How do we know the items are all 100% genuine & authentic?

All match worn & issued items we get into stock come from impeccable sources within our network of contacts in the football industry across Europe. Due to being based in London, United Kingdom, we mainly source items of players within the English Premier League. However, with our network of contacts across the continent we are also able to acquire items of players from other top leagues such as La Liga, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 & Serie A. There are many different ways to tell apart a genuine player issued / match worn item, especially football boots, to a general commercial pair you’ll find in a retail store. These can be details such as name personalisation, custom sizing, bespoke soleplates, higher quality materials, better build quality, orthopaedic innersoles, among other tells. Player specific boots tend to be manufactured in different countries to commercial store version items produced for retail sale - however this is not the case 100% of the time.

Every item available here at www.bcboots.uk comes with our certificate of authenticity (COA) which guarantees the genuine nature of each item, with it having passed our stringent authentication checks and procedures.

The different authentication tells can differ between brands, listed below are some ways to spot a professional player pair from a standard retail pair, whilst also being able to use those points to differentiate between genuine and potential fake match worn/player issued football boots of the respective brands.


Adidas have their 'Athlete Services' factory located in Herzogenaurach, Germany, for players who require special customisations to their equipment. However it is also common for Adidas athletes to receive retail model boots if they do not require modifications, however these will still usually be personalised to their request with details such as their name, national flag, children's names or squad number which isn't something available to the public. Often Adidas supply certain models to the pros which are not available to the public, for example when they re-released the Predator silo, it was available to pros in leather and synthetic, whilst only commercially available in synthetic. When Adidas make a player's pairs in their Herzogenaurach factory, the internal label will state the size of each individual boot, as well as their motto "Only the best for the athlete". There will also be a label in the heel area, with the code '502001' which is the factory number, along with the manufacture date (month/year) and a code which refers to the particular player's custom ID number. Below we'll take a look at some examples of the internal size labels found inside professional player's boots which are made in Germany by Adidas...

Adidas MIG label style 2003-2013

Here we can see three different styles of size label found in the Adidas player boots. The first label on the white background is from a pair of Adidas F50+ of Arjen Robben from 2004-05. This style of size label was used from around 2003 until 2013. This version of the label stated 'MTM' which stands for 'Made to Measure', along with 'Made in Germany' and the numbered size itself. If a player had quarter sizing, or odd foot sizing, with this style label the Adidas craftsmen simply wrote on the label. We can also see there that the factory number '502001' is on the label itself.

Arjen Robben Adidas F50+

Adidas MIG label style 2013-2022

The second label style seen with differing stated size numbers was used from 2013 until late 2022 / early 2023. This label states the left & right shoe sizes 'L/R' which stopped the craftsmen having to write on these details as we saw with the previous style label. We can also see here that Adidas added their moto to the top, along with the address of the factory itself to the label. The information such as factory number and player code were transferred to the inside heel area, where Adidas stamp a small sticker label containing those details, which wasn't something that was present with the previous style label. This particular label seen here is from a pair of Adidas X Speedflow+ worn by Gabriel Jesus during 2021-22, and we can see there that the left boot is a UK size 8.75, and the right is a UK 8.5. The made in Germany labels from 2013 onwards only stated the UK size.

Gabriel Jesus Adidas X Speedflow+

Adidas MIG label style 2022-

The third label style that we can see there is not massively different to the second style, this is merely an updated version which Adidas brought in late 2022 / early 2023. We began seeing this label style on models as early as 2021, however it was quite rare to find that, we find that models of 2022 onwards are more commonly having this label style as Adidas phase out the previous version. This particular label is from a pair of Adidas X Speedportal.1 'Leyenda' which were match issued to Lionel Messi for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This version states 'Athlete Servicing' instead of 'Athlete Services', along with the Adidas slogan in German being removed - it now states this in English only. In the space where the moto was in German, we now find the 3 Stripes Adidas logo. The font across the entirety of the label has changed ever so slightly, not a huge difference but certainly something to be aware of.

Lionel Messi Adidas X Speedportal.1 'Leyenda'

All of the above sizing labels are not just made from a paper like material either. They consist of a woven manufacturing style, whereby two pieces of material are married together, with the details then being stamped on top. This is why when looking closely you may see a slight 'dimple' pattern, so to speak, across the label. This is a key detail to look out for, as counterfeit/faked versions would not replicate these fine and specific details.The first style of sizing label seen above was always glued inside the boots, usually on the underside of the tongue. When the secondary style was brought in in 2013, this was also usually glued inside the boots, however not always on the underside of the tongue it was also common to find this inside the heel area on the liner, or slightly further forward to the midfoot. From around 2020, Adidas began to instead stitch these labels to the insoles of the boots, and as the years have gone on since then, this has become a much more common occurrence. Usually the retail equivalent models would still have the 'Made in China', 'Made in Indonesia' or 'Made in Vietnam' size label glued in inside the boots, where the made in Germany version is most likely to be stitched to the insole. So another key point to look out for here on more recent models of Adidas player boots is glue marks around the inside heel area on the liner, or inside the midfoot area, as if there is evidence of that then it is likely a retail style size label has been removed.


Nike player's boots should be made in Italy or Bosnia. Since 1996, they have had their 'Athlete Services' factory located in Montebelluna, Italy, where they hand make their elite contracted player's boots such as CR7, Mbappé and Lewandowski, to their exact specifications and requirements - usually there will be no size label within the boots that are manufactured here due to them being completely bespoke. However, if there is a size label it should have the serial code '999999999' located at the bottom left corner of the tag, on boots produced between 2007 and 2019. This is the same with Nike player's boots when made in Bosnia, which is where they manufacture other pro's boots. The row of 9's serial code means the boots are for promotional use only, as they contain differences to those which are sold commercially to the public, so they will not be able to be sold in a general store. The pairs Nike sell to the public are usually of lower quality than what the pros receive, with them often being manufactured in Vietnam/China as they are mass produced to a cost.

In the summer of 2019, Nike changed their size labels within their football boots and have scrapped the '999999999' player code. Player issue pairs from this period onwards will either contain normal size labels, the same as retail, or no size label at all (if they are made to measure) but the boots themselves will still present differences which separate them from standard pairs.

Montebelluna insoles

From 2016 onwards, Nike boots which were manufactured inside their Athlete Services factrory located in Montebelluna, Italy, typically come equiped with special insoles, an example of which we can see on the left. These insoles are from a pair of Nike Phantom GT 2 Elite's which were match worn by Kevin De Bruyne during Manchester City's Treble Winning 2022-23 season. The left insole will always bare the emblem of the Montebelluna factory, inside which in the top left square it states 'MB est'96', referring to Montebelluna and the year the factory opened. The Nike Swoosh will be found in the top right, along with a pair of Nike shoes to the bottom left, and the tools of the craft in the bottom right. Underneath it states 'ATHLETE SERVICE'. The right insole bares the Nike Swoosh along with 'Made in Italy'.

Kevin De Bruyne Nike Phantom GT 2

Montebelluna sizing

With boots manufactured inside the Nike Montebelluna factory, tyoically they will not contain internal size labels. This is largely due to them not seeing the boots as an exact stated size, as they are made to measure. Instead, Nike write a number inside each boot on the insole board, which refers to the particular player's foot last (mould) ID number inside the factory. The image to the left is from the same pair as mentioned above.

Always look out for the remanence of glue marks inside the heel area, as if there is evidence of a size label having been removed, it's likely you are not looking at a genuine made in Montebelluna pair of boots. Retail Nike boots will always have the size label glued in inside each boot.

Kevin De Bruyne Nike Phantom GT 2

Made in Bosnia label style 2007-2019

Here we can see an example of a made in Bosnia size label from a pair of match worn Nike Mercurial Vapor XI boots, specifically a pair worn by Eden Hazard during the 2016-17 season. Taking a look at the bottom left area of the label, we can see a row of 9's beneath the barcode which is in place of the product code found in this area of a size label inside a commercial pair. The row of 9's prevents the barcode from being used for commercial use, meaning that the boots can only be used for promotional use, which is when the player is wearing them on the pitch.

Eden Hazard Nike Mercurial Vapor XI

Made in Italy label style 2007-2019

Here we can see an example of a made in Italy size label from a pair of match worn Nike Magista Opus boots, specifically a pair worn by John Terry during the 2014-15 season. Taking a look at the bottom left area of the label, we can see a row of 9's beneath the barcode which is in place of the product code found in this area of a size label inside a commercial pair. The row of 9's prevents the barcode from being used for commercial use, meaning that the boots can only be used for promotional use, which is when the player is wearing them on the pitch.

John Terry Nike Magista Opus

Made in Montebelluna, Italy, label style

Typically the bespoke boots manufactured inside Nike's Athlete Services factory in Montebelluna, Italy, come with no internal size labels due to their custom nature. However, some pairs from this factory occasionally come with size labels and if they do, it should look just like the example seen to the left of this text. This is a label from a pair of prototype sample Nike Phantom VNM Elite boots which were match worn by Phil Foden.

Phil Foden Nike Phantom VNM Elite Prototype


With Puma, they tend to manufacture their athlete's boots in China or Vietnam to their exact specifications & requirements. Typically this is actually the same country of manufacture as the commercially produced football boots for the retail market.

The internal size label should read either 'SAMPLE' or 'ATHLETE EXCLUSIVE'. Just like Nike's and Adidas' top sponsored players, Puma's contracted stars also like to have their boots modified to suit their needs, some more heavily than others. Neymar Jr is one of the most famous for customising his boots so much that they can be unrecognisable with the retail versions. An example of a size tag from a pair of Neymar's Puma King Platinum is below, which shows the 'ATHLETE EXCLUSIVE' under the barcode. 

Within Puma athlete's footwear the internal size labels have some varying designs dependant on the country of manufacture, boot model & year of production.

Puma athlete label style 2019 -

The sizing label seen to the left of this text is from a pair of Puma King Platinum which were match worn by Neymar Jr during the 2021-22 season. We can see here that the professional players get specialised treatment with their footwear with them being custom made having access to quarter sizing, which is not something available to the general public on commercial footwear.

Neymar Puma King Platinum

Puma athlete label style 2013-18 ver 1

Here we can see a differing style of sizing label found inside Puma Athlete boots, this label is taken from a pair of Puma ONE Leather which were match worn by Axel Witsel during the 2017-18 season. This design style is one of a few different variants used by Puma during this time period.

Axel Witsel Puma ONE

Puma athlete label style 2013-18 ver 2

Here we can see a differing style of label design used by Puma inside their athlete's footwear during the period 2013-18, taken from a pair of Puma EvoPOWER match worn by Nemanja Matic during the 2013-14 season. The same 'SAMPLE' stamping as 'Ver 1' can be seen here which signifies that the boots are not produced for the commercial market.

Nemanja Matic Puma EvoPOWER

Puma athlete label style 2012-16 ver 3

Here we take a look at a third design style of size label found inside Puma athlete's footwear, specifically from a pair of Puma EvoSpeed SL match worn by Antoine Griezmann during the 2015-16 season. This style of size label is double sided, with one size stating the numerical size, and the other bearing the relevant codes along with the 'SAMPLE' stamp.

Antoine Griezmann puma EvoSpeed SL

Puma athlete label style 2005-2011

Finally, we take a look at the size label design found in Puma athlete's match worn & issued boots pre-2011. This particular label is taken from a pair of Puma V1.06 match worn by Samuel Eto'o during the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. This label style contained very minimalist information, simply stating the numerical size, the location of manufacture and

Samuel Eto'o Puma V1.06 2006 UCL Final

Match worn or match issued... what's the difference?

Match issued means that the boots have been custom made for and supplied to the professional player, but have remained unworn and unused - essentially a spare pair. There are a number of reasons a pair of players' boots may not get used, for example in times such as during pre season and at the start of a season where players may not use the SG boots supplied to them by their sponsor as the pitches are not soft enough, so if they'll remain match issued and prepared if unused. Another time this can happen is if a player is supplied a pair during an injury spell, the boots will still be match issued and prepared but may not actually get worn as the next colourway may be released by the time the player is fit to play again. 

Match worn means that the boots have been worn by the player in a match or multiple matches. This may also include training sessions, however that will differ from player to player. Some change boots almost every match, so sometimes their pairs may only ever be worn once or twice -

What are match worn & issued boots worth?

There's a long list of variables that come into play with the market value of a pair or match worn or issued football boots. Which player the boots are from is of course the main variable, the bigger the player the higher the value as they will simply be more desirable for collectors to have in a collection. Modifications have a big effect on the market value, as the more parts that separate a pair from retail versions, the more special and rare it makes them, therefore making them more desirable. The worlds' elite players can customise pretty much anything on their boots such as soleplates, upper materials and so on. The players potential is another factor, if a player is up and coming the value of their boots may even be higher than an already established player in the same position as them. For example, Jadon Sancho's boots have a higher market value than Franck Ribery's.Where the boots are made. This can add just that extra bit of desirability  when looking for a pair of match worn boots. For example, if a Nike pair have been made in the famous Montebelluna factory it makes them just that extra bit special and more desirable.Match worn pairs tend to be worth more than match issued/prepared pairs, mainly due to the fact they are that extra bit more desirable. A worn pair may contain a piece of history from the player they were worn by, such as the player may have scored a certain goal in that pair or they were worn in a particular match/tournament. Whilst match issued/prepared pairs are still specially made for a player and are so different to retail pairs, they just don't carry that same extra bit of X factor that a match worn pair has.

Why do some match worn & issued boots come without insoles?

Sometimes pairs of match worn or match issued boots will come without any insoles. This is because most players use 1 pair of insoles for multiple pairs of boots for comfort reasons, and usually those insoles are completely bespoke made just for their feet, by their sponsor or sometimes by a third party company. We managed to acquire a pair of Gareth Bale's insoles, which were made by Podoactiva who are a company that specialise in bespoke sports equipment such as shin guards and insoles for elite professional athletes. This is not always the case, sometimes players will just simply wear a standard pair of insoles, it really is circumstantial from player to player. Some players, such as Ilkay Gundogan & Gabriel Jesus, get their insoles specially made for them by their sponsor Adidas. Custom insoles are more commonly known as orthopaedic insoles.