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Cheap vs. expensive football boots: guide to takedowns & tiers

From budget takedowns to expensive premium models, we can explain the differences between every tier of football boot for you.
Author Image of Kevan Thorpe


one year ago


cheap vs expensive boots guide to takedowns and tiers

Let’s face it, choosing your next pair of football boots never feels like a simple task.

There are 100s of boot models out there these days, and you could spend countless hours figuring out whether you’re better suited to the Mercurial, Predator, Future or something else entirely.

Of course, this decision will completely depend on your own personal playing style. Or simply whether you fancy a particular colourway or brand.

But that’s not the half of it. You’ve also got to contend with choosing surface type, materials and fit.

They have confusing takedown numbering and naming systems, while the sheer range of prices can lead to plenty of vigorous head-scratching too.

After all, what exactly are the differences between expensive and cheap football boots?

Well, this complete guide tells you everything you need to know about the different boot tiers out there. It’ll also ensure you’re getting value for money.

Why are football boots so expensive?

puma future ultimate football boots in blue and orange
Image from Puma.

Right, let’s start with the basics. Some football boots are much more expensive than others. But you probably already knew that.

If you’re playing at a competitive level, you might have your eye on top tier, elite-level boots which will really maximise your performance.

It’s these levels of boots which hit your bank balance the most. To be completely honest, these prices are only going to increase. Thanks a lot, inflation.

The most expensive boots feature the best technology and materials, it really is as simple as that: you’re paying for quality and innovation.

However, these more advanced models aren’t necessarily right for everyone, and you should by no means splurge out £250+ when a £150 model will suit your game just as well.

Every player has their own preferences, and it all comes down to what you’re personally looking for and what your budget looks like.

Shop elite football boots >

What is a takedown football boot?

adidas predator accuracy.3 football boots takedown model in black and pink
Image from adidas.

Not everybody needs boots that are bursting with innovative tech and cutting-edge materials.

To be honest, the vast majority of us just want football boots which are comfortable to play in, durable enough to last and are within our sensible budgets.

The big brands realise this, and so they offer “takedown” versions of their most popular boots to suit players at all levels. Like the Predator Accuracy.3 (pictured above).

Now, this is where a lot of the aforementioned head scratching begins, because the differences between takedown and premium boots aren’t always clear cut.

For example, you may decide that you want to buy a pair of the new adidas Predator Accuracy, but then be faced with something like this:

prices of most expensive adidas football boots vs cheapest on website
Images from Pro:Direct Soccer.

Why on earth would you fork out £200+, when you can get what looks like the same boot for under £50?

They’re all listed as adidas Predator Accuracy, they’re all suitable for firm ground surfaces and yet there’s a £200 difference. Um, yeah, we’ll take the £50 bargain, please.

Sadly, it’s not that simple, and they are not remotely the same boot. The most expensive is the top tier laceless Accuracy+, the one worn by professionals.

It's worth noting that laceless models often cost more than their laced counterparts, this is due to increased manufacturing costs and upgraded materials needed for a snug, sock-like finish.

The others are takedown models of varying quality. The structure, materials and technology will differ widely between these boots, and the lower price guarantees lower quality.

Shop football boots under £100 >

Cheap vs. expensive boots: the main differences

adidas predator accuracy plus elite model in black and pink
Image from adidas.

When buying a new pair of boots, you need to ask one very important question: are they worth the money?

The truth is, spending an extra £100 isn’t going to turn you into a pro player, so why not just go for the cheaper option?

The main differences lie in the materials, structure and technology of the boots in question.

The more expensive versions like the Predator Accuracy+ (pictured above) are designed to enhance performance as much as possible, they’re much lighter, comfortable and stylish, while also offering a much better feel for the football.

It’s up to you whether you believe that these benefits outweigh the extra cost.

As an example, let’s take a look at the Nike Phantom GX. Because, well, we haven’t stopped looking at them since they were released…

nike phantom gx elite football boots in black and pink on blue seats
Image from Unisport.

The most expensive version of this boot is the Phantom GX Elite (pictured above), and the extra money will get you the finest materials and technology on the market.

It features a premium knitted upper and sock collar, alongside its lightweight Flyknit uppers and Gripknit coating technology. It’s all highly researched and developed.

By going down to the next tier (the GX Pro), some of those elements will remain, while others will disappear.

You won’t get the premium materials or feel of the Elite model, but you still get some of the other technology and a solid performance on the pitch.

The quality of the materials and technology will then be reduced the further down the tiers you go. Simple.

Shop new football boots >

Explaining football boot tiers: Nike, adidas & Puma

So, takedown boots are the cheaper, budget versions of the most innovative and popular premium models on the market. That’s it.

There are different takedown tiers to all modern football boots, and it’s up to you to decide which particular level is right for your game.

Unfortunately, this is where things can get confusing. But don’t worry, we’re here to clear it up.

All the major brands structure and display their boot tiers differently, meaning you can soon become lost in a whirlwind of names, numbers, models and prices.

Below, you’ll find a complete guide to the different football boot tiers from the biggest brands, so you’ll finally know what all the names and numbers actually mean.

Nike boot tiers

infographic of nike football boot takedown tiers according to price

The Nike boot tier system is much simpler than it once was.

All of Nike’s boot models fall into one of four categories: Elite, Pro, Academy or Club (with quality descending in that same order).

PLEASE NOTE: you’ll also see a number in the name of a Nike football boot, but this signifies the generation (newness) of the boot and not its tier.

So, a Vapor 15 is more expensive than a Vapor 14, due to the fact that it’s the newer release.

Read our Nike Boot Guide >

adidas boot tiers

infographic of adidas football boot takedown tiers according to price

adidas instead opt for numbers to distinguish their various football boot tiers. You’ll also see ‘+’ too, this is always used for premium laceless versions.

A lower number indicates a higher quality in adidas boots e.g. ‘+’ & ‘.1’ being the highest, working down through ‘.2’, ‘3’ and finally ‘.4’ takedowns.

For example, there are various versions of the adidas Predator available. The top tier, premium model (the ones Jude Bellingham wears) are the Predator.1.

Also opting for the premium model but instead going for the laceless '+', is young midfield magician Pedri.

Further down from there, you’ll find the Predator ‘.2’, ’.3’ and ‘.4’ (pictured above).

Read our adidas Boot Guide >

Puma boot tiers

infographic of puma football boot takedown tiers according to price

Puma have simplified to match a similar naming convention to that of Nike.

On earlier Puma football boots, they used a confusing number system (which we won’t bore you with).

Now they use the word ‘Ultimate’ for their premium offerings on all of the Ultra, Future and King ranges.

The Ultra, Future and King models then move down in quality through the takedowns of ‘Pro’, ‘Match’ and ‘Play’.

Read our Puma Boot Guide >

Which boot tier should I go for?

jude bellingham holding adidas predator accuracy in black and pink
Image from adidas.

This entirely depends on who you are, what level you play at, and how chunky your wallet is. However, here is some general advice:

Competitive players

In an ideal world, you’d be looking at getting the more expensive, top tier football boots on your feet.

This is where you’ll find the highest level of performance, and boots that are ideal for anyone playing at a competitive level.

That means they’re perfect for either professional, semi-professional or competitive league footballers.

Of course, this isn’t always feasible. You may browse deals and decide that elite boots are just out of your budget.

In that case, there’s absolutely no problem in dropping down a tier ('Pro' for Nike and Puma, ‘.2’ for adidas).

Shop elite boots >

Casual players

If you’re playing a bit of five-a-side or Sunday league, there’s no need to go out and spend huge sums. Unless you really want to, that is.

Instead, you’ll find better value in the middle and lower takedown tiers. They’ll offer you enough for a decent kickabout with some change in your pocket.

Shop boots under £100 >


Although you might be desperate to give them the best gear possible, we advise going for the takedown, budget options if you’re buying for kids or teenagers.

Why? Because these younger players have an annoying tendency to grow out of things, so you’ll just end up replacing new boots in a few months anyway.

If you have the resources to spend big on premium, elite-level kids’ football boots, then by all means go for it - you can always use FOOTY.COM to make sure you at least save some money.

The majority of parents are much better off going for something cheaper, because forking out for top tier boots won’t suddenly turn them into Kylian Mbappé.

Shop kids' football boots >


As with most things, when you’re buying football boots, you get what you pay for.

Premium models will naturally offer supreme materials, manufacturing processes and performance, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t compete on a tighter budget.

The cheaper takedown versions could do the job for what you need, while you can always go for an older (or completely different) boot model to save cash too.

Shop all football boots >

Compare prices with us today on all premium and takedown football boots. Hey, you might even save enough to bump yourself up a tier!

Author Image of Kevan Thorpe
Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.
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