This isn’t just another list of ‘the bestest football boots of all time’, droning on about the same old Nike F50’s, Adidas Predators or Puma Kings. The clue is in the title; This is TEN OF THE ALL TIME CULT FOOTBALL BOOTS.

That doesn’t even necessarily mean these are ten great boots. In fact at least one or two you will probably never have heard of, let alone wished you’d owned as a grubby 13 year old. These are boots made famous by the individuals that laced them.

Boots that take you back to a more innocent (depending on the player, perhaps) time, where certain silhouettes stood out against a sea of simple, black models designed purely for hoofing balls around a pitch and not remotely for the catwalk.

The only boots in this list that would gain recognition in today's world of gaudy, neon atrocities are the plain, black variants. From being the norm in the 90’s, seeing a player donning a pair of simple, blacked-out kicks today is a refreshing ode to a less ego-centric, fashion conscious football era. Enjoy below, and let us know who/what boots we missed…


1 - Alan Shearer’s Umbro Specialis.



Let’s start with a solid, no nonsense entry. The robust, understated Umbro Speciali used to smash hundreds of Mitre footballs past helpless ‘keepers throughout the Premier League in the 90’s (and slightly beyond). The Speciali is almost ironic in its name, as on appearance alone it offered nothing particularly special. But with its supple leather upper and classic fold-over tongue it was just what big Al needed to plunder his way into the goalscoring record books, and was as commonly spotted on Tyneside as a hairy forearm in the air.


2 - Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s



Half and Half's. It takes someone of serious cojones to don half and half boots in the 90’s. Especially when the two opposing halves are bright green and red. And someone who possessed said cojones was Mexico’s barmy striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Yeah that’s him - the dude who lit up the 98 World Cup by bunny hopping through defenders like some kind of performing man child. Cuauhtemoc went on to be a goalscoring legend for the Mexicans, but for many onlookers back then it was his elaborate boots, often seen with a ball wedged nicely between them, that caught the imagination.


3 - Rivaldo’s Mizuno's.



Sure the white versions he wore at the 2002 World Cup were especially lovely, but we are gonna plump for pretty much any of the Mizuno's Rivaldo wore because it feels like only Rivaldo ever wore Mizuno's. Ok ok, others did too (sit down Dwight Yorke) but there was something about Rivaldo slaloming his way through bamboozled centre halves and bicycle kicking 'worldies' past Peter Schmeichel in classic black Mizuno's that really strikes a chord. When you think Mizuno, you think Rivaldo and that’s what this list is all about.


4 - Beckham’s Predators.



Ah here we are - the football boot comfort zone. The boot to beat all boots. Worn by the man who bridged the gap between footy and fashion long before Jack Grealish gave himself a pudding bowl haircut and slipped into some Gucci pants. The Predator was a thing of true beauty. A top shelf sportshop item, barely seen in the kangaroo leathered flesh by mere mortals as I. And the fact Becks wore them with the tongue pulled down to the toe made them look even more magical. (which is strange as looking back it actually made them look fucking stupid) Sure Zizou donned them while winning the World Cup for France, but it will always be Becks who made these boots so iconic.




5 - Alfonso’s white boots.



Alfonso exists in my mind like some kind of mythical creature. Tales of his goalscoring exploits in La Liga were well told, but in an era before tinternet and endless televised games, actual sightings of the long haired marksman were rare. Add in the single name ‘Alfonso’ and he sounded like some kind of hero from a Hollywood movie. To top all that, he was also one of the first international quality players with the confidence to wear all white boots. Nowadays white boots would barely leave an imprint on the mind, but back in the late 90’s and early noughties, they weren’t so commonplace in the game. Alfonso stood out for that reason as much as any. Sure he was good but he wasn’t Raul. But where Raul wore… well who remembers what the fuck Raul wore? They weren’t pearle white Joma’s and that’s the sodding point. It was with these simple, yet elegant leather beauties that Alfonso scored one of the most memorable goals of Euro 2000. To me, those boots made it more memorable still.


6 - Keano’s Hi-tecs.



The ying to Alfonso’s Yang. Let’s take it back here. Before Roy pushed the boat out with the neon yellow flourish of a Diadora logo, he used to don Hi-tec’s. Yeah you remember them. They were commonplace in your primary school in the early 90’s, the rightful transition from a pair of Cica Lights. Once you were in secondary school however, you best not be setting foot on the pitch in a pair of fucking Hi-tecs should you want to be taken remotely seriously as a contender for the school team. Roy couldn’t do anything to change that perception. His relationship with Hi-tec was short lived and he wasn’t yet the snarling, leg breaking, league winner he would go on to become when he wore them. Yet Keane’s no-frills boots must have done him some good in those earlier years, and being unpopular in the playground wouldn’t have bothered him one iota.


7 - Ronaldo’s R9s. All i need to say.



Ronaldo’s silver and blue works of art have long been seen as a flag bearer of football boot design. Paired with a player of unique ability and global appeal they have gone down in football folklore. Like Valerian Steel these shiny utensils could cut through the toughest of opponents while looking the absolute dog’s knackers. Yet their lasting image is likely to be that of them dangling from the Brazilian’s neck after that fateful final at the Stade De France in 98. It doesn’t matter, and neither did the weird little tongue either. These boots were style personified. Specially made for a special player on a special occasion before boots were made specially for anyone. Special.




8 - Cantona’s Tiempos.



Eric wasn’t the only big name player to wear Nike’s early venture into ‘soccer boot’ making, but he was surely the most iconic. With his on pitch swagger, volatile temper and upturned collar, Cantona had that anti-hero persona that so many young kids gravitated towards. I’m sure I wasn't the only lad on the playground running around with my school polo-shirt collar turned up? Oh I was? Moving on…. Eric was an early poster boy for Nike, fronting numerous brilliant ad campaigns for the American sportswear giants, and his Tiempo’s were as much a part of him as his monobrow, leaving their mark on numerous games and Crystal Palace fans alike.


9 - Baggio’s Diadora's.



Ancient cities, stunning coastlines, famous cuisine….but nothing really, truly says ‘Italy’ like a ponytailed Roberto Baggio in a pair of Diadora's. Anyone that disagrees can politely f**k off.


10 - France’s Copa Mundials.

French 98 Team


There were a couple of daring exceptions - Zidane and Christian Karembou to name a few (remember Karembeu? Played for Real Madrid? Had a stint at ‘Boro? His wife was that Super Bra model? There we go...) but pretty much the entire France 98 winning French team donned the understated classics in the final of the tournament and it made them look as slick as their football. They might have been originally modelled by German legends like Beckenbauer and Brehme, but that was in a time before boots became such a status symbol.




Zidane’s brilliance in that team deserved the Adidas Predator, but his team mates nearly all wore Copa Mundials. Stylish, simple and effective, like the black suits and ties worn by Mr Blonde et al in Reservoir Dogs, these boots meant business and looked every bit the part. Honourable Mentions - Bergkamp's Reeboks, Weah’s red Lotto’s, Del Piero’s White Preds.


Written by Paul Kocur for Cult Kits

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1 comment

Eh Weahs diadoras l????


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