knitted upper that is comfortable on-feet and a lockdown that is as secure as the adidas laceless boots. A ‘Wide’-specific option is available for those that have a really chunky pair of feet, as well as a low-cut laced variant.
Additional features of the Tekela include the Kinetic Stitch texturing that creates enough friction between the boot and the ball (making it easier to have the ball under your control) and a nylon soleplate with some rigidity and snap. Arguably the boot is a football star away from getting the growth and traction it deserves in professional football.