It has been a stonking few months of boot battles, cleat clashes, and footwear full-frontals (metaphorically speaking, of course). Boot Wars has put together the biggest names, the broadest egos, and the boldest boot claims, and commenced conflict in determining which boots are the best and which… well, aren’t. It’s the Ian Rush versus Ian Woan comparison, if you will.
If you believed what you read in the manufacturers’ boot descriptions, you’d by now be expecting your pair of Nike Mercurials to be doing the weekly shop, while the Adidas Predators that you’ve forked out your weekly wage on are supposedly good enough to curve a football a full 360-degrees.
Of course, as much as these outlandish claims are… well, rubbish, frankly, let’s not get away from the fact that there are some very good boots on the market. Those boffins in their leather-coated labs have been pushing the boot boundaries once again, and it is a credit to each and every one of them that we now have players who, it seems, can do anything with a football, and I include in that a quick saunter down the frozen food aisle.
But sometimes it’s the little guys who come up trumps. There are enough manufacturers out there who want to create football boots that don’t solve world famine, aren’t as big as Take That, and don’t have all the characteristics of a well-dressed megalomaniac (that’s Ken Livingstone to you and I). Quite simply, some manufacturers want to create football boots so that footballers can… wait for it… play football.
It’s outlandish, it’s a little uncool, but it’s a fact. And even more perverse is that they’ll sell you a pair of their finest k-leather creations for less than it will cost to honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast… which is more than can be said of the Superfly!
But are they any good? Well, enough of this seemingly endless banter, let’s take a look at the true winners and the blue losers as the final Boot Wars Standings are revealed:
The BOOT WARS 2009 WINNER… is the PUMA V1.08.
The Puma boot went into conflict four times, and came out victorious on three occasions, drawing the other. It may not have the reputation or the pricetag of the Nike and Adidas heavyweight brands, but this boot has categorically proven that it has the capability to get the job done.
A sturdy, unrelenting boot which, while it may not have the visual appeal of some of its rivals, it certainly has the speed to beat them to the ball, with a balanced heel set-up and an exact point-of-contact between foot and ball. K-leather uppers on the new version offer even greater versatility and precision, while the boot bends and moulds to the shape of your foot, which prevents you having to wear a boot that’s several sizes too small, Ron.
It’s a worthy winner, and it has knocked the competition out of the water this season. The Boot Wars 2009 Winner is the PUMA V1.08.
Other boots worthy of mention include the Umbro SX Valor (unbeaten in two outings), the Puma V-Konstrukt III, and the Nike Mercurial Talaria and Vapor boots, of course. The Joma Imperial also made it into the top six.
But for every winner there is a loser. For every night there must be a day, for every negative, a posit… yes, okay, so you get the idea.
Reputation is a big thing in the game today, but sometimes it goes before success, and while the Mercurial boots have kept Nike’s head above the parapet, lower down their feet are sinking somewhat into the abyss, given that the two worst boots of the season both belong to the ickey tickers.
Two classic boots, two strong reputations, particularly in the form of the Laser, but as far as our Boot Wars conflicts have gone, two absolute duds. The Air Legend took underachievement to depths only previously plumbed by Derby County, with 0 and 4 win/lose ratio, whereas while the Laser clocked up a solitary success, not even Wayne Rooney could prevent three defeats and a last-but-one placing.
Of the other boots to have disappointed, the Umbro Speciali failed to live up to the standard set by its tougher older brother, the SX Valor, while although the Adidas Predator Powerswerve was certainly the most tested of the boots, with 10 outings, it was also the most defeated, losing 60% of its ventures.
In mid-table, the Nike Tiempo Mystic, Adidas Copa Mundial and Adidas F50.8 TuniT failed to make any strong inroads into our hearts, and will struggle further to make a similar impression in the pockets of the football boot consumer if our results are anything to go by.
The good news is that Boot Wars returns in the relaunched and revamped Ransacker site just as soon as the 2009/10 season kicks off which, given that the fixtures are out already can’t be far off, even though it seems that we’ve only just finished the campaign!
Anyone for cricket?
Boot Wars Final Standings:
Joint 4th - Nike Mercurial Talaria IV (won 1, lost 0)
16th – Nike Total 90 Laser II (won 1, lost 3)