Photo by ConSoccer

4 October 2019

The Best Speed Boots of 2019

Constantin Shimonenko

When someone thinks of a speed boot the first boots that are usually thought of are the Mercurials, Adidas Xs, and even the Adidas F50 Adizero (which is no longer in production, duh). A speed boot is often defined as a boot with a low weight, a thin upper, aggressive traction, and usually with a slim fit. A speed boot is also often flashy but that not required. The speed boots in this list will be judged by their weight, upper, traction, and fit. The boots on this list will also have to be in production in 2019 and not limited edition, making them easy to access for anyone.

Top Pick

Nike Mercurial Vapor 13

Weight: 6.8 Ounces (193 Grams)

The Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 looks a lot like the Vapor 12 but in reality, the boot has a lot of small improvements and upgrades that make the boot much better as a whole. The upper of... [Read more]

This list is only judging by the facts and statistics, in terms of how light the boot is, how aggressive the traction is, and how thin the upper is. Everyone has a different experience with every boot, meaning that even the worst boot may feel like it is the best for the person wearing it. Although the reviews aren't always right, people usually find the best boot (statistically wise) the best boot for them. This article closely ties with the "Lightest Soccer Cleat" which can help you decide if you are still lost after this article.

The list of the best speed boots of 2019:

1. Nike Mercurial Vapor 13

Weight: 6.8 Ounces (193 Grams)

As for speed boots go, the Mercurial Vapor 13 combines the most aggressive traction on the market; one of the lightest weights; and one of the most responsive, locked down, and explosive uppers ever made. The upper is thin and does have a "pingy" sensation when taking shots or passing which is a plus. The traction is just as good as the previous generation, which was phenomenal. There are honestly almost no drawbacks on this boot, only if you don't like it personally or are just a Nike hater.

Short Review

The Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 looks a lot like the Vapor 12 but in reality, the boot has a lot of small improvements and upgrades that make the boot much better as a whole. The upper of any knitted boot before the Vapor 13 had some kind of structural reinforcements outside of the knit itself to keep the upper reinforced. But, the Vapor 13 is the first boot to have the structure incorporated in the knit itself through strands in the Flyknit fabric that are called "High Tenacity Yarn". These strands of yarn/rope in the fabric make sure your upper has structure at all points, minimizing pressure points and weak points. Most of the time, boots would have additional layers or cables (For example the Superfly 4) coated top or glued below the knitting that keeps the upper structured. The Vapor 13 doesn't need all of that since it has all the structure in the Flyknit fabric itself, meaning you will have a lighter, thinner, more consistent, more fluid, less stiff, and a softer, closer touch that makes the experience so much better. The Vapor 12 (older generation) had a "Nikeskin" coating that was basically a clear plastic-rubber type material that gave the upper texture, thickness, and stiffness. Now you have a softer (less stiff) boot right out of the box with no need for break-in time.

The lacing system is central with a dual-hole lacing system, providing personalize lockdown and adjustability. The upper is one-piece meaning there is no tongue. The material under the laces is stretchy and comfortable, which makes it easier to slip on the boots. The material is also thinner due to the High Tenacity Yarn. At the heel, the Vapor 13 is low-cut. The heel liner is made from a synthetic suede material with perforations and padding, keeping the foot secure and comfortable.

The soleplate has a split-soleplate design which is also seen on the Vapor 12. The stud pattern is the same, however, there are a few changes on the soleplate. The heel plate is different since the plastic on the inside (between studs) has been removed to shave weight and materials. On the forefoot plate, the changes are more visible with the new Aerotrack Plate. The plastic om the forefoot is patterned in a way to make the soleplate work like a spring. The more you step down on the boot, the stiffer it gets, just like a spring builds tension as it gets compressed. This was done so the forefoot springs back into place more faster and elastic-like, giving more reactiveness and consequently more speed. The studs themselves are a little bit longer and the "chevron-shaped" has a slightly sharper angle.

2. Adidas X 19.1

Weight: 6.8 Ounces (187 Grams)

The Adidas X 19.1 has one of the thinnest uppers on this list. The traction is also quite good and the weight is one of the lightest. This boot is the laced version of the Adidas X 19+, meaning it has a much better lockdown, your foot will be secured better, and more comfort can customization. The fit on the X 19+ is fixed, meaning it cannot be changed, however, the 19.1 can be adjusted, providing a more secure and personalized fit.

Short Review

The X 19.1 is the laced version of the 19+ that is also $50 less expensive. The upper is known as "Speedmesh" which was also featured on the X 18.1 but it is completely different. Adidas does this often, call something the same even though it's different and vice versa. The upper has a texturing with a very light texturing made by ridges, providing some grip and structure. Internally, there is a mesh liner. The upper also has laces (wow big surprise) however it's becoming more and rare. The laces provide the much-needed adjustability and personalized lockdown which the 19+ lacks. The mesh under the laces is thicker and more quality than the previous generations. The heel liner and the soleplate are the same as the one on the X 19+ however the 19.1 will not have a reflective coating such as the one seen on the 19+.

3. Mizuno Morelia Neo II Made in Japan

Weight: 6.8 Ounces (193 Grams)

Mizuno is a pretty unknown brand in North America and even Europe, with many people not knowing the brand exists or just never trying any of their products. Mizuno prides itself on its excellent quality that outclasses pretty much all of the other brands. However, the boots are expensive and some people don't choose this boot simply because they don't like the look of it. But, the made in Japan boot is much, much better made than modern boots, with outstanding durability.

With that aside, the upper on the Mizuno Morelia Neo II is made from a premium (and I mean premium) kangaroo leather toebox with a synthetic leather midfoot and heel. The kangaroo leather is thin, giving a close to the ball touch. The kangaroo leather breaks in fast, and has a soft cushioned touch, helping with control. The midfoot is narrow and slim, meaning there is only material that needs to be there, and nothing extra. The laces are deeper down the foot, giving a more locked down and customizable feel. The heel liner is suede with good padding, keeping the foot in place. The boot is low-cut, cutting back on unnecessary material.

At the heel, the soleplate has an external heel counter, which is basically a raised soleplate at the heel, which helps combat heel slippage. The soleplate is interesting with two layers. At the midfoot and heel, there is a stiffer material that gives more lockdown and stability. While at the forefoot, there is a more flexible material that allows for maneuverability. The studs are conical and provide surprisingly good traction. Since the studs are conical (round), it is easier to make sharp turns and pivots. At the top of the soleplate (the toebox), this boot features something rare to see on modern boots, which is the rivets. Rivets substantially help the upper stay secured to the soleplate, where separation often occurs.

4. PUMA One 5.1

Weight: 7.2 Ounces (204 Grams)

The upper on the Puma One 5.1 is made from kangaroo leather and "Sprintweb" with kangaroo leather being on the instep and toe, and the Sprintweb being on the lateral side of the boot. The kangaroo leather is quite thin, making the leather softer, more pliable, easier to break-in, and giving closer touch. The leather is positioned at the instep and a portion of the toe, where the ball touches the foot very often. Kangaroo leather is very non-speed-boot, but, the leather on this particular boot is thin, which is one of the factors of a speed boot. The lateral and heel regions of the upper have a Sprintweb material, which is what Puma calls its mesh material on this boot. The feel Sprintweb is very similar to the "Skeletal-weave" which was on the X 18+ models, but, the Sprintweb is a little thinker and more padded. Sprintweb gives the boot more of a speed boot feel due to the structure and lockdown sensation that it brings. The Sprintweb is well structured, keeping your foot in place on fast turns and acceleration. Sprintweb also has a grid weave on its surface that gives noticeable texture and grip to the ball. The seam that connects the kangaroo leather and the Sprintweb is not very noticeable on feet, which is good.

The soleplate on this model is one of the reasons this boot made this list. Yes, the traction doesn't look too aggressive since it doesn't have chevron studs but the traction is actually pretty good. The studs are slightly longer than normal boots giving more of a bite, and the positioning of the studs is well done. The feel of the soleplate is pretty similar to the Nike Hypervenom Phantom I, with the mostly conical studs mixed with a few bladed studs and one stud on the toe (toe studs are uncommon on soccer cleats). The soleplate is raised at the heel with an external heel counter, which helps with the heel lockdown.

At the heel, the collar is not very high, meaning that the boot is low-cut. The material at the collar is Evoknit, which is Puma's knit. The Evoknit runs under the lacing system and under the ankle. The Evoknit is soft and comfortable, but also not too flexible. The internal heel liner is synthetic suede, and there is a pull-tab at the back of the foot, making it easy to slide the boot on. The lacing system is straight down the middle, but not very deep. There are a few extra holes for laces at the medial side of the boot, giving more options on how you want the boot to feel on your foot.

5. Umbro Medusae III Pro

Weight: 6.4 Ounces (181 Grams)

Umbro, for the most part, is a very overlooked brand with very little players wearing their products on the field, but, they still produce quality gear. The Umbro Medusae and the Umbro Velocita are the lightest soccer cleats of 2019 both weighing only 6.4 ounces. There are of course boots that do have lighter weight and are also available in 2019, however, they are limited releases and are hard to get a hold of.

The Umbro Medusae III Pro has a kangaroo leather upper accompanied with a single-lace-hole central lacing system. The kangaroo leather features rivets and bumps, almost like the Nike Tiempo Legend 7 and the Adidas Copa 19. The Umbro Medusae III Pro also has an older brother, the Umbro Medusae III Elite, with the only difference being the Elite is laceless and the Pro has laces. The Elite does weight a little more so that is why it didn't make this list. The heel liner is made from synthetic suede and has a lot of padding, so comfort shouldn't be an issue. The heel liner also features small rubber dots that provide some grip and help your heel stay in place in abrupt turns. The soleplate features a raised heel counter that also helps with stopping heel slippage. The soleplate on the Medusae is semi-conical with conical studs the medial side of the forefoot and more aggressive studs everywhere else. The soleplate is also quite thin but flexible, with a natural (not stiff) feel.

This boot is great for players who want a kangaroo leather boot that is also lightweight and not overly thick on the upper and not so thin that it feels like it's made from plastic. The Medusea III is almost a mix of a traditional leather boot and a modern speedboot. These boots are also quite inexpensive retailing at just $200, however, you will most likely find them for cheaper considering how often Umbro boots are on sale.

6. Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Elite

Weight: 7 Ounces (198 Grams)

The Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Elite has the same upper, heel, soleplate, and general features except for the fact that the Superfly has a collar. The collar does add a little bit of weight and no real benefits. However, some people like the fit and feel the collar gives, saying that it makes the boot feel more like a sock and less like a normal boot.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this list helps you get a sense of what are the lightest cleats currently on the market (other than limited edition releases). Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article.

7. Adidas Nemeziz 19.1

Weight: 7.8 Ounces (221 Grams)

The Adidas Nemeziz 19.1 is the 'younger brother' to the Nemeziz 19+, which is a laceless model. The reason the 19.1 made it on this list and the 19+ didn't is for four reasons:

  • The laceless system on the 19+ honestly doesn't work that well.
  • The 19.1 is lighter (by 0.8 ounces or 23 grams).
  • The high-top collar on the 19+ is extra bulk that can get in the way when putting on the boot or during gameplay. Although this isn't that big of a problem, it's mostly personal preference, some like it some hate it.
  • The 19.1 is less expensive than the 19+ by $50 (not a real reason, but for some it is).

Short Review

The upper on the Nemeziz 19.1 is made from a one-piece design. The material is something that Adidas calls "Tension Tape", which is a tape that is stitched together (I am not fully aware of the production process so I'm guessing here). The tape is just one layer, which means the upper will be very thin, giving a close touch. There is, of course, an internal liner to keep your foot comfortable, and a polyurethane layer on top to add grip and help weatherproof the boots. The strands of tape are stitched together and the stitching is not very visible on the external surface. At the laces, some tape is left unstitched to allow your foot to get in the boot more easily, the tape is stretchy and adds some comfort too. Adidas advertises this boot as an "Agility Boot" but in reality, this boot is the perfect speed boot. The weight is pretty low, the upper is very thin, the lockdown is quality (due to the tape and laces), and the soleplate has aggressive traction.

The soleplate has a split-soleplate design, like the Mercurials, and feels very similar to the Mercurials. The studs on the Nemeziz are blades, giving good traction. The soleplate does have some stiffness which gives stability, responsiveness, and explosiveness. The soleplate is thicker than the Adidas X and is as thick as the current Mercurials. At the heel, the lockdown is good with the internal heel counter. The heel is also lowered in this generation, making the possibility to get blisters lower, which was a problem in the previous Nemeziz. The collar is low-cut, and on the 19+ it is a high-cut. The collar has an interesting looking V-shaped design. The heel is lined with the standard synthetic suede and padded generously.

8. Adidas X 19+

Weight: 6.6 Ounces (187 Grams)

The Adidas X 19+ has an upper made from a material called X-Layskin. The internal liner has cutouts which allow for a decreased weight, closer-to-the-ball touch, and a more ventilated feel. The top layer of the boot is called an "Engineered Warp Knit" which gives some texture and grip with the ridges on top of the knit. The place where the laces would have been, has a polyurethane top layer, with an elasticated layer underneath. It's not hard to put on the boots and once they are on the lockdown is decent, better than the X 18+. The upper is also slimmer than the upper of the x 18+ with less material overall and a tighter feel around your foot.

The heel of the boot features a synthetic suede fabric (coated with rubber dots that give grip) on top of cushions that hold your heel in place quite comfortably. The "Speedframe" soleplate has a raised heel counter that adds even more lockdown to the heel. The soleplate has 11 studs, the forefoot has more 'bladed-styled' studs and the heel has conical, round studs that allow for more maneuverability. The soleplate is flexible and light, adding to the 'speedboot' feel.

9. New Balance Furon 5.0 Pro

Weight: 8.2 Ounces (232 Grams)

The latest New Balance Furon 5.0 is the best Furon (in my opinion) that New Balance has ever released. This boot and the Tekela can have the chance to make New Balance a serious competitor to Nike and Adidas.

Short Review

The main reason that this boot landed so low on this list is its weight. This is the heaviest boot on this list, but, it is certainly not a heavy boot, only in comparison with other speed boots this is a heavy boot. The upper on the New Balance Furon 5.0 Pro is one of the thinnest uppers on this list. The upper is made from three external layers: a base synthetic layer, a thin mesh layer, and a polyurethane layer on top called "Hydraskin" to keep the upper grippy and water-resistant (not waterproof). The upper of course has a liner internally to keep the foot comfortable. All this combines to a very thin upper that is pliable, soft and has a close touch. The lacing system is not deep at all, giving more room for the ball on the upper but taking away some lockdown. The upper is one-pice so there is no need for a tongue. In the place of the tongue (under the laces region), there is a stretchy mesh that hugs the foot nicely, making the boots more comfortable. The cut is low-cut and the heel has an internal heel counter and is lined with synthetic leather with not much padding. As for the upper, the New Balance Furon meets all the speed boot criteria with the thin, soft upper and the minimal padding with a one-piece construction.

The soleplate is designed after a sprinter's shoe. The positioning of the studs was planned out to provide efficiency and great traction. The soleplate has a stiffer feel, similar to a sprinter's shoe, and the studs are bladed to provide as mich bite as possible. The soleplate is perhaps the reason for the higher than usual weight since it is stiffer, which needs more plastic to be stiffer.