We pick the perfect boots for the maestros in midfield.
Last updated on 16 February 2021 to reflect latest releases and reviews.
As someone who’s affectionately teased as a “football manager” on the pitch for explaining football tactics, positioning and shapes, it’d be really remiss of me to categorise midfielders into a single homogenous group – even if they play in the same position technically. Jordan Henderson, for example, takes on a more destructive role, while Jorginho starts and facilitates Chelsea’s attack.
We’re therefore not going to recommend boots strictly by position, but instead by playstyle and preference. Whether you’re expecting a lot of touches on the ball as your team’s central pivot, the designated long-range shot taker or just a jack of all trades, we’ve got recommendations for everyone.
Here are our best boots for midfielders.
adidas Copa Gloro 20
Chances are, you’ve already had someone in mind the moment you saw the boots. The Old School Guy is someone who’s not fussed about what they wear as long as it’s affordable, durable and most importantly, made from leather.
They look up to the likes of Matt Le Tissier for his offensive inspirations, or the likes of midfield destroyers like Gennaro Gattuso for defending. They are the ultimate team player, performing the dirty work for the rest of the team to shine and play their game. He’ll occasionally surprise you by doing the damage with those killer through passes when the ball reaches them.
The old-school guy (OSG)
adidas Copa Gloro
The Copa Gloro 20 (and 19) is the perfect match for the OSG. While the upper isn’t a super-soft kangaroo leather, the tougher leather translates to added durability to withstand those midfield battles. Because it’s still leather, it will still break in and mould to your feet nicelyas opposed to lower grade synthetics at similar price points.
What I like in particular about the Copa series in general is that the studs have a nice balance between grip as well as manoeuvrability, thanks to the slightly triangular shape studs. Additionally, the insole has a foam heel area for that extra bit of comfort.
And of course, that old school tongue is always an added plus.
Mizuno Rebula Cup Japan
Perhaps the clearest tactical evolution over the past two decades has been the role of the defensive midfielder. Not merely a shield in front of the defence, they’re now also expected to drop into the defensive line to begin attacks with precise passes or relieve pressure from the team with quick switches of play. They defend through anticipation and interceptions instead of purely just tackling. To dictate the game and tempo for the team, they value comfort but more importantly a great touch on the ball to work their magic, modelling after players like Toni Kroos and Jorginho.
The modern midfielder
Mizuno Rebula Cup Japan
For a midfielder who needs to tackle, distribute and run the game from deep, the Mizuno Rebula Cup Japan should be your boot of choice. The boot requires no break in time for you to clock all that mileage in the centre of the park. The FT Foam pods help to take the sting off sharp passes and cushions the ball nicely to give you confidence in control and passing. Those very pods also provide ample protection for you when going in for those one-on-one challenges.
And if you do get the rare opportunity to shoot from distance, you get a nice punchy feel when hitting your screamers into the top corner.
adidas Nemeziz 19.1
Two words – Steven Gerrard. The box-to-box midfielder is what every 90s kid grew up wanting to be. Thanks to his brilliance, every team I played for had at least one player in a number 8 jersey, taking pot shots from ambitious areas. They were also unbelievably athletic and the workhorse of our team, running up and down the midfield to attack and defend when needed. Players they identified with were the likes of N’Golo Kanté, Arturo Vidal, Aaron Ramsey and of course, Steven Gerrard.
The box to box midfielder
adidas Nemeziz 19.1
The first synthetic boot on the list is probably the most controversial one here, but hear me out. The adidas Nemeziz 19.1 is one of the most interesting boots on the market due to its characteristics. The split outsole gives the soleplate a very responsive feel with a snappier and stiffer forefoot. Running in the Nemeziz 19.1 felt less tiring, as I felt that the snappy forefoot gave me a better energy return.
What made it the perfect B2B midfielder’s boot was the barefoot upper, which imparts a nice, pingy sensation when hitting those long shots or longer passes over the defence. When combined with the stiff outsole (which really reminded me of the old Predator Pulse unit), shooting in the Nemeziz 19.1 was a dream.
ASICS Ultrezza AI: The line-breaking midfielder
Another tactical trend that’s come to the forefront in recent years, is the importance of being “press-resistant”. With teams adopting a high-press, midfielders who can bypass that press with a dribble or a well-positioned one-two are extremely valuable in the modern game.
The likes of Mesut Özil, Luka Modrić and pretty much every Spanish midfielder in the National Team during that golden 2008-2012 era, all excel at this. They’re the ones who look to receive the ball under intense pressure from one or even two opposition midfielders, before ghosting past them to lay off a well-timed assist to the strikers.
The line-breaking midfielder
ASICS Ultrezza AI
Yes, it’s another leather boot, but for good reason, because leather gives you that elegant, padded touch on the ball. The Ultrezza AI is perhaps the most comfortable boot I’ve worn to date, without compromising on lockdown even after break in.
What separates it from other leather boots is its soleplate, with the addition of a “brake” stud for those quick changes of directions to unbalance opponents. The cherry on top is the addition of the fuzeGEL and a 5mm lift which provides extra comfort and keeps you on your toes to help you accelerate past your opponents.
Have a boot you feel is perfect for midfielders that’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments below.