Soccer has been at the center of a number of great sneakers over the years. For a very long time, soccer inspired sneakers were very technical. They served a purpose in terms of playing. They were functional to play in and were functional to play on varying surfaces. In recent years we have seen soccer's influence inspire the design from a different point of view. Today there are a number of sneakers that are inspired by the sport but are re-imagined as lifestyle sneakers. Soccer + sneakers have been staples in our lives for as long as we can remember, so we wanted to take a look at some of the best soccer inspired sneakers over the years.
1. the adidas Gazelle
The adidas Gazelle is probably my favorite soccer sneaker of all time. It's a perfect blend of function and aesthetics and I have owned more pairs in more colorways than I can possibly remember.
The Gazelle was first launched in 1968 as a training sneaker. But over the years it was embraced by people ranging from the terrace culture of the 1980's, to music icons and even skaters. The sneaker hasn't changed since it was first released and is considered part of adidas' OG collection. The Gazelle has featured in countless colorways and materials, but the original suede upper with the white outsole. Give me this combo in just about any upper color and I'm all set. These can literally be worn on the training ground, the club, a date, eben with a suit. The most functional and well designed soccer sneaker ever (IMO).
2. Nike Free Hypervenom Low
Few brands (outside of Bumpy Pitch) have embraced the lifestyle of soccer more than Nike and as a result, they have made some incredible footwear that is inspired by the sport. Nike took the Free 3.0 sole and smartly combined it with an upper that is inspired by the Hypervenom boot. The result is a beautiful sneaker that combines the best of two different silhouettes.
This may not be a as functional of a sneaker to actually get out and train in. But it is a beautiful sneaker that celebrates the sport while pushing the lifestyle angle of it.
3. The adidas Samba
If the Gazelle is the best looking soccer sneaker of all time, then the Samba is the most ubiquitous. The Samba might be the single biggest calling card for the sport. Countless people have worn the shoe, whether or not they have anything to do with the sport. I can personally name people in the following fields that wear Sambas (outside of soccer folks):
The list can go one, but I'll go ahead and stop it there. The Samba was created as a training shoe for soccer and has gone on to be the second best selling adidas shoe behind the Stan Smith (another shoe I absolutely love). It was originally released in 1950 as a way to train on icy hard ground (hence the suction on the gumsole). The adidas Samba has transcended the game in ways that few other soccer related items have. This might not only be the most important soccer sneaker of all time, it might just be one of the most transcendental things the sport has ever produced.
4. Nike Zoom FC Floral
I had to borrow these from my boy Paul as this is not an easy sneaker to get your hands on.
These ZOOM FC's with the floral motif came out in 2004 (I think) and are sure to be an instant classic. They were a part of the Doernbecher Freestyle collection, which was a really rad collection that Nike had that is no longer around. If you get lucky, you might be able to cop a pair on eBay.
5. adidas adilette Sandal
I know this isn't a "sneaker" but there was no way we could compile a list of soccer inspired product and leave these off.
Some of the greatest things in life are created to solve a problem. The adidas adilette sandal is a perfect example of that. The sandal was originally developed in the 1960's when German soccer teams asked for a sandal they could wear in the locker room and showers. If you have ever been in a locker room or team shower you will know that sandals are a necessity. So adidas went ahead and designed a sandal that would protect players health in these places with no idea of what the sandal would go on to become.
I have worn a number of sandals over the years in various soccer settings. Pre and post game. Walking to the fields so I didn't mess up my cleats. In the locker room and in the shower. But the adilettes are the only ones that really transition to other places in a stylish way. I'm not a huge sandal person in general, but if I'm going to wear some, they will be the adilettes that have their history firmly rooted in soccer.
6. Nike NSW Tiempo 94
Combine the greatness of Brand Jordan heritage and my favorite boot (the Tiempo), remix them into a sneaker and you have my attention. Last year ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Nike NSW got together with Italian defender Marco Materrazi (who has a deep love of sneakers) and they came up with a three pack of sneakers that blend the Tiempo 94 with the Jordan 1. Done up in OG Jordan 1 colorways and a classic fold over soccer tongue and you have a special sneaker that will forever be in my list of best soccer inspired sneakers. This one is so goo din so many ways and perfectly blends the worlds of soccer, sneakers, basketball and lifestyle.
7. Nike LunarGato Safari
I don't quite think people knew what to think of these when they first came out. They were super bold and the all over pattern was unlike anything we had seen in soccer. There was a matching pair of Mercurial Vapors that Cristiano Ronaldo wore. Everything about these was outside of the box. But I loved them.
These were meant to be worn as an indoor soccer shoe, but they show so much promise and wearability (is that w word) outside of the game. I happen to have one of these. And by one, I don't mean a pair. Oddly enough, I have a left shoe that I was sent. Not a full pair, but it doesn't matter. I still love this sneaker, this pattern and how boldly it went where it went.
8. adidas Busenitz
Dennis Busenitz is an adidas sponsored skater. His signature sneaker is very much inspired by the Samba. When the sport's most known sneaker starts being the inspiration for a skate shoe, you know that both the sport and the sneaker have huge influence well outside the lines of a pitch. Whether you skate or not, a pair of Busenitz sneakers are a good pickup for you. These have some in so many colorways that you are guaranteed to find one that fits your style.
9. Nike Air Footscape Magista
Much like the Nike Free Hypervenom's, these are another recent offering from Nike that takes the upper of a boot and blends it with the sole of a sneaker. In this case the breathable Flyknit upper of the Magista with a super cushioned outsole that wears like a sneaker. As with the Free Hypervenom, the Air Footscape Magista pushes the boundaries and limits on what we have expected to see from a soccer inspired sneaker.
10. Nike Roshe Run WWC
Nike released two sneakers this summer that celebrated the Women's World Cup an Air Max 90 Hyperfuse and this Roshe Run. And it is the Roshe Run that I really dig. They feature a neon outsole and a iridescent upper. This shoe really shines (pun intended) when the light shines on it in just the right way. These were a women's exclusive, so if you can still find a pair, pick one up for your girl. They are a very stylish reminder of the USWNT's third World Cup championship.
11. Nike Air Max 1 FB
Blend an Air Max and a Mercurial and I'm in. I really don't know what else needs to be said about these. But, a little background, these were part of a four pack of Air Max's that were released ahead of the 2014 World Cup that combines the materials of a Mercurial with the overall silhouette of an Air Max 1. As you can see, these have gotten plenty of wear from me in the past year or so. I love these sneakers.