The team came together to share what they want to see for 2021.
2020 was a solid year for football boots. Puma upped their speed boot game with the excellent Puma Ultra. adidas blew the collective minds of boot fans worldwide with the DemonSkin spikes on the adidas Predator while bringing back synthetics and carbon fibre for the X Ghosted. Nike merged their two Phantom silos and we also saw strong showings from brands like Mizuno and Under Armour.
In a year of the pandemic, brands pushed the boat out for more sales through collector’s limited edition pieces with adidas leading the line with remakes of F50s and Predators galore.
How will they innovate in 2021? We rounded up the team and friends of the blog to find out what they hope to see in the coming year.
Jay’s 2021 Wish – Upgrades to adidas FusionSkin
As a fan of leather boots, I’ve been more than impressed by adidas & their attempts to push the boundaries of leather for it to stay relevant in this modern era.
With the Copa getting a much needed refresh in the upcoming months, I’m more than excited to see what new functions FusionSkin will bring to the table. For the uninitiated, FusionSkin was the product of merging leather and knit which can be seen on the current Copa models.
Hopefully as well, after last season’s test models in the Predator Archive and the Predator Dragon, adidas also finally bring us a low-cut FusionSkin Predator, which balances leather and knit combined with DemonSkin.
Andrew’s (Gaijin Boot Blog) 2021 Wish 1 – Japanese brands having to innovate
The biggest Japanese brands were able to sustain sales in 2020 due to the fact that most of their sales come from within Japan. They are insulated from international sales trends.
Mizuno, for their part had a great year with a lot of releases. Looking forward to the next year, Mizuno has given themselves a solid foundation to build on. There will most likely be more colourways for the Morelia Neo series but the biggest question will be what Mizuno plans to do with their Rebula series, with the Rebula Cup being its fourth iteration. This is when Mizuno changes things up so I’m keen to see what they’ll do. I hope they keep innovating and do something different with the Rebula as the other Mizuno models are pretty safe options.
ASICS spent most of last year in a holding pattern and only released colourway updates, so every single model is due for an update. The current rumour going around is that there will be some remarkably interesting updates for the X-Fly series. The Ultrezza AI is also due an update, so I am looking forward to see what the new will change on what is already an excellent boot.
Andrew’s (Gaijin Boot Blog) 2021 Wish 2 – The return of synthetics
2020 saw synthetics come back in a big way with adidas’ X Ghosted series as the three stripes did away with the current trend of knitted uppers. If leaked pictures are to be believed, it does seem as if Nike is also returning to synthetics with their next Mercurial.
It would be interesting to see what direction the industry will go with synthetics since it looked like brands have hit a ceiling with knit. I’d like to see updated versions of Hybridtouch (from the adidas F50) or Kanga-Lite (from the Nike CTR) which were popular in the mid 2000s. Puma and New Balance also look to up their game in recent years so their attempts to innovate in this space would be keenly welcomed and observed.
James’s (Boot Wizard James) 2021 Wish – Innovating soleplates
I would say that adidas threw down the gauntlet to Nike in 2020. Nike have dominated the aggressive soleplate game for quite some time with the Mercurial. This is partly because the Mercurial soleplates have been very good and partly because adidas seemed to be too stubborn to drastically rework their soleplates.
In 2020, adidas gave us the Carbitex insert on the X Ghosted, bringing back carbon fiber, ironically the material they themselves pretty much killed back in 2010 when they revolutionised soleplate materials that forced Nike to move away from it.
adidas have brought it back, made arguably the best soleplate on the market. How will Nike (and other competitors) respond? Will they respond at all? I hope this a big enough shift to cause a 2010 style movement within the industry. It doesn’t always have to integrate carbon fiber or be designed to feel more aggressive, but I’d like to see brands put more thought into what’s under your feet.
Resident Boot Nerd’s 2021 Wish – Return of Nike Air technology
In February 2020, Nike teased us with what could be the evolution of the ground breaking Nike Mercurial series – the incorporation of Air Zoom. Air Zoom technology is making a return in a big way with Nike and it is its unique implementation on the Mercurial that has caught my eye.
While most of Nike’s running shoes have thick cushioned soles that can host large Zoom air pod, football boots don’t have such a luxury. Nike’s implementation of a full length Air Zoom bag across a razor thin football soleplate for energy return and “spring” would be fascinating, especially while building it in with the popular anatomical soleplate.
I doubt this would be ready for the upcoming new generation of the Mercurial (slated for Q1) but I can’t wait for this concept to drop on our laps soon.