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

Football Boots – The 1800’s

Moving forward 300 years saw football developing and gaining popularity throughout Britain, but nonetheless 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, which were long laced and steel toe-capped as the very first football boots. These football boots would also have metal studs or tacks hammered into them to improve ground grip and stability.

As laws become incorporated 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 the same team starting to wear 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 very first time moved far from the earlier favoured work boots. These football boots weighed 500g and were made of thick, hard leather rising 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 entire 1900’s around the end of the next world war. The absolute most significant events in the football boot world in the very first area of the twentieth century were the forming of several football boot producers that 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, that could 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 end of the next 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 those that watched them. Football boot production shifted to producing a lighter football boot with the concentrate on kicking and controlling the ball rather than merely producing a piece of protective footwear.

1948 saw the forming of the Adidas company by Adolf (Adi) Dassler after a falling out in clumps together with his brother that was to create 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 generated interchangeable screw in studs made of plastic or rubber for the very first time, reputedly by Puma in the early 1950’s however the honour can also be claimed by Adidas (Read the Story on Footy-Boots). Football boots of times were still within the ankle, but were now being made of a mixture of synthetic materials and leather, producing and even lighter shoe for the players of the day to show their skills with.

Football Boots – The 1960’s

The technological developments of the sixties bought a momentous step-change in design which saw the reduced cut design introduced for the very first time in football history. This change allowed players to move faster and saw famous brands Pele wearing Puma football boots in the 1962 World Cup Finals. Adidas, though, quickly emerged as the marketplace leader, a posture it claims until the present 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 around wearing the Puma King football boot. The decade itself is going to be remembered for the way in 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 very 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, some other 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 look 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 supply greater traction between football boot and the ball, and football boot and the ground. The look allowed for greater surface areas ahead into connection with the ball when being hit by the football boot, with some power and swerve zones within the striking area allowing the ball player to produce greater power and swerve when hitting the “sweet spots” ; eighties also saw football boots for the very first time being produced 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 using its revolutionary design, styling and technology which makes it an instantaneous and lasting success. The Predator right now featured polymer extrusion technologies and materials permitting a far more flexible sole as well as the conventional studs being replaced by 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 in 1996 with a foam-free midsole football boot, referred to as Puma Cell Technology, to which Adidas responded again, this time around with wedge shaped studs in the same year. The nineties saw new football boot producers Mizuno release their Mizuno Wave in 1997. Other new football boots originated in Reebok (1992) and Uhlsport (1993) with others also joining the increasing, lucrative and competitive market place. Most significantly the nineties saw the entry of Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear producer, immediately making an effect using its Nike Mercurial soccer boot (1998), weighing in at just 200g.

Football Boots – 2000+

As technology advanced still further, the applying of the brand new research and developments were observed in the years into the brand new millennium right around the present day and it has generated 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 available in the market area for small producer that doesn’t have the big money endorsement contracts at its disposal, such as Mizuno, Diadora, Lotto, Hummel and Nomis.

Recent developments since 2000 have seen the Nomis Wet control technology producing 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) that underpin the successes these smaller makers can perform by producing specialised and technologically advanced football boots that provide a definite differentiation from the produced in higher quantities products of the big three. Laser technology has additionally helped to produce the world’s first fully customised football by Prior 2 Lever, which is perhaps the most exciting and innovative of the recent developments.

Because the debate rages with regards the possible lack of protection distributed by modern football boots, and the repercussion in terms of player injuries, there seems little to claim that the major manufacturers are going to quit 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 basketball boot maker, but is viewed as at a cost of injury and stagnation in football boot research and development. All we can predict for the future is integration with sensor technology, lighter and better football boots and more outlandish designs and styles.

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