Every year brings new cleat releases. Major companies like Nike, Adidas, and Puma have designers, artists, and scientists working around the clock to come up with the next big breakthrough in cleat technology. While some improvements are shortlived, others go on to influence the entire industry.
We at soccercorner.com have compiled some of the best cleat improvements of the last year into a list, highlighting the the brands that have contributed the most to innovating and further advancing sportswear technology.
Best Laces Improvement – Adidas Predator
Yep, while Nike has nearly perfected the incredibly thin and flat lace for the Superfly, the biggest improvement on laces has come in the form of no laces at all. When Adidas’ first laceless cleat hit the market as the Ace 17+ athletes were skeptical. Could it actually still provide a secure fit? What about as time went on?
The jump from laceless Ace cleats to now laceless Predators prove that cleats without laces aren’t some fad that’s just going to go away. Expect Nike to release their own iteration of the Superfly that is laceless or potentially HyperVenom.
Honorable Mention – Puma Future
If there’s one thing we can say it’s that Puma is not afraid. Their latest style the Future Netfit 18.1 lets an athlete choose the best way to lace their cleat. Whether it’s to accomodate a narrow/wide foot, or to enlarge the strike-zone, each pair of Puma Future’s ship with instructions on how to get your laces just how you’d like them.
There’s no telling how many athletes really change the laces from the traditional styling, but being able to change the style of lacing is something no other cleat offers right now.
Best Soleplate – Nike Superfly VI Elite FG
Nike’s Dynamic fit collar was so popular every other major manufacturer is now producing some type of ‘sock’ high-top cleat. Although an often over looked feature the new two-piece soleplate that’s found on the new Superfly VI could easily become the new standard. The two-piece soleplate makes the cleats lighter and makes trapping the ball feel even more natural against the bottom of your foot.
We were skeptical at first, but the new two-piece sole plate feels too good on the bottom of our feet to deny.
Honorable Mention: Nike Superfly VI/Vapor XII Academy FG/MG
More and more athletes are playing on a wide variety of surfaces throughout their entire seasons. Practicing and playing sometimes on grass, sometimes on turf, and Nike’s FG/MG line is a good step in addressing that reality. Designed to work on firm-ground and turf, the studs are just slightly shorter to provide you with a cleat that can pull double-duty.
Best Leather Upper: Nike Tiempo Legend VII
The Tiempo Legend 7 does what no other legend has done before it: incorporates flyknit. Previously the Tiempo Legend was Nike’s only all-leather offering, but the newest iteration features flyknit on the heel to drop some of the weight while still providing that one of a kind kangaroo-leather touch. As more and more brands are pushing their synthetic upper, it’s good to see Nike still working to perfect the leather cleat.
Honorable Mention – Adidas Copa 18.1
The Adidas Copa 18.1 are undoubtedly a worthy successor to the classic Copa Mundial cleat. It features that same classic leather that made the Copa Mundial so coveted, while being much lighter. Our only hang-up with the new Copa are the raised ridges that run across the toe, they just aren’t the same as the classic stitching!