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Boots for Troubled Times

Written By Justin on Monday, March 16, 2009 | 8:39:00 PM

After two years of service, my latest pair of Copa Mundials, the iconic adidas boot I've worn since Reagan was President, was close to death. At $90, the Copa has always represented excellent value for money, but let's face it: $90 is a lot more money this year than it was last year. What to do?

The time had come to abandon brand loyalty and try something new. I had two criteria: the boot had to have a classic look (read: black) and round studs. I'm not a fan of blades.

At $45 on sale from Soccerpro.com, the Diadora Brasil AX MD PU U seemed to fit the bill. It's not kangaroo leather - impossible at that price - but the next-best thing, a very soft, supple calfskin. I've worn them four times and hardly notice any difference. The boot has a hard polyurethane heel counter that really does improve stability. The lining is comfortable and the boot looks suitably classic.

The most important thing for goalkeepers, when it comes to boots, is ball striking. Goal kicks are easier when the instep of the boot feels solid, without being heavy or clunky. Like most keepers, I pride myself on a well-struck goal kick. I don't quite knock them 70 yards anymore - at 42 I've lost a little distance - but I've been very pleased with the ball-striking performance of the Brasils.

My only complaint - and it's minor - is the fold-over tongue. Ideally, a fold-over tongue covers the knot and laces, providing a flat, uniform ball-striking surface. The Brasil's triangle-shaped fold-over tongue is a bit too small, so a double-knot makes it stand up slightly. At half the price of a new pair of Copas, however, it's easy to overlook.

The Brasil has an anti-stretch lining and the sizing is true. Even at the normal retail price of $65 it's an excellent value. The Diadora AX MD PU U boots are available here. Soccerpro carries a complete line of boots and soccer socks as well.