The perennial question I get asked at the family get-togethers I infrequently grace is “So what is it you do? Clothes?”
The conversation usually goes through a couple of stages of me trying to explain that yes, clothing companies really (sometimes) pay people to write about them. Just when their eyes have glazed over enough, I drop a few brand bombs and suddenly the previously muddy waters become much clearer.
“You know, like Reebok and adidas and that? Levi’s… all them lads”
“Ohhh right” they say. Then it’s over until next time. And next time, not only am I going to be a proper bloody show off, but the swathes of wordy wasteground won’t be there. I’ll just say “You know adidas Copa Mundial boots? I’ve just written about them” and they’ll know what I’m talking about straight away. Everyone knows these boots. Even that Uncle who isn’t into football but tries his best to talk to me about it.
For my own part, the Copa Mundial has been my boot of choice for the better part of two decades. At a time when shoes made in the 80s for racquet sports have now firmly crossed over into mainstream fashion, my OCD bubbles away under the surface, prodding me, demanding I wear shoes for their intended purpose. So if I go for a run, then I’ll wear proper running shoes, if I’m playing indoor five-a-side then the archetypal black and white samba is all that will do.
And when I made a return to 11-a-side just last weekend, I took great pride in digging my Copa Mundials out of the bottom of the wardrobe and quite literally dusting them off. At 35, I enjoyed a rebirth, of sorts. In a veterans tournament where the qualifying age matched my own, I was one of the youngest there, and only when we met the might of Arsenal Nigeria (an actual team of Nigerians who follow Arsenal) did our luck run out. Still, 3 wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat. And a goal for myself from the trusty right peg that bagged this brace four years back. I make no apologies for showing off about this for the umpteenth time. It doesn’t happen very often.
But what struck me quite early on at the tournament was that most of the lads on show wore black boots, with the vast majority being Copa Mundial or in some cases their brother, the Kaiser. One lad in our team wore bright orange boots. Great when he scored a nonchalant lob, less so when he proceeded to miss a succession of far easier chances. Maybe I’m getting old but the idea of flashy footwear is intrinsically linked to flashy play. If you want to wear bright boots, you’d better be good. I just can’t get to grips with the idea of wearing something so bright. Form follows function. At no point would boots the colour of Kermit the Frog appeal. I don’t get it.
To me, the Copa Mundial is a genuine design classic. The fact they’ve endured since they first made their bow at the World Cup in 1982 says a lot about them. They’re the football boot equivalent of an Eames chair. Almost no changes have been made in the intervening years, and to a backdrop of technological advances that let’s be honest, have got quite silly now. While most old boots started to feel heavy (e.g my original Predators, which I can’t throw away), the Copa Mundial stayed sleek, slick and most importantly fit for purpose. They’re also the last revolutionary piece of footwear Adi Dassler himself had a hand in developing. You can quite literally walk in his shoes, they’re living history.
Fast forward to this weekend. I watched my ailing, formerly professional team play a local derby as a pre-season friendly. And the best players were all wearing Copa Mundials. Seriously. It’s happening before our eyes. It’s changing. They weren’t just Copas though, but blacked out Copas with dylon. Add into that the fact my 11 year old son has spent most of the summer holidays washing the aforementioned black dylon off his hands having blacked out his own garish creations, and it’s fair to say these Blackout Copa Mundials have arrived right on cue.
Taking all the best bits of the original 1982 model favoured by Platini, Beckenbauer and Rummenigge, not to mention most other footballers of the 80s, these blackout versions are what the black boot brigade have been crying out for.
Having made my return to football last weekend, I intend to keep playing and will be getting hold of a pair of these. They’ll round off my football hipster persona just nice, with my Hanover 96 ergonomic socks and my Kappa Valencia shorts. God I’m a dickhead. A dickhead who wears the best football boots ever invented.
Not content with somehow improving on perfection with the Copa Mundial, adidas have done a white version too. Not my scene, as we’ve established but perfect if you’re one of those tricky floating wingers or a number 10 with highlights in your hair. In fact, the blackout is part of a wider pack, pics of which are below. You’re spoilt for choice now aren’t you?
These are all available from places you’d imagine they’re available from. Google it.