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The evolution of football boots

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Football boots are the most essential item of football games. Nowadays, one cannot play football without a pair of boots.


1526 – King Henry VIII football boots:

In the year 1526, the football boots of King Henry VIII have been listed in the great wardrobe, which was the shopping list of a day. Cornelius Johnson, who was his personal shoemaker, had made those boots in 1525 for 4 Shillings, which is equal to £100 in today’s value. It is known that these boots were a lot heavier than the ordinary shoes, ankle-high and were made out of strong leather material.

The 1800’s – football boots:

Around 300 years back, football was gaining its popularity in Britain thought it was just a pastime and wasn’t actually in a structured form. There were only teams which were representing the local villages and factories. The first football boots, which they wore during that time, were the leather work boots, very hard and steel toe-capped boots with long laces. In order to have a better stability and ground grip, the boots also had the metal studs or tacks which were hammered into them. Once the law had been integrated in football in the late 1800’s, there was a shift in the style of football boots. It was around this period when players started wearing the same kind of shoes to play the game.

The 1900’s to 1940’s football boots:

The pattern or the style of the football boots had been constant throughout the 1900’s until the 2nd world war. Some of the current football boots producers were actually formed in this period, such as Valsport, Gola, Hummel, etc. The Dassler brothers Rudolf and Adolf from Germany had formed Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik in 1924 in Herzogenaurach. They were innovative and produced football boots which had 6-7 replaceable studs. Based on the weather conditions, players were able to change the studs accordingly.

DORTMUND, GERMANY – JUNE 18: Small adidas football shoes seen at Borusseum on June 18, 2013 in Dortmund, Germany. The Borusseum is the official museum of Borussia Dortmund based at the Signa-Iduna-Park. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

1940’s to 1960’s football boots:

After the 2nd world war, there was a drastic change in the football boot styles as the air travel was much cheaper than earlier and international games were played frequently. At that time, South Americans used to wear light, flexible boots and amazed the viewers with their ball techniques and skills. Afterwards, the biggest football manufacturers shifted from producing just the protective footwear to the ones which were much lighter and best to kick and control the ball. In 1948, Adidas Company was formed after Adolf Dassler had fallen apart from his brother. His brother Rudolf founded Puma Company in the same year and had immediately produced the atom football boot Puma. Both manufacturers started with production using a mixture of both leather and synthetic materials, which were much lighter for the players to play the game more efficiently.

1960’s football boots:

In the 1960’s, there was a drastic change in technological development, which contributed to a great change in design. The introduction of lower cut design for the first time in the history of football was enjoying popularity among the footballers. The design update allowed players to move much faster. Football fans had a chance to see Pele who wore Puma football boots in the 1962 World Cup final. In the 1966 World Cup finals more than 75% of the players wore football boots by Adidas. Later on, new brands, such as Asics, Joma and Mitre appeared on the market with their own football boots.

NEW YORK – JUNE 04: A vintage image of the soccer player Pele is displayed in the window of a shoe store June 4, 2006 in New York City. While America has never been a powerhouse in the game of soccer, the world?s most popular sport, the upcoming World Cup in Germany is attracting significant attention on this side of the Atlantic. With an influx of Latino, African and other immigrants to the United States, soccer is gradually gaining in popularity to more traditional America sports such as football and baseball. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The 1970’s football boots:

The 1970 World Cup final saw Pele with the Brazilian team wearing Puma king football boots. It was the first time players were paid in order to wear a particular brand while playing their matches. At this time most producers made several advancements in style, weight, colours or even the technological developments to the football boots. In 1979 Adidas produced Copa Mundial, which turned out as the world’s best-selling football boots at the time. They were made out of kangaroo leather for its versatility and lightness.

The 1980’s football boots:

Craig Johnston, a former player, created Predator football boots in this period, which were then released by Adidas in 1990. Predators were designed to provide better friction between the ball, boots and ground. The boots also provided players with better power when hitting the ball. A few new companies revealed their new boots on the market in the 1980’s, such as Lotto, Umbro and Kelme.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 28: Former footballer Craig Johnston attends a press conference to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame at the Star City Hotel November 28, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

1990’s Football boots: 

Predator by Adidas was enjoying popularity among football players around the world as it was a great piece with revolutionary styling, design and technology implements. The 90’s was a successful period for Puma and Adidas with their continuously updated and innovative football boots. Brand such as Reebok and Nike tried to keep up with the competition. Nike had great success with the Mercurial boots, which just weighed 200 grams.

2000’s football boots:

With the latest developments in technology and research, the three big brands, Puma, Adidas and Nike, have taken up the leading market position of football boots. Some of the most innovative products were sticky boots introduced in 2002, shark technology boots by Kelme in 2006 and Craig Johnston pig boots in 2003. The most innovative and exciting development in this period was the world’s first fully customised football boots through laser technology. Some of the most favourite pieces were Adidas F50, Predator and TunitNikes Air Zoom total 90’s, Mercurial Vapor III and Reebok Pro Rage along with Umbro X boots.

TOKYO – JULY 29: English football player David Beckham attends a press conference to introduce the David Beckham limited edition adidas PredatorPulse on July 29, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan. The shoes will be only available in the size of David Beckham, UK size 9 and 723 pairs will be sold world wide this summer. Each pair will be uniquely numbered from 1 to 723 at the price of 723 Euro. The pairs numbered 1, 7, 23 and 723 will be owned by himself. The number of 723 comes from his current and previous uniform numbers, 7 and 23. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)