Football Boot Upper Material: What to Buy

Football Boot Upper Material: What to Buy

With technology in football boots advancing year on year, we see new materials used and the apparent benefits they offer over the more traditional built boots that we have seen over the years. Typically we have 3 types of materials now that are used in boots; Leather, Synthetic and the newest, Knitted uppers. These 3 offer different things for the user, and it ultimately depends on what you like the most. In this guide we will talk you through each upper material to help you decide what may be the best option for you when bracing the field on a cold Sunday morning.


The newest of the bunch, with the younger generation swearing by them. These hit the market in 2014 with Nike releasing the Superfly IV and Magista Obra I. They are somewhat of a middle ground between leather and synthetic, comfortable out the box but thin, this could be the perfect material for you.

Knitted allows for a softer upper than a synthetic out the box, similar to a leather boot but doesn’t  stretch like one. They also have the thin quality of a synthetic however they don’t mould to your foot like leather does. They usually appear in one piece upper boots meaning there is no tongue which can be good and bad, it means the boot has to fit you out of the box or it never will as there is less ways to customise the fit.

Some great knitted upper boots are the Nike Mercurial Vapor 13/ Superfly 7 or some of Adidas’s models such as their prime knit predators, laced or laceless is up to you!


Synthetic boots, are something that is maybe starting to die out in the industry but still relevant – especially if purchasing slightly older models here on FutbolMarkt. These boots are not as flexible as leather and the break in time is longer however once broken in these can provide a great fit too.

Synthetics now are extremely thin and some offer a fantastic bare foot feel on the ball, which may not be great in Sunday league football with a 50/50 tackle but if you are a lightning quick striker these might just be the thing. They allow the boot to be extremely lightweight so if you don’t like the feeling of a heavier boot you should maybe look towards something like this.

However I did mention above that synthetics don’t allow your feet to breath as well as leather so take this into consideration when cleaning and caring for your boots.

Some fantastic synthetic boots are the Adidas Adizero models, providing an extremely lightweight boot but with lovely upper and great lockdown. The Puma Evospeed’s which you can find for a great price are also a good shout or even some Umbro Velocita’s.


Then we have Leather, the old school material but one that should never be overlooked. If you talk to the slightly older generation amongst us, they will always tell you that there is no better material a boot can be made from, and they might have a point.

Leather has great qualities, the biggest being how it moulds to your feet, allowing for the most personalised fit you can get unless you have access to the athlete facilities in Germany!

Leather is malleable and once broken in it will shape to your foot and will easily be the most comfortable out of all 3 upper materials. When purchasing a leather boot, consider that it will stretch so if it fits straight out the box perfectly, maybe go a half size down if it still feels comfortable and it will mould perfectly to your foot. It is also a breathable material, so unlike the synthetic uppers, it allows your feet to breath meaning your feet won’t be drenched in your sweat and might help with that awful smell coming from your plastic boots in the hallway!  

Some great leather boots to look at are any of Mizuno’s MIJ (Made in Japan) range or for a slightly cheaper alternative, the Nike Premiere II is a fantastic value for money boot with a soft kangaroo leather upper.

Always make sure you look after your leather boots with the right products to keep them at the top of their game.

Aidan O'Friel

Boot collector, UX/UI designer and footballer. 

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