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Nike vs. adidas vs. Puma football boots

To play at your best, you need the right football boots. Nike? adidas? Puma? With so many options, we’re here to help you find what works for you.

Nike adidas and Puma football boot graphic with nike versus adidas versus puma text

There is plenty of choice when it comes to comparing the three leading football boot brands. Each has several current models, multiple colourways, then throw in a stud selection and you’ve got yourself a serious minefield.

We’re all more than aware of the importance of getting the ideal weapons on your feet when you head onto the pitch. Let’s dive into Nike, adidas and Puma to see what each offering could mean for you and your game.   

What’s in the Nike, adidas and Puma boot collections?

As with all modern boot manufacturers, there are a raft of choices to feast your eyes on. Every individual model was created to feed a specific need within the brand’s audience, focussed on aesthetics, level and style of play. Wannabe Messi? They’ve got you. Wannabe Ramos? They’ve got that too.

We’re trying to give a brief summary of what’s available from each brand, there’s so much to get your head around, so we’ll simply link to our more detailed blogs on the subject where needed. Here we go.

The Nike football boot range in 2020

Nike Phantom Mercurial and Tiempo on white background
Images from Nike.

Nike have been producing football boots for almost 50 years, with their aptly named ‘The Nike’ football boot releasing in 1971. The boot didn’t actually perform too well in the market, with complaints about how it didn’t combat cold and wet weather. Today’s Nike boot range is a very different story though…

Nike Mercurial Superfly and Vapor

Images from Nike.

The world-famous Mercurial was born in 1998, originally created for non-other than Ronaldo (OG Ronaldo, that is), and it’s still going strong today on the feet of that other Ronaldo. 

A sleek design, built for speed and creativity, Mercurials are often the go-to choice for attacking dynamos. There are two styles available, the sock-tech Superfly and the low-profile Vapor.

Nike Phantom Venom and Vision

Images from Nike.

The Phantom silhouette also has two options, Venom (VNM) and Vision (VSN). Both of these boots have a more robust feel, crafted for accuracy and precision. Passing and ball-striking are high on the agenda for the wearer of these.

The Venom gives the option of asymmetrical exposed laces and the Vision, is the laceless-look offering in this shape. Whilst the VSN appears to be more of a stepping-stone from the Mercurial packs, the shape and feel of the VNM is more of a continuation from the popular ‘T90’ boots of yesteryear. Have a look at our VNM vs. VSN blog if you want to know more.

Nike Tiempo and Premier

Images from Nike.

When it comes to classic models, the Tiempo is as original as it gets, only taking its inspiration from 1971’s ‘The Nike’. The Tiempo was first created in 1984, and the style has clearly stood the test of time. The latest iteration being the Legend 8, created with ultimate control and comfort as its main focusses. 

The Premier is a model which sits comfortably alongside the Tiempo within this more classic end of the range, it has extreme retro style thanks to its iconic oversized Swoosh and bold NIKE stamping on the heel. Produced only in kangaroo leather, this boot is classic with modern innovations.

If you’re seriously contemplating a pair of Nike’s and need a more detailed rundown, check out our Nike Boot Guide blog.

The adidas football boot range in 2020

adidas Nemeziz Predator and Copa on white background
Images from adidas.

This brand has been around longer than most in the boot world. Back in 1925, founder Adi Dassler was playing around with using nails as studs (ouch), and produced their first ever model as a result. There’s certainly more than one option, so for more detail we’ve pulled together a handy adidas boot guide for you. The technology has improved somewhat since 1925…

adidas Predator

Image from adidas.

Ahhh, the Predator. Does it need an introduction? Probably not, but here goes anyway. It’s beginnings are in 1994, when adidas completely revolutionised boot design by adding a ‘scaly’ upper. Extra spin and curl in abundance, enter Becks et al.

Currently, we’re on the Predator Mutator, which is available in a few variations to suit all players: sock boot option with or without laces, and the same in a low-profile silhouette. A fully-synthetic upper gives durability with comfort. You can find out more in our extensive Predator timeline piece.

adidas Nemeziz

Image from adidas.

Only a few years old, the Nemeziz was inspired by the structural taping on boxers’ hands and ballet dancers' feet. An innovation which gives a hugging, supportive feel to the foot. It’s made for agility and support in equal measure, helping you control your body and the football in the process.

Again, adidas like to offer the laceless and laced option in this model, along with a raft of colourways and stud options.   

adidas X

Image from adidas.

Essentially, this boot was built as adidas’ rival to the Mercurial. Lightweight, with speed and agility as its main attributes. The model is an advance on the popular F50 series, which was launched back in 2002, and has since been discontinued.

The silhouette continues with the laced/laceless selection that adidas loves, a sleek, contemporary low-profile design. Mercurial or X? Read our blog to find out which would suit you.

adidas Copa

Image from adidas.

The Copa is a mash-up of elements from the Copa Mundial and the X. It merges the quality and cushioning of the Copa Mundial and the lightness and agility of the X. The 20+ release is entirely laceless with minimal sock exposure, whilst the takedown versions are all laced.

The Copa has proved popular with players of all positions, with its sharp looks and modern technology mix, it’s the perfect tool for players who pride themselves on first touches and turns.

adidas Copa Mundial, Kaiser 5 and World Cup

adidas Copa Mundial, Kaiser 5 and World Cup laid out in a 3 in black
Images from adidas.

The oldest. And there’s a reason why some design doesn’t change. It doesn’t have to. You know what you’re getting with the Copa Mundial and the World Cup, a firm ground classic in premium quality leather, or a soft ground option of the same ilk. 

The Kaiser 5 is a takedown version of the Copa Mundial and the WC, available in FG and SG, making it more affordable for grassroots players. You can read all about the subtle differences in detail on our Kaiser 5 vs. Copa Mundial blog. 

The Puma football boot range in 2020

Puma One Future and King on white background
Images from Puma.

Unknown to most, Puma was started by the brother of Adi Dassler, Rudolf. Back in 1950, Rudolf entered the football boot universe with the ‘Atom’. It proved to be popular with professional players, debuted by some players in West Germany’s first post-war match in 1950. Today, they keep up that popularity...   

Puma Future

Image from Puma.

Puma keep it simple and only have 3 base models out in the market, rolling up their offering into designs which serve all players’ key needs. The Puma Future is a mid-sock model which is all about lightness and the purest possible fit.

The latest lacing technology, NETFIT, delivers perfect support for any foot shape. If you’re struggling to decide on this or the Puma One, we’ve got all the differences in a handy Puma boot guide.

Puma One

Image from Puma.

Thin kangaroo leather and SPRINTWEB upper are the lightweight additions to this model. Instead of NETFIT, these boots have FUSEFIT, a similar but adaptable lacing system to give better fit. Worn and proven by someone who’s not bad at scoring goals: Sergio Aguero.

The One has a similar evoKNIT mid-sock design to the Future, giving a much needed freedom of movement for quick turns and takeoff.   

Puma King

Image from Puma.

Dipping into the classic range of Puma, it’s the rival to the Nike Tiempo and the adidas Copa: the Puma King. Another boot with a long history in the game, over 50 years in total. Another piece of evidence to prove timeless design and quality work hand-in-hand, forever.

The King is all about premiums. Quality K-leather, durability, touch and comfort. You can also opt for the traditional shape of King, or the aerodynamic contouring of the new King.

Which stud choices are available for Nike, adidas and Puma boots?

Nike Mercurial boots with chevron moulded studs in green and gold
Image from Nike.

If you’re slugging it out in the mid-winter on grass, you’re looking for soft ground (SG) boots. If you’re lucky enough to be gracing dry turf or 3G/4G pitch, you’re generally looking for firm ground (FG). If you’re still not sure, we’ve written a piece about how to choose which studs to wear on our blog before.

All brands must now cater to every single player, not just the pros tearing about on their stadium’s bowling green standard turf. So, for those of us playing just for the love of the game; Nike, adidas and Puma have all the options you’ll need. Including indoor models of your favourite releases too.

Which brand has the best colour options?

adidas football boots in various colours on grey background
Images from adidas.

When it comes to fashion, people like to do what the hell they want. Unlike choice of stud, it will only psychologically affect your performance i.e. look good / play good. It’s simply a matter of taste. This is why Nike, adidas and Puma are all constantly releasing new colourways to feed all types of personalities.

Generally, brands will release what they call ‘packs’, these are new colourways which transfer across an entire boot range. Bright pink? Covered. Darkest of blacks? Covered too. This means, if you like a certain brand, there’s a strong chance you’re going to find the same colourway in most of their models. 

Which brand is more comfortable?

Puma One football boot from above in black on white background
Image from Puma.

This was a thing which was easier to explain in the past, when there were fewer advances in boot technology. Every brand now understands that it needs to be top of its game when it comes to comfort, or people will simply go elsewhere.

The understanding of comfort is now much more subjective, you need to physically try the boot before giving your own judgement. It’s nigh on impossible for us to know which boot will suit your foot. 

If we were to offer a rule of thumb, it would be that the takedown options of each boot offer gradually less and less comfort, due to their lower quality materials, shaping and production. If you’d like more detail, catch our useful blog on cheap vs. expensive football boots.

Which brand offers the best value for money?

Without sounding like we’re dodging the question again, we think value is in the eye of the beholder. If that’s even a saying? What we mean is, depending on the level you play at, your needs, your level of spend, value can differ wildly. Puma tend to generally have a lower price point than their more popular adidas and Nike rivals.

Our advice, if you’re looking for a bargain would be to use a comparison site (obviously, we had to say that). But, catches all of the sales and prices first, which is often the best time to buy your new boots. You never know, you might just stumble across those top-tier releases at a snip of the RRP. Better boots = better player, right?

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This blog is part of our Boot Battles series. Check out some of the other boots we’ve pitted against each other: 

Laced vs Laceless | Predator vs Mercurial | X vs Mercurial | Kaiser Liga vs Copa Mundial

Kevan Thorpe

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