Ever since humans realized that bare feet are not equipped for surviving in the wilderness, they tried to cover them in some way. Depending on the part of the world and the structure of the terrain, shoes evolved differently. Centuries later, this applied to the field of sports as well. People started developing different shoes for different sports, depending on the abilities athletes needed for optimal performance. Although cleats are not exclusively used by soccer players, this sport has certainly celebrated them the most. Scientists, engineers, and shoemakers around the world have worked to develop the best possible cleats, and while no single pair is better than any other, there are certainly some remarkable examples that will be presented below.
4) Nike Tiempo Premier 94
As the number in the name suggests, this shoe was not created very recently. In fact, Nike made it especially for the Soccer World Cup in 1994, where it first appeared in the final game of the tournament. They were worn by no other than Paolo Maldini and Romario, who contributed to the fame of these cleats. They were the first pair in the Tiempo collection, and they featured a revival edition in 2009. You could indeed say that this model of cleats is a piece of history in itself.
3) Adidas adiPower Predator
This vividly colored boot ranks fourth on our list, and for a good reason. Weighing less than 8oz, this classifies as a very lightweight boot; however, Adidas managed to provide that feature without compromising the structural integrity and the ruggedness of the boot. What is more, the traditional fins, featured on almost every piece of Adidas footwear, are slightly raised, each one a bit more than the last, so as to provide better control over the ball. In short, this model is both lightweight and powerful, which is very difficult to achieve in a single pair of cleats.
2) Adidas Predator Accelerator
This boot is yet another pair of this list that was designed and made in the previous century. Unlike the previous boot, this one is not lightweight at all. In fact, if we were to describe it with one word, it would be – power. Made in 1998, for the World Cup, this model features specifically positioned pieces of hard rubber in the strike zone, in order to provide the player with more powerful shots. Two of the most famous players who sported these cleats in the 1998 World Cup were Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham. To this day, it remains one of the most popular Predator models.
1) Adidas Predator LZ
The reigning champion of soccer cleats currently has to be the LZ. Featured in 2012, this model is probably the best all-round boot ever made for the field. Its construction includes five Lethal Zones, each of which is made for a different type of contact with the ball: Dribble, Sweet Spot, Pass, Drive, and First Touch. It is the player’s job to test each of these and employ them so as to best serve their purpose. This boot is also quite lightweight, which neither affects their structural integrity nor their comfort, as this is one of the most comfortable models Adidas ever produced.
The world of soccer cleats is anything but simple. They are the result of hard work by people whose only task is to make playing football as comfortable and as precise as possible. No model can be said to be the best because it all depends on the personal preference of the player and the style of playing he/she employs.