Top 5 best leather football boots for 2020
Despite all the synthetic boot tech out there, sometimes you can’t beat a pair of black leather football boots.
This post was originally created on 22nd November 2018, and has since been updated to include all the latest boots for 2020.
We live in a world dominated by extravagant colourways and knitted, synthetic uppers, as the biggest brands continue to break the boundaries of innovation. Football boots are lighter, faster and more responsive than ever before, and the best players on the planet tend to opt for these synthetic designs.
But, for most of us, you just can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned pair of leather football boots.
Although, calling them “old-fashioned” isn’t exactly accurate, since the material has been severely modernized over the past few years. Leather boots are now smoother and softer, providing a level of comfort and durability you just don’t get from the synthetics; while the introduction of k-leather has allowed designs to become more flexible and lightweight.
So, what are the best leather football boots in 2019?
PLEASE NOTE: this list is focused on boots which offer the most innovative tech, so leather classics such as the Puma King, Nike Premier and adidas Copa Mundial have been omitted. Besides, including them just wouldn’t be fair to the other boots.
5. Umbro Medusae III
The words “laceless” and “leather” are two things you’d never usually put together, and yet Umbro have done the impossible and created an upper smooth enough to eat your dinner off.
I mean, they’re just downright beautiful. After two years of development, the Medusae III is an amalgamation of everything I loved about previous generations. Speed and touch lie at the heart of the design, while the gorgeous black leather upper obviously provides a much smoother, cleaner striking surface.
Weighing in at just 170g, these are the lightest leather Umbro boots ever made, with a knitted collar offering a snug, comfortable fit. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of that classic black colourway, too.
Who Wears Umbro Medusae?
Pepe is pretty much the only big name to wear these professionally. I’m not talking about Nicolas Pepe either, but the ex-Real Madrid defender who must be approaching 40.
4. Mizuno Morelia Neo II “MIJ”
I’ve always been a big fan of Mizuno football boots, and I’ve got to say the Morelia Neo II has always exuded class and sophistication.
In short, this is one of the best lightweight leather football boots available today. The streamlined, 180g design is a major improvement on the first-generation Neo; incorporating a thin, flexible k-leather upper which allows players to really unleash their pace. Without question, this is the world’s leading full-leather speed boot.
Now a couple of years into its lifespan, the Mizuno Morelia Neo II is available in all kinds of awesome colourways (including one with a fairly adventurous origami graphic!), so you’re by no means restricted to classic black leather.
Who Wears Mizuno Morelia Neo?
Thiago Motta and Lazar Markovic are the only notable wearers right now. Mizuno has always been tragically underused at the highest level.
3. Puma One 5.1
Some players prefer the premium comfort and control of leather football boots, while others prefer lighter and more innovative synthetic materials. The Puma One 5.1 serves up the best of both worlds, with the kind of half and half design you’d usually associate with something delicious from Pizza Hut.
Premium kangaroo leather is found on the in-step (providing that lovely control), whereas the outstep features Puma’s innovative Sprintweb (which keeps the whole boot nice and breezy). The evoKnit sock collar is incredibly nice and comfy, too, offering the kind of snug feel which so many leather boots seem to lack.
There’s a countless number of boots to choose from these days. Some are leather, others are synthetic. Some are built for speed, others for accuracy. Some are great for wide feet, others for narrow. The Puma One is one of the few boots which tries to do a little bit of everything, bringing together the best of each boot type to deliver something which is suitable for just about anyone.
It’s not the quickest, strongest or even the most accurate boot on the market, but it’s the one that does the best job of delivering all those qualities together. A real all-rounder.
Who Wears Puma One?
Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Harry Maguire, Kalidou Koulibaly, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mario Balotelli, Maxim Choupo-Moting, Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon.
2. adidas Copa 20+
The Copa has received all kinds of garish colourways over the past few years, but the fact is adidas will never be able to beat the original Copa Mundial. Even so, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly impressed by the Copa 20, despite offering minimal changes to the previous generation.
In fact, to be completely honest, the differences are so small you’d be forgiven for missing them entirely. Just like its predecessor, the Copa 20 features a classy leather upper which just screams sophistication, featuring a Fusionskin which basically reduces water absorption and stops it from becoming too heavy in wet conditions.
The Copa 20+ offers a lovely laceless upper with a fantastic strikezone, but you can always move down to the 20.1 if you miss the stability of laces. Of course, so slight are the differences you could actually move down to the 19 generation and you’d never be able to tell, apart from the extra cash you’ve managed to save yourself.
Even so, this doesn’t change the fact the current generation is still pretty damn good. They’re just as comfortable, stable and stylish as ever before, and the adidas Copa will forever be a leather classic. Although you just can’t beat the classic black of the Mundial, you’ve got to admire the innovation of these new lightweight designs.
Who Wears adidas Copa?
Paulo Dybala, Joao Felix, David De Gea, Lorenzo Insigne, Donny van de Beek, Juan Cuadrado, Jordi Alba, David Luiz.
1. Nike Tiempo Legend 8
Now this is special. I know there are people out there that don’t like what Nike have done here, but for me the Tiempo Legend 8 is the best leather football boot on the market.
While the popular Tiempo 7 introduced Nike’s Flyknit technology for the very first time, the latest generation brings a gorgeous new upper which is all about control, touch and looking pretty awesome out on the pitch. This textured forefoot has a lovely quilted effect, essentially designed to improve your control and accuracy of the football.
The flexible mesh heel remains pretty much the same, while a handy Flyknit tunnel still sits underneath it all to provide the best-fitting Tiempo yet. Thanks to some handy mesh materials, you also don’t need to worry too much about wear-in time, since they will conform to the shape of your foot like a fantastic leather (and quilted) glove.
The Tiempo 8 offers the premium feel of leather alongside the innovation found in so many synthetic boots. A modern classic.
Who Wears Nike Tiempo?
Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk, Gerard Pique, Alisson Becker, Thiago Silva, Raphael Varane, Jordan Henderson, Chris Smalling.
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