10 crazy football boots that should have never left the design room

From fake hair to a toe-poke edge and suction cups, these boot ideas didn't hit the mark...

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Traditionally, there are two types of football players when it comes to their boots. There's the hard-working, gritty player wearing those classic black Copas, and the flashy, high-maintenance player sporting every colour under the sun as each new season begins.

Recently, however, those lines have become more blurry. Boot manufacturers are making jazzier boots with each passing day, so much so that neon seems to be the new standard.

The latest trend are special "limited edition" boots, which give an already in-use design some extra mileage. Nike's recent release of Merlot-colored boots for Andrea Pirlo – inspired by his winery – along with the those made to honour EA Sports' FIFA series, got us thinking about some of the more ridiculous boot concepts in recent history...

1. Puma evoPOWER MB 9

Mario Balotelli is no stranger to attention, and Puma have played to his persona through the years, making him – among others – boots with newspaper headlines printed onto them and the phrase, “Why always Puma?”.

But the Puma evoPOWER boots Balotelli had designed for him were all-time levels of disturbing. Sure, they featured the “Why Always Me?” slogan, but next to that, on the backheel, was a protruding, fuzzy substance meant to replicate Balotelli’s Mohawk. The very concept of hair – fake or not – on a boot is surely an epic level of disgusting, made worse by Puma actually putting the strip of fuzz on the ball sold as part of the same line.

2. Warrior Gambler

In 2013, when Warrior was still a Lacrosse brand trying to break into football at Liverpool’s expense, the company released a boot called the “Gambler”. The back heel, which can always be an annoying part of the shoe for those with oddly shaped feet, featured an opening – presumably for flexibility. Ok, that’s cool. The problem? Warrior called these “gloryholes”…“for precision fit in sticky situations.” Didn't their teachers ever remind them to read their work back? 

3. Serafino 4th Edge

Finally, a boot that speaks to the average Sunday League player. It's football’s answer to the steel-toed boot and, frankly, it’s ridiculous. "The first thing I noticed was how comfortable the boot was," said Alan Curbishley, while presumably tied up in a darkened room somewhere (along with the five other ex-pros they've got promoting the product). "Also. I was intrigued to see how the ball moves when toe punted." We can only imagine, Curbs. Anyway: want a pair? Yours for only £99.99. 

4. Yohji Yamamoto adiZero F50

The dragon is a symbol of power and good fortune in Eastern cultures, but Western ones have typically portrayed the mythical being as a fire-breathing nuisance. It’s unclear if Adidas were trying to meet them in the middle with this effort, but the end result was more one-too-many than oh-so-lucky. 

Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto was the man responsible in 2014, one year after his similar design revolving around the Japanese lion-dog. Adidas made a similar F50 called the "Tatoo". It, too, looked terrible.

5. Crystal-encrusted Nike Vapors

Think Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player to wear gems on his boots? Think again.

In 2012, Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang donned a pair of grim pea-coloured Nike Vapors which reportedly cost £2,500, included 4,000 Swarovski crystals and took over 50 hours to design. The worst part, though? He only wore them for warm-ups anyway. 

Next: Suction cups and frogs for inspiration