King Henry VIII’s football boots were listed within the Great Wardrobe of 1526, a shopping list of the day. These were created by his personal shoemaker Cornelius Johnson in 1525, at a high price of 4 shillings, very same of £100 in today’s money. Little is famous about them, as there is no surviving example, nevertheless the royal football boots are known to own been made of strong leather, ankle high and heavier compared to the normal shoe of the day.

Football Boots – The 1800’s

Moving forward 300 years saw football developing and gaining popularity throughout Britain, but still remaining being an unstructured and informal pastime, with teams representing local factories and villages in a burgeoning industrial nation. Players has on their hard, leather work boots, that have been long laced and steel toe-capped as the very first football boots. These football boots would likewise have metal studs or tacks hammered into them to improve ground grip and stability.

As laws become integrated into the overall game in the late 1800’s, so saw the very first shift in football boots to a slipper (or soccus) style shoe, with players of exactly the same team starting to wear exactly the same boots for the very first time. Laws also allowed for studs, which had to be rounded. These leather studs, also referred to as cleats, were hammered into the early football boots, which for the first time moved away from the earlier favoured work boots. These football boots weighed 500g and were made of thick, hard leather increasing the ankle for increased protection. The football boots would double in weight when wet and had six studs in the sole. The football boot had arrived…

Football Boots – The 1900’s to 1940’s

Football boot styles remained relatively constant through the 1900’s around the conclusion of the 2nd world war. Probably the most significant events in the football boot world in the very first the main twentieth century were the forming of several football boot producers who are still making football boots today, including Gola (1905), Valsport (1920) and Danish football boot maker Hummel (1923).

Over in Germany, Dassler brothers Adolf and Rudolf formed the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in Herzogenaurach in 1924 and began producing football boots in 1925 which had 6 or 7 replaceable, nailed studs, which may be changed in line with the weather conditions of play.

Football Boots – The 1940’s to 1960’s

Football boot styles shifted significantly after the conclusion of the 2nd world war, as air travel became cheaper and more international fixtures were played. This saw the lighter, more flexible football boot being worn by the South Americans being thrust onto the world stage, and their ball skills and technical ability amazed all the ones that watched them. Football boot production shifted to making a lighter football boot with the focus on kicking and controlling the ball rather than simply producing a piece of protective footwear.

1948 saw the forming of the Adidas company by Adolf (Adi) Dassler after having a falling out in clumps along with his brother that has been to make the cornerstone of football boot maker rivalry for the preceding years around today. Brother Rudolf founded the beginnings of the Puma company in 1948, quickly producing the Puma Atom football boot. This led to interchangeable screw in studs made of plastic or rubber for the first time, reputedly by Puma in the early 1950’s nevertheless the honour can also be claimed by Adidas (Read the Story on Footy-Boots). Football boots of times were still over the ankle, but were now being made of a mixture of synthetic materials and leather, producing and even lighter shoe for the players of your day to produce their skills with.

Football Boots – The 1960’s

The technological developments of the sixties bought a momentous step-change in design which saw the low cut design introduced for the first time in football history. This change allowed players to maneuver faster and saw the kind of Pele wearing Puma football boots in the 1962 World Cup Finals. Adidas, though, quickly emerged as the marketplace leader, a position it claims until the current day. In the World Cup Finals of 1966, an astonishing 75% of players wore the Adidas football boot.

The seventies began with the iconic 1970 World Cup Finals which saw a sublime Brazilian team lift the trophy with Pele again at the helm, this time wearing the Puma King football boot. The decade itself is likely to be remembered for the method by which football boot sponsorship took off, where players were being paid to wear just one brand. In terms of design and style, technological advancements produced lighter boots, and a number of colours, including for the first time, the all-white football boot.

In 1979, Adidas produced the world’s best selling football boot the Copa Mundial, built of kangaroo leather and built for speed and versatility. Although Adidas remained dominant, many football boot makers joined the fray including Italian football boot maker Diadora (1977).

Football Boots – The 1980’s

The best development of recent times in the style and technology of football boots was developed in the eighties by former player Craig Johnston, who created the Predator football boot, that has been eventually released by Adidas in the 1990’s. Johnston designed the Predator to provide greater traction between football boot and the ball, and football boot and the ground. The design allowed for greater surface areas in the future into contact with the ball when being hit by the football boot, with a series of power and swerve zones within the striking area allowing the gamer to generate greater power and swerve when hitting the “sweet spots” ;.The eighties also saw football boots for the first time being created by English company Umbro (1985), Italy’s Lotto and Spain’s Kelme (1982).

Football Boots – 1990’s

1994 saw Adidas release the Craig Johnston designed Predator having its revolutionary design, styling and technology rendering it an immediate and lasting success. The Predator by now featured polymer extrusion technologies and materials permitting a far more flexible sole along with the conventional studs being replaced with a bladed design covering the only, giving a far more stable base for the player. In 1995 Adidas released their bladed outsole traxion technology which are tapered shaped blades. Puma hit back in 1996 with a foam-free midsole football boot, referred to as Puma Cell Technology, to which Adidas responded again, this time with wedge shaped studs in exactly the same year. The nineties saw new football boot producers Mizuno release their Mizuno Wave in 1997. Other new football boots originated from Reebok (1992) and Uhlsport (1993) with other individuals also joining the rising, lucrative and competitive market place. Most significantly the nineties saw the entry of Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear producer, immediately making a direct effect having its Nike Mercurial soccer boot (1998), weighing in at just 200g.

Football Boots – 2000+

As technology advanced still further, the application form of the new research and developments were noticed in the years into the new millennium right around the current day and this has led to a reinforcement of the marketplace positions of the big three football boot makers and sellers, Puma, Nike and Adidas (incorporating Reebok since 2006). Fortunately, there still remains room in the market place for small producer that will not have the big money endorsement contracts at its disposal, such as for instance Mizuno, Diadora, Lotto, Hummel and Nomis.

Recent developments since 2000 have observed the Nomis Wet control technology making a sticky boot (2002), the Craig Johnston Pig Boot (2003), shark technology by Kelme (2006) and the exceptional design of the Lotto Zhero Gravity laceless football boots (2006) which underpin the successes that these smaller makers can achieve by producing specialised and technologically advanced football boots that offer a distinct differentiation from the mass produced products of the big three. Laser technology has also helped to make the world’s first fully customised football by Prior 2 Lever, that is probably the most exciting and innovative of the recent developments.

While the debate rages with regards the possible lack of protection given by modern football boots, and the repercussion when it comes to player injuries, there seems little to claim that the major manufacturers are going to give up their quest for the lightest football boot for a far more protective one. The proliferation of big money sponsorship deals, namely Nike Ronaldinho, Adidas with David Beckham and Reebok with Thierry Henry, has changed into a huge factor that drives the success and sales of a soccer boot maker, but is viewed as at a high price of injury and stagnation in football boot research and development. All we could predict for the future is integration with sensor technology, lighter and more powerful football boots and more outlandish designs and styles.

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