Interview: The Boot Artist Who Makes Arsenal's Aubameyang and Man United's Lukaku Unique

Interview: The Boot Artist Who Makes Arsenal's Aubameyang and Man United's Lukaku Unique

Fashion has always found a willing means of expression through football, but in recent years we've come to really appreciate the particularness of the sport's relationship with iconic gear. 

From retro flashbacks and nostalgia to Paris Saint-Germain's partnership with NBA legend Michael Jordan to wear the famous 'Jumpman' logo on their Champions League kits this season, football is a realm where some of the biggest and best-loved personalities express themselves on a weekly basis, so why wouldn't we want them to look good when doing it?

Kits are the obvious expression of fashion on the football pitch, but club issue threads mean individuality and self-expression are limited for footballers, meaning that boots are the main outlet for creativity and flair. 

We were lucky enough to grab a quick chat with Pierre Navarro, a man famed for his work with some of football's star names and their footwear, and who has a special tie-in with another cultural stalwart carving out a niche in football: video games.


Speaking around the launch of EA’s latest title, Anthem, Navarro said, "I had been contacted by Electronic Arts a few months ago to make a couple of Anthem-inspired boots for players, related to suits from within the game.

"Hopefully now, we are close to showing them to the public, to the media and to the players such as Erik Lamela, Felipe Anderson, Kasper Schmeichel and Jesse Lingard."

Anthem is an online multiplayer action video game, developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. Set on an unnamed planet, players can assume the role of a Freelancer - heroic figures who wear powerful 'exosuits' to defend humanity from an imposing threat - they are be tasked with stopping a villain named 'The Monitor' from grabbing control of 'The Anthem', a powerful force dominating the world.

The game has some similarities with football and its kits, where players customise their exosuits to their own liking, showcasing creation and imaginative designs and giving them another outlet for creativity and individuality, similar to those boots of Navarro's making.

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The boot artist started designing boots in 2000 and at the start, it was just a hobby for him. After winning two competitions in the United States, it became a professional pursuit for him in 2007. In the same year, Navarro started his own company called 'Orrovan Design', signing on his very first client, Didier Drogba. It was thanks to the Ivorian that Navarro was introduced into the footballing universe.

Navarro has been lucky enough to work with some of football's biggest names, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well as Drogba, who are two of Africa's most influential footballers. The likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero at Manchester City and Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, along with Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann are all names whose footwear has been graced by Navarro's creative touch.

"I like working with flashy players such as Aubameyang because they always come to me with these new ideas - incredible ideas - and I really like the challenge of making those ideas," said Navarro enthusiastically.

When quizzed on who his favourite player to work with is, Navarro said: "Pierre (Aubameyang) is a really cool guy, and it is really easy to work with players like him. It's not about the pricing or anything, it's about the quality of ideas."

"I like to do new things that have never been done before, and hopefully that's what we have done with the Anthem boot project. I don't think anyone has every done something like this before and that's truly interesting for me, and of course, it's a pleasure."

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An unfathomable number of football boots have been created since the sport was born. From Adolf Dassler screwing the first studs into the boots of the West German players on the eve of the 1954 World Cup Final - where they would go on to defeat favourites Hungary on a wet pitch in Bern - to the explosion of brands and designs that we see today.

There have been some iconic efforts, too - we all have our preferences. But when asked what his favourite model of all time was, Navarro had to pause: "Let me think about that!" he pleaded.

"The Nike Mercurial is one of the greatest, but I think that the adidas Predator is the greatest of all time. From a technical point of view, it really is an amazing shoe. I also really like the adidas Nemeziz. It's the perfect design to create something on."

It's breathtaking at times to watch some of football's stars do their things with no personal attachment to them, but for Navarro, he has a vested interest in his productions and the players wearing them.

"I would say that, from a personal point of view, I am truly proud of it," said Navarro on the feeling he gets seeing his creations at work.


"But the most important thing for me is that the player is comfortable with the shoe. From a technical point of view, the player must be comfortable with the touch of the ball, that's the key point for me. That's the biggest challenge for me because it's not always easy."

Whilst Navarro's creations are easy on the eye and provide us with a few moments of joy, a much longer period of time is spent on the designs behind the scenes. For the amount of detail that the Frenchman puts into his work, one would assume that it would take hours to finish, right?

"The process can take a few hours, or it can take more than two or three weeks. It depends on the technical difficulty of the design I have to make on the boot. I hand paint everything, there is no machine, and most of the time, there is no template. You have to make it from scratch, you cannot reproduce it again if you make a mistake, and that's probably the most challenging thing."

What's next for Pierre Navarro?: "I'm running a big project with Puma, hopefully they will launch it in a matter of days now," said the talented artist.

"That's the next big project. After that, hopefully we will try to make a book of my work in the next few months, that's also a big project for me personally.

"I like the idea that people would be interested to know the stories behind the shoes. It will hopefully show the people that, when I started this, that it was only a hobby, but now it is more professional with massive projects like the Anthem project.

"It will show the people that is hasn't always been an easy ride, but hopefully, now it's getting bigger and bigger, it will be interesting for the public. I hope people will like my work and that they will get more into the story of some of my creations."

Pierre Navarro was speaking around the launch of EA’s latest title, Anthem. Anthem is out on now on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. To get your copy, head to