May 31, 2016 wasn’t just a jet-black day for Marco Reus. “He would have been an asset,” said National Team Manager Joachim Löw about Reus, who according to the verdict of the DFB physicians was not fit enough for the tournament.
The midfield star from Borussia Dortmund is thus missing from the DFB squad – and thereby also from Puma. That’s because Reuse would have been the only player in soccer shoes by the smaller Herzogenaurach-based sporting goods manufacturer. But now, the pink-neon yellow “evoSPEED SL II tricks” will be staying home.
For almost ten years, a free choice of shoes has prevailed in the German national team. Previously, team outfitter Adidas insisted that the players also present the three stripes on their feet – that caused a lot of trouble, as even then several stars wanted to cash in with private outfitter agreements.
Allegedly, after the 2006 World Cup, some national players even threatened a boycott should their desire for a free choice of shoes not be complied with. Players and DFB bosses came to a final agreement in August 2006.
Since then, competitor Nike has continued to win over more and more national players. Ten of the 23 players in the German EC squad are under contract with the US corporation. Twelve belong to Adidas, so still the majority of the players all the same. Mesut Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger are Adidas celebs; Nike boasts that Mario Götze takes to the field in their shoes.
Just one is breaking ranks completely, and it’s the youngest, of all people: Jonathan Tah. The 20-year-old has been under contract with Under Armour since April 2016. The manufacturer, which is pushing into the market with the power of the US and starting next season will also outfit the second division team FC St. Pauli, was pleased about the subsequent nomination by the defensive talent from Bayer Leverkusen.
But there isn’t just movement in the competition over the most coveted soccer players in Germany. Manufacturers are coming up with ideas in the design of the shoes as well. And no longer just with the color. No national player plays in the classic black anymore; at the 2016 European Championship, they will mostly take to the field with neon yellow accents (Adidas) and loud orange-yellow (Nike).
Nike executed a sensational product innovation two years ago. In 2014, the US manufacturer launched the “Magista Obra”: the sock soccer shoe.
This is meant to stabilize the ankle and, thanks its fluid transition from the foot to the lower leg, facilitate a better feel for the ball. Ever since the winning goal by Mario Götze at the World Cup in Brazil, the “Magista Obra” by Nike has been world-famous.
The left shoe with which the World Champion-maker scored the 1:0 against Argentina was auctioned by an anonymous bidder for two million euros, and since then has become a showpiece at the German Football Museum in Dortmund.
Adidas upping the ante: Primeknit competing against Nike’s Magista Obra
But now Adidas has followed suit. The DFB outfitter’s sock shoe is called “Primeknit,” and will be introduced in “Ace 16.1 Primeknit” (RRP: 250 euros), “Ace 16+ Purecontrol” (300 euros) and “X 16.1” (200 euros).
The newest highlight: The “Ace 16+ Purecontrol” does away with shoelaces and thus promises even more tactfulness with the ball. On the DFB team, Mesut Özil and Julian Draxler play with this model.
Nevertheless, high-necked sock shoes aren’t being well received with all of the German national players. Of the Nike players, four are going without: Jerome Boateng, Julian Weigl, Joshua Kimmich, and Sami Khedira.
More acceptance prevails with Adidas: eight of twelve players wear sock shoes. Only Manuel Neuer, André Schürrle, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Toni Kroos like it better with airy ankles.
Apropos Toni Kroos: The midfield strategist from Real Madrid’s choice of shoes is the most unusual in the DFB squad. With this somewhat old-fashioned leather stitching effect, the Kroos shoe is clearly prominent among all synthetic models. Kroos has already been wearing his white-blue bull leather “Adipure 11pro” for two years; he became world champion in this model. At 170 euros, it’s the cheapest in the DFB team.
Those who want to play in the same shoes as Toni Kroos will have to hurry: There are almost no more to sell, as Adidas is only offering the “Adipure 11pro” in a few sizes at their outlet – there, they don’t even cost 85 euros.
But the question still remains: Which shoes does the national team manager wear? Joachim Löw likes it even more traditional than Kroos. Like his assistant manager Thomas Schneider, he wears the top-selling soccer shoes in the world on the training ground: the black “Copa Mundial” made of kangaroo leather by Adidas (RRP: €149.95) have been manufactured since 1979.
|Manuel Neuer||Adidas||ACE 16.1||€199.95|
|Bernd Leno||Nike||Magista Obra||€275.00|
|Marc-André ter Stegen||Adidas||ACE 16.1 Primeknit||€249.95|
|Jerome Boateng||Nike||Tiempo Legend VI||€200.00|
|Mats Hummels||Adidas||ACE 16.1 Primeknit||€249.95|
|Shkodran Mustafi||Nike||Magista Obra||€275.00|
|Benedikt Höwedes||Adidas||ACE 16.1 Primeknit||€249.95|
|Jonathan Tah||Under Armour||ClutchFit Force 2.0||€200.00|
|Jonas Hector||Adidas||X 16.1||€199.95|
|Emre Can||Nike||Mercurial Superfly X||€290.00|
|Julian Weigl||Nike||Hypervenom Phinish II||€200.00|
|Joshua Kimmich||Nike||Magista Opus||€200.00|
|Toni Kroos||Adidas||Adipure 11pro TRX II||€169.95|
|Sami Khedira||Nike||Magisa Opus||€200.00|
|Bastian Schweinsteiger||Adidas||X 15 Leather||€209.95|
|Mesut Özil||Adidas||ACE 16+ Purecontrol||€299.95|
|Mario Götze||Nike||Magista Obra||€275.00|
|Julian Draxler||Adidas||ACE 16+ Purecontrol||€299.95|
|André Schürrle||Adidas||X 15 Leather||€209.95|
|Leroy Sané||Nike||Mercurial Superfly V||€290.00|
|Thomas Müller||Adidas||X 16.1||€199.95|
|Mario Gomez||Nike||Hypervenom Phantom II||€275.00|
|Lukas Podolski||Adidas||ACE 16.1 Primeknit||€249.95|