Nike Mercurial R9James Reynolds

This artist is turning clogs into iconic football boots

Michael Owen's Umbro Speciali, David Beckham's Adidas Predator, Ronaldo's Nike Mercurial R9 - classic designs recreated as clogs.

An image of Ciaran Varley
Ciaran Varley
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"I need those Adidas Predators, Mum. They are really going to help take my dead-ball game to the next level..."

That's 'child' us talking. It's probably also 'child' you talking. In fact, for the sake of transparency, it's 'adult' us talking too (we still want them).

Anyway, what we're saying is - a football boot is rarely just a football boot. Within those synthetic, faux-leather bounds is contained a whole world of individual hopes, dreams and, for many of us, nostalgia.

Because as time passes, many of us still associate certain boots with certain players and tournaments. James Reynolds, 33, certainly does.

James is a visual artist who works in advertising, often around sport. He has tried to capture this nostalgia for boots with his project, Custom Klompen.

After spending some time in the Netherlands, he had an idea - to buy a load of traditional clogs and give them a glow up.

"You see them in all of the tourist shops in the Netherlands," he tells us. "But they're a bit stereotypical - like Beefeaters for us."

After playing around with painting the clogs as classic trainers, he decided to use them as a palette to lovingly recreate some recognisable boots.

"There’s just so much nostalgia attached to boots," he says. "I think everyone remembers their first pair. You remember the goal you scored in them. You remember what your favourite player wore while you were growing up.”

From Michael Owen dancing past Argentina's Jose Chamot in a pair of Umbro Speciali at France 1998, to Rivaldo's appearance at the 2002 World Cup in his bright-white Mizuno Wave Cup boots, these designs evoke big moments. 

Below, James talks us through some of his favourite creations.

Adidas Predators

Adidas PredatorJames Reynolds

"Before YouTube, the World Cup was a chance to see players you'd never seen before, and France 98 was when players really became associated with certain boots."

David Beckham, World Cup: France 1998Gettyimages
David Beckham, World Cup: France 1998

"The Predators, with blades instead of studs, and rubber fins which would supposedly make you - or make you think you could be - as accurate as David Beckham at free-kicks, had a real mystique to them."

Clogs painted like Adidas PredatorsJames Reynolds

Nike Mercurial R9

Nike Mercurial R9James Reynolds

"Both the boots and the player they were exclusively designed for were like nothing I had ever seen before. Ronaldo stood out on the pitch even without the boots, but he became even more mythical with them on."

Ronaldo, World Cup: France 1998, Brazil vs ChileGettyimages
Ronaldo, World Cup: France 1998, Brazil vs Chile

Puma King

Puma KingJames Reynolds

"These were my first ever boots, and I loved the look of them, with the large tongue and subtle flash of gold. I saw photos of Pele, Maradona and Cruyff playing in them, and Tony Yeboah scored his iconic goals against Wimbledon and Liverpool wearing a pair. They are a classic look that Puma have remained faithful to when creating the modern versions."

Diego Maradona, World Cup: Mexico 1986, England vs MexicoGettyimages
Diego Maradona, World Cup: Mexico 1986, England vs Mexico

Lotto Stadio

Lotto StadioJames Reynolds

"I remember seeing Clarence Seedorf, Cafu and Andriy Shevchenko playing in these, and after a bit of research found that many more players wore them, particularly at USA94 - Hagi, Ortega, Taffarel, Albertini - and then Davor Suker at France 98."

Davor Suker, World Cup: France 1998Gettyimages
Davor Suker, World Cup: France 1998

Diadora Pro Brasil

Diadora Pro BrasilJames Reynolds

"These were the boots that Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt wore during their Champions League run in 1999. They were understated and underrated, and Roberto Baggio dominated Serie A in them for years."

Roy Keane, Champions League, 1999Gettyimages
Roy Keane, Champions League, 1999

Adidas Copa Mundial

Adidas Copa MundialJames Reynolds

"These are possibly the most iconic boots ever made. A simple, classic design with the fold-over tongue, and worn by many of the all-time greats. With many modern boots being fluorescent and synthetic, these simple black and white leather boots still stand the test of time."

Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs, Chelsea vs Manchester United, 2002Gettyimages
Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs, Chelsea vs Manchester United, 2002

Mizuno Wave Cup

Mizuno Wave CupJames Reynolds

"Brazil's 2002 World Cup squad had so many stars - Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu - but it was Rivaldo in these white boots who really stood out for me."

Rivaldo and Ronaldo, World Cup: Korea and Japan, 2002Gettyimages
Rivaldo and Ronaldo, World Cup: Korea and Japan, 2002

Umbro Speciali

Umbro SpecialiJames Reynolds

"I remember these as Alan Shearer's boots. Roberto Carlos wore them when he scored that unbelievable free-kick against France in Le Tournoi in 1997, as did Michael Owen when announcing himself to the world for his goal against Argentina at France 98."

Michael Owen, World Cup: France 1998, England vs ArgentinaGettyimages
Michael Owen, World Cup: France 1998, England vs Argentina

Well, if you weren't in the mood for a kickabout beforehand, you definitely are now, right?